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One of the most frequent questions we hear at Cottage Industries is, “How long will my kitchen remodel take?” It’s an understandable question – Main Line homeowners are excited about using and enjoying their new kitchen, yet anxious about any disruption to their family’s daily routine. The answer is not cut and dry. Several factors discussed below will influence how long your remodel takes. One thing we can say with certainty: projects never move as quickly as you see on TV!

Design First

Kitchen remodels are like most other construction projects, though a bit more complicated due to the wide range of trades involved. Family rooms, for example, don’t require plumbing, tile work, or appliance installations that are needed for a kitchen. No matter how many people come together to bring your kitchen remodel to life, everything begins with the design. How long the design phase takes varies and depends on:

  • Whether your new kitchen maintains its original layout and most of the changes will be cosmetic.
  • Whether there will be major layout changes to your existing kitchen, including removing or relocating walls or placing the sink in a new location.
  • Whether major architectural changes will occur, like putting the new kitchen in as part of an addition, or going from a compartmentalised floor plan to a wide-open one.
  • Making decisions quickly is the best way to keep this part of the project on track

Kitchen Remodel Process

Every kitchen remodel we work on is unique, but there are three common steps involved in just about every project we do. The time each phase ta

Step 1: Site Prep and Setup through Demo

Depending on needs, some homeowners opt for setting up a temporary kitchen which takes additional time for the plumber and electrician to connect things and the carpenter to set it all up. Remember, there’s additional time needed at the end to break it all down and patch and paint. During this stage, we set up protections including temporary walls to isolate the dust from the living spaces, protect pathways (floors, walls, stairs) from damage during construction. We also make sure the air intakes for the heating and A/C are blocked so dust doesn’t get sucked into the system. Although it isn’t possible to eliminate all dust during construction, the time it takes for this important step is something your lungs will thank you for!

Demolition seems like it should go fairly quickly, but something that can add a little time is the need to salvage items. Donating cabinets to a charity like Habitat for Humanity is a great idea, but plan on some extra time to remove cabinets in one piece rather than breaking them up with a sledge hammer. Saving appliances for re-use requires additional care when removing. Many older Main Line homes have interesting architectural details our clients would like to save and incorporate into their new kitchen like an old servant’s bell or a leaded window.

Step 2: Framing, Rough-Ins, & Sheetrock

Once demo is complete, it’s time for framing and building walls, and doing any structural work required for the removal of walls. Wall changes will definitely add time to your project. Not only do they typically require extra electrical work, but there’s added sheetrock, trim, paint, and flooring work as a result. Changing walls always makes a project take longer. After the framing and structural changes are done, it’s time to “rough-in” the plumbing, heating, A/C, and electrical wiring. Once inspected, Insulation is added to exterior walls if needed. Then we can install sheetrock and the rooms start to look real! Don’t be fooled at this stage; there’s still plenty of work (and time) left on the project clock.

Step 3: Finish Work

This last step is actually about half of the project’s schedule! Finish work is made up of installing the flooring, cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures, interior trim, tile, & appliances, then paint. After paint, the finishing electrical touches, like switch plates and fixtures get installed. The best way to save time on this stage is to have spent the time needed during the design stage. All finishes should be selected, and ordered in plenty of time for them to be installed. If they aren’t you can be sure the project will take longer than you want.

Let’s Get Cooking

When everything’s pretty much in place, a punch list is completed, covering any small loose ends that might need to be resolved, such as a paint drip that needs to be touched up, or a light fixture that’s still on backorder. While there are always exceptions based on the scope of a project, a typical kitchen remodel takes 10 to 12 weeks to complete. What matters most is that things are done right, and that requires a bit more time. Homeowners can help guarantee a successful kitchen remodel with an understanding that a disciplined approach to the design phase will reap many benefits, including staying on budget and enjoying your new kitchen more quickly.


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