Kitchen Remodeling Cost: Remodeling Professionals Tell All

Remodeling a Kitchen Island
Remodeling a Kitchen Island. Gregory_DUBUS / Getty Images
  • 01 of 05

    Introduction to Kitchen Remodel Cost Estimates

    Kitchen Remodel
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    If you're looking for the cost to remodel a kitchen, you typically encounter a brick wall: no one wants to tell you. But here's why.

    Estimates: Secret for a Reason

    Kitchen remodeling pros cannot issue kitchen remodeling estimates from afar. It's hard enough giving cost estimates when you're on-site and familiar with the client and the kitchen. But issuing estimates means dealing with a swirl of often-competing factors. Once you think you've got a rough estimate locked down,...MORE another factor gets introduced (season, locale, drywall prices are up, you name it) and everything changes once again.

    What About Cost vs. Value Report?

    Homeowners interested in kitchen remodel estimates are usually shuttled to something called the Cost vs. Value Report, issued every year by Remodeling Magazine. Costs across the nation and by region are blended together, with generalized numbers coming out at the end.

    While the Cost vs. Value Report is valuable, it excludes one thing: your thought process. It's all too easy for homeowners to find an estimate on the matrix, and say, "Well, that must be it! Done!"

    But you need to take a more measured approach to the issue of kitchen remodeling costs instead of landing on a single number. Juggle various cost estimates in your head, intersect those data points with what you actually get for that price--and that squishy figure that comes out is your estimate. Sounds complicated? You bet. Kitchen remodeling is complicated.

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  • 02 of 05

    Mid-Level Kitchen Remodel Cost Estimate

    Beautiful Updated Kitchen
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    William Fadul, Co-Owner, MOSAIC Group, tells us that his estimate of $50,000 to $75,000 applies to a 12'x16' kitchen and involves pretty much everything that homeowners want in a mid-range remodel: new semi-custom cabinets; all-new appliances (budgeted around $6,000); granite or solid-surface counters; lay new floors or tie-in existing floors; even minor structural work; and much more.

    Surprised by that figure? Well, don't be. That's pretty much what you'll pay for a quality...MORE kitchen remodel.

    To go lower-end, Fadul says that you're dealing with a less invasive process. Essentially, you are "refacing and sprucing up all of the finishes."

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    MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers]

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  • 03 of 05

    Low-, Mid-, and High-Level Kitchen Remodeling Costs

    remodeled kitchen
    Remodeled Kitchen Painted Austere Gray and Super White. © Sherwin-Williams

    When embarking on a kitchen remodel "first prepare a realistic budget and then search for someone who will work with you to achieve your dream kitchen," says Seattle homebuilder Russ Lavallee of Lavallee Construction.

    Lavalle knows what he's talking about, too. He's been in the business of both new construction and renovating older homes for over 21 years.

    Lavallee echoes our earlier sentiments about shifting variables affecting kitchen remodel estimates. But he is perfectly...MORE willing to work within a customer's budget. Remember, many contractors expect the opposite: you're supposed to adjust to their figures. Says Lavalle, "if a customer only has $5,000 to remodel a kitchen, I can tell them what their options are and what I can give them for that budget."

    Low-Range Estimates

    "Low range renovations," says Lavallee, "run from approximately $100 to $125 per square foot and will brighten up a kitchen without making any major changes in the physical space. This can include door replacements, installing new laminate or basic tile countertops, and other items."

    Mid-Range Estimates

    Lavallee goes on to say that, "At $200 to $250 per square foot, a mid-range kitchen remodel is a step up in both price and quality. The customer has more choices and will see a difference in the higher end products that are available within this price range including better tile, Corian-like countertops or vinyl flooring."

    High-End Estimates

    Lavalle concludes by saying that, "When the price is not a factor and customers have a higher budget of $300 or more per square foot, this is generally a full-scale renovation or 'gut to the studs.' With a bigger budget comes an endless array of choices and prices to match that will create an entirely reconfigured space outfitted with the latest high-end products including new plumbing, countertops, flooring, hardware, woodwork, and lighting."

    Find This Professional

    Lavallee Construction: (425) 888-0954. Pacific Northwest only. No website.

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  • 04 of 05

    Leigh Gardner: $19,000 to $45,000

    Installing Energy Efficient Dishwasher
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    Leigh Gardner of Coastal Reconstruction Group tells us that a mid-range kitchen remodel, not including removal of walls or relocation of electrical or plumbing, might include:

    • Maple 42" cabinets with crown molding
    • Drawer stack
    • Lazy susan
    • Refrigerator cabinet
    • Solid surface counters
    • Ceramic tile floor
    • Integrated or undermount sink
    • High arc faucet
    • Dishwasher
    • Garbage disposal
    • Side-by-side fridge with ice and water
    • Smooth top electric range
    • Microwave/hood over range
    • Can lights
    • Painting the walls
    • Removing and...MORE disposing demo'd materials

    Your ticket for this ranges from $19,000 to $45,000. Many factors can slide the figure up or down.

    A low range kitchen remodel may run you anywhere from $12,000 to $18,000. Essentially, you're getting less expensive materials for this: vinyl floor instead of ceramic tile; top mount refrigerator instead of side-by-side; fluorescent lights instead of can lights; etc.

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    Coastal Reconstruction

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  • 05 of 05

    Cost Estmate for Remodeling Small Kitchen

    Installing Kitchen Back Splash
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    Michael Anschel of the design-build firm Otogawa-Anschel Design-Build in Minneapolis, MN graciously got back to us about kitchen remodeling estimates while he was on vacation.

    "The cost of a kitchen remodel obviously depends on the level to which the space is remodeled," says Anschel. "We have some projects that had tiny budgets (under $30,000) and we got pretty creative with materials, and reusing cabinetry and salvaged materials."

    Aschel says that as a rule of thumb, $40,000 is...MORE what you might find for a basic small kitchen remodel. He goes on to say that you can expect around "$60,000 to $80,000 for the majority of kitchen remodels that are making layout changes, solid surfaces, new lighting configuration, nice cabinets/appliances."

    Anschel notes a few kitchens that went above $90,000, but that cost was driven by unique carpentry or were part of a serious reconfiguration of interior space.

    Anschel goes on to say that "If you throw an addition into the mix, then the numbers can be radically higher depending on what is taking place. If the entire kitchen is to be placed in the addition, then costs tend to run between $80,000 to $150,000."

    Cost vs. Value Report and Other Thoughts

    Anschel also tells us that the "problem with the Cost vs. Value Report is that it pulls data from permits and every state and sometimes ​city has a different requirement for what the stated value on the permit should include."

    He goes on to say that "additionally, most contractors will either lie about the cost or use the true 'cost' of the project on the permit application because fees are generally a direct percentage of that amount. As a result, the average cost of projects listed in the magazine are generally lower than what we believe them to be. That also means the value is lower as well."

    In the kitchen and house building/remodeling debate, one thing that rarely gets mentioned is the long-term effects. He says that he wishes that "when the conversation about cost was taking place that we would also talk about long-term cost to the community, the local economy, and to the environment; that the questions were linked to paying employees a decent wage, providing safe working conditions and health benefits, and sound management and business practices of the company. After all, we are talking about the most expensive thing most people own, and the place where they will spend more than half of their life!"

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    Otogawa-Anschel Design-Build