Do You Need Permits to Remodel Your Kitchen?

Do You Need Permits to Remodel Your Kitchen? – Innovative Kitchen & Bath – Kirkland, WA

The remodeling process can sometimes involve paperwork and permitting. Let the experts at Innovative Kitchen & Bath help you navigate any permit requirements.

The answer to the issue of whether Seattle residents require permits for a kitchen remodel is a resounding “yes” in a number of instances. Your certified contractor at Innovative Kitchen & Bath is aware of the necessary permits. Depending on the size of the project, many permits will likely be issued quickly, while others might call for a plan inspection.

When does remodeling a kitchen in Seattle NOT require a permit?

The Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections indicated that any small alterations or repairs that cost less than $6,000 in any 6-month period will not be subject to the licensing process.

Minor kitchen renovations that do not require additional permits:

  • Painting or cleaning
  • Re-pointing a chimney
  • Installing kitchen cabinets
  • Paneling or other surface finishes over existing wall and ceiling systems

When is a Seattle kitchen remodel subject to permits?

Regardless of how minor the project may be, you must obtain approval before beginning any construction work connected to load-bearing structures, modifications to the building envelope, or improvements to light, ventilation, or fire resistance.

In Seattle, a kitchen remodel requires the following permits:

Plumbing permit (± $300)

Required for any construction work that changes the existing kitchen layout, such as moving a sink, installing new plumbing, or adding a dishwasher. Additionally, switching from galvanized pipes to copper or PEX or improving the plumbing behind the walls may require a permit.

Electrical permit (around $300)

Requirements apply whenever electrical wiring is installed, modified, expanded, or connected to any electrical device, including signs. You don’t need an electrical permit if you merely replace damaged or broken electrical outlets, light fixtures, and light switches with equivalent ones. Remember that installing a grounded GFCI outlet is best left to a licensed electrician for the safety of your family.

Building permit (around $800, depending on the cost of your project)

A substantial kitchen remodeling project, which includes significant construction work, such as opening up walls, taking out outdated tiling or flooring, requires the acquisition of a building permit.


Your permit fee could include any in-progress inspections, depending on the size of your project. A lot of time could be saved by working with a professional contractor like Innovative Kitchen & Bath who is familiar with building codes. It would be the inspector’s responsibility to ensure that you adhere to current building codes if your construction project qualifies for an STFI building permit (subject-to-field-inspection).

You should follow these steps if you hired a general contractor:

  1. You must undergo your initial inspection, also known as the rough-in inspection. Your contractor will arrange for electrical, plumbing, and building inspectors to ensure that your kitchen project is up to code after all the wiring and plumbing have been installed but before the walls have been closed up.
  2. Once your project is complete, there will be another round of inspection. You’ll be provided a list of things that need to be modified if adjustments need to be made. In order to verify that it was rectified correctly, a follow-up appointment with the inspectors should be arranged.
  3. Your general contractor will test for correct installation of items including insulation on external walls to make certain that the plumbing and electrical inspectors will sign off before getting the building inspector’s final approval.

Avoid hiring an unlicensed handyman

If you’re merely performing a minor aesthetic makeover, hiring a qualified and licensed handyman can be a prudent choice. The true risk arises when a handyman acts as a general contractor and offers to start a project without a permit in order to save you money. You’ll end up paying a fee of $500 every day.

Innovative Kitchen & Bath Can Help

Contact our kitchen gurus at Innovative Kitchen & Bath to schedule an appointment to go over your plans for your kitchen remodeling project and any necessary permits.