The kitchen is one of the most heavily used rooms in a home, making it a labor-intensive project. But like any good renovation, you need to have a plan before starting your remodeling project. Here are some tips for remodeling an outdated kitchen:
Take measurements first
Before doing anything else, get a pencil and paper and take measurements of your kitchen. Measure and then sketch a layout of your kitchen (including appliances, storage areas, and utilities).
You can either do this by hand or use a computer program. This will help you visualize the finished project before any work begins. This will help you stay organized as you plan out the rest of your remodel.
Take inventory of what you already have
You don’t want to buy new appliances or countertops if you already have them in good condition. Make a list of what you currently have and a list of the new things you need to buy.
Knowing how much your project will cost can help you figure out which items are within your budget and which items require more financial investment from you.
Create a renovation timeline
During this process, try to get an idea of how long it will take to complete the project. Creating a timeline will help you keep your projects organized and on track:
- One week: research design options and remodel costs; find a contractor or do it yourself (DIY).
- One month: get bids from contractors; purchase products online/in-store.
- 1–2 weeks: schedule time with your contractor.
- Three days: allow for unexpected issues during construction; make minor changes to design.
- One week: allow time for your contractor to order materials and schedule installation.
- One day: tear out old materials; set up new appliances, countertops, and cabinets.
- Two days: clean up at the end of construction; final inspection.
Make a list of what you need before demolition starts
The first step in any kitchen remodeling is to remove the old cabinets. This can be a destructive process, so make sure you have all of your appliances and countertops moved out of the cabinetry and into another room first. Once this is done, it’s time to start demolishing:
Remove all visible hardware from cabinets
If you plan on reusing cabinet doors or drawers, remove them and keep them organized by size and type. Also, remove all visible hardware from cabinets – hinges, pulls, knobs, etc. Put these parts in a Ziploc bag and label them accordingly for easy organization.
Remove doors from cabinets
If you’re removing the cabinet frames as well as the doors, now’s the time to do it. Pull all the doors off the cabinet frames and put them in separate Ziploc bags, labeled by size and type. Don’t throw away any screws or nails you remove from the cabinets either – save these for later in your project when you’re putting everything back together.
Remove hardware and handles from drawers
Put all the knobs and metal hardware from your drawers in a Ziploc bag labeled with what size it is, so you can easily find them later.
Remove any handles from the drawers – if there are no pairs left after removing the hardware, use a marker to label each drawer where its matching handle should go when you reassemble your cabinets.
If you remove the sink, begin by turning off the water supply lines at the valves beneath the sink. Then using a basin wrench if necessary, remove any drainpipes and garbage disposals from your old sink and carefully put them aside for reuse in your new cabinet design. After disassembling the sink and related pipes, remove the sink itself.
Remove cabinet frames
Using a carpenter’s saw or hand saw, cut the cabinet frames by the edges of the countertops so you can pull them out. Keep all nails and screws labeled with the cabinets they came from – since they’re often different sizes; it’ll make it easier to reassemble your cabinets later on.
You should have already removed any tiles from your countertop surfaces before demolition started, so now you can lift the countertops up and out of place. If they are being held in place by bolts with large wingnuts, you can use a wrench to loosen them before removing the countertop surfaces.
Now that your cabinets are completely cleared out, remove any appliances from their current position to ensure enough space for them to be installed in your new design.
Remove the wall cabinets
Once you have removed all elements from inside and outside your cabinetry, it’s time to take down what was previously on the walls themselves. Use a drill/driver with a screw bit or a cordless drill to remove any screws holding them up. This means taking out the screws at the bottom of the cabinet attached to the wall with most wall cabinets. Once the screws are out, gently but firmly pull down on each cabinet until it comes loose from its position.
Remove electrical wiring
If your cabinets have exposed wire or outlets, disconnect these from their power source before demolition starts. If you don’t know where the electricity is coming from, turn off all breakers to your circuit breaker panel until everything’s been taken down and safely moved elsewhere in the house. Removing the last remains of your cabinets also allows you to inspect your walls for any light switches, plugs, or electrical outlets that might need some updating.
Remove molding and baseboard
Remove all of the molding and baseboards, and place them in separate Ziploc bags labeled with where they belong. You can reuse most types of trim later on when you’re putting the cabinets back together, so don’t throw it away! This includes your crown molding if your cabinets have any.
Clean up the area around your cabinets
When you’re done taking down everything, your kitchen will probably be a mess. Sweep up sawdust and debris to prepare the space for later on when you have to place spray-foam insulation.
Dispose of your old cabinets
Once you’ve taken apart every last piece, it’s time to haul everything over to the local trash dump. Depending on where you live, most homeowners’ associations only allow trash cans or dumpsters that are no more than 32 cubic yards large. If your new cabinets are more extensive, consider delivering them to your house instead of buying them yourself.
Repairing minor dents and scratches in the wall
Once you’ve finished refurbishing everything to perfection, it’s time for final touch-ups. This usually entails touching up any dings or scuffs made by the old cabinets themselves and any problems with molding or baseboards. The quickest way to achieve this is to have a can of matching paint on hand along with an artist’s brush and touch up these areas until they are no longer noticeable.
Paint your cabinets
You can skip this stage entirely if your kitchen cabinets are in good shape. Otherwise, this is when you’ll want to bust out the paint and primer. For standard wood cabinets that need a fresh coat, use a high-grade stain-blocking primer before applying a topcoat in a color of your choice. Glossy paint is also an option, although it’s recommended to have a matte finish for all cabinets since they are typically used in kitchens.
Paint your walls and floors
If you’re painting the walls, now is the time to do that as well. Before putting anything back together, though, make sure you protect any flooring surfaces with protective covers. Otherwise, you’ll have paint spilling all over your carpet or hardwood floors.
Reinstall baseboards and molding
Once the primer has dried on everything, it’s time to put everything back together. For most cabinets, this means simply reinserting all of the screws that held them up in the first place. However, if you’d like to add a little extra reinforcement, you can use spackle and construction adhesive to attach the cabinets and molding in place.
Reinstall your appliances
Last but not least comes reinstalling your appliances. Before doing this, though, check with your manufacturer for specific installation requirements. They might require that the power be off at the circuit breaker panel or that you re-wire a few things before powering them back on.
Reconnect your kitchen appliances to electricity, gas, and water
After everything’s been cleaned up and put back together, it’s finally time to turn the power back on! However, if your new appliances need any wiring changes, make sure you schedule an electrician as soon as possible. This will prevent you from accidentally starting a fire.
Turn the power back on and test things out
If everything looks like it’s in working order, turn the power back on at the circuit breaker panel. Once that’s done, hit that “on” switch for your dishwasher or other appliances to see if they’re still functional after 2-3 days. If all is well, then you’re finally finished!
Clean up and take a bow
You’ve done it! Congratulations on your hard work from start to finish. Now sit back, relax, have a beer or two, and bask in the glory of a job well done.
Tidy up the surrounding areas
If you’re not too exhausted yet, it’s probably time to start putting everything back where it came from. After doing that, take some time to clean up the area around your cabinets and appliances now that there are no unsightly boxes or wrappers blocking anyone’s view of them.
Hiring a kitchen remodeler
You should have all the necessary information you need to finish your kitchen remodel. However, if you’d still like some help along the way or are looking for a reliable contractor, check out Schwalb Builders! We offer free quotes on kitchen remodeling, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.
And that’s a wrap! Whether you’re an experienced or a newbie, following these steps should guarantee fairly straightforward remodeling. The only way it won’t go according to plan is if you end up having to hire some outside help for something unforeseen along the way.
Hiring a kitchen contractor is usually your best bet if you don’t have the time to handle these things yourself. A kitchen remodeler will get everything done for you in half the time while providing quality workmanship.
On the other hand, if you’re on a tight budget and still want to make your home a little more up-to-date, then this is the perfect solution. You can potentially save yourself money by doing some simple tasks on your own. It’s worth it if you don’t mind getting a little dirty in the process!
Good luck and happy remodeling!