A kitchen renovation is a big project to take on. Even if you hire a professional to manage the entire project for you, you’ll benefit from understanding the basic kitchen renovation timeline. This helps you to plan for (and around) your kitchen remodel.
There is a preferred sequence for the major steps in a full kitchen renovation. There are specific times that work best for contractors (such as plumbers, electricians, and cabinet installers) to do their work. Handling your kitchen remodel in the right order will prevent hassles like needing to redo work because a necessary first step was missed.
How long does a kitchen remodel take?
There are many variables that contribute to how long your kitchen renovation will take. The size of the project is a big factor. Product availability is another. Sometimes you’ll have to wait for the product to arrive, especially when choosing custom pieces.
Typically, once demolition begins, a kitchen renovation takes about 5-6 weeks to complete. But your kitchen remodel project begins long before demolition! The planning and preparation stages take time, too.
Some kitchen renos can happen in a couple of months from start to finish, but that’s the bare minimum. Most take longer than that.
The following step-by-step kitchen renovation timeline will guide you through the major stages of your kitchen remodel and help you plan your project. These are generalizations. Keep in mind that each project has unique aspects that can vary these stages and the timing significantly.
Stage 1: Before You Start Your Kitchen Renovation (at your pace)
Our in-house kitchen expert Lucille always says, “Anticipation is half the fun!” That definitely holds true with a kitchen remodel. Your project begins with a vision of something better and that’s an essential part of the process! The pre-renovation stage is important and you have control over how long or short this stage takes.
Refer to our Kitchen Planning Guide in 5 Easy Steps to Complete Your New Kitchen for help.
Dream and Set Realistic Goals
Take time to dream. Pay attention to the things you love and hate about your current kitchen. Look for inspiration to help you plan your new kitchen. Create a kitchen concept board to organize your vision and clearly communicate your desires with your designer.
Create a Budget
Without a budget, a kitchen renovation can easily grow out of control. Take some time to research the cost of the components and labor you’ll need and want, then set a realistic budget. See our guide on How to Keep Your Renovation Under Budget.
Research and Hire a Contractor
Research and hire a kitchen designer (See Choosing a Kitchen Designer). The renovation process is simplified when you can hire a contractor to manage the entire project. Shop around but give yourself plenty of time because contractors are often booked months in advance.
Stage 2: Planning Your Kitchen Renovation (a few weeks)
Now that you’ve developed a clear vision of your dream kitchen, it’s time to start the actual planning to put your vision into action. Parts of this stage are at your own pace, but it typically takes a few weeks.
Measure Your Space
For preliminary planning, simple measurements are enough to generate ideas, but your kitchen designer and contractor will help you collect all the specific measurements required for the entire project.
Order Cabinet Samples
Your cabinet door style and colour will affect your countertop, flooring, and other selections. Order some cabinet samples you’re interested in early on so you can use them to match your other choices. This will make it easier to choose your favourite.
Talk With a Kitchen Designer
Your kitchen designer will listen to your ideas, understand your needs, look at your inspiration and translate it all into a tangible kitchen design you can turn into your own beautiful new space. If your designer can generate 3D renderings, you’ll be better able to visualize what the finished project will look like.
Apply for Building Permits
If your kitchen renovation involves any structural, plumbing, mechanical or electrical changes, a building permit will most likely be required. Depending on the complexity of your project and the permit process in your area, this process can take several weeks or months. Apply early.
Finalize Your Plans
Before the demolition begins, go over your entire kitchen remodel plan. Finalize the designs, your product orders, the timelines and the contracts. To avoid delays, review the timelines with the contractors to confirm the plan is realistic. Mark important deadlines and dates on your calendar.
Stage 3: Preparing for Your Kitchen Renovation (typically 1-2 months)
Your plans are finalized and the kitchen remodel is a “go”! Now it’s time to prepare for all the changes your home is about to endure. Shopping for and ordering all the products for your new kitchen can take several months. It’s preferable to wait till all your materials arrive before starting the demolition.
The size of your appliances affects your kitchen cabinetry. Use accurate measurements and review your selections with your kitchen designer before the cabinets are ordered.
Once your kitchen design and appliances are finalized, it’s time to order the cabinets. Riverstone’s custom cabinetry typically takes an average of 6 weeks to build and deliver.
Order Complementary Products
Now it’s time to order the fun stuff, the pieces that will really add character to your new kitchen! This includes things like flooring, hardware, countertops, lighting, sink, faucet, and more.
Inspect and Store New Products
As your product arrives, don’t leave it in the packaging until installation day. Inspect it when it arrives to make sure it’s the right product and that it hasn’t been damaged during shipping. Clear a space in your garage or another cool, dry area to store everything.
Establish a Temporary Kitchen
If you’ll be living in your house during your kitchen renovation, set up a temporary kitchen. We’ve created a guide to help you with this at How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel While Living in the House.
Pack up Your Kitchen
It’s the very last step before the big changes begin! Empty out your cupboards and completely pack up your kitchen. Take advantage of this process by decluttering as you pack. There’s no sense in packing and storing stuff you don’t need or want anymore.
Stage 4: Demolition (approximately 1 week)
Some homeowners choose to take on demolition themselves, but it’s recommended to hire a professional. Experienced contractors can avoid plumbing and are skilled in handling tricky pieces.
Demolish Your Kitchen (1 week)
Whether you do it yourself or hire a pro, this is the step where anything you won’t be keeping is removed and disposed of. This includes walls, your old cabinetry, flooring, fixtures, and anything else that won’t be a part of your new kitchen. Have a plan for the debris you’re getting rid of, such as a bin or trailer.
Stage 5: Rough Construction (1-6 weeks)
The rough construction stage involves building the framework to support your new kitchen. If no structural changes are necessary (the walls and appliances are staying in the exact same place), this stage can be completed in as little as a week.
Make Structural Changes (2-4 weeks)
This is when new windows, walls, or doorways are constructed and installed.
Rough-in Plumbing, Mechanical and Electrical (3-5 days)
For practicality, rough-in utility work must happen before flooring and drywall are installed. This allows contractors and inspectors to have access to the wiring for outlets, fixture boxes, and switches.
Install Drywall and Paint (1 week)
This is when the new room really starts to take shape. Insulation is put in and new drywall is hung, prepped, primed, and painted.
Install Flooring (2-3 days)
Flooring can actually be installed after the cabinetry. It will depend on the type of flooring you choose and the contractor doing the installation. Tile and hardwood are usually installed before cabinetry. Vinyl and laminate are more often installed after the cabinetry.
Professional Inspection (1 day)
After the rough-in work is complete, it’s time for the rough-in inspection. A professional inspector must come in to inspect the framing, plumbing, electrical and other work to ensure it meets building codes and safety standards. If changes are required, it will have to be reinspected and approved before proceeding.
Usually your general contractor will handle the inspection process. If you don’t have a professional managing your renovation project, you’ll need to arrange the inspection yourself.
Stage 6: Finish Construction (2-6 weeks)
Once your kitchen passes inspection, the most satisfying work can begin. All the selections you made will be put into place and your vision will come to life!
Install Cabinets (3-5 days)
A professional cabinet installer will install your new cabinets. The length of this process depends primarily on the size of your kitchen and the number of cabinets that need to be installed.
Measure, Fabricate and Install Countertops (2-4 weeks)
The measurements for your countertops are not taken until the cabinets are installed. This is the only way to ensure accuracy and the perfect fit. Once the countertop measurements are taken, fabrication can happen. The length of time for the fabrication and delivery of your countertops will vary depending on the material you choose.
Finishing Details and Hardware (1-2 weeks)
Now it’s time to put on the finishing touches on your kitchen. This includes things like drawer pulls, door handles, crown molding, paint touch-ups, and other details.
Install Backsplash (2-3 days)
The backsplash is the last major construction item to be installed. If you’ve chosen a detailed design, it might take a bit longer.
Install Appliances and Fixtures (1-5 days)
Have your appliances installed by a professional appliance installer. Once the backsplash is in, the electrician can come back to finalize their job. They will install outlet and switch plates and the lighting fixtures.
Stage 7: Clean Up & Enjoy!
The last stage of your kitchen renovation is the best part! It’s time to celebrate your new kitchen!
Clean the Construction Zone (1-2 days)
Most contractors will clean up a majority of the mess their work creates, but it’s a good idea to wipe everything down to get rid of all the dust. You may even want to schedule a duct cleaning service.
Unpack & Enjoy
Take a look at your new kitchen and figure out how you’d like to set it up. Unpack everything and place it in its new spot.
Cook a delicious celebratory meal and invite friends and family over to enjoy your new kitchen!
An Ideal Kitchen Renovation Timeline
This kitchen renovation timeline includes all the steps that would be required for a major kitchen renovation. A minor remodel would involve less steps and take less time.
When remodeling a kitchen, we always aim for an ideal timeline. We need an idea of how long it will take when planning the project in the first place. (See When is the Best Time to Renovate Your Kitchen?) However, it’s a rare renovation that goes from start to finish without at least some small delay.
Riverstone Kitchens & Renovations has over 30 years of kitchen renovation experience. We work hard to ease the stress of a renovation and keep things running smoothly and on track. If you’re looking for someone to manage your kitchen remodel, contact us today!