Kitchen Renovations: DIY vs. Hire a Professional

One of the biggest decisions you make when planning a kitchen renovation is whether you’ll do it yourself or hire a professional. 

DIY shows are all the rage. It looks so easy! Why not do a kitchen renovation yourself? You’ve watched enough shows, seen the online tutorials and YouTube videos. How hard can it be? 

Before you head over to the big box DIY stores to gather your kitchen renovation supplies, consider these 3 important components:

  1. Work & Time
  2. Tools & Skills
  3. Quality & Cost

How Much Work is a Kitchen Renovation?

The Plan

Before your kitchen renovation begins, you have many decisions to make. You need to measure the space and get a kitchen design that fits and works for that space. The placement of your plumbing and electrical needs to be considered in the design. Building codes for appliances must be factored in. 

The Design

Once you have the layout of your kitchen planned, it’s time to make more decisions:

  • Colors
  • Door styles
  • Backsplash
  • Countertop
  • Flooring
  • Appliances
  • Lighting

It’s a lot of work before you even pick up a tool. How much guidance do you need for this process? Are you familiar with kitchen design trends? Do you know how to plan for resale value?

The Installation

Any kitchen renovation is a lot of work. Even when you hire a professional, you’ll still have to put in some effort – removing everything from your old cabinets, for example. Some people choose to remove the old cabinets themselves and hire a professional just for the installation of the new kitchen. 

Let’s say you opt for the DIY method. You buy your cabinets from the big box store. It’s just boxes and doors, so how hard can it be to put it all together? 

The last time you bought a piece of “assembly required” furniture, how long did it take to set it up? How much space did it take up when you had all the pieces laid out? Now imagine that with 25 cabinets. 

The Time

Every step of a kitchen renovation takes time – from the planning to the finishing touches. If you plan to do it yourself, when will you do it? Do you really want to spend every evening for 3 weeks when a professional can get it done in 3 days? What’s your time worth? 

If you do it yourself, it will take longer. There’s no getting around that. Maybe that’s okay with you. But remember that, while the renovation is in progress, your old kitchen will be in disarray. The contents of your cabinets will have to be stored somewhere. The removal of the old kitchen and the installation of the new one is going to generate a lot of dust. 

What’s your plan for living in your house during the transition? Is your family prepared for that? 

What Tools Are Required for a Kitchen Renovation?

A professional kitchen renovation contractor has over $10,000-worth of tools. You might have some of the essentials, but a professional will have specialty tools to make the job faster and easier. You might be able to rent some of the tools you need, but be sure you add up the costs. 

Physical tools are a necessity, obviously. But skill helps, too! 

Skills Required for a Kitchen Renovation

Walls, floors, and ceilings are never perfectly square. Even if they were square when the house was first built, a house adjusts over time. Things settle. Temperatures cause pieces to expand and contract. There is constant shifting. 

Because of this, there is no such thing as installing a kitchen without having to compensate or make adjustments. This is true of custom kitchens installed by professionals AND DIY kitchens purchased from big box stores. Every single kitchen installation involves adjustments and problem-solving. 

Problem-Solving & Customization

How do you fit a cabinet to a wall that isn’t plumb or level? How will you make sure your cabinets, shelving, and countertops are level if your floor is not? What happens if you drill into the wall and hit a pipe? How do you know where you can safely secure the cabinets? What length of screws will ensure these cabinets will hold all your grandmother’s china?

Professional cabinet installers run into these issues on a daily basis. They’ve been trained through countless experiences and have learned “the tricks of the trade”. 

Some things don’t come with an instruction manual. 

How Does the Quality & Cost of a DIY Kitchen Compare?

It seems quick and convenient to get your kitchen cabinets from a big box store. But the quality of a cabinet can seriously impact your enjoyment of your kitchen (and how long it lasts). 

Cabinets purchased from a big box store are not very customizable. The sizes come in increments – typically 10-inch increments for height and 2- or 3-inch increments for width. This significantly limits your design options and makes it more challenging to customize the kitchen to meet your design needs and wants. 

Shelving also comes with weight restrictions. Your crockpot is heavy! Over time, big box cabinet shelving can begin to warp and sag. 

A custom kitchen, on the other hand, is designed specifically for your home. Cabinet sizes can be whatever you need them to be. Adjustments are easier to make. And the quality construction of a custom, Canadian-made kitchen cabinet makes it outlast a big box version every time. 

Who Will Do Your Kitchen Renovation?

Know your priorities when it comes to your kitchen renovation. Your budget is only part of it. Take time into consideration. Consider the value of your home and how long you want your new kitchen to last. It’s a big decision. 

Still have questions? We’d be happy to discuss with you what’s involved in a kitchen renovation and give you any information that might help you make your decision. Contact us today to chat with one of our renovation specialists.

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