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Five Tips to Survive a Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Renovations can be very stressful.  A well thought out plan will help to reduce your stress but what happens when you turn the plan over to others to do the work?  Sure, you've got a great plan and you are most feeling in control and excited about your kitchen renovation plan. Now it is time to get the work done to make your vision come to life.
Kitchen design plan
Kitchen Design Plan

How to Survive Your Kitchen Renovation

Here are my five tips for how to survive the work phase of your project.  These recommendations are the result of my own experience with my own successful kitchen renovation.  I hope my experience helps you to weather the upheaval a kitchen renovation brings with a minimum of stress.

Five Tips for a Successful Kitchen Renovation 

#1. Hire the Right Professionals

Ask for Recommendations:  
Talk to family, friends and neighbors to get recommendations for kitchen designers, plumbers, electricians, painters, and carpenters.  It is best when you can actually see the work that has been completed.  If your project is complex, this is the point to decide if you will hire a contractor to manage it.  My project was of medium complexity and I chose to manage the timeline and coordinate the tradespeople myself.

Meet with Each Professional
You should interview two or three tradespeople from each category.  You will want to compare bids from each. My experience has taught me that bids may vary greatly. Your meeting will allow you to talk to each of your potential hires about expectations you may have like cleaning up on a daily basis, daily work schedule, and willingness to coordinate with the other tradespeople.  You'll get a sense of their professionalism during these in-person meetings.

Plan a contingency for renovations
Add a Contingency Pool to Your Budget

#2. Finalize Your Budget

You must get your bids in writing.  This is where your preparation work will serve you very well. Careful preparation means you can be very specific when you speak with the tradespeople about the requirements of the job and the materials you want to be used.  The more details you have decided by this point the more complete the bids will be.  That means you will have common points from which you can compare bids and fewer surprises once the work starts.

You'll also want to understand the payment schedule for each of your tradespeople.  Just as you expect them to show up and complete the project on time, you must commit to payment on a timely schedule.  Once the bids start coming in be ready to be astonished. My bids varied by as much as 100%.  I was shocked at the amount of variation.  Read the bids carefully to be sure you are comparing apples to apples.  You may need to have follow-up calls with the tradespeople to clarify elements of the bids.

#3. Confirm Availability and Commitment to Schedule
Once you decide which tradespeople you want to work on your renovation be sure to confirm their availability by phone and in writing.  Renovation work follows a step by step process where any one of your tradespeople can create a problem for your timeline.

In my case the tile layer came down with a horrendous case of bronchitis, requiring hospitalization, the first day of tile laying.  Luckily, the other, members of his team were able to keep the job relatively on track and my carpenter was able to work around the small delays.

#4. Stay Out of the Way While the Work Progresses

This may be the hardest part of the process.  You are excited.  You want to see how your new kitchen is progressing.  Now is the time to let the professionals do their work.  Now is not the time for you to get new ideas and ask for changes.  If you do, expect to pay handsomely.

2016 calendar picture
Build Wiggle Room into Your Timeline
#5. Expect Surprises
In spite of your careful research and planning, there will be surprises like when my tile person got sick.  These surprises will either impact your budget or your timeline.  For this reason, you should build a cushion into both areas. You'll need a contingency budget of approximately 10% and some wiggle room on your completion date.  You'll also need to know how tight the timing is for each of your tradespeople and take that into consideration before hiring them.  If a tradesperson's window of availability is too tight you may want to choose someone else.

My kitchen renovation was completed on time and on budget.  You can see the results below.

Kitchen renovation pictures
My Renovated Kitchen

Check out my prior posts for more detail on the start to finish steps in the renovation process.  I wish you good luck with your renovation.  My kitchen renovation experience was excellent and I credit my detailed planning for that.  Here are my other posts in this series:

#1 Time for a Kitchen Renovation
#2 Five Questions to Answer When Planning a Kitchen Renovation
#3 Kitchen Renovation-The Plan
#4 Kitchen Renovation-Getting Inspiration

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  1. These are great tips. I am convinced that I have the ugliest kitchen in the world and am pretty confident we can get it renovated when the kids grow up and move about 20 years! My daughters are 3 and 1! I would love to redo our kitchen and hope to at some point! Thanks for linking up with us at Blogger's Spotlight and please come back next week!

    1. Carrie, I know what it's like to live with a kitchen you don't love. You have plenty of time to plan a kitchen you will love.

  2. These are great tips! Even the most basic remodel has a few surprises and it is best to be prepared rather than hoping it won't happen. My parents are about to start on a major kitchen renovation. I'll have to pass this along to them :) Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Ashley. I wish your parents good luck with their remodel. Careful planning does help to control the surprises!

  3. There's a kitchen renovation in my future. Advice received and taken to heart!

    1. I wish you good luck in your renovation process, Michele. In hindsight, I can say the disruption is worth it when you get a finished product you love. I do love my new kitchen!

  4. Great tips! I renovated and updated my kitchen three years ago - a total gut and overhaul - stressful but so glad I hired a professional kitchen company to do the job. They knew my budget and never tried to steer me over it or sway me away from it!

    1. Having good partners in a kitchen renovation project is a must and a blessing. It takes so much of the stress away. Thanks for sharing your experience, Amanda.


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