In a normal world, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, remodeling a new kitchen usually took about 6-10 weeks from start to finish, depending on if you were ordering stock, semi-custom, or custom cabinets. Other factors in the length of time it took to renovate a kitchen were whether or not you were changing your original footprint, breaking walls, adding new windows, and ordering custom flooring or countertops.
The normal routine would be to have your contractor or cabinet supplier measure your kitchen and then order your cabinets, since the lead time for these have traditionally been the longest of all the items you would need for the kitchen remodel. Once that had been done, you would then order your appliances, choose your flooring, and finally countertops, lighting and backsplash.
After demolition takes place, if all goes well and products are delivered on time, your new kitchen would be completed in about 3-4 weeks.
Fast forward to today! This is no longer the case. Due to the pandemic here is what’s happening and what you need to be aware of:
- Since March 2020, monthly online spending for home improvement products and appliances was, on average, 74 percent higher than pre-Covid levels, according to 1010data, which analyzes consumer habits.
- This means that there has been a huge demand for all home-related products
- There has been an enormous home renovation boom since the beginning of the pandemic depleting inventories and requiring longer delivery time
- Contractors have been inundated with business so their lead time to start new jobs has been increased by several months
- Supply chain problems and labor shortages due to Covid-related shutdowns have made home improvement projects even more complicated
- When factories had to comply with government restrictions, many had fewer skilled workers on staff which slowed down production time
- Materials such as wood for cabinets and many appliances have also been harder to come by adding to the problem
So, what does this all mean for you? Even under ideal conditions a kitchen renovation is not easy – the timing of everything coming together is like having a jigsaw puzzle all laid out and hoping that all the pieces fall into place in a reasonable amount of time. If just one piece of the puzzle is delayed in being delivered, it can hold up fitting all the other pieces into place.
Our recommendations for remodeling your kitchen over the next year are to:
- Gather as much info as you can before starting the process – learn which manufacturers have cabinets and appliances in stock or soon to be available, research which tile companies have the styles you like, find out if the backsplash you love will be in stock when you need it, and so on
- Be realistic about the time frame for getting your kitchen completed
- Understand that your remodeler, contractor, or kitchen design firm wants very much to complete your project – even more than you want it to be completed
- In the world we are living in today, there will be unforeseen events that arise – take a deep breath before you start yelling at your suppliers and designer, as this is totally out of their control
- Try to think of this time as a respite to choose paint colors, countertop material, and flooring with more mindfulness, rather than being rushed through the process
- Be kind when calling your designer or contractor asking for updates – they often don’t know because they have not heard back from their suppliers – and are often as frustrated with the situation as you are
- Try to be flexible – e.g., if a particular model dishwasher or refrigerator is going to be unavailable for a very long time, choose another style or manufacturer that has availability. If something you want badly is available now, but you won’t need it for 3-6 months, purchase it and try to store it someplace so you have it when everything comes together.
Despite all the ups and downs of remodeling a kitchen in 2021 and beyond, keep your eye on the prize – a beautiful new kitchen of your dreams that you and your family will love for years to come. Remember, the password for renovating this year is P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E!