Kitchen Renovation Timeline

How Long Can You Expect The Kitchen Renovation Process To Take?

Whether you’re thinking about giving your kitchen a minor refresh or a major overhaul, one thing is certain -- bringing your vision to life won’t happen magically overnight. (Though wouldn’t that be nice?) We all know great kitchens take time...But how much? For perspective, we talked to Jeffrey Spoelker, AIA, principal owner of JMS Architecture. As a custom residential architect, Spoelker has over 25 years of experience renovating kitchens in homes up and down the eastern seaboard. Here he answers the common and oh-so-critical question, “How long does a kitchen remodel take?” and shares what’s involved at every stage, along with tips on how to keep your project moving swiftly and smoothly.

What is the ideal kitchen renovation timeline?

Kitchen Renovation Timeline Overview

Knowing how long your kitchen renovation will take is an essential piece of the project puzzle. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all timeline that applies to every renovation. “Some kitchens take weeks and some take months,” says Spoelker. “Timing depends on a variety of factors -- the scope of the project, lead times for your materials, even the team you choose.”

There is one thing that can improve the timeline for any kitchen renovation, regardless of size or scope, according to Spoelker -- and that’s planning. “The more research you’ve done and decisions you’ve made before your project even begins, the better off you’ll be,” he says. “A clear point of view can help you avoid the pivoting and second-guessing that can bog down any kitchen renovation timeline.”

What Do I Need to Know Before Starting?

If this is your first kitchen renovation project, developing a plan may seem a bit daunting. But according to Spoelker, investing time upfront to plan can actually help you save money and time on your kitchen renovation project down the line. “I always tell homeowners to take their time, do their homework, ask questions, create pinboards, start an idea file -- anything you can do to create a strong foundation for your kitchen renovation will help streamline everything that follows,” says Spoelker.

Here are some other key planning steps Spoelker recommends hammering out, figuratively, before any of the actual renovation work begins:

Choose your contractor

Or kitchen designer. Or building supplier. Whatever you decide when hiring labor, this is your chance to select the right resource to bring your dream kitchen to life, so choose wisely. If you’re simply upgrading cabinet facings, a building supplier may be just what you need. But if you’re changing the entire layout of your kitchen, a general contractor can help you manage all the moving parts -- electricians, drywallers, designers, inspectors -- and keep the workflow running smoothly.

Ask friends and family members for recommendations, compare several candidates or proposals and request examples of prior kitchen renovation work. Once you agree on a schedule and sign a contract, that’s your blueprint for the entire project -- a key tool to help stay on time and within budget.

Apply for building permits and approvals

This essential step can turn into a bottleneck depending on the speed at which your municipality processes requests. It’s always best to get it out of the way early on, instead of relying on a quick turnaround when time is tight.

Consider your budget

Budgeting affects virtually every decision you make on your kitchen renovation; from the team you hire to the materials and appliances you choose. And the amount set doesn’t just impact your kitchen; it could also affect the return on investment if you sell your home in the future. Learn more about Budgeting for Kitchen Renovations to determine the right amount for your project and how to get the most out of your remodeling budget.

Select and order materials to create your new kitchen.

Once you know how much budget you have to work with, it’s time to start spending it...wisely, of course! Remember, this is where you’re likely to encounter potential backlogs and long lead times for items like tile, stone or custom cabinetry. The sooner the order is placed, the less likely you are to get stuck waiting for a crucial component to arrive so your renovation can proceed.

What is a Realistic Kitchen Renovation Timeline?

According to a 2020 U.S. Houzz & Home study exploring remodelling trends in 2019 and 2020, kitchen renovation projects took, on average, 8.3 months of planning time and 4.5 months of actual construction time. Figuring out where your own project falls on that timeline depends largely on two things: the intended scope of your renovation (which, for the most part, is within your control) and the unexpected (which, for the most part, is not).

  • Scope - If your changes are primarily cosmetic (repainting cabinets instead of replacing them), or you’re upgrading a lot, but retaining the original layout, your kitchen renovation could take less time than the average. Any large structural changes, however, are likely to require a longer timeline. “It’s easy to get caught up in how things will look in your new kitchen,” says Spoelker. “But it’s important to keep in mind what that will mean logistically, too. Moving gas lines, walls, rewiring and relighting all adds to your timeline.”
  • Surprises - While there’s no way of knowing what surprises your kitchen renovation could reveal, that doesn’t mean you can’t plan for them. “Always add a little extra time and money to your reno plan,” advises Spoelker. “Whether you’re dealing with black mold or backlogged supplies, at least you’ll be prepared.”

Bottom Line:

Your scope entails your reno plan and what you can control, but always expect the unexpected as it’s common to spend more time and money than originally budgeted. Factor in a potential “surprise” as part of your timeline.

Step-by-Step Guide To Kitchen Renovation

Once the groundwork is laid for your kitchen renovation, it’s time for the transformation to begin! Here’s a rundown of how to prepare for your kitchen renovation, the key steps, what they entail, the order in which they should happen, and a general estimate of how long they may take. Check out our article, “How to renovate a kitchen” for additional information on renovating your kitchen.

Set Up a Temporary Kitchen

Time: 1-2 days
You’ll likely be “roughing it” for weeks, so think carefully about how to create a temporary kitchen away from the construction site to sustain your basic needs. Be sure to include: a microwave or hot plate, mini-fridge (or better yet, your old refrigerator, if you plan to replace it), access to a sink or cleanup area, everyday pantry essentials and somewhere to sit and eat.

Demolition & Clean Out

Time: 1-2 weeks for smaller projects, up to 6 weeks for larger projects
Before demolition can begin, you’ll need to clear out your kitchen, which is a great opportunity to rid yourself of anything expired, outdated or broken in your kitchen. Be sure it clearly states in your contract who is doing the demolition, when they are starting and who’s responsible for carting away the remnants of your old kitchen. Spoelker also advises against starting any demolition work before all your supplies and materials are on-site. “The last thing you want is for your renovation to stall because you’re waiting on a key delivery.”

Contractor Work Begins

Time: 1-3 weeks
This kitchen renovation stage may feel the most chaotic, but it’s actually a well-orchestrated dance of plumbing, mechanical, electrical, duct, wiring, insulation and drywall work. In some cases, the work is linear -- e.g., you can’t install drywall before the wiring work is complete. However, Spoelker points out that some things can also happen simultaneously, like plumbing inspection and tilework. Scheduling during this stage is especially crucial. Learn about the pros and cons of hiring a general contractor.

Installing Floors and Cabinets

Time: 2-3 days for flooring, 3-5 days for cabinets
Again, order plays an important role here. If you’re installing a hardwood floor, it needs to go in before the cabinets are installed. However, vinyl floors can be installed after cabinets. And even once the cabinets are in, it’s crucial to ensure they are properly leveled and installed. Otherwise, that could throw off the fit of countertops, appliances and more.

Installing Countertops and Appliances

Time: 3-5 weeks
Fabricating countertops is a lengthy process that can’t begin until the cabinets are complete, so this stage often represents the bulk of a kitchen renovation timeline. Plus, installation of new appliances and lighting may require testing, troubleshooting and fine-tuning of electrical or plumbing work. But it pays to take it slow. The last thing you’d want is to damage your new flooring, drywall or cabinets by rushing this stage.

Painting and Cleaning

Time: 2-4 weeks
You’re approaching the finish line! Now it’s time for the final touches: sealing, caulking, priming, painting and trim work. Check that any contractors or subcontractors are leaving your space clean and in better condition than when they found it. Do a final inspection, and once you’re satisfied, it’s time to move into your dream kitchen and celebrate the fruits of all your research, planning and vision!



For over 95 years, BLANCO has served as passionate kitchen experts delivering premium products backed by industry-leading German engineering. Our niche is transforming how you use the water zone with the BLANCO UNIT, the seamless integration of our sinks, faucets, accessories and organization systems into one smart solution. Everything you need to drink, prep and clean is all in one place.

We are utterly obsessed with improving the heart of the home and want to impart our decades of residential kitchen knowledge to those embarking on their kitchen reno journey or considering an upgrade. Discover more valuable insight in our Ultimate Kitchen Remodel Guide.

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