Without adequate foreknowledge, anyone who’s set out to design and create that Recipe For The Kitchen Of Your Dreams knows how easily dreams are burnt.
We begin with our list of wants, prioritizing into categories of “must haves,” “would be the nicest,” and “longshots.” The “must haves” category is always the longest since you haven’t actually priced anything out at this point. Big sink, granite counter tops, tile backsplash.
Maybe you could afford everything if all those greedy contractors could see it your way and work for free in your kitchen remodel. I mean, who do they think they are with their hourly fees, specialized tradesman?
I mean, I could do this work myself for nothing. If I knew how to do it and hand the right tools, time and experience. HGTV will show me how and do it on the cheap…now to get those volunteers…items donated….and other compensation…
Of course you had no idea how much that Sub-Zero refrigerator was going to cost because there is not a price for it listed anywhere online. And who knew it was even legal to charge that much for a refrigerator. The freezer… Oh, you want that too? That’s a separate price. Appliances are definitely a case of if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.
Think you can get this on a $30,000 budget? Think again!
Stacked cabinets seemed within your price range when you were thinking through your budget based on prices per linear foot but the reality is cabinets are not priced that way. It’s not your fault. The cabinet salesman led you to believe you could afford the cabinets of your dreams. But now could you please pick your jaw up off the showroom floor before you tip off the other potential customers that we are running a bait and switch?
To avoid sticker shock, let me fill you in on the true cost standing between you and your dreams.
1) Cabinets: This is often the biggest expense in any kitchen. Your cabinet price can differ dramatically based on materials. When pricing cabinets, know what type of construction you want. If the initial quote is too high, try running it again with less expensive door styles.
Boxes: Cabinets constructed of MDF or furniture grade particle board are usually priced less than plywood or solid wood construction.
Doors: Lots of variety in pricing due to door choice. Doors are usually priced lower when not constructed of solid wood but rather have wood veneers. Species of wood will also influence price. Domestic woods are generally more affordable, with oak and maple standard and cherry, alder and walnut pricier, with the exception of pricier rift sawn oak.
Door style contributes heavily to the price of cabinetry. Often, the more detailed and more popular doors are priced higher. Doors with beaded detailing are usually more expensive than simple Shaker construction. Due to construction time, inset doors are approximately 20% more than full or partial overlay. Since partial overlay has waned in popularity, it is often the best bargain.
Door finishes can be stained or painted, with a 20% upcharge for painting. Glazes on stained or painted finishes also cost more due to application. To get the look of a pricier wood, such as walnut, consider a walnut stain on select quality oak or grainy maple.
Glass fronts are an adorable detail that will drive your quote up quickly because the inside of the cabinet box needs to be finished to match the outside. This, apparently, is expensive.
2) Countertops: These days, stone countertops are pretty much expected when remodeling. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other, more affordable options for you. However, if you have your heart set on stone, know that there is a huge range of options. While exotic granites may hurt your budget, stones such as uba tuba, luna pearl and giallo ornamental are budget friendly counter materials with a neutral palette. also see Top 10 Kitchen Countertops
3) Tile: While $10 sq/ft for tile may not seem like a terrible expense, remember that the cost of installation is not cheap. Tile setting requires a lot of labor and, in most instances, costs the same whether you are installing $2 sq/ft tile or $30 sq/ft tile. If you need to reign in the expenses, forgoing the Walker Zanger or Ann Sacks tile for some American Olean or Brio mosaics will definitely save you a wad.
4) Appliances: Ask yourself whether or not you really need that pro-style range. But if you don’t, take your budget down a few BTU’s with a high performing mid-priced range. If you have your hearts set on a suite of high end appliances, visit an appliance store and ask for package pricing. Be prepared to switch brands to take advantage of promotions, such as a free range hood–something that may save you a few grand.
5) Flooring: We’ve already covered tile. No matter what the material is, you still have to shell it out on the install. Wood floors are gaining popularity in the kitchen but their pricing varies greatly. Sand and finish floor material is a great bargain, especially if you have a local mill nearby to purchase from directly. Shop around for an installer with fair prices and good references. Pre-finished wood floor is easy and cheaper to install. Lumber Liquidators has prices to beat even the big box stores. Like cabinets, exotics and higher grade domestics will cost premium prices. Marmoleum, the evolved offspring of linoleum, is a wonderfully green product made from sawdust and linseed oil. It is soft underfoot and is available in a variety of colors. However, even though it is associated with linoleum, this is not a cheap product. also see Kitchen Flooring Options
6) Faucets & Sinks: Just because a faucet is expensive does not mean it is better. Look at construction as well as styling, shop around online and hunt down the faucet that won’t break your budget. Avoid faucets with plastic parts and shoddy finishes by sticking to brands clearly stating the use of ceramic discs. Chrome faucets have the most durable finishes and are usually the least expensive. Want an ultra-low lead faucet? Be prepared to spend more money.
Stainless steel sinks are a great buy but can be quite expensive for trendier styles such as zero radius and farmhouse apron front. The lower the gauge, the heavier the materials. Sinks are a good place to cost engineer because there is so much variety on sale. However, if you are going to put the sink through heavy use and have it undermounted with stone countertops, do it right the first time.
7) Lighting: There are two expenses to consider here–the cost of wiring and the cost of the fixture. Know that can lights are cheap per unit but all that wiring is going to cost you a lot. Since they are essentially spotlights, you will need many spaced every 3-4 feet to avoid shadows. Depending on the size of your kitchen, this could amount to a big expense. Fixtures, like sinks, come in a wide range of prices. However, it may be harder to find the style you want in your price range, especially since pendant lights are often installed in groups of 3, quickly multiplying the expense.
8) The Work: It ain’t going to come cheap. The workers are real people doing a real job. They have skills that you don’t and they are going to charge you for it. The more you plan to move stuff around—electrical, plumbing, gas lines–the more time they have to spend doing their job. Avoid chit chat, even if they are super friendly. You’re paying for it!
No matter how you figure it, a kitchen remodel is a big expense. Choose your materials wisely. Keep spreadsheets listing the costs. Shop around for sales and do try to haggle the price down if shopping at appliance or tile shops. I know that at the start of a remodel you are filled with lots of fantasies and when the quotes start coming along reality hits like a wet blanket. Don’t get discouraged. Your dream kitchen is within your reach. Just adjust the dream!