This is the stage where you have coffee in your kitchen before work, like usual, and then when you
come home from work that evening, your kitchen is gone! Once this happens there is definitely no
turning back. Demolition is basically the removal of everything that is being replaced - cabinets,
appliances, plumbing fixtures, and flooring. Sometimes, but not always, the room gets taken down to
the studs at this point. If your ceiling has soffits that the old cabinets butted up to and your design
calls for their removal, they will be taken out at this stage as well. The demolition stage can be a bit
exciting for you as the homeowner because after a long process of planning and decision making
work is finally commencing on your project. But this can be a stressful stage as well because, not
only do you no longer have a working kitchen, but any possible hidden contingencies will be
uncovered in the demolition.
Rough Plumbing, Electrical, and Carpentry
After the carpenters have finished the demolition, the electrician, plumber, and carpenter will come
in to do the rough stages of their work. The rough stage is where the behind the scenes work gets
done, i.e., the stuff you eventually won't see once the walls get covered with drywall. The
electricians will put in the boxes where the new outlets and light fixtures are going to go and then run
wires to those boxes from the service panel or other existing circuits. If there were any wires left
hanging from the demolition, they will reroute them through the walls. The plumber will come in and
remove the old plumbing at the sink. If new plumbing locations are going in, for example, the sink is
being moved to a different area or a new island sink in being installed, then the plumber may run his
piping to these locations at this time. Sometimes, if the plumber has access in the basement, he
may wait to run his pipes until the cabinets are installed. Any plumbing that needs to be run through
the walls before the drywall goes on will be done at this time as well. If the new design calls for
changes to the layout of existing walls then the carpenter will do this now. For example, a wall
between the old kitchen and dining room or family room might be taken out to open up the space.
Any plumbing or electrical that is in a wall that is being removed will need to be rerouted. The
carpenter will take out walls and frame in for any new walls and get the room ready for new drywall.
Once the rough stages are complete then the walls are ready to be covered back up with drywall.
This is a rather messy stage because the seams in the drywall get covered with joint compound and
then sanded to a smooth finish. The sanding creates quite a bit of dust and the room should be
sealed off to prevent too much dust from escaping. The good news is that the room starts to look
like it is being put back together rather than taken apart.
If you are installing a new floor it will probably be installed next. It is easier for the flooring installer to
work in an empty room rather than try to work around cabinets. Also, the cabinets need to be
installed on top of the new floor in order to maintain their proper height. If the cabinets need to be
installed first then the floor underneath should be built up with shims or plywood so that the counter
top height ends up at close to 36 inches above the finished floor. The exception is when a vinyl
floor is being installed rather than wood or ceramic tile. This can be installed around the cabinets
but in my opinion it would still be better to have the vinyl installed beforehand over the entire floor
and the cabinets installed afterward.
Cabinet Installation and Finish Carpentry
This is where things start to come together and you can really see how your new kitchen is going to
look. Your new cabinets will be installed as well as any trim such as crown molding. If the old base
molding and door casings are being replaced they can be done at this time.
If you are having granite or solid surface counter tops installed then the company will come out to
the job site after the cabinets are installed to make templates for the new tops. If you are going with
laminate tops, sometimes the company will template and other times they may make the tops up
beforehand and can be fitted on site. After the templating is complete, everything is pretty much on
hold until the new tops are fabricated and installed.
Finish plumbing and electrical
The plumber and electrician can come back now to do their final work. The electrician will install
outlets and switches in the electrical boxes and put in any new light fixtures including any under
cabinet lighting. If recessed light cans were installed in the ceiling prior to drywall then he will put in
the trim for these. Now that the counter is in place, the plumber will install the new sink and faucet,
garbage disposal and dishwasher
The remaining appliances such as the oven, microwave, cooktop, refrigerator typically go in last.
There will likely be some odds and ends that need to be finished or addressed when all else is done
and these are called punch list items. After that you're kitchen is complete!