“It depends” is a totally unsatisfactory answer, but the truth is, it does depend on a series of factors. Some of these factors you can’t control (like labor or material shortages), while others, you can (like making timely decisions and not changing your mind).
The other thing to keep in mind is that not all of the time is “active” remodeling time. “A remodel process may take three months, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll be without a kitchen that whole time,” says Lisa Hoffer, a Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer with Shenandoah Cabinetry. With careful planning and coordinating, you may only be truly kitchen-less for a few weeks.
Here is a rough order of how a kitchen remodel usually goes, with an estimate of how long each piece tends to take.
Getting your ideas together
Usually takes: As much time as you want to spend.
This is the “dreaming and planning” phase of the project, which you are completely in charge of. This is your chance to create that kitchen renovation wishlist and get super clear on what you’re looking for in a new kitchen.
Pro tip: Assemble a “mood board” or Pinterest board with clippings of design ideas, cabinet styles, storage solutions, and accessories you love.
Meetings and estimates
Usually takes: 1-2 weeks to schedule an initial meeting with an in-store Lowe’s kitchen designer, which can happen concurrently with getting estimates from a contractor.
Depending on scope, you may want to develop a relationship with a contractor before the design process.
Pro-tip: A contractor can assess the difficult and cost of moving things like plumbing and electrical, and removing soffits. “You might be under a misconception that something is very difficult to move,” Hoffer says, so it’s worth asking questions and getting estimates.
Measuring and design sketch
Usually takes: 3-4 weeks
“You’ve got to get good measurements,” Hoffer says. A contractor can take measurements, or Lowe’s can send out a local, licensed and insured independent installer to measure for your cabinets. After measurements have been taken, your designer will send you a preliminary design, and you’ll work back and forth to fine-tune until you are ready to sign off.
Pro-tip: Each back and forth can add to time, Hoffer says. “It’s worth taking the time in the beginning to get the design right.”
Ordering your cabinets and selecting products
Usually takes: 4 weeks minimum
While your cabinets are being fabricated, use the time to finish making all of your product selections, including your countertop, tile backsplash, appliances, lighting, and flooring.
Pro-tip: For stone or quartz countertops, the installer will need to template the countertop, which means doing a fine measurement, based on how cabinets are installed. So your base cabinets will have to be installed before measuring. After templating, it takes about a week to cut and prepare the slab for installation Ask your designer or contractor to help you get the measurement scheduled for first week your cabinets are going to be installed, so that you’re not without a countertop for too long.
Usually takes: At least 2 weeks
This is the part of the remodel project where you need the stars to align, Hoffer says. Many things can happen concurrently, and flooring can go in either before or after your new cabinets. For much of this time, you will be without a working kitchen, so make sure to have a temporary kitchen set up somewhere.
Pro-tip: “It sure is easier to paint an empty kitchen,” Hoffer says. Consider painting right after you’ve ripped out your cabinets, before anything is installed. Then just do touch ups after installation is complete.
Usually takes: 2-4 weeks
After your kitchen is in working order, there may be small errors to correct, drywall to repair, stray lighting fixtures to install, or even finishing up with items like backsplashes.
Pro-tip: “There are always unforeseen circumstances,” Hoffer says. “Have a realistic expectation that there might be delays.” But ultimately, it will all come together, and you’ll have a new kitchen to enjoy for years to come.