The Basics of the Kitchen Remodeling Process

Before any work begins, finding inspiration and developing a budget is important. This will help you determine which remodeling ideas are doable and within your price range. The next step is to hire a contractor. This person will manage the renovation. They can get better rates on materials and help you make decisions about the project.



Whether you’re doing a full Kitchen Remodeling Lexington KY or a simpler refresh, the design phase is where it all starts. This can range from a cosmetic update to what she calls a full renovation, in which you keep the existing footprint but replace the fixtures and finishes. A complete remodel, or a “gut,” can involve moving gas and plumbing lines, changing the electrical circuitry, and dropping walls to change the layout.

The goal should always be to make your kitchen work for how you use it, she adds. That’ll help you choose the right appliances, cabinetry, backsplashes and flooring for the space. It’s also a good time to consider your budget and how you’re going to pay for the project, she says.

Some homeowners opt to hire a professional designer to create plans and drawings for the renovation before finding, hiring and managing a general contractor to put it all together. Other clients prefer working with a design-build firm that offers both services under one roof. This allows for a smoother project with less back-and-forth and more seamless coordination—and can often save you money.


When planning a kitchen remodel, you’ll likely need to acquire a permit for the work. The permitting process can vary by municipality, but generally, you’ll need to submit a thorough design plan and a detailed description of the renovation work you’re having done. The plan will be reviewed by a city inspector to ensure it meets the necessary requirements and guidelines. Inspectors will also visit your site at various stages during the project to ensure that the work is progressing as planned and aligns with the approved plans.

Most remodeling projects will require permits. However, there are some projects that may be exempt from this requirement. Non-structural upgrades such as changing out cabinet hardware or upgrading lighting fixtures might not require a permit. You’ll need to consult with experts like NYKB to determine whether a permit is required for your specific remodel.

Some homeowners are tempted to skip the permit process and save on money. However, doing so can cost you more in the long run. Local authorities will send you a stop-work order and issue hefty fines for conducting unpermitted construction. Additionally, a renovated kitchen without the proper permit can be harder to sell when you’re ready to move on. Moreover, insurance companies will not cover damages caused by unpermitted work. This could leave you out of pocket for a substantial amount of time. So, be sure to consult with your contractor to make sure you’re following the correct procedures when getting your permit for your kitchen remodel.


Demolition is the first step in any kitchen remodeling project. It can include removing existing cabinets, appliances, and countertops. It can also include structural changes, such as relocating or adding walls. It may also involve updating plumbing and electrical wiring. If you are doing a full gut renovation, the demolition could involve stripping down to the studs and then building up to accommodate your new design.

Before starting demolition, you will need to prepare your home by sealing off the area and covering it with plastic sheeting. It is also a good idea to close off kitchen vents and turn off the water. It is best to hire a professional contractor for this step.

You should also make alternative kitchen arrangements during this time. This will keep your family from eating out and save you the cost of food deliveries. It’s also a good idea to have a plan for disposing of debris and trash.

Once the demolition is complete, your contractor will start on the rough construction phase. They will build a frame out of wooden studs, which is what will be covered with drywall later in the process. They will also add insulation if necessary. This is when they will also update plumbing and do any other projects that need to be done behind the walls. This is called “rough-in” work in the industry. It is not a project you should try on your own, unless you have a lot of experience.


A kitchen remodeling project involves plumbing and electrical work, both of which are typically handled by licensed contractors. These professionals can ensure that the work meets current codes and is safe for your family. Depending on the scope of the renovation, this may include installing new pipes or rerouting existing ones. It also might involve adding new outlets and lights or installing a new sink, dishwasher or refrigerator.

If your remodel plans call for the addition of a kitchen island, pantry, or other structure, the contractor will begin this phase by framing it out with wooden studs. This will be covered by drywall later in the process. If you are adding a garbage disposal or other appliances that require a sewage ejector, your contractor will install the necessary line and related equipment at this time as well.

This is the fun part! Once the demolition is complete and the building and installation phase has begun, your home will be transformed into a modern, functional space. In this case, our customer chose to add white shaker-style cabinets, granite countertops, porcelain flooring and more to take her small 1970’s kitchen into the 21st century.

This is where it’s important to be open and honest with your contractor about what you want and don’t want. They will help you to find solutions that meet your non-negotiable needs while keeping within your budget. They will also make sure that all of the items on your punch list have been completed.


Once the plumbing is complete, contractors will begin working on behind-the-scenes projects like installing new electrical wiring, and updating old or repairing existing outlets, switches, and fixtures. They will also wire for any additional appliances or features that are part of your kitchen remodel plan, including a garbage disposal or a dishwasher. In a modern kitchen, you will likely want overhead lighting for general illumination and task lights above the sinks or food preparation areas.

In older homes, it is not uncommon to discover that electrical outlets in your kitchen need to be updated to accommodate modern appliances. For example, some homes lack GFCI outlets that should be located near water sources to protect against electrical shock. Other specialized projects that are often included in kitchen remodeling include adding an electrical outlet to the island, putting in a dedicated circuit for small appliances, or moving outlets to more convenient locations.

The building and installation process is one of the most time-consuming parts of a kitchen renovation, but experienced teams can typically get it done fairly quickly. It involves significant construction tasks, such as building a kitchen island, adding new windows or doors, or creating a more open floor plan. The carpentry crew will also finish up framing, and install insulation where necessary to meet building codes. In addition, HVAC ducts are installed and inspected at this point. Once all of the above items are complete, drywall will be installed on walls and ceilings.

Finishing Touches

As your renovation continues, your kitchen will start to take shape. This is an exciting stage of the process. However, it can also be stressful because you will have strangers in your home making noise and mess for weeks or even months. It is best to decide early on whether you’ll manage the project yourself or hire a general contractor (GC) and/or interior designer to help you with planning, sourcing materials and handling some of the more strenuous tasks involved in a kitchen remodel, like updating electrical work or plumbing and putting up new drywall.

Once all rough-in work is complete and passes inspection, it’s time to install drywall. Your contractor will build a frame on your walls using wooden studs and then cover it with drywall to make the room look more finished.

Many homeowners choose to add an extra step at this point, installing insulation. Insulation is usually a good idea, as it helps keep your house more energy-efficient and reduces your utility bills.

At this point, you should have a punch list prepared and discussed with your GC. This is a list of anything that doesn’t meet your full satisfaction, such as trim molding joints that don’t fit perfectly or scuff marks left behind from appliance installation. Having this list at the end of your remodel will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by small discrepancies once your new kitchen is complete.