25 Kitchen remodel facts you need to know
Remodeling your kitchen is not the simplest task you can take on. You can make the best of your remodel by arming yourself with information. The advantage to knowing the facts about kitchen remodeling is that you can make the best plan possible. These facts will make it easier for you to make design choices. By weighing these facts you ensure the best possible outcome for your kitchen remodel.
Kitchen Remodel Facts
It’s not cheap: The average cost for a kitchen remodel is $20,000. This cost is for an average sized kitchen of around 70 square feet. As the space you are remodeling increases, the average cost increases. This cost will increase if you select exotic materials as well. Always remember to plan for more money than you think you will need.
You need a budget within a budget: While raw numbers are helpful to get an idea of how much it may cost, where should you put this money? The usual breakdown of where to put your money according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association for a kitchen remodel is as follows:
- Design/Architectural Drawings: 4%
- Installation costs: 17%
- Appliances: 14%
- Cabinets: 29%
- Countertops: 10%
- Lighting: 5%
- Flooring: 7%
- Doors/Windows: 4%
- Walls/Ceilings: 5%
- Faucets/Plumbing: 4%
- Other: 1%
The unexpected will happen: The best idea in kitchen remodeling is to keep a 15% buffer. This buffer is to cover the unexpected problems that come up during your remodel. An older home will often require an even larger buffer because you will find more unforeseen problems. The unused money is great for those finishing touches at the end of the project.
You don’t get all your money back: While it is true when you remodel your kitchen the value of your home increases it is almost never more than you put into the project. Your kitchen remodel will only recoup between 60% to 70% of the cost. This recoup is only maximized when the kitchen is newly remodeled. 10 years after you finish your remodel this will not hold true
Know the space you have and need:
- Average kitchen size is 300 square feet, or around 15 percent of your total square footage
- Average space between lower and upper cabinets is 2 feet
- Standard counter depth is 25”
- You need 18” on each side of your sink
- Ideal kitchen work space is a triangle between stove, refrigerator, and sink with the sum of the sides no more than 21 feet, no less than 9.
Keeping the cabinets isn’t always best: The idea of refinishing existing cabinets is only cost effective if they are in good condition. If your cabinets require extensive cleaning, or repair, take the costs involved into consideration. Don’t forget the labor costs when making this decision, unless you do the repair and refinishing yourself.
Going simple can save: If you like the idea of an expensive material but can’t afford it you may have an option. You can sometimes get more expensive woods in simpler styles for a better price. Always take the time to check a supplier’s catalog more deeply to see what is available in these simpler styles.
Custom cabinets are not always better: Sometimes manufactured options are better than custom cabinetry. It is often more affordable than custom work, which helps the budget. Also depending on the two choices the manufactured cabinets may be better with humidity and durability as they are made in a controlled environment.
You will likely need new countertops: Old countertops may not work with new cabinets. Even if they have the same footprint when you remove old counter tops they are often damaged. Fitting them back together can become a jigsaw puzzle you just don’t need to deal with.
You have to be careful with contractors: Not all contractors are reputable. Be careful about your contractors, use BBB and reviews from previous customers. A good contractor can make your project run smoothly, on budget, and be completed on time. A bad contractor can cause your costs to shoot through the roof without warning. You must take great pains to look into your contractors to ensure you have one that is reputable.
Your dream kitchen may not be everyone’s: When making design choices try not to be overly specific to a style that only you like. The more personalized the remodel, the less it helps resale value and the less return on your investment will occur. While you may love late 12th century Italian countryside décor with bright purples and oranges, the next owner of your home probably won’t.
You can overspend on a remodel: The sweet spot for your budget is between 6-10% of your home value. Often the impulse is to sink every dollar you can into your remodel. This often results in a kitchen that is priced out of the rest of the house. It makes little sense to have a $50,000 kitchen, and a bathroom from the 70’s.
You have to fix damages first: Always fix any damages before adding something new. It isn’t glamorous to sink money into repairing a water damaged subfloor, or repairing wiring that is out of date. But you have to do these sort of repairs before you can add new elements to your kitchen.
Open is not always better: While open concept kitchens are all the rage in current design, think this through carefully. This article from slate.com gives a great argument for not opening up your kitchen. On top of the very good reasons in the article, you save money by not having to remove walls.
People like the look of stone: Although pricey, if you are going for a high end kitchen you almost have to select some variety of natural stone. Natural stone doesn’t always have to mean Carrera marble though. Granite and other varieties of stone can make your kitchen what others want, without breaking the bank.
Planning keeps costs down: A good plan will save you costs in a lot of different ways. Good planning helps you avoid costly mistakes, and makes sure you buy exactly what you need. Never neglect to plan at each step of your remodel, the benefits are well worth the effort. Often a good remodeling plan can take months to complete.
Get a general contractor: You probably need a general contractor unless you have a lot of remodeling experience. A general contractor might seem an unnecessary expense at first. A general contractor has relationships that are important. He knows subcontractors that will get the job done right. Also a general contractor can get a discount where a home owner can’t.
You don’t need a gourmet stove: The sad but honest truth is that almost nobody is a gourmet cook. This means you don’t need to buy the most expensive gourmet stove you can find. A regular high end stove is usually more than adequate. Avoid the great cost of the stove, and select one that will be useful without being more than you need.
Quality is less expensive over time: Although quality materials are more expensive up front, over time they are actually more affordable. Cheap materials wear out sooner than quality ones. Spending the money up front will keep you from having to do a costly replacement sooner rather than later.
You need more than one light: Your kitchen is a work room; it requires enough light to work with. This means you need some task lighting as well as room lighting. A good mix of lights will allow your kitchen to be both warm and inviting, and useful.
Kitchens are the second most expensive room to remodel: Be prepared to spend more on your kitchen remodel than on a bedroom or porch. If you have remodeled other rooms, you need to be prepared to spend more on the kitchen that you are going to remodel.
You need a wish list: As you begin making decisions regarding style and materials you need to make a detailed wish list. This wish list should contain pictures, drawings, textures, and the colors that you want. The more detailed your wish list the better a contractor will be able to judge the cost and time involved to fulfill your wishes.
Get certified products: If you can, select products certified by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association. The benefit to doing this is that they subject materials to extensive wear tests. These tests put the objects to the same sort of wear they would encounter over years of use. This includes temperature ranges and spills to ensure that they can hold up to use.
Roll outs gain you space: You can have more usable space with roll outs in your cabinets. These options allow you to access the full depth of your cabinets easily. This means you often need less cabinets to accomplish the same amount of storage.
Having materials on hand speeds up the process: If you have the storage space you should purchase all your materials before you begin the process of your remodel. Having all of your material on hand makes sure that you aren’t paying laborers for days where they can’t work.
If you keep all these facts in mind you can make your kitchen remodel more of a success. Any remodel is complicated; a kitchen remodel is one of the most complicated to take on. Taking care to gather all of the information available will make your remodel successful.