Kitchen Costs

Kay Easton | Improvement Center Columnist | December 14, 2011

According to Remodeling Magazine's 2011 Cost vs Value report, a minor kitchen remodel brought the highest ROI (return on investment)--72.8 percent--in the midrange market for interior home improvement projects. A major kitchen remodel was lower on the midrange list but still commanded a respectable 68.7 percent ROI. More homeowners are opting to fix up their homes rather than sell them in a housing market that is not making a comeback, and kitchen remodeling is at the top of their lists.

What's a kitchen remodel going to cost?

An article on the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) website, Getting the Most from a Kitchen or Bath Project, reprinted from West Sound Home & Garden Magazine, suggests, as a rule of thumb, that you shouldn't spend more than 15 percent of the value of your home on remodeling the kitchen. The 2011 Cost vs Value report estimates that a midrange minor kitchen remodel can run $21,695; a major remodel can cost $58,367, while an upscale major kitchen remodel can run $113,464.

Breakdown of kitchen costs

The Remodeling Cost Guide from fixr.com provides a breakdown of estimated kitchen costs. For an average 200 sq ft kitchen, estimates include:

  • Cabinets: Assume 30 linear feet of cabinets at an average of $117-140 per linear foot for mid-quality oak. Cabinet removal and prep work is not included and can run $70/hour.
  • Countertops: Assume 30 linear feet of countertops at an average of $20/linear ft. Other options--solid surface, stainless steel, natural stone and concrete--can run as high as $160 per sq ft. installed, according to Consumer Reports.
  • Energy-efficient appliances: Range ($400-600), refrigerator ($800-1000), dishwasher ($400-600) and built-in microwave ($400-600)
  • Flooring: Replace existing flooring with medium quality resilient flooring at $25-35 per sq yd.
  • Sink and faucet: Medium quality sink ($220-380) and faucet ($100-200).
  • Electrical wiring: Can cost from $65-85 per hour.
  • Plumbing: Can cost from $45-65 per hour, plus materials.

Costhelper.com also estimates that painting your kitchen can cost anywhere from $200-$700; you also need to add a little extra for new lighting or upscale backsplashes and other extras that come up along the way. According to an NKBA article, HOMESIGHT: The Five Stages of Kitchen Remodeling, actual kitchen costs generally run between 13 and 14 percent higher than the estimated budget.

Kitchen costs can also vary based on the quality of materials, whether you can reuse existing appliances and how much do-it-yourself work you want to take on (be careful here; removing and disposing of old cabinets and flooring can save money but a full kitchen remodel may not be right for the amateur DIY enthusiast). But, if you're ready to move forward, the return on your investment for a kitchen remodel should be worth the time and money you spend.