Draw up a description of the kitchen you want, identifying the things you are not prepared to compromise on.
Draw up a description of the kitchen you want, identifying the things you are not prepared to compromise on.
Installing a new kitchen is a good time to look at upgrading your appliances.
Installing a new kitchen is a good time to look at upgrading your appliances.
Let the company know what appliances will be added for specifications of size.
Let the company know what appliances will be added for specifications of size.
Avoid making changes once the installation has begun.
Avoid making changes once the installation has begun.

A kitchen renovation is a big undertaking for any homeowner, but the Kitchen Specialists’ Association (KSA) has outlined exactly what you need to do when embarking on this journey.

What to do before renovating

Set your budget - have a realistic idea of how much you are prepared to spend. People are often nervous about telling a company how much they are prepared to spend - don’t be. Without this information, the company will not be able to ascertain if it can deliver the kitchen you are looking for within your budget and how inventive it can be in the design. In knowing your budget, the company will be able to suggest materials within the allocated amount.

Write a brief - draw up a description of the kitchen you want, identifying the things you are not prepared to compromise on. This way the company will know what it needs to fit into your budget and, if necessary, compromise in other areas.

Make a mood board - go through glossy magazines and cut out pictures that reflect the look and feel you want for your kitchen. Focus on colour, style and features to get ideas on the layout as well as colour and material combinations.

Analyse your existing kitchen - look at the basics and decide what needs changing. Installing a new kitchen is a good time to look at upgrading your appliances, plumbing, electrics and lighting. Let the company know what appliances will be added for specifications of size.

READ: How kitchens have evolved over the years

Research - talk to three reputable companies listed with an industry association. Ask the company to do two quotes, one using the whole budget and another more conservative assessment under budget. It’s also important to allow each kitchen company to do their own measurements and design as they will have a unique interpretation of your needs, space and budget. Most will charge you but this is refundable if you sign with them.

What to expect from the renovation process

The size, finishes and the associated trades all play a part in determining the timeline:

It is standard in the kitchen industry to have a payment structure of 50 percent deposit, due on signing of the contract, 40 percent on delivery of the carcasses to site and the final 10 percent on completion. It is your responsibility to ensure the old kitchen is removed. If gas or water lines need to be laid under the floor to reach an island unit, this should also have been done. Removal involves clearing walls of tiling, then plastering.

The time frame is affected by the materials chosen, the availability of the materials and the efficiency of the company. Usually this is a two- to four-week process, but bear in mind that the time of year will also affect production time.

An average-sized kitchen should take two to four days to install everything, excluding the tops and appliances.

Once the renovation is done, snag the kitchen and ensure you are happy.

How to survive the renovation period

Pack up your kitchen meticulously. Use clearly labelled boxes and bubble wrap to ensure you know where everything should go when unpacking and damages are minimal. Remember not to pack away the essentials you will need while the kitchen is being installed.

Set up a temporary kitchen in a convenient space where you will not be falling over yourselves. You are still going to need to cook and clean while you have no kitchen, so set it up somewhere you can still operate your kettle, toaster, microwave and some sort of hot plate. You should also allow for the washing of dirty dishes. Camping wash stands can come in very useful.

Avoid making changes once the installation has begun. This will end up increasing the length of time the company is onsite. Remember that every change you make goes to the back of the kitchen companies’ manufacturing queue and can add up to a week per change to on your timeline.

It is tempting to watch the kitchen company once they are on the job but don’t. Protect yourself and your investment by working with an association-registered company and have realistic expectations of cost and timeline.