Starting Your Project Part 2: Timeline

The amount of time your project will take is sometimes the hardest thing to be realistic about. Contrary to popular television shows, you can’t complete and entire kitchen remodel in a week. These shows set very unrealistic expectations that leave out much of the prep work and best practices all in the name of good T.V..

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Start by having a conversation with your designer or contractor to set a realistic timeline, then add a few more weeks. Not only does this allow for quality work to be completed, but also allows your stress to be minimal when that box of tile inevitability comes in broken and needs to be reordered.

While some projects, like a new home build, can take a year or more, others can take only a weekend. The scope of your project will determine how much time you should expect your life to be turned upside down.

Here is an example of a typical basic kitchen remodel timeline:

Week 1

  • Meet with designer and contractor to discuss the project, take measurements and make sure everyone is on the same page.
  • Dial in design vision with designer and begin product selections

Weeks 2 and 3

  • Designer completes initial floor plans
  • Meet with designer to review designs and make additional additional product selections. Note: This step can easily take longer depending on the number of revisions, scheduling, and decisiveness of the homeowner.

Week 4

  • Floor plans and material list reviewed by contractor

Week 5

  • Final revisions are made to floor plan
  • Additional material list is finalized based on product selections
  • Preconstruction meeting held to make sure everyone is on the same page and expectations are clear.

Week 6

  • Purchases made, materials ordered, and the real fun begins. Typical cabinets will take about 6 weeks on average to be delivered. We will be using this for our example.
  • Permits are pulled

Weeks 7 through 11

The actual start and length of this time period will depend on permits, inspection requirements and the availability of the contractor. This is also when home life will be upended so sometimes it is recommended to wait until cabinets have been delivered and inspected before demolition begins. It can often take 3 to 4 weeks for a cabinet to be reordered if need be. If you can spare the delay, it may be best so you aren’t without a kitchen for an additional month if the worst happens.

  • Demolition begins.
  • Rough electrical and plumbing work is completed
  • Drywall and painting completed
  • Flooring completed (depending on product selection)

Week 12

  • Cabinetry is delivered and install begins.
  • Trim work completed.
  • Countertops templated. Typical timeframe for countertop fabrication is 4 weeks.

This can take anywhere from a couple of days to weeks depending on the size and complexity of the install. For the purpose of this example we will say 1 week.

Weeks 13 through 15

  • Hardware, lighting, and appliances are installed

Weeks 16 and 17

  • Countertops are installed
  • Sink, faucets, and garbage disposal installed
  • Any remaining appliances installed
  • Paint touch-ups completed
  • Backsplash tile installed and sealed
  • Walkthrough done with designer and contractor to discuss final punchlist of items to be completed

Week 18

  • Final punchlist items completed
  • Area fully cleaned
  • Unpacking and setting up of new kitchen

Finally, your project has been completed. You can breath a sigh of relief and enjoy your new space. You have spent the last 18 weeks on this project and 12 of them (3 months) without a kitchen. This is, of course, if everything went exactly to plan.


Now that you have a better idea of what goes into that dream kitchen of yours, plan accordingly. Please refrain from calling up your designer in September wanting that new kitchen to show off for Thanksgiving. Not only will you be disappointed in the end, but will have a very stressful start to your and your work crew’s holiday season.

Having the correct timeline expectations will make the world of difference. Preparation and flexibility are key components of any project.

Make sure to continue reading Starting Your Project Part 3: Inspiration

If you missed Starting Your Project Part 1: Budget you can find it here.

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