At the cooking class, one of the attendees mentioned that our dinner would be a special treat for he and his fiancee, given that their kitchen was in mid-remodel. Said kitchen — a 10-foot x 10-foot room that included only a range, a refrigerator and a sink with integrated drainboards — had never been updated. There were no cabinets or countertops. While the couple looked forward to new stainless steel appliances and granite counters, at present they had an empty room.
With such a big job to tackle, I was surprised to hear that he was doing the work himself, other than hiring an electrician to upgrade their voltage. The work, he said, wasn't hard; just time consuming. I asked when the project was supposed to be done, and she shrugged her shoulders.
And that is why I lean toward hiring professional contractors (emphasis on professional) for home improvement projects. Small projects that can be completed in an evening or a weekend are fun and fulfilling. But a multi-step kitchen remodel takes a lot of time, and fitting it in around work, holidays, family, friends, chores and errands, sleep, etc. can drag out the not-so-fun parts of remodeling — dust, disorder, eating too much take-out — for months on end. I've seen many DIYers live without a bathroom or bedroom for a year or more, causing intense marital strain in the process.
Delivery, storage and staging of materials during the remodel is also a concern, especially because I live in a third-floor condo in a building with no elevator. Then there's the fact that the plumbing fixtures are attached to leaky, rusty, 40-year-old galvanized steel pipes that have caused floods for both of my downstairs neighbors.
Besides, I know my strengths. I can replace hardware, paint siding, frame walls and hang gypsum board. Interior finish work, along with Xbox and other skills requiring significant amounts of hand-eye coordination, is not my forte. The return on my investment in a new kitchen would be diminished by sloppy caulking, unaligned trim and tilting tiles. I prefer to pay for quality work. You?