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Kitchen Remodeling

DIY Kitchen Remodel: 6 Problems to Avoid

Remodeling a home’s kitchen is one of the largest, most complex renovations that homeowners can undertake. But, this doesn’t stop do-it-yourselfers from beginning a DIY kitchen remodel.

There’s a lot going on during a kitchen remodel, and that means a lot of different ways that mistakes can happen. Stay with us as we discuss the six things that can go wrong during a DIY  kitchen remodel.

Common Problems During a DIY Kitchen Remodel

With any type of renovation project, there is the chance of problems occurring; however, this chance increases when homeowners attempt to remodel the house on their own. The kitchen has many parts, and this type of project can be difficult, even for the most experienced do-it-yourselfers.

6 common problems that occur during a DIY kitchen remodel include:

  1. It takes much longer than you thought
  2. The project goes over budget
  3. Items and accessories don’t fit correctly
  4. Floors, walls, and ceilings are mismatched
  5. Attempting to use the kitchen during the renovation
  6. Ignoring (or not understanding) local building codes

1. It Takes Longer to Complete Than Expected

Sometimes, no matter how well you plan and prepare things just take longer than you think they should.

During a DIY kitchen remodel there are several things that can cause the work to keep going.

  • Materials and appliances could arrive late.
  • Extra repairs could be needed.
  • Designs may change.
  • Scheduling conflicts could occur between the different tradesmen.
  • Permitting and inspections could take a while or have to be done more than once.
  • Materials that arrive damaged or incorrect could have to be sent back then redelivered.

Remember to create realistic expectations for your project and understand that more extensive work will take longer to complete. For example, a renovation that requires plumbing and architectural changes will take longer to complete than one that includes simply refurbishing cabinetry and updating countertops.

2. The Project Goes Over Budget

Without a doubt, kitchens can be an expensive remodeling project. But those costs can be contained, or at least planned for if you do some homework before starting any work.

Complete a thorough inspection to look for things like mold, rot, or plumbing leaks. It would be really unfortunate to find rotted drywall under the sink or mold behind the refrigerator if you only intended to update your cabinetry.

Refrain from making any changes to your original plan, or making additional purchases during your remodel. Last-minute changes usually add extra time and materials to the project.

And additional purchases- even seemingly small ones like knick-knacks, small appliances, and other decorative items- really expand your pocketbook.

Most projects go over budget because of last minute changes, and unexpected problems. Do your best to stick to a plan and ferret out any potential problems. But have a contingency plan just in case you do encounter any surprises.

3. Items Don’t Fit Properly

There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect appliances or cabinetry at the store and then getting them home only to discover that they don’t quite fit in the location you need them to. This problem is especially common in older homes that are updating to newer appliances.

Modern appliances tend to be larger than those of decades in the past. And some homes aren’t equipped with room for a conventional oven; older homes tend to have a separate stovetop and oven instead of a standalone unit.

Modern pre-manufactured cabinetry also tends to be larger than older models. Because of this, it’s often easier to replace all of the kitchen cabinetry during your DIY kitchen remodel, rather than replacing sections.

Many homeowners don’t realize that these things aren’t built to meet a uniform size. It’s important to measure your space and the prospective items before making any permanent changes. A good rule of thumb is “measure twice, cut once.”

Whenever possible, create a mock-up of your kitchen design to ensure everything fits how you want it to. You can do this by drawing on the existing floor, using tape to outline the item locations, or even using cardboard boxes as stand-in appliances.

4. Discovering Mismatched Floors, Walls, and Ceiling

When planning a DIY kitchen remodel, even a small one, it’s a good idea to incorporate a fresh coat of paint, as well as floor repairs into the timeframe and budget.

As we discussed earlier, cabinetry and appliances aren’t built into uniform shapes. There’s a good chance that your new materials aren’t going to fit exactly in the existing spaces. They’ll be a different shape and you’ll suddenly notice mismatched paint on the walls and ceiling, and an outline or missing flooring.

If your existing paint and flooring are older then touching up these mismatched spots may not be possible; the fresh areas will look different than the surrounding surfaces. It’s easier to simply replace the existing materials than try to work around them.

5. Trying to Use the Kitchen During the Remodel

A DIY kitchen remodel is extensive, and many homeowners forget that this renders the area inoperable for the duration of the project.

In most cases you’ll want to have power and water to the area turned off. And you’ll spend a few days tearing things out of the kitchen. Neither are beneficial features when trying to prepare food.

Trying to keep the kitchen operational during a renovation causes more issues than simply avoiding the area. It slows the project down because people get in each other’s way and things have to be repeatedly rearranged to use appliances. The teardown leaves lots of dust and debris in the area that easily contaminates food.

Both those situations yield extra unnecessary stress on the home’s inhabitants. Make arrangements to avoid using the space during this time. Keep a microwave nearby, eat out, or order in.

6. Ignoring Local Building Codes

Remodeling rarely proceeds exactly as planned and you’re likely to encounter some degree of problems.

Unfortunately, sometimes major problems with plumbing or electrical that require you to hire a professional. Don’t make the mistake of trying to complete specialized work such as that on your own without proper permitting and inspections. Ignoring your local building codes leads to fines and eventually redoing the project.

It pays to call your local building department before starting any work to learn what aspects of the project require permits. It’s frustrating to be in the middle of the project and have to delay completion in order to schedule unexpected inspections.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what to expect you’ll be better prepared to tackle your own DIY kitchen remodel.

These common problems during a DIY kitchen remodel can be avoided by hiring a knowledgeable remodeling contractor who will guide you during each step of the remodeling process. Despite the complexity of the work, remodeling a home’s kitchen feels quite rewarding once it’s completed.