Steps in kitchen renovation?
winniegirlApril 1, 2013
Could you tell me the order: floor, cabinets, appliances, countertops last? At what stage do the plumbers and electricians come in? I'm sure I read this on here, but now I can't find it. If you know a link, that would be great too. Thank you!
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feeny
I believe it depends a bit on what kind of floor you are putting in and whether it is going under the cabinetry or up to the edge of it. But setting that step aside, our kitchen renovation (down to the studs) went in this order: Electrician, drywaller, cabinet installation w/ molding, plumber to hook up undermount sink, countertops, tiler for backsplash, plumber to hook up faucets, appliances, electrician again for final lighting fixtures, painters for walls. But I suspect there are variations on this ordering depending on many factors (like whether you are putting in all new electrical wiring, an overmount or undermount sink, etc).
1 Like    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 2:50PM
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Planning is first before anything else = all selections and coordination of materials and how they will be installed/applied. Don't get into a project without the main decisions made - it causes delays and over budget issues
Demo - plumbers and electricians may need to participate in demo if electrical is to be removed or to cap off plumbing lines when sinks, etc are removed. If you are moving things around and or changing lighting etc, then some or all sheetrock should be removed.
Rough in - electrical and plumbing for all changes. HVAC rough in if venting range hood or changing supply or return lines.
Repair/install sheetrock, prime and point up (sometimes we also put on the first coat of paint here knowing that they will come back and paint again, but it gets some paint color on the walls right up next to cabinetry so if there are any tiny gaps, it is covered)
If you are installing hardwood flooring, it should be installed before cabinetry, etc.
Cabinetry install - template countertop
Install trim moldings (except shoe molding) Sand, putty, prime moldings
Install flooring if not hardwoods (tile, vinyl, laminate)
Install countertop
Install backsplash
Finish flooring - if unfinished hardwood was installed. Install shoe molding
Final painting
Finish electrical, Install plumbing and appliances

Some things can overlap. I am sure there will be folks that use a different order.
    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 2:56PM
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winniegirl
feeny: thank you! good to hear from someone already thru it--I'm noting your experience. Great details!
Deborah Butler-- ahh planning! This kitchen remodel is overdue and badly needed. But, the whole contractor "allowances" deal was something I had to learn about--I really had no idea. I'm expected to make decisions "along the way" so to speak. Not something I'm at all comfortable with, as I prefer to have most things selected ahead of time. The whole "allowances" concept seems bizarre to me, though I guess that's how it's done because the contractor can get a better deal? But how do I get new appliances for $2000? At the same time, he wants $9300 for a countertop when the Lowes guy quotes me $5k for same quartz? I know I'm paying the contractor for his expertise, that's absolutely fair, I certainly can't do it. just a little frustrated today as I work thru this--can't seem to get specific answers, Thanks so much for your very specific list.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 7:23PM
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
FYI, big box stores have a starting price and it usually isn't the same as the total price in the end.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 7:35PM
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ginale
My contractor gave me allowances....if I went over, I owed him extra money; if I went under, I got credit for it and could apply it to another area. Do LOTS of homework before you sign. I knew the cabinets would cost around $12,000 so when I saw he allowed $8,000, I knew it was not realistic. You already know your appliances will cost more so tell him so that the contract reflects what you expect to buy and you won't have too many surprises. I hope that makes sense. We are just wrapping up a three month kitchen Reno. I can't stress enough the importance of doing your research. :)
    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 7:44PM
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
The allowances should be based on a discussion with the client before the contract is written so that there is an understanding as to the expectation of the finishes , etc.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 7:46PM
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ginale
Oh yes....make SURE he totally understands the "grade" you expect. You don't want to envision solid wood cabinets while he quotes a price for particle board. Research AND communication are key.
    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 7:50PM
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Norm Walters Construction Inc.
Ginale, it might be a she. 8-)
2 Likes    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 7:53PM
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studio10001
THAT's what struck you about that remark?/ Norm, I thought you were going to talk about cabinet grade!!
There was a discussion earlier today you may want to look at re. MDF vs ply, full of all sorts of goodies for your perusal . Much luck on your new prject.
    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 7:58PM
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
studio, I was trying to lighten the conversation.
3 Likes    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:00PM
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S. Thomas Kutch
This is the problem with allowances......have never used them as a designer or contractor, have never recommended them and probably never will. This is why I preach over and over, detailed plans, if you want solid wood cabinets, they will be called out and specified in the documents........samples of finishes will be indicated on the color boards...........leaving anything for decisions to be made during the construction just opens up to many opportunities for errors and unexpected results.........Just my opinion.
    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:05PM
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PRO
Ironwood Builders
Yes...absolute specification is better....but time is of the essence, no? Architects use allowances for many line items during competitive bids...and after the bid is won the allowance remains....sometimes, just like contractors, too low. Communication is best. Discuss realistic allowance figures and good things will come of it.
    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:09PM
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studio10001
STK, is there a way around them for Ginale?
    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:09PM
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studio10001
(simultaneous post. Thanks I.)
    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:10PM
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winniegirl
Wow, have I ever researched! Thanks to this site, I've learned so much.
NWC: Lowes gave me a quote on Viatera that includes all but reconnect of appliances. My contractor says no way, impossible. So I went to a different Lowes half hour away and that quote was within $50. Now I'd like him to use Lowes and he's not too eager about that. Am I out of bounds for suggesting this?
ginale: I found nice cabinets thru Houzz users! not fancy, but perfect for us. Didn't know a thing about grade before I got on here.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:24PM
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S. Thomas Kutch
Winniegirl..... to answer your question it depends on the scope of the work. If you've gutted the kitchen down to studs, if you're moving any of the services, if you're altering any of the walls...... it would be carpenter, electrician, plumber and HVAC contractors for rough out work, inspections, dry wall, paint, flooring, cabinets, counter tops, back splash, trimout, plumbing and lighting top out (hook up and finishes), hardware, appliances, touch ups as required and final inspections.
    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:24PM
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S. Thomas Kutch
You're right Ironwood........architects are notorious for using allowances and I know I'm going to piss off a lot of architects, but it's little more than short cuts to get the drawings off the board as quickly as possible, because time is money.......the results are typically something like this; the architect draws an indication of base and wall cabinets, he might even produce an elevation and calls for a line item allowance of $240 plf, customer sees plans and elevations and is thinking custom grade cabinets like on houzz feature articles, contractor sees low to mid grade from big box store that looks like higher grade cabinets and the table is set. Happens over and over again..............

Studio10001 the way around allowances is in the planning phase....... it's called detailed and thorough documentation that specifies what you want. If you want solid wood cabinets specify them so the contractor can accurately cove the cost in his bid. It's not that hard. This is why I encourage my clients to spend the time in the planning phase with me, 1.) Every contractor is bidding the same specifics. 2.) The bids are more accurate to the design intent and what the client expects. 3.) Reconciliation and value engineering is more specific and true and 4) confusion and mind reading is kept to a minimum.
2 Likes    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:51PM
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PRO
Ironwood Builders
STK, you are the bomb!
    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 9:42PM
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studio10001
I agree. Am gob-smacked at the practice, though.
    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 10:23PM
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kitasei
Will be interested to learn what the professionals say about the question of whether you can substitute materials from Loewes or Home Depot. I suspect that suppliers produce different lines under the same name for the big box stores, just like Walmart. For example, I ordered one set of Andersen 400-series windows from a local installer and was able to get screens that were terratone on the outside and unpainted pine on the inside. When I ordered the next set of Andersen 400 windows from Home Depot, the screens came as stone - on both sides. Home Depot said Andersen didn't make them any other way... I have also been told that the Baldwin door hardware from Home Depot is a different line. It makes it very difficult to know what you're getting. Same with engineered wood. I got Bella wood flooring from Lumber Liquidators (the top grade they offer) -- but suspect I would have done better going to a specialty wood place. The installer I hired (not Lumber Liquidators) insisted on using his own glue and pads (which were 1/2 the price of LL's) because he said the quality was better.
    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 11:15PM
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feeny
Just FYI: We made all our decisions ahead of time and no system of allowances. We did custom (plywood with wood drawers and doors) cabinets and the local woodworking firm that built them also served as our GC for everything except the countertops, which we arranged directly with a stone fabricator. We also ordered the backsplash tile ourselves, so only the labor was included in the GC's contract. I should add that the whole kitchen came out much cheaper than the quote for the same kitchen from the local high-end kitchen design center using semi-custom cabinets built out of state.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 3:03AM
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ginale
@Norm Walters....I actually thought about that the moment I entered "he". You are so right! :)
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 3:23AM
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winniegirl
STK thank you! I am now specifying everything up front, when possible, with my own researched items and costs. Sometimes I feel as if I've been dropped on another planet and everyone speaks Klingon but me--that's how difficult it is to get answers. for example, I do truly understand that "quartz is expensive" buy why is your quote $4k more than HD? It's the same material--I called LG Hausys in Georgia and just asked them.

feeny: yes, I will have to select items ahead of time, right down to the light fixtures. Since this remodel will happen in the middle of real life (you know, the monkeys, work, the rest of my day!) I would be forced to make rushed decisions in the middle of a project, probably unwise. Learning as I go, but wow I"m not having fun yet! :)
1 Like    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 7:35AM
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
Winnie, it has been my experience, time and again, that the quote the big box stores give is not what the final price is after a fabricator has visited the site. They charge for a measure and by then you feel obligated to go with them even though the price is not what you were quoted originally.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 7:40AM
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winniegirl
Really, really hope you are wrong. Supposedly this is a solid quote from HD. I even spoke with the installers who have a good rep here and told me all good things about HD estimates. Why don't you and Ironwood just fix my kitchen already! :) At least you answer my questions clearly, sheesh.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 7:57AM
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
Winnie, why not just go to local fabricator amd get a quote? When I use my local fabricator I get a discount as I provide them with revenue instead of them paying for advertising. That discount is my markup. You could go to the same fabricator and their price to you would be the same as my price to you
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:15AM
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
To follow up on my planning comment - for us, all materials and products are specified and nailed down before a contract is ever signed. The customer however, does not go out and do it on their own. It is an intensive design/specification process that includes our selected suppliers/vendors. Each contractor has subs and suppliers/vendors that they feel comfortable with based upon their quality of work, integrity of that company, their warranty and their customer service. These alliances are generally not developed based on price alone.

If a potential customer came to us and specified that the products had to come from and be installed by HD or Lowes, at a minimum we would immediately carve those items out of our contract and label them as "Owner Supplied". In very plain language in bold type, we would then include that we are not responsible for the quality of the product, the installation quality or any damage caused by the installers to the premises or the items we as a contractor had already installed. There are many local fabricators that are cheaper and people wonder why we don't use them. We have seen their work. The seams are bad, the surfaces are not leveled properly before installation, they cut holes in walls, they scratch floors or bump against walls and mark them, they don't properly polish and seal the granite before installation, they don't use additional support when they should. They use product out of different lots to fulfill the order and the pieces don't exactly match. And the list goes on. I want someone that is going to do an excellent job and that will stand behind what they do. We warranty our projects and stand behind what we do and what our subs/vendors do. We have to really trust that these guys will do the best job for the customer and will be around if any warranty issue arises. Each individual has to make their own choices and decisions, and price is important but it is not necessarily the most important.

Yes kitasei, the brand name items sold at HD and Lowes are many times made to different specifications and are not necessarily the same quality as the same brand in a specialty store.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:44AM
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S. Thomas Kutch
Winniegirl.......Deborah describes another common practice.....that being "Owner supplied". I'm glad to see that they also include the parameters of Owner Supplied in the contract .... that way everybody is working off the same page and while it is possible for the Owner to find cheaper materials, Deborah is spot on that there is much more to be considered in the mixture. GC's build working relations with their subs.......they know the quality of their work, their character on the site and their service afterwards. Every bit of it comes into play. One of the biggest gambles a GC makes is trying out a new sub. When we find a good one, we tend to want to use them again and again. A good quality sub is worth their weight in gold. It forms a symbiotic relationship.... I don't have to worry if they'll be there when they say they will, I don't have to worry about them doing it right, I don't have to worry about them impacting the schedule and I can trust them. In return, they don't have to worry about getting paid on time, they don't have to worry about whether or not the project will be ready for their work when they get there and they know they will have another job from me after this one is done...........it's a relationship that is built over time and with experience.

I'm sure the price from HD is what it is for the materials. Their price is established with their suppliers based on volume.........when you have stores nation wide that can mean some pretty big breaks. It effects everything from material cost to shipping cost and those savings are passed onto the customer.........what you have to remember though is HD has very few "company installers". What they have are third party contractors who do their installations and trust me having worked for HD, just about anybody with a pickup truck, tools, license and insurance can get approved with HD for installations.........they are like truck drivers in the turn over rate. I've seen doors and windows that were installed improperly by crews that didn't have a clue. I've seen cabinets that weren't level, not mated correctly, trim that was left off or the wrong units order.. Which brings us to another issue with the big box stores..........a few video programs watched, a few vendor programs completed and handful of pins on your vest does not a Pro make. Face it, the sales person is their to make sales. Orders are made using an in house program usually that is a pick and click......the associate may not have a clue what it does or if it's needed. I have seen some pretty messed up orders that were generated by associates without a clue and then the order gets kicked out by the manufacture for more information and may sit for another week or 2 before the order is corrected. Now what the customer thought was going to be a 4-6 week window becomes a 10-12 week window.....and God forbid that something comes in damaged or missing.

Those types of delays have a cascading effect on the construction schedule. You need to be aware of these things when you, as the Owner are providing Owner Supplied materials and/or Owner Supplied Installation. I once had a client who wanted to supply and install his own windows (not him but his BIL door window contractor)........48 windows, 27 doors, 5 custom closet doors and 3 garage doors........my sub came in half as much higher than the BIL Which was a chunk of change, as these were not cheap windows. I was against it but the client's wife put her foot down. Went over the construction schedule with the BIL and what effects any delays would have, went over planned installation means and quality I would be looking for, staging area, where I wanted him to start, went over the bench marks I would be looking for and the coordination with other trades, etc., etc., etc.............treated him just like one of my regular subs as far as project management was involved short of paying him. Long story short, you name it, it went wrong. Ordered late, order messed up, fabrication didn't start until payment received (BIL had lousy credit), units missing. BIL late showing up for install (not hours, but days, first wife had a baby, next crew didn't show).........end result, 6 weeks delay in construction schedule...........what the client saved in her door/window price, she paid twice as much more in delay charges and construction loan issues............

I'm very restrictive on elements that I will allow to be "Owner Supplied"..... especially critical path elements and if I have no other option, then you better believe, I'm going to be protected and I'm quite certain every GC out there understands. As the client, you can't just look at dollars and cents, there is soooooo much more that goes on behind the scenes that the typical home owner isn't even vaguely cognizant of and really shouldn't be burdened with..........that's why we're paid the big bucks.....(cough, cough). Just for fun, I once tracked every hour that I spent on a particular job from start to finish (construction only), from the time the plans were placed in my hands to the minute I handed the keys to the Owner...........broke my fee down to an hourly rate...........I just wanted to bang my head on my desk for hours..........full time at McDonalds was looking awful damn good about then.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 10:26AM
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handymam
In defense of stores like HD and Lowes... I have had them do installations and build a fence on site and was very pleased with the work and the price I got was the price it cost. They will correct something that is done incorrectly. That is not always the case with all contractors. (I don't mean you STk or you Dave!)
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 10:50AM
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S. Thomas Kutch
Handymam, I'm not implying that all of their installations are bad........I have seen some really dedicated installers with them as well. My focus point, which was badly conveyed, is that their specialty is retail, not construction.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 12:21PM
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
handymam, I too should clarify. If a customer wanted us to use any organization that we are not affiliated with, particularly if it included installation, we would pull it out of the scope of our contract into "Owner Supplied". This would include the brother in law who is an electrician or the wonderful church member who sets tile, etc. It goes beyond HD and Lowes - I focused on them because the poster did, although we have not seen quality work out of those organizations. I am sure it exists, but we have not had the occasion to see it.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 12:56PM
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Ed
Winniegirl, I'm also in the middle of a remodel, including the kitchen, and went through many of the things brought up so far, and there are still more to come. :) Here's one example --
1 Like    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 1:05PM
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handymam
Ed, if only remodeling went as quickly as that!
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 5:24PM
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studio10001
Uplifting, Ed. Thank you.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 6:00PM
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winniegirl
Very neat and tidy workers! I love Stilt Man. thank you!
    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 7:30AM
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