A kitchen serves as the heart and hearth of your home. It's where the meals are prepared and often served. It's where all of your parties end up. Is it any wonder that kitchen remodels are so popular and have the largest payoff in terms of boosting a home's resale value? Of course, they're also the most complicated remodels and can be the most expensive. The cost will vary depending on the size of your kitchen, the quality of materials, the quality of the appliances and whether you're changing the layout of the room.
The first step is to consider the kitchen holistically. Before you get to the smaller questions, such as whether to reface your cabinets or replace them, ask yourself the big questions: What do you want from your kitchen? How do you want it to look and function? Is the size and configuration right?
Figure out how much money you're willing to spend. If your budget is modest, you probably won't be able to create your dream kitchen. But that doesn't mean having a vision of that perfect kitchen isn't important. Maybe you can take incremental steps to getting there.
Once you have a contractor you trust, work with him or her to develop a plan, including work and payment schedules. Then you can take a closer look at the details that will affect your overall cost.
The options can make your head spin: stone, tile, concrete, marble, butcher block, stainless steel, recycled glass, Formica, Corian the list goes on and on. Choose a material based on what's going to look and functions best for you. Seamless materials, such as Corian and granite, tend to be more durable but are generally more expensive. Formica and concrete tend to be cheaper but add less value to the home. Tile can be pretty, but you can expect quite a bit of maintenance down the road. Within each category of material, you'll find huge price swings, depending on quality. When making these decisions, keep in mind the huge role that countertops play in the look and usability of your kitchen.
Cabinets often make the room's first impression, and if your cabinets are dated, that impression might be like walking into a business meeting in a powder blue leisure suit. The cost of new cabinets will vary depending on whether you go for standard sizes or custom, as well as the quality of the materials. If you want to give your old cabinets a new look for less, you may choose to refinish or reface your cabinets. You can change the color, look and feel without tearing through the kids' college fund.
Investing in a quality stove, dishwasher and refrigerator can certainly drive up your costs. But if your objectives are to improve your quality of life and your home's value, skimping here can prove self-defeating. We recommend buying the best appliances you can afford, and if you can't afford them, consider delaying the project until you can. Not only will better appliances pay off in higher resale home prices, they also can last longer, provide better warranties and save you money on utility bills.
This is one of the few areas that shouldn't be done incrementally. The time to do electrical work is when your room is torn up for a remodel. Have you been considering adding new lighting? Do it while there are gaping holes in your walls and floors. Another important factor involving your electrical system is whether you have enough power or whether you need to upgrade your electrical board to accommodate that new refrigerator or oven. Once you install new appliances, you've changed all the equations. So make sure you have an electrician to guide you before you just plug everything in and hope for the best. Another factor here might be changing the layout of the kitchen, which may require moving outlets and fixtures. That could drive up costs a bit.
Here, the remodel that changes the layout of the room could be an even bigger factor than it was for the electrical. Moving sinks, dishwashers and ice-makers can mean moving pipes, and that will certainly mean high labor costs. You can save a considerable amount on your kitchen remodel if you keep your plumbing in the same location.
The largest factors in the cost of new flooring are the square footage needed and the material you choose. Vinyl and linoleum flooring tend to be the most affordable options but add little or nothing to the value of your kitchen. Tile, granite and wood are more expensive options and will help to increase the value of your home. However, the more expensive flooring options are sometimes the more difficult to maintain and keep looking new. Kitchens can be volatile work stations, and damage from stains, grease, heat and moisture can be as common as Sunday pancakes. So, if you can't keep up with the cleaning and maintenance, the more expensive flooring options might not be the best for you.
The cost of remodeling a kitchen may seem overwhelming at first, but if you plan in advance and prioritize the most important areas of your kitchen, that can help keep your kitchen remodel price in check and ensure you get exactly what you want and need.