How Long Should a Kitchen Remodel Take?

by Kevin Gilday & Tom Gilday

Why Kitchen Remodeling Takes Time

The home remodeling programs on HGTV are fun to watch. Magic happens in minutes. Presto!  Old and outdated becomes new and modern. This is the magic of home remodeling in DC!

But the TV shows only give you glimpses of the remodeling process—the pleasing parts. They don’t show the planning and preparation that goes into a successful kitchen design and remodeling.

And they don’t even come close to showing a realistic timeline to complete the project. The viewer gets the sensationalized version.  We think you deserve the truth.Arlington VA kitchen remodel  

Perception versus reality

If you live in the Washington DC area, you probably have friends who have remodeled their kitchens. You’ve may have heard some of them say, “I thought it would be done by now.”

There are three likely reasons for this complaint:

  1. An inexperienced kitchen designer or contractor gave an inaccurate time frame.
  2. The homeowner had unrealistic expectations that were not corrected by the pros.
  3. Change orders requested by the homeowner that increased the scope of the work or delivery time for materials

The most common concern or question we get from clients, and prospective clients, is “when will it be completed?” They fear the renovation will go on and on forever.

Some home renovation projects can be completed quickly. Some take several months. It really depends on the scope of the project.

How Much Time Will My Kitchen Project Take?

The time needed for designing and remodeling a kitchen depends on the scope of the project, availability of materials, and the requirements of the design.

If the kitchen design program is straightforward, new components replace the old ones in the same layout. This is called a replacement kitchen. There is minimal construction or customization involved. Replacement kitchen projects average 6-8 weeks for a moderate sized kitchen.

Kitchen remodeling projects that involve a larger space, wall removals, structural changes, and reconfiguration of the floor plan take longer. A fair expectation is 10-12 weeks. That’s the timeframe for a custom kitchen renovation.

Can Your Kitchen Remodel Take Even Longer?

An efficient kitchen remodeling project is built around a schedule. Your project manager lays out a series of steps to be completed in sequence.

Still, even with the most carefully planned renovation projects, delays can occur—not necessarily because of incompetence or carelessness.

Many specialty subcontractors and a lot of special ordered products are involved in a kitchen remodeling project. That makes for tricky scheduling. Everything is tied together in sequence.

Little hiccups are bound to happen. Most of the time they are smoothed over by project management so that delays --if they occur-- aren’t show stoppers.

07 web FLOOR PLAN-Palisades DC kitchen remodel BEFORE

Great Kitchen Remodeling Experiences Come to Those Who Plan

Here’s a detailed look at a custom kitchen renovation timeline. There are two parts: Pre-Construction and Construction Phase

Kitchen Pre-Construction Phase

  1. Design Meetings

            floor plans
            furniture plan
            lighting & electrical plan

  1. Selections

            Plumbing fixtures
            Light fixtures
            Cabinet Hardware

  1. Construction Drawings
  2. Apply for Permits
  3. Order materials (delivery dates align with construction schedule)


Kitchen Construction Schedule Example:

Week 1

  • Dust & floor protection
  • Demolition
  • Straighten & level framing

Week 2

Sub-contractors rough in

  • Plumbing
  • Electric
  • Duct work
  • A/V wiring


Week 3

  • Close-in inspections
  • Install insulation
  • Insulation inspection
  • Stock drywall


Week 4

  • Hang & finish drywall
  • Sand and prime drywall


Week 5

  • Install hardwood flooring
  • Receive and set cabinets


Week 6

  • Measure for countertops
  • Interior trim work
  • Countertop fabrication


Week 7

  • Install countertops and appliances
  • Subs trim out electric and plumbing.


Week 8 & 9

  • Painting
  • Finish hardwood flooring


Week 10

  • Professional cleaning
  • Final walk thru & punch list meeting


There you have it. We’ve shared the truth based on our 35 years of experience in home renovation and kitchen remodeling. Obviously, it is important to set clear expectations with customers. Renovation is a significant investment. We think the more you know going into it, the better you will appreciate the entire process and the team you have partnered with to enrich your experience in a new kitchen. The weeks of construction will be over before you know it. Of course, a replacement kitchen schedule will be shorter and a custom kitchen renovation that includes structural work may be longer, but we think that’s the magic of expert kitchen remodeling for your DC home—making it all seem quick and easy. 

Learn about how to approach a kitchen design and remodeling project by downloading The Definitive Guide to Kitchen Design & Remodeling Success

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