Renovation Checklist

Renovation ChecklistIf you're planning a kitchen renovation, this checklist will help keep your renovation in order. The following list focuses on the work that needs to be done before the renovation takes place. Part Two focuses on the demolition and construction phase of the kitchen remodeling.

1. Pre-Renovation Planning

Schedule a home appraisal: The purpose of a home appraisal is to help you establish an upper limit for your renovation dollars. A general rule of thumb is approximately 15% of the total value of your house can be spent on a kitchen renovation (but that doesn't mean you have to spend that much). Call your real estate agent or a home appraiser for advice.

Schedule a house inspection: A home inspector, general contractor or renovation advisor will help you determine if there is any extra work that needs to be done to your home in order to support your kitchen renovation. For example, you want to know if you have any structural problems that need attention before going ahead with the renovation, as it will need to be accounted for in the budget.
Schedule an energy audit: There are several new incentives right now for increasing your energy efficiency, however, in order to qualify for those grants your house must have an energy audit before you start your renovation. Call an energy auditor to get the process started.

Collect design ideas: Before meeting with your architect, designer or contractor, collect some photos and magazine pictures of kitchens you love and be able to say what you love about them. Being able to give your professional trades people direction will save you time and money and will help your designer have a clear understanding of how you see your new space.

Consider your new kitchen's different functions: Why are you renovating? Is it because the space isn't ideal? The appliances are old, everything is out of date? As you dream about your new space, keep a list of what you want it to achieve.

2. Renovation Planning

Establish a budget: Make sure your budget is realistic in terms of the types of finishes you want or can afford (i.e. stone or laminate countertops, wood or laminate flooring, handpainted or subway tile backsplash, etc.) and whether new appliances are included in your budget. These costs can eat up a significant amount of your budget -- and that's before labour, design and local permit costs. You can get an idea of how much finishes and appliances will cost by visiting appliance stores and tile and flooring stores.

Hire Professionals: kitchen designers, architects, interior designers, interior decorators, and general contractors need direction as to what you want your new space to achieve, and whether your budget can accommodate marble countertops and high-end appliances. The more preparation you do before you meet with them, the smoother the renovation process will go. When getting professionals to quote on a project, make sure they are all quoting on the same specifications. If they aren't, ask them to break down their quotes so they are easier to compare with others.

Plan a timeline: Once you've hired your professionals, work with your designer or contractor to organize when the construction will take place and how long you'll need to be out of your kitchen. It will help you make necessary arrangements during construction.

Obtain building permits: You can either get your contractor to get the permits or, if you have the time you can save some money by getting them yourself. Ask your contractor whether getting building permits is include in his fee.

Set up a temporary kitchen: If you don't have to move out to accomplish the renovation, establish a temporary kitchen somewhere else in the house. It could be in the garage or laundry room. In the summer a barbecue can become your stove.

1. Demolition and Disposal

Rent a dumpster and salvage reuseable materials: If your kitchen cabinets, appliances, sinks, and faucets, doors, trim and moulding are in good shape but can't be reused for your renovation, donate or sell them to a local salvage store, give them away on freecycle.org, or put them up for sale on craigslist.org. Your old building materials will avoid landfill and save you dumpster fees.

2. Construction: early phase

Rough Framing: The outline of your new kitchen takes place during this phase. With the 2×4's going up, you may have difficulty knowing where the doors and walls are placed. Ask your contractor to give you a tour.

Insulation: if you've stripped back to the studs, now is the perfect time to upgrade the insulation; it will help lower your heating bills, and possibly get you some grant money if your state or province offers incentives for improving your home's energy efficiency.

Electrical and technological wiring: As new wiring is being installed behind the walls make sure you've thought about your computer, stereo, TV and security needs as well. While the walls are open, install as many systems as you can afford, even if you don't think you'll use a computer or stereo it's always good to have the wiring there. Check with the electrical plan and confirm with the electrician that there is plenty of task light, overhead light and under-cabinet lighting planned.

Plumbing and gaslines: Renovating is the perfect time to adjust any water pressure issues you might have. Use the opportunity to increase water pressure if you live in an old house with poor pressure. If you've always wanted a gas stove, now is your opportunity to install one. Get a quote before you make the decision though, extending a gas line can be expensive.

Heating and Air Conditioning and over the stove vents: Make sure the appropriate number of vents, radiant heating coils, or radiators are placed in the new space. If you are increasing the size of your home, make sure your old furnace can heat the additional space.

3. Construction: middle phase

Drywall: If you live in a town-home or condo with neighbours above and below, now is a good time to improve your soundproofing. You can use a soundproofing drywall (such as Quietrock), insulation. or two layers of drywall with a sound dispersal agent such as Green Glue in between.

Valances and Molding: Molding can make a newer home look like it's been in the neighbourhood for years. It increases the charm of a kitchen if you're after a country or traditional look. If your kitchen is more of a modern or contemporary theme, molding will be simple if there is any at all. Under-cabinet valances hide lighting components.

Baseboards and Trim: Keep baseboards and trim consistent with the rest of the house. Make sure it is easily sourced before starting the project. If not, keep old baseboard and trim and reuse in the new space.

4. Construction: late phase

Installation of kitchen cabinets: There are three types of kitchen cabinets: stock, semi-custom and custom. Stock come in predetermined sizes so your space must be adaptable to the cabinets. Custom cabinets give you the ultimate in flexibility but are the most expensive. Depending on your needs, budget and the kitchen company you choose, the kitchen cabinets may determine your renovation's timeline. Some kitchen cabinets can take up to three months from the time of order to delivery. Others are available the day you order them (stock).

Installation of counter tops: Like the cabinets, depending on the countertop you choose, it can take a few days to a few weeks to order. Functionality is key to the choice of a long lasting countertop. Depending on the activity level in your kitchen, durability might be your top priority. Stone is soft and can chip easily. It also needs to be sealed on a regular basis. Alternative materials are stone composite counter tops, made from stone chips mixed with an epoxy, stainless steel, quartz, synthetic or engineered materials such as Silestone and Corian as well as the budget conscious laminate counter top.

Backsplash and tiles: A backsplash is installed after the counter top, and can extend across the entire counter top or just behind the stove depending on your budget. Another possibility is to spend a little more on the area behind the stove to make it a focal point with a design, and to use plain, less expensive tiles on either side of the stove.

Sinks and Faucets: Sinks and faucets range from budget conscious to top of the line expensive. For faucets in particular getting a quality faucet will save you time and money in the long run. Higher quality internal parts means the faucets will last longer, not leak, and provide many more years of service than cheaper faucets. Sinks also provide an opportunity to spend a fortune. A simple basic stainless double sink is a good option for tight budgets -- high on durability, low on cost.

Flooring: choosing a floor can be another overwhelming task. There are so many options and price points it makes it difficult to make a decision. Consider your lifestyle and budget when choosing a floor. Tile is durable but hard on the back and on little children. Linoleum and hardwood are easy on the back if you're in the kitchen for long periods of time, but hardwood in particular can scratch easily.

Appliances: Appliances can consume up to half your kitchen renovation budget if you let them. Think about what you really need, do extensive online research, read reviews on epinions.com and Consumer Reports about the appliances you're interested in purchasing. Then, go to the stores and speak directly with sales people. Some stores are more willing to bargain than others, and you'll have more bargaining power if you're buying a set.

Painting and wallpapering and window coverings: the final phase in your kitchen renovation. If you're not using an interior designer or decorator to help you choose the wall colour or paper, use the expertise at a paint store. Take in samples of your tile or counter top, maybe a photo of the space, describe the amount of light the area receives, and a good pain salesperson will be able to give you some suggestions to take home. Try a few testers before making a decision, and leave on the walls to see the colour change with the changes in light.