Let me start off by assuring you that your family is not alone in this situation, especially when it comes to being without your kitchen for a few weeks. However, there are solutions and steps both you and your contractor can take. It is of the utmost importance for your contractor be willing to work with you along these lines.
Here are some of the ways we worked out solutions for families to stay in their homes, be able to cook and wash dishes etc. while the kitchen work is going on. Keep in mind, you will have to make some sacrifices, but you can also make it a fun time for the family.
If you have a room close to or perhaps the back wall butts up against the kitchen, there is a way to set up a temporary cooking area in that room using your existing range, a ventless hood fan, some of the cabinets your are removing and a microwave. After your new kitchen is complete about the only thing you will have to do in this room is some patching and painting of the walls, but that is a small cost if it can help all of you survive the kitchen remodeling project and stay in your home. You can always factor in the cost of the temporary setup into the cost of the kitchen project.
Some people choose to live in a motel for a few weeks and others go stay with friends or neighbors, but for those who want to still have access to all the other areas of their home and sleep in their own beds at night, making these small adjustments are not only worth it money wise but also in keeping the whole family happy.
If you have a dining room, family room, den or even a bedroom that is close to the kitchen, preferably on the back side of one of the kitchen walls, then you have tackled the first step. The first choice would be to do this on the back wall of the kitchen where the oven/range is located, but it doesn't have to be that wall, it just helps make things easier. You can still use this method in a room that is further away, but it may cost a little more to set up, mainly do to wiring issues, but it still can be done.
Which ever room you decide to use, you will have to move at least some of the furniture out of the room temporarily. You can even store the furniture in the garage during the remodeling project.
If you have a standard free standing range, and if you are a do-it-yourself person, you can take a couple of the old kitchen base cabinets and set them on the wall of the room you have decided to use along with the range. Usually you put the range on the wall close to where it was located on the wall in the kitchen and then set a cabinet on each side of it. You would then want cut off a couple pieces of the old countertop, if any of it was able to be saved, and place them on the cabinets. If you are not able to use the old countertops, you can always buy some plywood or particle board and use it for the tops. Keep in mind that this is just a temporary situation.
You don't have to attach the base cabinets to the wall, unless you feel you need to. Once you put some things inside these cabinet, the weight will hold them in place. They may move a little, but not enough to cause any problems. However, if you want you can fasten them to the wall with a couple of screw, but make sure you find the stud location when fastening them to the wall. An inexpensive stud finder will work great for this. If you don't have one have your contractor locate them for you.
Next if you don't already have a ventless hood fan or an under cabinet microwave with a ventless fan built in from your existing kitchen, you can purchase one from your local home improvement center and even keep it for the new kitchen. Take one of the upper cabinets that is no taller then 24" and that is about the same width or wider then the hood fan, usually a 30" cabinet will work. Next install the cabinet with screws, above the oven. The top of the cabinet should be set at 84" off of the floor. Remember to locate the studs and this is especially important for the upper cabinets. You don't want to take the chance of them falling down. You should use a screw no smaller then a 2 1/2" long. 3" drywall screws work great.
You can use a laundry room or a nearby bath to wash the dishes. You can even have a laundry sink installed in the garage if you do not have one there already and use it for the dishes. Having a laundry sink in the garage will come in handy for all types of chores inside and out, so for the small cost, it could work out to be a wise investment. However to have one installed permanently, you will need to have water lines and a drain installed, if these are not there already.
Keep in mind that it may not always be possible to locate the oven/range on the back side of the existing kitchen wall. In that case which ever wall you would choose, the electrician would have to either run the wire he is going to use for the new oven and allow enough to run to the temporary location, or use what is already there if it is long enough to reach the relocated oven/range. If the electrician is going to run new wire to the new oven location, make sure that you figure in the length of what you will need and any additional length to run to the temporary oven location so that when it comes time to wire up the new oven, the electrician can cut off the excess wire without having to run a second new wire. This will save you money.
If you have a built in oven and a separate cooktop, then you will need to locate those on the wall, but I would put the tall cabinet that held the wall oven in the corner, mount a base cabinet with top next to it, install the base cabinet that had the cook to next to it and another cabinet and countertop next to that. Remember that these cabinets may or may not be screwed into the wall where studs are located. I do recommend on the tall wall oven cabinet that you do screw that one into the wall. The reason is that when you open the oven door, pulling it down may cause some movement in the cabinet.
You can also set a microwave on the counter in the temporary kitchen area or on a table or cart. You just need to get creative and make what you already have work. Plus, if the room is large enough, you may be able to put a small dining table in the room as well.
As far as the additional cost of setting up the temporary room, it will depend on how much of the work you can do yourself. If you can move all the cabinets and set everything up and all that has to be done for you is the wiring, you will save a lot of money. To have the wiring done you are probably looking at somewhere between $150.00 to $300.00 to have the work done. You may also need some plywood or particle board for temporary countertops which should run you about $40.00 and you can even have your local lumber yard or home improvement center cut the wood to size for you, unless of course you can cut the plywood yourself.
The only other costs would be to purchase some painting supplies, including paint, if you do not already have it, some brushes, drop clothes and other painting supplies that should run you over $50.00. Remember, if you had to stay in a motel even for one week, it will cost you much more then this and the inconvenience it will save your family, well you really can't put a price tag on that.
There is another thing that you may need to have done. If you have carpet in then room you are going to use for you temporary kitchen, you will want to protect it. You can either have it professionally removed and the re-installed after you complete the kitchen or take some 1/2" or 1/4" plywood, and lay it on top of the carpet where the cabinets and appliances will be temporarily located. You can cut the plywood to fit yourself or ask you contractor or lumber supplier to cut it to the size you need. The extra plywood should cost you no more then about $50.00. If you decide to leave the carpet, make sure you cover any exposed sections up with drop clothes or plastic. Remember you will be cooking in this room.
If the room has hardwood or laminate flooring, then you should buy a roll of rosin paper from your local home improvement center or flooring supplier and lay in down on the entire floor before you begin setting up the temporary room up. Make sure to tape down all the seams and edges with masking or duct tape. This will help protect the flooring from getting scratched up. If you have tile, you can use the plywood if you want or place the items on top of the tile. The tile is very durable and should not be problematic. However, if you are like me, I take extra precautionary methods to avoid any potential problems.
Also remember to take a plastic tarp and tape and seal off the entry way between the existing kitchen and the temporary kitchen, so that the dust from the work being done while the kitchen is being remodeled, stays in the work area. I recommend doing the same with any opening between the kitchen and the rest of the house if possible.
If you take these measures, it will cost you a little more money, and may have to walk further to get to the sink to wash the dishes, and wash them by hand, and you may have a couple of rooms in your house crowded with some extra furniture for a few weeks, but being able to stay in your home during the remodeling project will be well worth it.
In 2007, Rick Maselli founded RTM Directories Inc. and as president of this company his goal is to help the do-it-yourself people out there to have a one stop home improvement resource and that resulted in his new website, http://www.showroom411.com
The website offers Professional Home Improvement Advice which is free to the public and reflects all the hard work that Rick has put into to being a building Pro. Free members can also Ask Rick any home improvement question or advice at, http://www.showroom411.com/ask-rick-the-contractor-questions-advice-for-free-home-improvement.html
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