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Kitchen Resources

Understanding DIY Kitchen Remodels

A kitchen remodel can be an exciting opportunity to customize your space and make it a better fit your household’s needs. It also gives you the chance to boost your home’s return on investment. Whether your kitchen’s upgrades are intended for living-in or selling, there are practical factors to consider. We know it can be tempting to take on a DIY kitchen remodel for cost savings and having more control over the project. Regardless of these benefits, it’s important to understand which DIY kitchen remodel projects are feasible versus when it’s time to call in the experts. That’s where Modernize can help.


Table of Contents

A Contractor’s Role in a Kitchen Remodel

For a kitchen remodel, a contractor’s role is usually fairly large. From pulling permits, completing manual labor, and disposing old appliances, contractor duties usually carry the project forward efficiently. 

It’s important to discuss your kitchen remodel plans ahead of time with your contractor to better understand the process and distribution of responsibilities. This is especially crucial if you want to complete some of the project on your own. When meeting with potential contractors, questions to ask ahead of time include: 

  1. What is the average timeline for a project like this? 
  2. How long will my kitchen be unusable? 
  3. Will we be without power or plumbing during portions of the project? 
  4. How can I prepare the house for demo day?
  5. Which elements of the kitchen remodel are DIY-friendly?

An experienced contractor will know which parts of the kitchen remodel are possible to DIY, versus areas where DIY methods are risky. When in doubt, it’s best to leave kitchen remodel elements up to a professional so you don’t run into issues down the road.

Permits for Kitchen Remodels

Not all kitchen remodeling work needs a permit — it depends on the scope of the job. For instance, replacing existing cabinetry or a door would not necessarily warrant a permit. But adding a completely new door or window would. 

Here’s a quick overview of permits required for kitchen remodels:

Do I Need a Permit for These Kitchen Remodels?
Do I Need a Permit? Answer
Adding a new vegetable sink Yes
Painting the walls No
Taking down an interior wallYes
New electrical over a kitchen islandYes
Refinishing existing cabinetsNo
Adding new plumbing to a kitchen islandYes
Demolishing a load bearing wall Yes

Ultimately, permits are typically only required if you plan to move or add plumbing, walls, electrical or mechanical elements to a room.

Depending on where you live and the scope of your project, your contractor may need to secure permits to complete your kitchen remodel. Modernize always recommends discussing permitting with a contractor ahead of time. 

DIY Kitchen Remodel Ideas 

Although it’s important to understand and respect a contractor’s role in the kitchen renovation process, there are still some jobs that a homeowner can handle themselves. Some DIY projects in the kitchen can offer some opportunities to save money along the way. Here are some DIY kitchen renovation ideas. 

Use Paint and Stains to Rejuvenate Your Kitchen’s Look

Paint and wood stains are an easy way to revive a kitchen’s look and feel. Not only can it be used on the walls and to refinish cabinets, but painting kitchen tiles with stencils has become a new, trendy way to refresh a kitchen. 


Refinish Your Sink

Ceramic epoxies can give sinks and counters a new, fresh look. Swapping out hardware and fixtures, such as faucets and lighting, is also an inexpensive way to change the look and feel of things. 


Backsplashes and Wallpaper

If you are concerned about money or committing to a refreshing new look, temporary wallpaper and faux tiles can be the perfect way to update a backsplash without the sticker shock.  For inspiration, explore modern backsplash ideas for your kitchen.


Before diving into a DIY kitchen remodel, it’s important to prioritize your goals to avoid getting overwhelmed. With the help of a contractor to help worry about logistics, you will have more room to daydream over countertops and paint schemes. 

Modernize is here to help you figure out what’s the best option for your goals. Let us help you find the right contractor for you. 

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