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Preparing for A DIY Kitchen Remodel

Are you ready to transform your kitchen? A kitchen remodel can add plenty of value to your home, when done correctly. There are a lot of moving parts that must be accounted for when starting a kitchen remodel. While some projects can be DIYed, others should be left to a pro.

If you’re considering DIYing most or some of your kitchen remodel, you’ll want to be prepared. A mistake can be costly both financially and aesthetically. See a few DIY tips for kitchen remodeling to help you prepare for your big project.

Preparing For Your Remodel

When the time comes for you to remodel the kitchen, you don’t want to do so without having a clear plan in place. Write down what you want your kitchen to look like, including a folder of inspiration and highlight what features you like most. As I mentioned, some projects you can save money on by doing it yourself, and other times it’s a better idea to contact a pro.

“The biggest thing I think homeowners should be aware of is the actual scope of their work,” Emily Hoefler, Renovations Group Inc., said. “Many homeowners will go into a project thinking they will only need new cabinets, countertops, and fixtures, and not realize they will also need drywall repair, electrical, and plumbing done. Some projects really are as simple as taking cabinets out and putting new cabinets in, but I would say most of the time, they have at least one other trade involved”

Do your best to make a plan and be realistic about your DIY kitchen expectations. Evaluate your carpentry skills and what tools you may need to complete the project during the planning process of your kitchen remodel.

1. Permits & Codes

One thing you won’t want to overlook during your kitchen remodel is the local permits and codes. They are an important step in the process that can be overlooked if you’re not familiar with them.

“Homeowners should research their local process for applying for permits and any codes they need to follow,” Hoefler said. “Even minor projects may require a permit, so knowing the process upfront can save a lot of headaches in the long run.”

If you’re doing a major kitchen remodel, getting caught without one can mean possible fines and could even hurt you when it comes time to sell your home.

2. Create a Timeline

When you’re planning your remodel, you’ll want to consider every detail. This must be included in the timeline of when you hope to complete your kitchen remodel. Keep in mind, if you’re doing major remodeling work, you may be without a kitchen for some time, so setting aside time after work and weekends is important to get it done quickly! Think about how your remodeling schedule matches up with your personal schedule. Hoefler said every planned-out detail helps.

“Planning is everything! I’ve had friends take on their own kitchen projects and once the cabinets are installed, they realize they need to pick out countertops and then a backsplash,” she said. “Once those things are finally selected, the lead times can kill your timeline. The more you have planned out on the front end, the more smoothly the project will go.”

3. Demolition & Junk Removal

Getting rid of the old materials you don’t like in your kitchen can be therapeutic, however, you must have a place to put the junk when you’re done. The average cost to remove waste is $242, with most homeowners spending between $168 to $257.

However, larger demolition, such as wall removal, should be done by a pro. There are many risk factors that could end up impacting your entire home.

“I would caution any homeowner not to DIY a kitchen project where a wall is coming out,” Hoefler said. “Even just to pull permits, the inspector will need to see detailed engineering for how everything will be supported with the wall gone. As appealing as an open concept is, taking that on is a huge undertaking.”

4. Cabinet & Countertop Installation

Countertop and cabinet installation projects are generally something many homeowners feel they can DIY. But, often small details are forgotten. Backsplashes, kitchen cabinet hardware and even innovative new features like slow close drawer slides are all items that should be considered during your cabinet and countertop installation.

5. Choosing New Appliances

New appliances may be the highlight of your kitchen remodel, especially if you’ve been living with older appliances. Now is the perfect chance to install an eco-friendly kitchen appliance upgrade that can end up saving you more money in the long run. However, for appliances such as dishwashers and ovens, you may need to contact a pro to help with plumbing or electrical work.

6. Know When To Contact A Pro

One of the most important tips I can provide is understanding your limits as a DIYer. You may not have the same special skills when it comes to a pro who has been trained in remodels and repairs. If you’re uncertain of a aspect of your DIY kitchen remodel, don’t hesitate and contact a contractor right away. It can be both costly and dangerous if you don’t completely know what you’re doing. I especially share this caution if you need any electrical or plumbing work done.

Doing a partial or full DIY kitchen remodel can be beneficial to both your wallet and self-satisfaction. “The main benefit of a homeowner doing a kitchen remodel themselves is cost,” Hoefler said. “If you do everything yourself, you’re not paying any labor costs and only paying for the materials and products used.”

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