Kitchen renovations can be one of the most exhilarating experiences of your life, full of welcome changes and seeing your dream become a reality - but it’s a long road. There’s a lot to consider before the dust begins to fly, and one of the most asked questions we hear from eager homeowners is: where should I begin?
Luckily, we’ve done this a few times, and we consider our experience a complimentary benefit to working with our team. There’s planning to do. Researching. Investigating. Paperwork. Hiring. Approvals. Waiting. The list goes on and on. So, where should you begin your kitchen renovation? At the beginning.
The schedule - at least a broad overview of what could be your renovation schedule - is priority #1 when it comes to beginning a renovation. One of the biggest mistakes eager homeowners can make it to be swayed and seduced by the charm and prestige of the spaces that inspired them to take on their own project. Great work takes time. And great work takes planning.
Most renovations - even relatively small ones like a kitchen overhaul - can take upwards of 3 months. In a timeframe of 60-90 days prior to getting started, there are innumerable decisions that will be have to made. You should be weighing your options considering:
- Source and save photos, articles, colour palettes, material samples, etc.
- Buying materials
- Construction materials
Budget for Your Plans
Knowing ahead of time how much you’ll need to spend to achieve dream-kitchen status is a reality that not too many people are excited to deal with. But this is a crucial stage of the pre-planning renovation methodology if you want to save yourself the shock of going over your budget - and there’s always a good chance you’ll go over.
This doesn’t necessarily mean there will be an emergency, or a structural collapse, plumbing/gas leak, or a workplace accident - but could simply mean you’ll have a change of heart and opt for a more expensive countertop material, or flooring. Budgetary changes are to be expected, so begin your renovation by swallowing that fact and preparing appropriately - financially, mentally, and otherwise.
Depending on the scale of your kitchen renovation, you’ll likely need to apply for and get approval for a number of permits. Building permits are required for alterations or construction of:
- Demolishing a load-bearing wall (sometimes non-load bearing walls, too)
- Expanding the layout and footprint of your house and/or kitchen space
- Installation of any new electrical components and/or circuits
- Parking permit for a roll-off dumpster for demolition
- Adjusting or installing exterior doors, windows, and skylights that require new openings
- HVAC work
- Some plumbing applications
- Moving a sink
Know full-well going into any renovation project that obstacles routinely pop up. Schedules are not set in stone, things get delayed, people get sick and have emergencies to handle, etc. If you go the professional route and hire a contractor, it’s always a good idea to take stock of your professional relationship and do your best to prepare yourself to be able to answer and get your contractor what they need, when they need it. Especially approvals and/or decisions.
Waiting around costs money, and most Contractors aren’t fond of being held back by a homeowners' indecision - so knowing ahead of time what you want, and how you’ll achieve it, is paramount to maintaining a well-oiled renovation machine, and maintaining a positive and upbeat professional relationship founded on respect and appreciation.
Second, don’t be too nit-picky about the cleanliness of a job site. Vacuuming and dusting isn’t usually a big focus of many busy and reputable contractors - so be patient and understanding if your crew works late and leaves a few dust bunnies and sawdust piles here and there. Instead, expect a slightly more thorough clean-up job on Friday afternoons before they head off for the weekend. Not all contractors and labourers work the same, but this is a common pain-point that many homeowners aren’t prepared for.
Choosing your workforce is largely about finding a contractor who embodies your style and with whom you connect on some playing field. Before signing on the dotted line, always ensure you ask for, and are presented with:
- Proof of insurance
- Portfolio of work
If you’re planning on working with family, take heed and prep for a few potentially rough times ahead; it can be tough to deal with family in a work setting, but it can be very rewarding as well. Have a discussion about any hesitation you may have, and try to head those feelings off before things get hairy.
While selecting family can mean the blood-relative discount in many cases, the cheapest quote isn’t always the best in terms of helping your dream kitchen plans become reality. Contracting is a serious, laborious and time-consuming business that demands respect and a fair wage. As a pro-tip: select a quote from the higher side of average to ensure you’re getting good quality work and paying a fair price for that work.
They can be difficult to manage, but renovations are incredibly satisfying undertakings when you prepare and begin the process in a well-researched and level-headed manner. Further to these tips, beginning your kitchen renovation should always start with a deep breath, and a surge of eagerness and enthusiasm.
You can do this, and we can help make it happen.