By Dan Fritschen

island kitchen crown molding

Photo provided by J. Sarter

Over half of homeowners remodeling a kitchen will do some of the work themselves.  If you are one of them, congratulations.  Doing some of the work yourself is a challenging and very rewarding as it can give you a great sense of accomplishment – as well as a few headaches.
If you will be doing some of the work yourself you need to make that decision at the very beginning of the project and do the research you need to do to make a good decision.
Here are a few things to consider about DIYing.
Many remodels require work to be at all skill levels from cleaning up to plumbing and electrical work with the kitchen typically being the one room that is the most demanding and requires the widest range of skills to get great results.  What are you interested and capable of doing.  With proper training and experience you can do any or all of the work necessary to complete a high quality remodel. So first thing is decide if you have the interest and time to learn to do any of these tasks on your own.  If you do, thats great, but there are several things to plan for.

  • You need to learn the skills necessary, practice, and get the right tools well before needed so you are ready to go when it is time.  Dont skimp on the practice.  If you get the tools and training early enough and start practicing painting, or soldering or tiling you have the option to hire someone.
  • Unless you are going to do all the work yourself you need to ensure that you let the contractor or whomever is going to do the balance of the work know what you are doing and coordinate schedules.  You don’t want any miss-communication or conflicts while working on your remodel.

Instead of or in addition to DIYing some of the creation of your remodeled or added room, you can also coordinate the entire project – act as your own general contractor.  This is an incredibly important job that can make or break any remodel.  It entails finding and coordinating all the workers and tradespeople so that the worker and the materials arrive at the right time to do there work in time for the next step in the project.  So to succeed at doing the general contracting you need to manage people, schedules and projects well.  This is a job that most people CAN do if they choose but it is a lot of work and if you arent experienced with remodeling or construction there is a lot to learn. If you choose to manage the project yourself- you need to decide this early in the project to ensure you are getting quotes and proposals from contractors, sub contractors and tradespeople with the correct understanding of who is doing what work and who is responsible for what materials, schedules and portions of the project.
Now is the time to make the decision about the very beginning of the project to get the most satisfaction and success from your decision.