I feel like this is the post that most people wait for when you are doing a remodel. Everything is put together and looks wonderful but deep-seated in the back of their minds is the question, “But, how much did it cost?”
Being the penny-pinching, spreadsheet hoarding, let’s-get-the-best-bang-for-our-buck type of person that I am, it all comes down to cost for me. You see all these immaculately designed homes and well lit photos of kitchens and you’re like, “Wow, that looks awesome! … But what would that cost me to do that?” So, through planning this whole kitchen/dining room/living room remodel, I got serious with pricing.
First, I heavily researched not only what an average kitchen remodel costs (how much is too much?), but also how much Scott and I should spend on a remodel for our geographical area for a house in our price range. I wanted to get the best return on investment as possible when we up and decide to sell this place … whenever that might be. Through various online calculators and tons of articles later, I came up with a range of $7,000-$13,000.
When we bought our house, it wasn’t in bad shape at all, just a little outdated. So, we knew that we couldn’t sink a TON of money into a remodel and get all of it back. And as with any investment, you run the risk of losing money, so we tried to be as cost-effective as possible … not cheap, because that can actually hurt you in the long run.
So what is our final total? $7,911
Now, the questions are: Where did that money go? Where was it budgeted? Were you over budget? So, hang on to your butts people, here is the entire kitchen remodel breakdown and where every penny went.
Since this budget was established at the beginning of this year, there were certain assumptions made and the outlook looked clear of any big disasters. We budgeted $2,500 because we were going to buy this 3/4″ hardwood from a discount retailer. Well, when we learned that our subfloor was MDF instead of plywood, we had to find a new choice. So, this ultimately brought in an engineered hardwood floor for $2.79 a square foot .. a teensy bit higher than our projected price per square foot.
The final total for 800 sq ft of flooring, underlayment and threshold pieces was $2,629.21. Other things that popped into the picture were a Sonic Tool for trimming the door casings, new floor registers since the others ones were rusted metal, a washing machine tray to set the washing machine in, in case there was a leak or overflow, and a new threshold piece for the door (which we couldn’t use because we ended up trimming the door too short!)
Not our best moment.
When we initially budgeted the $150, we assumed we would install, mud and tape all the drywall ourselves. But after a weekend of installing all the drywall, we quickly learned that we would probably do a pretty crappy job of finishing the drywall since … uh … we’ve never done it before! So, we went ahead and hired a drywaller to finish all our drywall for $325. But as this post says, it was the best money we ever spent. We also needed a couple additional sheets of drywall, some screws, drywall protector plates and a 2×4 so that’s what fills out the rest of the overage.
Since this was a quote, we knew we weren’t going to go over in this department. This was an all-inclusive price that included the Formica 180fx laminate in Soapstone Sequoia with the Ogee edge, shipping, installation and tax.
We almost (!!) had this one, but ended up having to purchase an extra gallon of the Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Satin (which we have about half a gallon leftover, now). Also, the primer we initially thought of going with wasn’t the best, so we opted for a more expensive, higher quality primer (Benjamin Moore Enamel Underbody) that worked amazingly well.
Under Budget: $16
And there was much rejoicing! The natural stone tile we bought from Lowe’s happened to be on sale, so this is what saved our budget. The budget for this area included: stone tile, grout, mastic, tile saw rental, wax pencils, spacers, caulk and grout haze remover.
Under Budget: $166
We initially were going to purchase our sink through Valerie and Jeremy who installed our cabinets. However, we ended up finding a MUCH cheaper, comparable one that was on sale at Lowe’s for $220 (includes tax). The other costs associated with this part were: new sink flanges, caulk, plumber’s putty and thread seal tape.
We would have been right on budget, but then we decided to go ahead with the board and batten project through the dining room and kitchen. Of course, this was always in the plans, but it wasn’t intended to happen until later … and escape the kitchen remodel budget. So, that’s where the majority of this overage came from. We also had to buy a few extra pieces of lattice to help fill out the door casings since they became recessed when we installed the drywall. The moulding included: baseboards in the kitchen, dining room & living room, crown moulding in the kitchen and dining room, a chair rail and board & batten in the kitchen and dining room, shoe moulding and moulding around the top of the cabinets.
KITCHEN & DINING ROOM PAINT
This is simply a huge brain fart on my part. I figured that we would be able to prime the fresh drywall with a gallon and then paint it with a gallon. Well, it took two gallons of drywall primer, two gallons of regular wall paint (the first coat really absorbed), and we had to buy a gallon of white for the board and batten that was not included. Oh and I threw the ceiling paint in there too. So, that’s four gallons of paint that were unaccounted for. I already had all the brushes and rollers, so we saved more there.
This could have been a HUGE overage had it not been for a couple strokes of good luck and some reassessment. We intended on taking out the fluorescent light in the kitchen and replacing it with track lighting. Installing two pendants over the counter and taking out the two boob lights and fan and replacing it with another set of track lighting. So, two track lights and a couple of pendants would have come in under $200, but we realized that it would be one heck of a dark space.
Once we started pricing certain items, we knew we were going to be WAY over budget. So, we decided to leave the florescent light in the kitchen and paint the oak wood around the light white and buy decent pendants that we liked. We also were given (for FREE!) the chandelier that hangs over the kitchen table. The two pendants are from Pottery Barn, but were purchased off eBay for $67 each. We also had to buy a bunch of light bulbs (those add up quickly!) and we had to buy electrical boxes and wires for the new electrical units. We did, however, save a bundle by having my dad do all the labor on this!
Under Budget: $305
We had a set of base cabinets that Jeremy (our contractor) custom built to go underneath the re-positioned wall cabinets. By furnishing a couple doors that we didn’t end up using on some cabinets and by not needing our entire countertop raised so the new flooring would fit under our dishwasher (which sits under the cabinets), we saved $300!
Under Budget: $67
We originally wanted to go with a Euro handle for our cabinet doors. However, once we got it to the house we didn’t like the look of it in our space. We ended up with a much cheaper version that we like a whole lot better. We also opted for a cheaper hinge, rather than the Blum hidden hinge (although, those would have been nice!) We also saved because we found we couldn’t put hardware on our drawers under the counter because in a couple spaces they would have run into each other.
New Door: $400
We didn’t expect to have to buy a new door by any means, so that was unexpected, but we are happy to have it!
So, back to the final total for flooring, drywall, paint, hardware, lighting, new sink, countertops, a base cabinet, moulding and a swanky backsplash:
That puts us over budget by about 14% or $984. Not too bad considering if we wouldn’t have had to have a new door installed and have hired a drywaller, we would have only been over budget by $259. Which, I would take that any day considering what all we have to show for it. For you visually-minded people, here is a pie chart to see which sections were the budget eaters … like countertops and flooring taking up about two-thirds of the total! But they are soooo worth it!
We are extremely happy with how everything turned out and although remodels can be tricky and expensive, I feel like we rolled with the punches pretty well. My thrifty, competitive self is still a little bummed that we couldn’t beat the budget, but I feel like I was a little naive in some aspects of the renovation. So, taking that into perspective, this whole thing could have been a lot worse!
Also, as a final note, when we initially priced out our kitchen remodel with brand new cabinets, countertops and flooring (no paint, no moulding, no new drywall, no new sink, no backsplash, no new lighting or anything else) our total would have been $11,600. For doing a lot of this ourselves and by painting our cabinets, we got a whole lot more for our money and also came in towards the bottom of the suggested remodeling range for our area.
Finally, I was out shopping the other day and ran into our Realtor that helped us find this house. I mentioned that we did this renovation and told her how much it cost. She was pretty enthusiastic and said, “You shouldn’t have a problem recouping all the money you spent.” Although you can never predict home prices or what the market will do, we feel pretty good about our resale horizon!
So, that’s about it from our side of the street. Hope you all have a great Christmas filled with love and hugs from your family and friends!