For many of us, renovating a kitchen by hand has always been a dream. Collecting all the skills necessary is a joy and you can’t wait to take on your kitchen. You may be handy with carpentry, great with tools, and skilled at following the instructions for any fit-together kit. You can measure, plan, blueprint, and even cut your own pieces for your kitchen. You can rip out the cabinets, reinstall the floor, and build an all-new kitchen floorplan. You might even move the sink or dishwasher with your plumbing skills. Great DIYers also know when it’s time to call in a specialized team.
DIY renovating your kitchen is like being your own general contractor. You define what your team can handle and when to call in specialists to complete specialized tasks. Home renovations almost always call in more than one team to complete the full body of work, from the cabinetry to the light fixtures. To get the best possible results and satisfaction from your DIY kitchen renovation, strike the right balance between your builder capabilities and partnering with professional services to do what they do best.
The Many Specialties of Kitchen Renovation
- Countertop Installation
- Electrician (licensed)
- Appliance installation
- Construction &/or Architect(walls and floors, licensed)
- Restoration or Mold remediation
- Roofers (stove exhaust)
The simple fact is no one person, or even a very determined family, can cover all the specialties. This is why general contractors diversify both with their on-staff teams and through hired subcontractors. When a task requires skills, equipment, and/or expertise not on hand, calling a pro is the fastest, most cost-effective, and highest guaranteed quality way to complete your renovation.
Being Your Own General Contractor
The general contractor in a kitchen renovation usually has a core team who can take care of general construction, but they also hire on sub-contractors to finish specific parts of each project. This is what a kitchen renovation team would do for you if you weren’t planning to go solo.
As a DIY renovator, you are your own general contractor. You get the joy of tackling every aspect of the kitchen renovation that your skills and learning curve can cover. And when it comes time to install an appliance or move an outlet, you can find out who to call. You are your own construction team, building cabinets, floors, and fixtures that define the kitchen design. And for the details, you decide on a case-by-case basis whether your skills and safety codes dictate DIY or calling a specialist.
Which Kitchen Renovation Tasks are Most Commonly DIY vs Hired?
If this is your first big DIY renovation, it can help to have some insight on what is most commonly taken on by a single person or team and which specialized tasks are more commonly hired by DIYers and subcontractors alike. You may notice some overlap as there’s a wide rang of DIYer skills, teams, and time to dedicate to each project.
Most Commonly DIY’d Kitchen Renovation Tasks
- stripping, staining, finishing, and painting cabinetry and walls
- Cabinet Making
- cutting and/or installing your own cabinets
- Plumbing Installation
- fitting your own new sink and/or fixtures
- laying a new floor around or under the cabinets
- laying new tile backsplashes and wall panels
Most Commonly Outsourced Kitchen Renovation Tasks
- Electrician Work
- outlets, lighting, appliance hookups, garbage disposal
- Cabinet Making
- custom or prefab cabinetry
- Countertop Installation
- carefully setting a stone countertop
- Appliance Installation
- installing large and emplaced kitchen appliances
- Plumbing Systems
- improving old plumbing, changing the plumbing plan, running lines for appliances, and new sink fixtures
- Laying new tile and cutting tile to fit corners and backsplashes
Planning a Successful DIY Kitchen Renovation
Assess Your DIY Skills and Team
Start by determining your current level of skill and how much time you have to dedicate to the renovation compared to the work that needs doing. Many DIY kitchen renovations can be easily completed in a few weekends if your goal is to replace the sink and refinish the cabinets. However, if you want an all-out rebuild, this is a far more complex project involving layers of work from the flooring to the light fixtures and everything in between.
Lay out the work ahead of you and the time you think it will take to complete each task. Mark tasks you don’t currently have the skills or licensure to complete.
Can You Quickly Become an Expert?
We know that a DIYers greatest joy is learning a skill en-route to complete a project. There are many kitchen renovation tasks where this works well! You may quickly learn the plumbing tasks you need to install a new faucet or even a new sink by studying manuals and instruction videos online. Almost anyone can learn to refinish a cabinet if you’ve never done it before, and you can even learn how to bevel and shape your cabinet doors into a new style with just a little practice.
Of the skills you don’t yet have, do a little research to determine which you can learn on the fly (or with a little scrap wood in the backyard for practice) and which require years of training or licensure to have completed to the necessary quality, safety, and building code standards.
Plan Your DIY Kitchen Renovation
Once you’ve sorted the two sets of tasks, you can get to planning. Start by laying out the total plan and which tasks need to be done in order. For example, a full renovation starts with removing the appliances and ripping out the cabinetry, then laying new floors, then installing the tiling and backsplash, then new cabinets, plumbing hookups, countertops, and plumving featuresin that order.
Determine your timeline and make plans for the stages that you will be completing DIY solo or with your team.
Schedule Your Installation Services
With your outline ready, you can start filling in those final gaps with scheduled installation and contractor services. You take the part of your own general contractor, directing which team comes into play at the right moment in your DIY kitchen renovation.
Renovating a kitchen by hand is a deeply rewarding experience. When it all comes together, the kitchen will be truly yours, a place you can feel makes your house into the home you will enjoy for years. When the time comes to install your beautiful new stone countertops, Arch City Granite would be proud to be your expert partner in handling, delivering, and delicately installing your cut slabs of natural stone; ensuring that not a single piece cracks during the critical transition.