Is kitchen remodeling expensive? Do you have any idea of what a kitchen remodel would cost? Most homeowners think they have a good idea of costs from previous home work, but pricing can change just like the housing market over time.
This is why a kitchen remodeling cost calculator is important in being prepared for any kitchen remodel. Knowing current industry averages with remodeling is half the battle to avoid sticker shock or wasting time in the research or building process.
Kitchen remodeling has increased in price during recent years much due to the housing market, shortages of labor and the increasing costs of supplies. But how can you know if your kitchen remodel estimate is priced correctly?
That’s where this guide comes in.
To demonstrate pricing of kitchens and what impacts the costs most in the current market, we have collected data and compared two kitchens that are virtually identical in size but have a completely different scope of work.
This allows a side by side comparison that will provide details of what places can impact the price the most. When looking at these cases, you can lay out your own blueprint based on what you envision for your kitchen remodel.
A few points to consider first:
- Different regions and areas will go outside the “average” pricing. Use this case study as a guide, not the final say.
- Contractors are going to be differently priced than handymen. If comparing, make sure to be comparing apple to apples. The pricing AND duration for a handyman is going to be completely different than a firm.
- Tariffs and other costs related to supply costs can and always will be changing.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s begin on kitchen pricing!
How much should it cost to remodel a kitchen? Our Kitchen Cost Calculator.
To compare the kitchens in an equal manner, we are using pricing from two kitchen remodels that have virtually the same square footage amount of around 200 SQ. feet.
One of these remodels involved moving mechanical systems like the plumbing, the other did NOT. We did this to show how the involvement of trades can influence the final product of your remodel and some of the problems or questions you will have to face.
Kitchen A – Large amounts of trade-work.
Kitchen B – Minor or no amount of trade-work.
Structural Systems (Plumbing + Electrical)
We started with the structural systems for a few reasons:
- Arguably the biggest range of costs
- Costs are based completely on the structure and layout of the kitchen
- They impact other parts and prices of the remodel that can’t be avoided
As stated above, these costs can make or break your kitchen remodel. Let’s look at the two-different kitchens to see how these changes impacted the costs.
Plumbing & HVAC (Mechanical)
- Kitchen A: $4,241
- Kitchen B: $2,215
These prices include fixtures and hardware for sinks and faucets. The kitchens were both within $50 on hardware. Sinks and faucets are some areas that you can manipulate your pricing, but most change here is labor which is a solidified price for the most part.
Because of labor pricing, Kitchen A is almost double the cost of Kitchen B. Plumbing and HVAC work is needed in most kitchen remodels and you can see here that before any of the “hardware” gets put into the kitchen a lot of time and money can go into the roots of the remodel.
We will touch on how this affects total project costs later.
- Kitchen A: $3,072
- Kitchen B: $550
That’s around 600% more electrical cost in Kitchen A. Kitchen A has $500 worth of electrical fixtures in its numbers but the rest is pure electrician labor.
Again, these kitchens are identically the same in square footage. But the pricing difference is evident, most of which comes from labor that can’t be skipped or trimmed down.
Between electric and plumbing, we have around a total of $7,000 and $2,700 put towards the labor of trades. To put this difference in perspective, the entire floor systems for the kitchens could be done for the same price of electrical and plumbing labor.
Finishes are where most people try to cut back and save money. Most of these things being items that have differently levels of quality or material. Examples of finishes would include drywall, flooring, and back splash. Some of these items are even priced based on square footage which means less space is lower costs. Just remember, sometimes purchasing more lowers the actual price per square foot.
- Kitchen A: $5,539
- Kitchen B: $4,627
As shown above, the selections cost are not that different between the two kitchens. Generally, this area of prices is going to be under your control as the homeowner. Have the budget for hardwood flooring? Go for it! But if you’re looking to save money, laminate may be a better option for you. Let’s look back at the trade labor prices above. Less labor in electric and plumbing could open a lot more options when making decisions on the finishes.
Sacrificing quality for pricing on finishes here may not be as effective as you think. Although small chunks can be taken out, the larger the square footage the more cost savings there is to be had. Always check to see if there is a more efficient way to cut pricing like not moving the layout of your kitchen if you are truly looking to modernize your kitchen.
Windows and Doors
This is another section that because of labor and products can be largely influenced and should be considered before diving into the process. Are your pantry doors falling apart? Or are they just outdated and can be painted to give them some new energy?
With that in mind, look at the pricing differences below:
Kitchen A: $418
Kitchen B: $2,495
Kitchen A pricing involved a kitchen door bought and installed. Kitchen B received an entry and slider door for outside access from the kitchen. Kitchen A is generally the more common cost for kitchens since sliding doors are generally already placed near kitchen areas.
There seems to be a trend here though that involves any changes related to the physical structure of the home. When walls, electric, or the roots of the house are moved it involves a hefty price tag with it. On the same point, what is the fun part for most homeowners of kitchen remodeling? Picking finishes and items like countertops, cabinets and appliances. These pieces are the “fun” parts of the kitchen for most clients, but sadly have some of the lowest cost impact.
Rough and Finished Carpentry
Rough and finished carpentry involves all wood materials, cabinets and counter-tops. Cabinets and counter-tops are one of the biggest choices in the remodeling process giving your entire kitchen its character and feel.
These decisions will influence your pricing like finishes did. Pricing will be heavily dependent on counter top quality (Quartz, granite, solid surface, etc…) and customization. The larger the amount of square footage involved in the cabinets and counter-tops, the higher the price will go.
Kitchen A: $13,204
Kitchen B: $12,841
What Can You Control?
Simply put, there are usually two reasons for starting kitchen remodels:
- Outdated: Cabinets, Flooring, Counters, and appliances are outdated and make the area feel old and not enjoyable. With your cooking space being one of the most used areas in your house, this a common situation or thought for many clients.
- Ease of Use/Layout: One wall could be holding you back from an open floor plan that could transform your kitchen and possibly the entire house. With the extra space, there are unlimited options and designs that could change your home.
If you can dig deep down and determine why you’re remodeling, then you may be better prepared for the kitchen remodeling process. Layout will involve more labor, design, and trades which as shown above accounts for a good portion of the cost that can’t be trimmed or saved by cutting quality or square footage. If removing walls or moving the layout is in your plans, be prepared to cut back on some quality options like cabinets and flooring to hit your budget. Just updating? You’ll probably have more flexibility in hitting your target range since you can decide on finishes that suit your style and price.
So, what decisions control the biggest part of kitchen remodeling pricing?
- Layout – Consider the way your kitchen was built and if it will cause a large impact on any structural systems. Are you wanting to just update the cabinets and counter-tops because it feels outdated and have no interest in moving anything? Your remodel may be more affordable than you think.
- Anything Involving Plumbing or Electrical – Have you ever looked at your car repair bill after an engine or transmission fix? Usually, it’s amazing to see how cheap parts are and then discovering how much labor is! Due to the lack of skilled trades workers, finding a quality plumber or electrician is not only difficult, but very pricey. Cutting back on anything related to your structural systems will result in a much lower final project price. This touches on the point above, but is worth discussing again.
- Tier 1, 2 and 3 Selections – These are all personal preference and up to you! Do you have a large amount of counter-tops you are wanting to update? Deciding on a low or mid-range surface may save you some significant money. If it’s a small counter size or you have no budget constraints, go for that tier 3 surface. It’s very much a give and take in these selection items which makes it even more crucial to have a designer to guide and educate you on the process.
- Want to see how your own kitchen would fit in with pricing? Here at Scroggs we have attached and created a kitchen remodeling calculator that is supplied with our average job prices on kitchen remodeling for the year of 2018. This calculator will be updated yearly to reflect material and labor pricing for the current time period.
Truly, kitchen remodels and home remodeling are extremely situational and require balance when trying to stick to a budget. If you are cramped in a small closed-in kitchen, you are looking at a ton of structural work and probably less selection items and quality in order to meet your budget. If you are tired of looking at your old cabinets and counter-tops and just want to update and add a door on your pantry, chances are that you will have a lot more room for selections.
Either way, it’s truly important to hire someone when looking to do kitchen remodeling that is transparent with their pricing and their process. If you can see the pricing and result before remodeling, why wouldn’t you?
With structural design heavily impacting costs, it’s a good idea to find a contractor that does design-build with fixed cost pricing. These types of contractors will be able to show you multiple designs of your space that can accommodate your budget while giving you options with up front pricing.
We hope that you found this study useful and provided some transparency on the why of pricing for kitchen remodels. As a side note, we hope to update the form above yearly to accurately represent market costs.