How To Live Through a Kitchen Remodel

Yes, it is possible to live through a kitchen remodel, with a few key remodeling tips in hand

Kitchen in the middle of a renovation

Remodeling your kitchen is a smart move and you’ll be pleased that you took the leap and did it. However, for a short time during the project, you might feel some…frustration, especially if you are accustomed to being at home most days.

It’s all manageable, however, and you’ll do fine if you know what to expect. It’s all about adaptability and making as many choices proactively as possible. Get things set up before it feels like an emergency. You’ll be inconvenienced for several weeks or so, if the project goes as planned. Sweeten outlines how to live through a kitchen remodel below.

Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and up to $50,000 in renovation financial protection—for free.

Set up a temporary kitchen

Naturally, you’ll have to feed the family and clean up after meals and snacks, so you’ll need some sort of temporary kitchen. If you have room for a temporary kitchen, old dismantled kitchen cabinets could create a makeshift mini-kitchen space. Even some of the old countertop could be used.

If you don’t have an extra room, where can you carve out some space for, say, 2–4 weeks? You might use the patio/deck and grill for a lot of cooking and the default dining table, if the weather cooperates.

Moving the refrigerator to a space where it’s still usable is typically mandatory. Go over changes like these with the contractor so you don’t block a space they’ll need to access.

You might wonder if the fridge can move to the deck or patio, and it’s possible, but it’ll depend on the weather. Refrigerators have an ambient operating temperature range, and if the outdoor temperature goes below ~40 degrees, the compressor won’t run. If the compressor doesn’t run, then the freezer won’t work. Likewise, avoid setting a refrigerator in full sun. The heat will force the compressor to work much harder and more often, which will shorten its life.

Cooking without a normal kitchen

Cooking is really pretty easy. You can use a camp stove, toaster oven, microwave oven, instant pot, and/or grill for numerous meals. You probably can’t move and use your freestanding range, as they require a 240v outlet and dedicated circuit for power.

Staying at home during a kitchen remodel

If you are accustomed to being at home quite a bit, the process of construction might unnerve you. Naptime for the kids will be tough to keep going, as will any work duties you plan to accomplish. Going to the office a bit more may turn into an attractive option, along with coffee shops and shared office spaces.

Do the daily work hours work for you? Tradespeople often start early and their work is often noisy. If you like to sleep in, you will probably chafe at having workers at the house early in the morning, but that’s what it takes—temporarily.

Talk with your contractor about the daily schedule to set shared expectations. Surprises happen and everyone has to roll with them. An organized and professional contractor will set you up as well as possible.

Living in a hotel during the remodel

Another option that has unique benefits is staying at a hotel. You can choose a standard stay or an extended-stay suite, which may even have a mini-kitchen. These offer clear and compelling advantages: low commitment and high flexibility, as in booking and leaving with little notice.

Cost may seem high but it may be well worth it to avoid the chaos of living in a remodeling zone. You will have to live somewhere during the work, so a hotel could be just part of the project budget.

Create a contingency plan to cover surprises

Finally, have a contingency budget plan of 10-15% if something goes awry. The worst-case scenario would be something like discovering asbestos or mold, which must be professionally remediated. Those professionals are specialty crews, not your contractor or subcontractors. That could stop other work until they are done. There’s no good way to estimate how long that work could take, but your general contractor will know how to find the experts and rearrange the schedule and sequencing.

Other common scenarios are occasional shortages of materials or mistakes in ordering or fulfillment. Special-order items, for example, can be subject to delays. Luckily, a good contractor can peruse your plan and spot potential bottlenecks quickly, but it’s good to be prepared.

There’s a lot to consider for a kitchen remodel, but the hassle is temporary and the benefit is long term. With preparation and a flexible mindset, you’ll be on the way to your dream kitchen.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.

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