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Kitchen Cabinets and Kitchen Remodeling

Budgeting and Pricing

Kitchens are like cars in the sense that you can choose a small economical and inexpensive car or a top of the line luxury car: the gap in price can be enormous. At the low end, a kitchen can be remodel for as little as $5,000. At the high end, the sky is the limit. A good idea for the ranges goes as follows:

  • Lower tier: $5,000 to $25,000
  • Mid tier: $20,000 to $40,000
  • Upper tier: $35,000 to $80,000
  • Luxury tier: $70,000 to $150,000

The 2010-11 Cost vs. Value Report - a joint study done by the National Association of Realtors and Remodeling magazine - provides national and regional averages.

What is in a price?

Many items go into remodeling a kitchen: cabinets, appliances, countertops, flooring, sinks, faucets, labor, etc. As a guideline, you can use these percentages:

  • 35 %: cabinets
  • 20 %: labor
  • 20 %: appliances
  • 10 % windows
  • 5 %: fixtures
  • 3 %: fittings
  • 7 %: other

With the very important caveat that your kitchen will be unique and that your choices will impact these percentages.

What affects the price of my products?

  • Construction quality
  • Custom or stock
  • Material type
  • Door style
  • Finish
  • Interior storage accessories
  • Hardware
  • Trim and moldings
  • Difficulty of installation
  • Capacity
  • Power source and output
  • Finish
  • Features
  • Built-in or freestanding
  • Material type and quality
  • Thickness
  • Difficulty of installation
  • Edge treatment
  • Backsplash material and design
  • Material type and quality
  • Difficulty of installation
Sinks & Faucets
  • Material type
  • Size and number of basins
  • Finish
  • Spout style
  • Accessories

What will my budget buy?

Product Type$5,000-$20,000 Budget
AppliancesFree-standing with standard features
FlooringVinyl, laminate or linoleum
Sinks & faucetsStainless steel, self-rimming single- or double-bowl sink
Architectural detailsPainted or vinyl walls and ceilings with simple or no mouldings and trim
Product Type$20,000-$40,000 Budget
AppliancesFree-standing with panelled fronts and standard features
CountertopsWood, tile or solid surface
Sinks & faucetsMultiple under mount, enamelled cast iron or stainless steel sinks
Architectural detailsWood-panelled or plastered walls and ceilings with some detail work in mouldings and trim
Product Type$40,000-plus Budget
AppliancesStainless steel, stone or solid surface
CountertopsStainless steel, stone or solid surface
FlooringStone or hardwood
Sinks & faucetsMultiple solid surface, integral sinks and pot filler faucet
Architectural detailsBeamed or pressed-tin ceilings, stuccoed walls, extensive mouldings and trim, hand-carved accents

Keeping the cost down

To keep remodeling costs in check, you must plan ahead, be willing to compromise, and keep emotions out of the financial picture.

  1. Identify affordable alternatives that look like expensive products.
  2. Don't change the Layout much. If you keep your appliances, sinks, faucets, and lights where they are, you can use the existing plumbing and gas lines and electrical outlets. Moving utilities can add up to a lot of labor costs. Also, any time you cut into the walls, you run the risk of uncovering a problem that must be fixed. Many of these problems would need to be addressed eventually; you've just moved up the timeframe.
  3. Plan for the worst; hope for the best. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry recommends setting aside at least 10 percent of your budget for unforeseen costs. These may include:
    • Asbestos removal
    • Mold remediation
    • Dry rot
    • Upgrades to the electrical service panel
    • Termites or carpenter ants in the walls, floor, or windows
    • Leaks in the walls from bad plumbing
    • Structural problems that require repair
    • Rotten window frames
    • Improper insulation
    • Code upgrades required by inspectors
  4. Distinguish between needs, wants and wishes. Make a list of everything you want to do in your new kitchen, then classify each item according to the following system:
    • A need is a must-have: a functioning refrigerator, for example
    • A want would be nice and might be achieved: say, a new stainless steel refrigerator. Most people can't afford all of their wants and will have to choose among them or wait until later
    • Wishes are the dream items: perhaps a complete suite of commercial-grade appliances. Some folks can afford their dream kitchens; the rest of us will have to wait until we win the lottery