What to Expect when Renovating

At Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms we understand that, although renovating a kitchen or bathroom is a worthwhile and significant undertaking, there is an element of inconvenience and stress to you whilst works are proceeding in your home. For this reason, we try to minimize the length of time that you are disrupted and to keep the lines of communication open throughout the project. Part of good communication is informing you beforehand as to what to expect throughout the process, so hopefully this blog will help you to understand and to plan ahead.

A visit to the showroom of Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms in Hawthorn East is the best way to begin the design process, where an experienced Showroom Consultant will discuss with you your initial thoughts, and will show you various styles, finishes and features to consider when designing your new space. You will also be able to see the quality of our company first hand.

After visiting our showroom, an appointment can be made for a Designer to visit your home and discuss with you and, if applicable, your partner, your lifestyle, budget, needs, ideas and wish lists, and of course the practicalities of the space. A perfect layout can then be discussed, combining your requirements and thoughts with our design expertise and creative ideas.

If you wish to go ahead with Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms, the Designer will then sketch up concept plans and 3D drawings for you to better visualise the space and will go over these with you at our showroom. If you don’t require any changes then the drawings can be signed by you, along with written contracts that specify the scope of works and associated costs, and a deposit will be paid (5% of the total cost).

The next step for us is to “detail” your kitchen or bathroom – that is, create plans that have every tiny measurement, type of handle or length of plumbing pipe recorded. For example, where do you want your powerpoints to go? How high do you want your shower head? Do you want chrome or brushed chrome tapware? Working to this detailed plan, the cabinetmaker will be able to manufacture joinery for your renovation that is built to a high degree of accuracy and can be put in by our installers with no last-minute surprises or problems for them, and the other tradespeople (plumbers, electricians, plasterers etc) can get everything exactly right!

In order for plans to be “detailed”, we require three (3) things:

  1. The original concept plan drawn up by the designer.
  2. Measurements and notes taken during a “check measure” in your home, which very accurately records all dimensions of the space down to the last millimetre. Our Detailer will make an appointment to visit your home to take these measurements and discuss the finer details of your renovation. This appointment usually takes 1 -2 hours.
  3. The specifications for every appliance and fixture that you want in your new space, such as choice of oven and dishwasher, tile selection, or model of rangehood for a kitchen. These specifications are needed prior to or at the time of the check measure appointment. Detailed plans can’t be created without these.

Once your detailed plans are drawn (which generally takes 1 -2 weeks), you will be asked to come in and sign them and pay another installment to cover the work that has gone into the drawing. We can then order your joinery (cabinetry) to get the project moving. It’s crucial that before signing, you go over the plans with a fine tooth comb and let our Detailer know if there’s anything for which you require more clarity or that you want to change, before we put in the joinery order.

After receiving the order, the joinery manufacturers get to work. As a guide, it generally takes from 5–7 weeks for the joinery to be made, depending on the material you have chosen to be used. They will provide us with an estimated date that the joinery will be delivered to your home, generally giving us 1–2 weeks’ notice, and at that point our Construction Manager will call you to let you know this date as well as the date that works will be starting. You will have time to clear your bits and pieces from the kitchen/bathroom, and to arrange payment for the delivery and for the commencement of trade works, each payable on their respective dates.

Once works begin, our Construction Manager will be overseeing all aspects of the renovation and will be your main point of contact throughout, although you can always also call the office if you have any general queries.

The order of work proceedings is as follows:

Bathrooms:

After your existing bathroom has been demolished and removed, any carpentry will be done and the electrics and plumbing will be “roughed in”. A fine layer of dust is inevitable, despite us covering your furniture and floors, so closing off the area as much as possible is desirable.

Simplicity and elegance of a free standing bath and walk in shower, designed by Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms, Melbourne

Plastering will follow and your shower base screeded. While that dries over about 3 days, your cabinets will be installed. Following that, if you are having stone benchtops, the stone company can collect the template cut-outs needed for the preparation of your vanity tops. The measuring takes about 1 hour and is usually either on the final day of cabinet installation or the next available working day. The stone takes approximately 10 working days to be manufactured then installed.

After the screed has dried the waterproofing can also be done, which also needs a few days to dry before tiling can commence, and this in turn takes around 5 days including drying time for the grout.

Once the stone vanity tops are in, the glass company will check-measure for your mirrors and shower screen. Production takes approximately 10 working days but within that time your electricity and plumbing will be re-connected, your accessories and plumbing items will be fitted, and any plastering of cornices (if you have tiles to the ceiling) can occur. The bathroom is then cleaned, caulked (where gaps are sealed to make them watertight) and, if you have ordered this, painted.

The end result of all this is that a bathroom generally takes 4-5 weeks to construct from the start date of works, excluding the manufacture time for your shower screens and mirrors.

Kitchens:

Kitchens, although generally larger spaces than bathrooms, are actually simpler and quicker to construct. They generally take 3–4 weeks to construct from the start date of works, excluding the splashback being manufactured and fitted.

Contemporary, white-based kitchen with beautiful sky blue glass splash back, designed by Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms, Hawthorn East

After your existing kitchen has been demolished and removed, the electrics and plumbing will be “roughed in”, the joinery installed (the latter generally taking 3+ days) and any plastering will be done. Again, some dust is inevitable, although we do our best to minimize it and cover furniture and flooring. Only once the kitchen cabinetry is installed can the stone company (if you are having stone benchtops) collect the templates prepared for the cutting of your benchtops. The measuring takes about 1 hour and is usually either on the final day of cabinet installation or the next day available working day. The stone tops take approximately 10 working days to be manufactured and installed, so during this time it feels like nothing is happening because it’s all occurring off site.

The installation of the stone can take up to 3 hours subject to size and complexity, but this is when your kitchen starts to look how you imagined. Once your stone tops are in, the glass company can check-measure for your splashback if you have chosen that feature for your kitchen. The glass production also takes about 10 working days but within that time your electricity and plumbing will be re-connected, your appliances will be fitted, your kitchen cleaned and any painting done.

It’s important to realise that the estimated times for both kitchens and bathrooms can be affected if variations are requested by you, or if other unforeseen events occur such that our tradespeople discover (especially in older homes) that need to be rectified before further works can occur. Examples could be termites in the walls, floor, or windows; mould or moisture in the walls from leaky plumbing or poor flashing; unexpected structural issues that need to be repaired; or asbestos or lead paint removal.

When installing your Ultimate Kitchen or Bathroom, we can supply all of the above required trades, from dismantling your old bathroom or kitchen, to fitting your towel rails or cabinet handles. However, if you choose to supply one or more of the trades, we will work in with you. Either way we will ensure the best possible outcome, with trades organised in the correct sequence and with minimal down time between each stage.

Once your Ultimate Kitchen or Bathroom is completed, there will be a handover at which a joint inspection between you and the Construction Manager will be carried out. Once you sign off that everything is complete, with any notes about bits and pieces that might need minor adjusting, you will be asked to pay your Trade Completion payment. After receiving this payment we will send you the Certificates of Compliance for any plumbing, electrical and waterproofing work that was carried out. We will also give you a 10 year guarantee on the build and lifetime warranty on all your Blum hardware. And of course we are always available to help with normal adjustments that might be required.

Hopefully the above helps to de-mystify the renovation process for you and you will be excited to see the exciting step by step creation of your new Ultimate kitchen or bathroom – a space that we trust you will enjoy for many, many years to come.

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