How to Plan for Your Upcoming Kitchen Remodel
By Erica Garza
Remodeling your kitchen is sure to pay off, as it often returns more than 100 percent of the cost when it’s time to sell. But what should you replace first? If you plan to renovate over an extended time period, it’s wise to start on the project that’s likely to give you the biggest return on investment. Here’s our kitchen remodel hierarchy—what you should replace first and why.
Before you start adding or enhancing, you’ll have to tear out the old stuff. But before you get out the sledgehammer and start swinging, consider whether you want to take a DIY approach or hire a professional. While doing it yourself may be cheaper, a professional will take all the necessary precautions to prevent injury or harm to themselves as well as the areas not being demolished.
Price range: For a basic DIY demolition, the costs for tools range from $160 to $565, not including debris removal, which can vary dramatically, from $50 all the way to $850. Hiring someone to do a basic demo can cost $500 to $1000 with debris removal.
Plumbing and Electrical
Probably about as sexy as demolition, plumbing and electrical renovations are at the top of our list because without them, you compromise everything else. Normally completed by licensed professionals, plumbing and electrical renovations include new or rerouted plumbing pipes, necessary wiring and perhaps HVAC duct work.
Price range: Depending on what needs to be done and the quality of appliances, installing new pipes can cost around $1,100, and electricians typically charge $50 to $100 per hour on average.
Finally, you’ve reached an enhancement that will make you feel like you’re in a brand new kitchen. Cabinets are one of the biggest investments you’ll make, so take your time choosing the right ones. The many options can dramatically affect price range, depending on whether you choose stock cabinets, semi-custom or fully custom. The next factors to consider are the cabinet materials and hardware.
Price range: Kitchen cabinet installation costs an average of $2,000 to $8,000, with the products themselves ranging from $75 to $1,500 per linear foot.
Countertops, Sink and Faucet
Often considered the anchor of your kitchen, countertops are in constant use and are a critical element to your renovation project. Options include everything from laminate and tile to concrete and natural stone, though quartz and granite are exceedingly popular. Also, always consider whether or not you care about matching metals across fixtures.
Price range: Countertop installation ranges from $2,000 to $4,000, though it will fluctuate based on materials and measurements. Installing a faucet ranges from $150 to $350 and if you don’t need to change the plumbing layout, installing a sink can cost $200 to $550.
A good way to improve your home’s value is to install higher quality appliances in your kitchen. Choose from a wide range of options, including EnergyStar-certified, custom built-in, high-end and budget products.
Price range: Installing kitchen appliances costs $100 to $300 per appliance on average, while the cost of appliances will vary. To drive up the value of your home, it’s best to invest in higher quality stoves, dishwashers or refrigerators and those with longer life expectancies.
Kitchen renovations can involve recessed ceiling lighting and/or new fixtures. What about dimmed lighting or under-cabinet lighting? Check with your electrician to see if you need to upgrade your circuit breaker box.
Price range: Installation of light fixtures ranges from $200 to $1,100, while fixtures will vary depending on type.
Though some people install flooring before cabinets, there are risks involved. These include paying for materials that you won’t see because they’ll be under the cabinets, or potentially damaging the floor when you install cabinets and other fixtures. This is especially true if you’re installing wood floors, as wood needs to expand and contract with changing temperatures.
Price range: Flooring installation ranges from $1,500 to $4,500 depending on square footage and material.
While it may be tempting to paint before installing floors or cabinets to ensure no paint lands where it doesn’t belong, painting should come last. Many parts of the kitchen renovation process are messy, and rising dust could land on fresh paint and stick there. So, feel free to spend a little more time choosing your favorite color by leaving this step to the very end.
Price range: The average cost to paint a home interior is $1,655, depending on the size of the room and price of paint. But, if you’re up for it, you can significantly cut costs by making this a DIY project.
Though a kitchen renovation typically doesn’t offer instant gratification, patience is sure to lead to pay-off if you follow these steps.
Erica Garza is writer from Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health and VICE.