What we’re going to cover in this guide;
The kitchen, oh yes, take a deep breath.
Because, in most homes, the kitchen is the only place where family and friends share meals, anecdotes, quality time, memories, and where everyone comes together each and every morning.
It’s like a must-stop-by place before you head out to face your day, right?
I can see it now.
Some trying to grab their morning coffee, others checking out what the fridge has to offer, others barely awake just sitting there, and maybe you, moving around getting things ready for the family.
In many ways, a kitchen is multi-use!
And as such, it’s extremely important to have a kitchen that not only functions well, but also suits your own (or family’s) needs.
Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen to help sell your home faster or just to create a space of your culinary dreams, there’s a lot of planning and budgeting you need to do first. Keep in mind that a kitchen remodel project is perhaps more disruptive to the everyday routine than any other home renovation project.
Such a project can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete, which means you have to find practical alternatives for food preparation, storage, and cleanup.
Oh, and you’ll also have to find a different morning-hub for everyone in the house!
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about revamping or upgrading your kitchen, including how much it typically costs to remodel a kitchen, and how to undergo the entire design and remodeling process. We’ll also offer a step-by-step guide on how to plan for your remodel.
How does all this sound?
Every remodeling project is unique, and the total costs incurred will vary based on your budget, priorities, and tastes. Your number one concern when planning your kitchen remodel should be building a comprehensive budget. It will determine what you can accomplish, how much professional help you will need, and how your new kitchen will look like. Failing to plan accordingly could land you into debt by the end of the project, or worse, leave you with a half-finished space when the money runs out.
Be sure to set aside 15% to 20% of your budget for unexpected problems during the remodel. Some of the common unexpected issues include structural, electrical, plumbing, and toxic or pest problems that could arise during the project.
A good rule of thumb is to spend about 5% to 15% of your home’s market value on your kitchen renovation. So, if your house is valued at $100,000, a decent kitchen remodeling project should be about 10% of that value, which amounts to $10,000.
Depending on what you need to repair, install, or upgrade with your remodel, expect to spend anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000. A small kitchen of around 70 square feet will have limited options for the project. Still, it’s important to create a budget and plan for some DIY work to save some money and time.
The most expensive area in any kitchen remodeling project is the cabinets. Installing new cabinets can easily cost you an upwards of $15,000 for a large kitchen.
In second place is new appliances, which cost an average of $8,200. Countertops are next, costing just under $6,000. Keep in mind that if your remodeling project requires electrical work, there’s going to be a considerable expense to the overall project. If you aren’t careful, plumbing and electrical work can easily become one of your largest expenses. The extent of your remodeling, the size of your kitchen, and the city where you live will all significantly change these numbers.
The time you need to design and remodel your kitchen will depend on the scope of the project, the requirements of the design, and the availability of materials. If your project is straightforward, you can just have new components replacing the old ones while keeping the same layout. This is referred to as a replacement kitchen. A replacement kitchen project will take an average of 6 to 8 weeks for a medium sized kitchen.
Remodeling projects involving a larger kitchen, structural changes, wall removals, and floor-plan reconfigurations will take much longer. Expect the project to take 10 to 12 weeks, which is the time-frame for a custom kitchen renovation.
Don’t forget to account for the fact that delays can occur at any part of the project, even with the most careful plans. This is not necessarily because of carelessness or incompetence. Hiccups with the ordered products are often tricky to schedule for, as everything is tied together in a sequence. However, most of these hiccups can be smoother over with effective project management to ensure that when they occur, they aren’t show stoppers.
According to remodeling statistics, the average time-frame for remodeling a kitchen is about 10 to 15 years. Within that time, a kitchen can gradually lose its practicality, become dull, and be out of touch the current trends. A remodeling project presents a great way to improve its appearance, the workflow, and more importantly, suit the needs of you and your family.
Sometimes, you might just want to create a sense of freshness and add a touch of openness to your kitchen. Or you just want an expanded space to prepare gourmet meals for your larger family, or you’re probably planning to put up your house in the market and want to fetch a great price. For others, it’s an innate feeling that they do need to remodel their kitchen that compels them to want to do so.
Nonetheless, no matter the reason, there’s no set rule on how often you need to remodel your kitchen. If the funds are not a problem, why not put your thoughts into action?
Major home improvement projects usually don’t return real profits to the homeowners. In fact, it’s unlikely that you’ll recover all of the costs incurred in the project when selling your home. Nonetheless, well-done remodeling and renovation projects tend to help the homeowners sell their property faster. In addition, a remodeling project tends to improve the all around property sale prices.
The amount you recoup on a kitchen remodeling project will have a lot to do with the kind of renovations you do, and your local real estate market. As such, there’s no one-size-fits-all ROI for kitchen remodeling. Nonetheless, it’s recommended that you talk to an expert real estate agent to find out more about which renovations offer the best returns.
The right answer here depends on the goals you have in mind. For instance, if you’re planning on selling your home in a few months, it’s not smart to put up $50,000 for the project if your real estate agent thinks you can only recoup $30,000. In such a case, it makes sense to only do small renovations perhaps not exceeding $5,000. The right updates can actually give your home value a small boost before hitting the market, and attract lots of attention and buyers.
If you’re planning on remodeling the kitchen for your enjoyment, you’re investing for something different. Having a kitchen that you love being in can not only improve your workflow in the kitchen, but also benefit your life in other ways. Many people have claimed that they lead a much healthier lifestyle after renovating their kitchen. Others say it helps them have more family time, while others find themselves cooking more at home. So, even if you don’t recoup the whole cost of your remodeling project, updating your kitchen is a great invest for you and your loved ones.
A kitchen remodeling project should ideally be conducted in the right order to ensure maximum efficiency. Here, time is money, and following the right order can save you loads of it. Due to the lengthy time needed to complete such a project, it’s important to understand what to expect at every stage.
• Planning (at your pace): This step is all up to you and will depend mostly on what you want to achieve, your budget, and the scope of the project.
• Find a Contractor (at your pace): Try to find referrals, estimate costs, hold interviews & meetings, etc.
• Design (1-4 weeks): This will also depend on the features your want and the scope of the project. The key here is to know what you want.
• Order products: (1-2 months): Order your products early. It takes time to choose the products and coordinate the delivery. Be sure to allow for returns, damages, and change of mind.
• Demolition (3 days to 3 months): Tear out the old stuff and get rid of what you don’t need. Changing the existing structures like walls will take time. If you can, do it yourself to save some cash.
• Rough-in-work: This includes any plumbing, framing, and electrical changes. Next, have all the electrical, plumbing, framing, or other work inspected to make sure it’s in line with your state codes.
• Painting (2-3 days): Once you pass the inspection, finish the walls. You should ideally paint before installing the cabinetry to allow time for any touch-ups and drying.
• Install windows and doors (1-2 days): Have the trip installed too so that you work with finished dimensions.
• Install Cabinets (2-4 days): Ideally, you should hang the wall cabinets first before installing the base cabinets.
• Install countertops (1 day): To avoid losing time, pre-schedule with your vendor beforehand for timely delivery.
• Install the new appliances (1-2 days): Ensure that the utility connections and ventilation are ready to take in the built-in appliances.
• Install lighting fixtures (1-2 days): While lighting can be easy to install, it’s best to first consult a professional if you plan on doing it yourself.
• Put down the new floor (1-2 days): This will depend on your floor choice and whether you’re installing it yourself or having a professional do it.
• Finish Fittings: (2-4 days): There might be other details you need to complete to finish up your remodel. Allow for up to a week to finish this step.
Most budgets for remodeling projects can be broken down into four: Preparation, Labor, Materials, and allowable items.
1. Project preparation: Scheduling is key to making you’re the job is handled efficiently within your budget, and that you have the proper material and plans ready for the project.
2. Labor: This encompasses the cost to complete the work. Account for carpentry labor, demolitions (if not DIY), and additional subcontractor costs such as plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. Labor costs are directly related to the scope of the project.
3. Materials: The materials needed are also related to the labor, and can be drywall, lumber, nails, etc.
4. Allowable items: These are the items you choose for the remodel, such as windows, doors, lighting, plumbing, cabinetry, tile, appliances, and countertops. These account for about 25% of the total remodeling costs.
As mentioned earlier, don’t forget to budget for the unknowns. Have 10% to 20% of your budget specifically set aside for unexpected things that come up. These could be a specialty finish, unforeseen construction defect, or even an appliance you really want.
While hiring contractors cost you more, it will also make your remodeling a lot easier, fetch you better deals on the materials, and even save you money in the long run. You can look up contractors in your area, find out what people are saying about them online. Ask around to find people who have worked with them and see if they were satisfied.
After you’ve narrowed it down to a few you deem a good fit, reach out to them with questions to see if they are people you can work with and more importantly, if they are the right person for the job. Some of the questions you can ask include:
• Are you licensed?
• Will you going to obtain any permits?
• Are you and your staff insured?
• How will you tackle the project?
• Do you offer free quotes?
• Who will handle the cleanup from the project?
• What are your payment options?
When updating your shelving and cabinets, you can either repaint, reface, or install new ones. Nearly any kind of kitchen cabinets can be repainted, and this is a great option if you’re tired of your outdated cabinets. A new coat of paint is also very durable, and in most cases, can last as long as new cabinets. Plus, if you have a vast experience with woodwork or let a professional handle the work for you, you’ll likely be surprised at how good the end product will look.
Generally, the cost of repainting cabinets is a third to a half of that of replacing. The only time you might want to skip re-staining or repainting your cabinets is if you’re seriously tired of the look of the drawers and doors. In such a case, you have the option of doing a combination of both replacement and refinishing or repainting to save on costs.
Installing new cabinets will take up almost 50% of your total budget. However, functional cabinets can be the difference between a functional kitchen and one that isn’t. So, what if you can’t afford to splurge on all-new cabinets for your remodel project?
Refacing the cabinets can give your existing cabinets a new look at a much lower cost than installing new ones. Replacing the cabinet doors can save you up to 50% in comparison to replacing. Plus, the process is also much less involved and convenient, considering it doesn’t require the removal of appliances and fixtures. The kitchen remains functional while the work is underway.
So, if you want new doors and drawers, consider hiring a professional cabinet maker to install unfinished drawers and doors with new hinges and guides and then have your painting contractor do the rest of the finishing work.
The best ways to answer this question is to consider two things: you budget, and your timing.
Let’s talk about Budget first:
This is a key factor if you want to maximize your ROI. For instance, if you have about $1,000 to work with, it’s best to settle on painting the walls and cabinets, and perhaps install an inexpensive countertop. Your agent should be able to advice you on what kind of improvements to focus on in order to get the best price.
Now let’s cover timing:
If it’s almost spring and your remodeling project is going to take three or more months, you will miss out on one prime season for home sellers. You might have the perfect kitchen in your house come late summer, but the market isn’t going to be as good.
These are the kind of considerations you need to have in mind. The best approach here is to discuss your concerns with your real estate agent. Have them know if you’re looking to sell quickly or whether your priority is to sell for more money.
Lastly, we’re working on a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on our website and you can find it here. Please keep in mind this is still in progress and may not be completed just yet.
This section will include all kinds of great information about kitchen remodeling projects for homeowners. It’s an awesome resource… and yes, we may be a little biased about that 🙂
In a perfect world, all deliveries arrive on schedule, demolition starts on time, installation takes place uninterrupted, and the clean-up after is quick and easy. However, we don’t live in a perfect world, so don’t shrug off the odds of falling prey to one of the following common pitfalls:
1. Trying to do everything yourself: Home remodeling is one of those projects you don’t want to undertake by yourself. This is one of the most complex, costly, and time-consuming home projects you can undertake, and the input of a professional contractor is not only invaluable, but also mandated by law for some projects.
2. Putting the Job up for bids before clearly outlining the specifications: Unless you include every last detail of the project upfront, it will be quite difficult to get everything right. This means specifying your countertop material, type of flooring, cabinet hardware, and even the lighting. Failure to specify in detail could have your contractor assume you want the higher end options, which will end up costing you a lot more.
3. Hiring the wrong contractor: Don’t hire a contractor who in any way makes you feel uncomfortable or doubtful, no matter how low their estimate. If you feel like you can’t trust them, look elsewhere.
4. Paying in advance: It’s quite surprisingly how easily people turn over their life savings into someone they can’t trust. Never pay 30% of the total remodeling job cost up front. Be sure to work out a schedule of ongoing payments after the completion of each phase.
5. Settling for a cookie-cutter kitchen: Face it, the next owners of your house might start dreaming of ripping the kitchen your worked so hard to build as soon as they move in. Unless you plan on selling the house within the next few years, go ahead and build the best kitchen within your budget that works for you. But don’t go too overboard or over-customize stuff. What’s perfect today could prove limiting in a few years.
6. Being distracted from the end goal: the are so many kitchen remodeling designs, features, products, and styles to choose from. That’s why it’s important to have a wishlist and stick to it.
7. Trying hard to keep up with the Joneses: For those who all they ever use an oven for is popping in a frozen pizza occasionally, you will be more than happy with a conventional stove. This can save you thousands of dollars, and you can always upgrade your appliances later.
8. Changing your mind frequently: As we said, time is money here. Regretting, re-configuring, and reordering only leads to delays, tapped out budgets, and changed work orders. It can also test the patience of the contractor, who probably has another job lined up after yours.
Remodeling a kitchen is one really exciting project that can transform the ambiance and value of your home. While it can be a long process, it will be well worth it in the end. So whether you’re looking to build the perfect kitchen for your home or renovating to sell, you have put in the work and it’s now time to relax and enjoy your new kitchen.