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The timeline. One of the most thought-provoking steps of a home remodel.
Or, as we call it in my house:  “What the heck comes first?”
When you’re a DIY newbie like me, the challenge isn’t just to figure out the style and design of a kitchen remodel. A challenge also exists for figuring out what to do first, second, third, and last so as not to screw up any previous steps.



For our big powder room remodel, I had help, so I wasn’t too concerned. I had someone leading the way, so now I know what to do when we remodel the primary and guest bathrooms.
But the kitchen is not the powder room, and I’m not just painting the walls and replacing the sink. We’re talking countertops, backsplashes, painting cabinetry, even more plumbing, lighting, appliances, flooring… the list goes on.
So far, we’ve done what was clearly needed. New appliances are in place and the new laminate floors looks fab. Both were done out of necessity and made sense that we should try to build from the ground up. I’ve often heard that one should put flooring in last, but that would have meant interrupting the flooring installation for the entire downstairs. We had to choose something, and an entire kitchen remodel just wasn’t in the cards for Year One.



Now, I’m at the hard part. Here are what my instincts say:
I should probably paint the cabinets before putting in a new countertop. This, of course, means we remove the countertops and let me paint. Which means no working sink if we have to turn the water off. So, that means I should:
1. Remove counters
2. Prep by shutting off water and removing appliances (no counter to support sink means no sink)
3. Paint cabinets
4. Install new counter
5. Bask at the change
A tile backsplash goes on the walls last, which means we have to take the wallpaper off first. Since spraying the cabinets seems like a good idea (and fun – hey, I’m a newbie… let me think that spraying down my kitchen is fun), that means I should:
1. Rip off the wallpaper
2. Repair the mess
3. Remove counters
4. Shut off water and remove sink and appliances
5. Paint the cabinets
6. Prime and paint the walls
7. Install new counter
8. Tile a backsplash
9. Bask at the change
…Right? Clearly, I’m guessing here. Your tips are greatly appreciated. Am I on the right track? Completely off? Nuts for installing the floor before I thought it through? I’ll be updating this post in the future with tips as I learn them. Thanks in advance, folks.

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  1. If you are going to replace the counter tops then leave them in place while you paint the cabinets. Just move your appliances when you get to that section of painting.

  2. I would agree with James – unless spraying them requires that you take the countertop off first. When I painted ours, we were able to keep the countertops in place while painting, and so were still able to have a sink/place for me to stand while painting.

    I totally agree, though – figuring out the order to do things is tough!


  3. I think that sounds like a good plan but then again I've never actually done my own kitchen remodel just read about them.

  4. I agree with the previous tips- you'll only have a few days here and there without a working kitchen.

  5. Thanks everyone! It seems like such a daunting task until you break it down, step by step. I'll definitely keep you all updated with the progress.

  6. Just wanted to “ditto” everyone else. What you have here sounds like a good plan!

  7. Why do you want to spray the cabinets? Are you painting the insides or anything? I removed the doors and drawer fronts and sprayed them in the garage, but I did the cabinet frames with a foam roller and brush. As for the order of things, I painted the cabinets, then removed the old counters and installed the new, then painted the walls. It did help to leave the doors off the cabinets until the new counters were in – just gave easier access for installation of the counters as well as cleanup of the sawdust. Good luck!

  8. Yes, I plan to paint the insides as well. Some of the shelves need replacing (they are bowing in the middle) so I think it's best to paint everything to make it all match. Thanks for the tip about leaving the doors off until we're done. I'm sure that saved you a lot of trouble in the end.

  9. Ok, spraying makes more sense then if you're doing the insides too. I didn't mention in my first comment but the new counters that I installed are laminate. Not sure what your plans are but my comment was based on laminate :). Can't wait to see how your kitchen turns out!

  10. I'm curious if you removed the old linoleum or put the laminate over it? I want to re-do my kitchen floors and don't want to have to remove the old very ugly linoleum. Thanks

  11. My new laminate was laid over the old vinyl, (note that my foundation is concrete). They check first to make sure there are NO curled up edges on the old vinyl, if so, it is trimmed away and sealed. A thick plastic “undergarmet” is laid down first, then the laminate. Mine looks fantastic.