How much does a kitchen remodel cost?
Author: Sally Hanan
Millions of people ask HomeGuide for cost estimates every year. We track the estimates they get from local companies, then we share those prices with you.
Whether you are considering a kitchen remodel in order to increase the sales value of your home, or you simply want to update it for your personal pleasure, the cost of doing so depends greatly on how much remodeling you have in mind. According to the Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, a remodel can cost from $21,000–$126,000.
Prices represent the mean costs of the 52 states, so in some states you will pay less, while in others you will pay more. For the purposes of this report, estimated prices also reflect living wages, safe working conditions, and ethical business practices.
||$14,000 – $21,000
||$29,000 – $64,000
||Up to $126,000
Know in advance what contractors mean when talking about a minor, midrange, and upscale remodel. The average price between the report above and a 2018 survey by Houzz:
- Minor – focuses on cosmetic appearances—refacing, painting, cabinet door handles, new countertops, light fixtures, new laminate flooring. The design of the kitchen isn’t changed. A minor kitchen remodel costs about $14,000–$21,000.
- Midrange – still focuses on cosmetic appearances—new cabinets, cabinet door handles, paint, new countertops, light fixtures, tile backsplash, tile or vinyl flooring. The design of the kitchen isn’t changed. A midrange, major kitchen remodel costs about $29,000–$64,000.
- Upscale – A complete remodel. The entire kitchen is stripped to the floor and walls, the space can be redesigned, and everything—plumbing, electrical work, flooring, appliances, countertops, lighting, tilework—can all be replaced. An upscale, major kitchen remodel costs approximately $126,000.
The final cost of your remodel will be lower when you don’t change the overall design of the kitchen layout. For instance, moving a window or a sink to somewhere else in the kitchen can add $1,500–$4,500 per item move to the project due to the need for permits, dust removal, drywall, and new plumbing and electrical work.
Other cost-saving measures include refacing cabinets and repairing or refinishing countertop rather than installing new materials.
Best Kitchens & Baths in Bala Cynwyd, PA, says each project is priced on its own merit. Job conditions, location, and client's budget have an effect on the final price for the project. Overall, labor is what affects the total cost the most. Some contractors offer flat rates, like Home Genie in Loveland, CO, who offers a flat rate pricing of $85/hour for all handyman work. This can keep the cost down considerably.
Estimate the cost yourself
California and the northeastern coastal states have higher prices than the rest of the country—sometimes by as much as $100/sq. ft. more if adding an extension. To get a closer idea of the final cost before approaching any contractors, you can get a free trial on RS Means which lets you plug in the details of your project and give you an industry standard cost of it all. RS Means updates its numbers every quarter, so you can get an accurate, up-to-date idea of your cost going in.
Designers and contractors are usually willing to work with any budget, so it’s best to know your budget up front and fit as much as you can into that amount. The more set in stone your plans are, the less chance there will be of additional charges later. Also decide in advance how long you want higher-cost products to last for. If you plan on staying in the home, or you wish to convey a high-quality kitchen upon sale, expect to pay much more for high-end products. Remodeling companies like San Diego Remodel Works, CA, have spent decades providing service bundles like design, plans, permitting, management, remodeling, and material selections. They’ll be able to give you a ballpark idea of what your budget will get you much faster than a newer company.
According to the Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, you’ll recoup approx.
- 80% of the cost of a minor kitchen remodel — it will increase your home’s resale value by approx. $17,000.
- 59% of the cost of a midrange, major kitchen remodel — it will increase your home’s resale value by approx. $38,000.
- 54% of the cost of an upscale, major kitchen remodel — it will increase your home’s resale value by approx. $67,000.
The recoup value will also depend on the neighborhood you live in, as that will play a deciding factor into how much buyers are prepared to pay for a house in your area per square foot, and mortgage companies will not be prepared to go over their value assessments for your zip code—no matter how much you have spent on remodeling.
It doesn’t cost much to change your mind in the planning stages, but if you change it halfway through, prices can go up exponentially.
Good planning can save you up to 30% of your final cost.
While hiring a kitchen designer might seem like an unnecessary expense, they are oftentimes the most connected to other contractors. If you bundle your services through them, they can offer up to 20% in discounts that you benefit from. Designers often offer free consultations so they can give you a more accurate estimate of the end cost.
Costs By Service
Exactly how much should you expect to pay for each particular aspect of a kitchen remodel? The longer a remodeling company has been in business, the more connections they’re going to have. They’ll know who has the best prices, quality, and service; and they’ll be able to pull it altogether faster.
|Electrical wiring and lighting to code
||$2,500 – $4,800
|Plumbing to code
||$3,000 – $6,000
||$400 – $3,500
|Purchase and install cabinetry
||$5,000 – $14,000
||$2,500 – $9,000
||$1,100 – $5,500
||$100 – $900
||$1,000 – $9,000
|Repair or refinish countertop
||$80 – $1,600
||$900 – $5,000
||$400 – $600
||$1,000 – $2,500
||$150 – $1,200
BDM Residential Remodeling in Atlanta, GA, has been in business since 2000. Thanks to his breadth of experience and the way his team works together seamlessly, he covers many issues before even starting the work that newer companies aren’t necessarily aware of, thereby saving you some money.
Other companies buy in in bulk and can offer budget pricing on all major items, like Budget Remodeling Company in Anaheim, CA, who regularly offer promotions on the purchase and installation of flooring, tile, cabinetry, and more.
In order of expense, expect to pay the most for the services and products at the top of the following list. The nationwide, ballpark numbers are for a 125 sq. ft kitchen, according to Angie’s List.
- Electrical wiring and lighting to code $2,500–$4,800
Older homes typically don’t have enough amps to handle modern demand. Any new work will need to be wired with a new meter, paneling and piping to bring it up from the older 60 amps to the modern 200 amps or more. If you move appliances to other parts of the kitchen or install new lighting anywhere no lights have been before, this cost will be factored in. You’ll probably also need new outlets with GCFIs (ground fault circuit interrupters), perhaps a charging station, some three-way switches, and a 220-volt outlet.
- Plumbing to code $3,000–$6,000
Older homes might need the whole home’s plumbing replaced due to narrow or rotting pipes, but hopefully your kitchen remodel only requires a minimal amount of plumbing work. Some plumbing needs could include;
- Moving or installing a kitchen sink and drain
- Moving or installing new appliances – dishwashers and drains or refrigerators
- Installing new fixtures
- Designer fees $400–$3,500
The more visual you are, the more you’ll appreciate designers like Monica of Interior’s Creation in Miami, FL, who puts her design suggestions into software that allows you to visually walk through your new kitchen before a single item is ordered. She offers three levels of design service—platinum, premium, and consultation. The platinum version means she will project manage everything for you and pass on all her trade discounts to you, while the premium version lets you be the project manager, using her detailed project manual, while she remains available for consul.
- Purchase and install cabinetry $5,000–$14,000
Cabinetry will always cost less if you buy stock cabinets rather than have them custom made. One home improvement store, for instance, offers a wall of ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets plus a sink at prices of $1,400–$10,500, which includes all hardware. If you’re more concerned about aesthetics than longevity, this could be a more cost-effective option. Some warehouse membership club stores offer low prices for full sets of kitchen cabinets. Cabinets from a do-it-yourself home improvement store cost about twice their wholesale price, while custom-made, real wood cabinets can cost 4-5 times the price.
If you’re shopping around rather than leaving everything to your contractor, pick a typical sized wall with one 30” base cabinet with two doors and a drawer plus an adjustable shelf, and also one 30” base overhead or wall cabinet with two doors and one adjustable shelf. Add hardware, finish, composition, and warranty, and then get quotes on those items from at least four companies or stores you’re interested in buying from. Also get prices from the same stores for pre-assembled cabinets.
Shipping costs can be high, so if the cabinet company doesn’t offer free shipping on large orders, try to do a local order and pick up to offset that cost. On average, expect to pay an additional 50-75% of the cost of the cabinets for installation.
- Replace appliances $2,500–$9,000
Consider buying Energy Star appliances. Number from 2013 show that Americans saved $30B, yes, billion, off energy bills by doing so. Newer stainless steel appliances are smudge free. If you’ve been thinking of keeping your older appliances, keep in mind that most kitchen appliances only last 10-12 years and can cost $250-$500 to repair; and you might end up saving more money by replacing them with warrantied, newer models now.
- Install flooring $1,100–$5,500
Vinyl and linoleum will be your most budget-friendly option, starting at an installed price of about $2.50/sq. ft., but can cost more if you need an underfloor of plywood to level it. Tile, itself, can cost as little as $0.60/sq. ft., but laying it adds onto the final price considerably. Laminate flooring costs about $5.50/sq. ft. installed. It’s more durable than vinyl and linoleum and can withstand heavy impact. It usually carries an extended warranty because of its durability. While wood floors are popular, most remodelers don’t recommend having them in your kitchen because they are so susceptible to moisture. Expect to pay $8–$10/sq. ft. installed.
- Permits $100–900
Permits are required if you move walls, or if you install new electrical wiring, plumbing, or mechanical systems. These laws are set in place to ensure all work done is up to city code and meets local health and safety regulations. Your contractor should take care of this for you, and all necessary permits should be filed and approved before any work begins.
- Reface cabinets $1,000–$9,000
This can be a much more affordable method of giving your kitchen a whole new look than replacing entire cabinets and doors. Choose from real wood veneer, ready to finish, plastic, or melamine. This is not a do-it-yourself project and will require a contractor.
- Repair or refinish countertop $80–$1,600
If your countertop has no widespread damage, it might be more cost efficient to fill chips and scratches, re-sand, retile, refinish, re-glue, or re-laminate existing countertop.
- Install countertop $900–$5,000
The type of countertop you want to install will dictate the cost of materials and labor. Choose your countertop based on your ultimate goal for the remodel—is it for its minimal upkeep, cosmetic appearance, longevity, or resale value? Countertops can be priced from $1–300/sq. ft., with laminate, Formica, and tile being the cheapest and glass being the costliest. Other countertop materials include concrete, stainless steel, natural stone, wood, and engineered stone.
- Tile backsplash $400–$600
Ceramic tiles are the most popular option at approx. $10/sq. ft. installed, while stainless steel can cost approx. $25/sq. ft. installed. This can cost less if the same materials are installed elsewhere in the kitchen at the same time.
- Paint walls $1,000–$2,500
This costs more than painting a regular room because of the need to cover cabinets, remove appliances, and remove outlet covers. The walls will probably need to be primed and then painted with a semi-gloss to make the paint last well in such a high-traffic area.
- Hardware $150–$1,200
Handles and/or knobs for your kitchen cabinets and drawers can cost from as little as $2 each to $20 each.
Remodeling a Small Kitchen
If you have a small kitchen to remodel, consider narrower cabinets. Because most people don’t use the space at the back of cabinets, you can get cabinets that aren’t as deep but are better designed for full access—with pull-out baskets, spice drawers, sectioned drawers, corner cabinet carousels, etc. Fill an extra space with narrow filler cabinets with sliders. Alternatively, maximize the depth of your current cabinets. Consider reducing a double sink to a single for more workspace as well.
Install pantry cabinets that reach the ceiling. Add an extra cabinet above the fridge. Install a narrow, floor-to-ceiling, rolling pantry. Add toe kick drawers under the base cabinets. Add corner shelves to hold serving bowls. Turn a cabinet door into a pull-out table.
By reducing the width of some appliances, you can gain some extra storage and counter space if your kitchen is already small. Replace a stove with a cooktop and have a combo toaster and convection countertop oven or microwave oven instead. Buy a below counter fridge for as little as $100, and place the freezer elsewhere in the house for more counter space. Slim-line refrigerators are becoming more widely available.
Add wall systems to take advantage of wall space. Wall racks with hooks and magnetic rails offer a lot of storage options.
Consider adding renewable energy sources and/or water conservation measures to your remodel. Though energy-efficient products can cost more, many states offer residential rebates and incentives to help make your home more resourceful.
For instance, Maryland has a program that “will help you identify energy efficiency improvements that may qualify you for 75 percent of the costs—or up to $7,500—to cover energy-saving home improvements.” Check this list to see what your state offers. Some of the improvements you can add to your home include the following:
Energy efficiency measures
- Upgrade your water heater and pumps
- Insulate the house
Cool roof the home to reflect the sun’s heat rather than absorb it. (The US Environmental Protection Agency has a list of over 3,000 ENERGY STAR®-rated cool roofing materials to choose from based upon building type, roof type, and location.)
- Insulate your kitchen doors, walls, attic space, and roof.
- Install high-performance windows and window film.
- Consider replacing regular kitchen doors with self-closing doors.
Add more natural light to your kitchen with bigger windows and skylights, rather than add more light fixtures. Install ultrasonic or infrared sensors to control lighting. Buy Energy Star approved fixtures and bulbs.
Upgrade the home’s AC unit to one that is Energy Star approved for heating/cooling. Consider replacing air ducts so the interior air temp is consistent throughout the kitchen and adjoining spaces. Alternatively, duct test and seal existing ducts if they are in good shape.
- Water conservation measures
Consider installing a rainwater harvesting system, along with a greywater and wastewater recovery system. Use water efficient kitchen appliances and icemakers. Look for the EPA’s WaterSense label which is on appliances that, on average, are 20% more water efficient than their counterparts.
- Upgrade your water heater and pumps
Renewable energy measures
- Thermal energy
Install solar panels to heat water and the home.
With more consumers aware of the cost benefits of going green, and its benefit to the environment, you’ll find most contractors provide these services too—through their professional networks if they don’t do the work themselves. For example, A & S Construction Services in Westminster, CO, focus on energy and water efficiency and have their own master electrician, master plumber, and heating and air contractors. Peter Glaser Construction in Washington, D.C., uses Energy Star-rated products and makes sure to take time every year to attend new product seminars.
Before You Remodel
- Set your budget based on realistic numbers. Be honest with yourself about what you’re willing to do yourself vs. letting a professional do it.
- A kitchen designer can save you a lot of money by designing the most efficient layout up front. By using all your space efficiently, you can avoid the much higher cost of an extension.
- Spend a little more on key products that will be used a lot so they will last.
- Choose everything and decide on everything that will be done in advance. This will help you stay within your budget. Any changes on the initial plan will cost you more down the road.
- Try not to stay in your home while the work is going on unless you have a second kitchen in the house. You will not be able to cook or eat in there for 3–8 weeks if the remodel is a big one. You’ll have sheetrock and dust everywhere. If you have no choice but to stay, talk to the contractor about isolating the work area and controlling the airflow. Remodeling dust can damage the lungs and cause short- and long-term health problems. Verify the contractor stop and start times, walk-through dates, vacation days, etc.
- Make sure all cleanup work is included in the quote.
After the Remodel
- Do a complete walkthrough with your contractor to make sure everything included in the initial plan has been completed to your satisfaction. Most contractors, like Copple Construction in Alexandria, VA, will give a 1–2 year warranty on their work as well.
- Make sure all construction debris and dust has been cleaned up by the contractor.
- Be sure to ask for all the warranties on any products included in the remodel.
Choosing Your Contractor
- Get at least three detailed bids from qualified contractors. Don't consider the bids unless the contractors have been to your home and measured your kitchen. For example, Fresh Floor Kitchen and Bath in Fort Lauderdale, FL, gives a basic design package with a detailed written proposal and product selection—only after doing in-home consultation and measurement, an electrical and plumbing survey, and a needs and layout optimization analysis.
- Make sure the contractors you are considering are licensed and insured.
- Don’t pay a large amount of money up front unless the contractors have an excellent online reputation from years of work, and the cost is for product purchases. As On The Job Services in Pearland, TX, says, “Why do they need 50% to get started when they have not done 50% of the work?”
- Check sites like the Better Business Bureau to see if the contractors you are considering have been trustworthy on past projects.
Ultimately, your new kitchen will be as good as the planning you have put into it.