Kitchen Remodel Guide To Help Cut Costs


Know Your Item by Item Costs To Avoid Overpaying For A New Kitchen

It's not a one step process to compute the costs of a kitchen remodel.  There are many different styles and makes of numerous elements that go into a project like this... and not one kitchen is alike.

Though, there is light at the end of the tunnel!  The following are simple-to-use instructions guided by professional insight that will allow you to create a kitchen remodel plan to fit your budget.

Kitchen Remodeling Costs

The following is a list of the majority of material costs associated with kitchen remodeling.  The price ranges reflect the difference between low-end products and higher-quality/priced products.  The high price ranges do not reflect the most expensive products and materials available in each category.  Premium and elegant products exist with price ranges above the scope meant for this common-sense guide.  Based on approximately 200 sq. ft. kitchen.

Kitchen Cabinets
$150-$400 per linear foot

$.89-$10.00 per square foot

Counter Tops
$25-$150 per square foot







Garbage Disposal

Building Materials (underlayments, screws, nails, etc...)

How to Save on Kitchen Cabinet Costs

Stock vs. Custom Cabinets

Stock cabinets are available at retail and wholesale centers. Available in common sizes only, stock cabinets represent the entry-level price point for kitchen cabinets. The wood finish may not be as durable as a more premium model. The “box” might be constructed out of 1/4” furniture press board rather than higher quality 1/2” hardwood plywood. Generally, stock kitchen cabinets cost about $150/linear foot.

TIP: Look for stock cabinets constructed with 1/2” hardwood plywood walls (box). The finish may not last, but at least you have solid cabinets constructed out of thick plywood. Repaint when necessary.

Replace the Hardware

Replacing your cabinet knobs, pulls, and hinges truly makes old cabinets look so much better. With you hardware off, you can wash them all down with warm water and Murphy's Oil Soap. If your cabinets have a hardwood stained finish, be sure to polish with some furniture oil before installing the new parts.

TIP: Make it easy on yourself – replace with like parts. Measure your “spread”: the distance between screw holes on your cabinet handles, and replace with matching spread handles. This way you don't have to mess with filling old screw holes and drilling new ones.

Refinish Existing Cabinets

If your cabinets have not taken water damage, more than likely, they can be refurbished to look new. Cabinets in disrepair commonly have taken water damage to their particle press-board walls and floor. There is no fix to spongy and expanded furniture press-board. But, if your cabinets are dry, GAME ON! Time to make something old... something new!

TIP: For do-it-yourself-er's:  remove all doors & drawers, organize and box-up all your existing stuff in the cabinets, and start this process: cleaning, sanding, stain or paint, poly coat (if stain), hardware, & re-install. THIS IS NOT A WEEKEND PROJECT. THIS PROCESS IS LABOR INTENSIVE. Don't rush this one. Organize so you don't mind taking a week or two if you have to. Spend an evening googling “How to refinish kitchen cabinets” before you start. If you don't mind the work, you can save thousands of dollars.

How to Save on Counter Top Costs

Local Fabricator Rather Than Large Retailer

(Sorry Lowe's & Home Depot) but the big box stores do not have any business selling granite & quartz counter tops. Big retailers are only a middleman on this transaction, outsourcing to the local fabricators.  Consequently, you receive miscommunication, awkwardness, and poor product knowledge in return for premiums out of your pocket.

TIP: Granite price correlates to it's color. The more common colors and looks, the less expensive. The higher priced granite pieces will have rare colors. For quartz, pay close attention to the quartz slab manufacturer and research online reviews of the product.


Stock and custom laminate counter tops are extremely affordable and durable. Quality laminate lines such as Wilsonart and Formica provide some of the best-in-class counter material at the lower spectrum of costs.

TIP: Contact a local laminate counter top fabricating specialist for the lowest price.

How To Save On Flooring Costs

Big Box Stores

An inherent advantage of the large retailer is it's ability to purchase in bulk, providing us with standardized materials and products priced lower than most places. Flooring is a great example of this advantage.

TIP: Choose a mid-range priced quality flooring product in stock at your local big box store for your best deal in this category.

LVT or Laminated Vinyl Tiles

Modern laminated vinyl tiles combine durability, affordability, with install-ability for the do-it-yourself-er.  A quality install can be performed by a novice who follows directions.  Your big box store, or even your local home improvement retailer will stock modern and trendy colors & designs of popular LVT's.

TIP: Research the manufacturer differences in adhesive qualification to select a product right for your application.

Other Ways To Save On Your Kitchen Remodel Costs

Hire a carpenter/handyman

What's the difference between a contractor and a handyman?  On the simplest level, a handyman works by his/herself.  A contractor leads a team of construction professionals in an orchestrated manner to complete your project.

A handyman will be less expensive than hiring an operation with multiple human resources, increased management, oversight, and tax costs. It is always important to properly vet anyone you consider. Good research can be done through your local BBB, and of course Googling.

TIP: Research and schedule SIX operations to visit your home, discuss your goals, and provide plans and an estimate for the work. It takes time and energy to talk with six construction companies, but it's well worth it.  Think of it as your project work load – to hire the right people to do the hard work.

With six estimates and conversations under your belt, you should have at least three outfits to strongly consider.  DO NOT make this decision based on price – that's probably the worst way to go about it.  Consider your due diligence in research, values of each operation communicated to you, and the quality of communication you have had with each representative.  Communication solves all problems in our world.

In the end, hiring the right people will save you money.

Ask Local Salespeople about Labor Rates

Visit your local building construction and big box stores while planning your remodel and talk with the salespeople and customer service providers there. They work hand-in-hand with the local contractors, and you can usually gain valuable information this way, along with some referrals.

Do Not Nickel and Dime Your Service Providing Professionals

Just because it's construction doesn't mean your contractor isn't a business-owning professional.  Would you try to work extra services in for little to no cost as you are looking up towards that bright light in the middle of your dentist appointment?  Always befriend the chef.  Don't disrespect the people tearing your house apart and rebuilding it.

If you do not agree with the prices a contractor provides, move on and find someone else.  If it's in the middle of a project and a new unforeseen circumstance arises, respectfully request a day to research costs if you do not agree with the add-on request.  Upon further research, you may find the add-on to be reasonable given the situation. Getting into a cost war with anyone working on your home is a situation to avoid.

Monitor Material Mark-Ups

Contractors should always be up front about how they charge customers.  After you receive an proposal with an estimated price, make sure you clarify the cost allotments for the purchase of key materials: cabinets, counter-tops, appliances, flooring.  If they are not willing to provide the purchase allotments or direct invoicing for products/materials, move on.  There are more honest and transparent ways to do business.

Why Do Contractors Mark Up Material Prices?

It is absolutely necessary for contractors to mark up material costs – it takes time (labor hours), money (necessary vehicles), and experience (material purchasing operations) to produce and deliver a project material list to a property.  Fuel alone commonly costs a couple hundred dollars to deliver materials for a full kitchen remodel.  So you can imagine how it costs more than just the purchase price.

In Conclusion

Kitchen remodeling costs vary widely based on several factors: location, plans, contractor, structure. Not one home is identical. Not one plan is identical. As with all things in life, it pays to take your time, plan well, and get the job done right the first time.

Get multiple estimates. Research material/product costs & qualities. Visit Ask local home improvement retailers.

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For a preferred agent in Greater Cleveland, contact Christine Stowell, REALTOR®, Keller Williams Greater Cleveland Southwest – 440-263-8630 or email her

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