11 steps for a kitchen remodel in Los Angeles – Contractor Tips

Sep 13, 2018 | Kitchen Remodeling

A kitchen is probably the most emblematic area in a home; it gathers family members and friends, hence its functionality, space, and comfort play a pivotal role in the quality of your kitchen. But the truth is that although many of the kitchen appliances are expensive, you do not necessarily have to spend a fortune to make your kitchen look like a million bucks. Open floor plans are an undeniable trend in Los Angeles and around the U.S. but before you begin knocking down kitchen walls it is imperative for you to establish a concrete plan for your kitchen remodel. Ahead we will highlight what a kitchen remodel plan looks like!

1. Planning your kitchen remodel:

– Get an idea of what you want: You can visit home improvement stores and thumb through remodeling magazines to get an overall idea of the type of kitchen you want. Reviewing Houzz idea books or Pinterest boards are a great alternative to get inspiration from around the globe.

– Plan your kitchen around your home’s style. Mismatching is a common error that you definitely want to avoid.  

– Hire a professional designer with experience in kitchen design. We always advise having your designer be part of your contractor team.

– Incorporate the way your family uses the kitchen with the present design. The design should be functional with the use you give your kitchen.

  • We do not recommend buying ahead your cabinets, appliances, lighting fixtures, sink, faucet, tiles, baseboards and paint in advance. It is better choose them and secure them with the supplier so it’s available when needed and delivered when needed to install. Following this recommendation will prevent you from having your materials from sitting around until they are ready to be installed.

– Obtain building permits, if required.

– Interview contractors. You may need a plumber, HVAC contractor, electrician drywaller, painter, flooring and/or tile installer and demolition crew. At Levi, we are a one-stop shop for your complete home remodel or kitchen remodel.

– Hiring Contractors. Make sure your contractors are licensed, bonded, insured and will pull the necessary permits. Knowing how to properly hire a contractor is one of the most important aspects of a kitchen renovation. 

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2. Demoing the Kitchen

– Begin by tearing out the cabinets and walls. Demo day always seems to provide an exciting satisfaction. And with the stress levels we manage in Los Angeles, it can be very tempting to smash away until there is no kitchen left, however, it’s always better to have a systematic approach to demoing.

– Remove cabinet doors first. Makes demolition easier for you. To make your demolition easier, we recommend removing cabinet doors first. When you unscrew cabinets, have a plan to hold them as you do so. Remember they are usually held up by two screws.

–  Be very careful when you remove the window and doorway trim, especially if you want to reuse them.

– Shut off the power, and remove appliances and lighting fixtures that are directly wired; cover exposed wires with wire nuts.

– When more brute force is required, use a sledgehammer, but always be careful not to smash the studs.

– Use a crowbar to force sheets of paneling from the walls.

-Recycle what you can, and joyfully throw away anything that has no use in the dump.

3. Replace Old Kitchen Plumbing

– Once you have opened up the walls, it is time to replace outdated plumbing.

– Make sure to catch any water leaks as you replace older plumbing.

– Be prepared to replace your shutoff valves.

– Be sure to replace any galvanized plumbing under the sink.

Though you can supervise the plumbers and workers yourself to save a few bucks on your kitchen remodel, spending that extra money to have a professional general contractor supervise the project will give you peace of mind and will limit drastically the mistakes that may occur due to ignorance of the remodeling process. Being relieved from supervision and chasing after no-show workers is definitely a plus.  

4. Replace Electrical and Install Kitchen Lighting

– Any older wiring must be replaced.

– Many kitchen remodels involve recessed ceiling lighting, new pendants and/or breakfast nook lighting.
You should consider overhauling your electrical switch box to 200 amp; inquire as to whether it is essential. It’s imperative to supplant all the wiring, particularly if your present wiring isn’t complying with the code. Every machine, including the fridge and range hood ought to have a committed circuit, which implies you can state farewell to the times of your microwave causing power floods.

Here is a brief list of the types of electrical jobs to consider in your kitchen:
1. Overhead lighting, which includes recessed fixtures.
2. Under cabinet lighting.
3. Wiring the dishwasher, either directly or by plugging into a receptacle.
4. Wiring the garbage disposal, either directly or by plugging into a receptacle.
5. Either a 120-volt or 220-volt receptacle for the range/oven, depending on whether it’s gas or electric.
6. A receptacle for the refrigerator.
7. Wiring for the range hood.
8. A receptacle for the microwave.
9. Countertop receptacles (hint: more is always better).
10. Consider dimmer switches for some or all of your lighting.

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5. Hang Kitchen Drywall, Mud and Sand

– Slice drywall sheets to fit the focal point of the studs.

– Hanging Sheetrock is a straightforward activity, yet mudding is a workmanship. Mud is joint compound, best utilized when dumped into a mudding plate and smushed around to soften the consistency.

– After the electrician and handyman have completed their different to-dos, it’s the ideal time to hang drywall. It might take three layers of mud, which implies the drywaller will require a total of three days for each coat to dry in the middle. There are items available that dry quicker, yet they may not be handy to use in the kitchen.

6. Paint Kitchen Walls and Ceiling

Many people call themselves painters, but it is a vocation that only a few have. A very common temptation for homeowners is to do the painting themselves, and even though it is not necessarily the toughest job, in construction, time is money, and a professional will have all the paint done in half the time you would, even if you have your children helping.
A few pointers that may dictate how qualified your contractor is are:
a. Paint the wall before installing the cabinets.
b. Never use cheap paint, use quality brand paint.
c. For kitchen walls, employ semi-gloss or Satin paint for the walls and ceiling because it won’t retain moisture and it will make it a lot easier to wipe.
d. You should spend more time preparing the walls then painting them. Make sure they are smooth!  
e. Always use painter’s tape.
f. Not all paint brushes are ideal for any type of wall. For example, angled brushes are essential for trims.
g. Even if it seems that after the first coat of paint, the wall is looking great, have two coats.
h. A paint touch-up after the cabinets are installed is always a plus.

7. Install Kitchen Flooring and Baseboards

Ask your contractor whether they will install the flooring before or after the cabinets are put up. Usually, an experienced contractor will have the floors installed before the cabinets, this way no quarter rounds will be needed. When picking your kitchen floor, make sure your designer knows how much pressure your kitchen floor will endure on a day-to-day basis. This will determine the most durable material and will prevent you from assuming future costs.  

Different types of kitchen flooring for your kitchen remodel:

Stone Kitchen Flooring:
A perfect alternative for areas like Los Angeles, where the summer heat can be unbearable unless you are in the pool is stone kitchen flooring which is naturally cool. Some of the natural stones you can use and that come in 12×12 and 18×18 squares are marble, travertine, and smooth granite. A natural stone feel is aesthetically a great option, you have to consider though that they are more propense to need replacing when certain stones get chipped or stained.

Hardwood Flooring:
To its advantage, hardwood flooring will keep the kitchen floor warmer than natural stone, it costs less and still has a wide array of visual appeal depending on the high-quality finish of the material. There are different species of wood you can apply giving you different design alternatives. You must never expose this type of floor to withstand moisture for a long time since it will make your floor warp.

Laminate Wood Flooring:
The evolution of laminate wood flooring has made it virtually impossible to differentiate from real hardwood. Its advantages rely on its easy installation process and the different colors and styles you can find for only a fraction of the cost of real hardwood. This floor is not as valuable as other types of kitchen flooring but can be a great option when you are running tight on your kitchen renovation budget.

Ceramic Tile:
When ceramic tiles are coated with glaze they will portray a transparent coating that is similar to natural stone without having the same high costs. Tiled floors are easy to clean and they are surprisingly durable and moisture and dirt cannot penetrate the surface with as much ease as other materials. We advise you to consider ceramic tiles that are slip-resistant, this will help avoid unfortunate accidents.

Vinyl Floors:
Vinyl flooring can create an effect that comes close to natural stone and hardwood. This illusion impresses homeowners and gives designers many matching options with kitchen cabinets and backsplashes. Another advantage is its resistance to water and the comfort it brings as it is the least hard of kitchen flooring options.

Cork Flooring:
Cork is produced using stripped tree husk, not damaging any trees. It is warm and welcoming, however, cork can attain a yellowish color in daylight, it scratches effortlessly and dampness makes it inflate and swell up.
Bamboo Flooring:
Bamboo is not a wood, but a grass, hence, it is not recommendable to install in areas that will get wet. Always ask for premium bamboo that does not contain formaldehyde.
Recycled Carpeting:
Eco-friendly carpeting from recycled materials is usually made from plastic beverages and food containers. Since they are made from plastic, you can have a wide array of vibrant colors and they last longer than nylon carpets and to their advantage, they are stain resistant.

Porcelain Tile: This being the most popular type of tile utilized for kitchen flooring, is a great alternative due to the diverse color and design applications that can be applied. You must take into consideration the quality of the tile since this will alter the life-long duration of the materials. Going with cheaper tiles will only require more frequent updates and upgrades.

8. Installation of Kitchen Cabinets

There are two main types of kitchen cabinets: base cabinets and wall cabinets. Both are secured to the wall and do not touch the ground. Cabinets are another common temptation for the typical DIY dad. Having a professional team of contractors do this will make sure that your cabinets are plumb, leveled and properly installed.

Remember that cabinets must not only be properly secured, but they must be perfectly leveled with each other. A professional team should have cabinets installed within one day.  

9. Kitchen Countertops

Countertops can be one of the most expensive assets of your kitchen remodel in Los Angeles. The better materials must be heat resistant and durable. Mineral materials such as quartz, granite or marble are essentially absorbent materials. Some are more durable than others like quartz and marble are more durable than granite, but they all require proper maintenance, especially if you want your kitchen remodel to last a few decades.

Another aspect that you must consider is the delay from the fabricators.

The wait is a week or more to fabricate countertops after measuring for the template. This wait could be anywhere from 7 days to 7 weeks depending on your supplier. In other words, having the proper assistance from your contractor will be essential to have materials come in during the right time of installation.

If your countertops are to be fabricated, this will cause the longest delay. Also, keep in mind that the installers will insist on measuring for the template with the cabinets in place.

10. Install Kitchen Backsplash

It is always recommendable to install your kitchen’s backsplash a few days after the countertops are installed and settled. This will allow your countertops to settle properly.

With backsplashes, the options are almost endless. The main advice from us is to have your backsplash decision be based on the material of your countertops and cabinets. An experienced designer will provide at least 4 options that will already match your other selected materials.

Backsplashes can give your kitchen a whole different personality. They can bring out a more sophisticated feel or a more rustic one. This will depend on the materials, whether they are tile, brick or metal tiles. You can play around with different patterns and colors to create the aesthetic value that you are seeking for your home.

Keep in mind your designers advise so that this fun aspect of your kitchen remodel does not become overwhelming.

11. Install Kitchen Appliances, Faucet, and Hardware

The last step prior to completion is to install kitchen appliances, faucets and hardware. By this point you are ready to use your new kitchen, and you are only waiting for final details. Hook up the sink, install the faucet, dishwasher, refrigerator, range, and oven, hood vent as the last step. Seems simple, however, this stage is critical, since it will define the success of your prior stages. Will your cabinets fit the projected spaces? Will the contractors have the care to not damage any of the countertops or cabinets s they install heavy appliances?

Hardware — the pulls and knobs — can make or break your cabinets. Selecting the ideal pulls or knobs is critical. That can make your cabinets looks awesome, or make you hate the whole design. Be conscious that design trends shift in a pretty constant manner. Do not commit to trends that will be easily outdated, that will have you reconsider your whole kitchen remodel before necessary.

Please make sure to check for any leaks before you consider the job finished!

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As you can see, there is a whole lot more to a kitchen remodel that what first meets the eye. It is imperative to have the proper counsel throughout the whole process. Any mistake could imply thousands of dollars of extra costs, schedule a free consultation to ensure a successful kitchen remodel in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.