How to Remodel a Kitchen
Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011
A kitchen remodel can offer your home a new lease on life as well as a nice boost to the resale bottom line. According to Remodeling Magazine's 2010-2011 "Cost vs. Value Report," a minor kitchen remodel can recoup up to 72.8 percent of its cost. A major kitchen remodel for a mid-range kitchen can offer a 68.7 percent return on investment, while the same remodel in an upscale kitchen can recoup 59.7 percent of costs.
Many homeowners might look at the cost of a kitchen remodeling project and be tempted to handle it on their own. Not so fast: a good kitchen remodeling contractor might be more expensive, but can actually save you money in the long run.
Kitchen remodeling: DIY or call a pro?
In some cases, a kitchen remodel can be done as a weekend project. However, a serious kitchen remodel often requires the help of a professional. If you choose to do the project yourself, a good knowledge of construction and materials is imperative. If you don't have experience with construction projects, a major remodel is probably not the best place to learn. A few mistakes can add up to big bucks over budget.
Homeowners who choose to do the job themselves can expect to pay between $15,000 and $26,000, on average. Most do-it-yourself kitchen remodels start at around $5,000. If you choose to turn to a contractor, the price goes up: Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost vs. Value report estimates that a minor kitchen remodel can cost an average of $21,695, while a major kitchen remodel can run $58,367. A major kitchen remodel in an upscale home can cost an average of $113,464. Those averages are based on a kitchen size of 200 square feet.
Choosing a remodeling contractor
The right kitchen remodeling contractor can make your dream kitchen a reality; the wrong one can lead to a nightmare of problems. Make the right choice with these steps:
- Get referrals from friends or neighbors. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find a good contractor.
- Check out each contractor's licenses, certifications and insurance information. Don't forget to look them up on the Better Business Bureau, too.
- Meet with the contractors, get references and ask for an estimate.
- Narrow down your options based on references, experience, price and warranties.
- Inspect the contract closely before you sign it. The contract should include a clear cost breakdown, a firm start and end date, and a payment schedule.
The right contractor can be the best decision you make for your kitchen remodeling plans. Take your time in choosing the one who makes you most comfortable.