Managing Costs in a Kitchen Remodel
Kitchen remodeling can cost between a few thousand dollars and up to $85,000 or more. While the cost of materials certainly influences the final price of a remodel, there are a variety of other factors that change the price, including design and contractors. There are a several strategies that will control the cost of a kitchen remodel, including doing some of the work yourself, choosing a contractor carefully, and buying kitchen cabinets and other materials online.
A well-designed kitchen is imperative to a successful remodeling project. It is possible to save money in this phase of the project, but consider options to decide what is gained and lost when choosing a designer.
Big box home stores will often provide free kitchen design services. They have computer programs that help layout a functional kitchen, and employees often give useful advice on functionality and look. However, employees will naturally try to sell the products carried in their own stores, and will likely not direct customers to online options or competing vendors. While some of their products may be good choices, there may be higher quality alternatives for less money at other locations.
Buying a kitchen design computer program is another option. These programs allow homeowners to design kitchens themselves, using simplified CAD/CAM techniques. For those with computer or design expertise, this can be a good option. The programs will make recommendations on flow and code requirements. However, these programs are limited by user knowledge. If a kitchen remodel involves simply upgrading a current design, then a big box store or a DIY computer program may be a smart financial choice.
Hiring a Designer
If a remodel involves changing the layout of a kitchen, it may be worthwhile to hire a designer to work it out. A poorly designed kitchen can’t be helped with beautiful flooring or fixtures. An independent kitchen designer or architect will charge a fee for services. Fees vary, and may be charged by the hour, by the project, or by a percentage of the project cost. While a designer or architect costs more than either of the other two options, they know code requirements and are familiar with ideal kitchen traffic patterns. Ideally, they will provide an excellent design that avoids future problems.
Save money on a designer by asking for recommendations and looking at some of the kitchen designs the professional has created before hiring someone. Be sure the results other homeowners have achieved fit the style and look you want to create. Some independent designers will charge less than a larger firm.
Choosing a Contractor
A change of contractor in the middle of a kitchen remodel can add thousands to the bill, so choose the initial contractor carefully. Get many recommendations, look their work over, and interview several different contractors before deciding on the one to do the work. To lower costs, you may want to do some of the purchasing and building work yourself. Buying kitchen cabinets online or getting flooring from a discount market can save money, but a contractor will need to agree to those plans. Not all contractors are willing to work with homeowners, so be sure the scope of work is clear to both of you before approving a bid or signing a contract. Also determine who will buy materials and set a materials budget before the work begins.
Create a written document clearly describing the job and the payments, and have signatures from the contractor and the homeowner on the document. Any changes that occur with costs or scope of work should also be written down and signed. Make payments in installments, as the work is completed satisfactorily.
Purchasing materials such as kitchen cabinets online can provide significant cost savings. Do your homework before ordering, so that you know exactly what sizes, features and styles will work for your kitchen. A contractor or designer who is willing to work with you to lower costs can guide the online purchasing process.
Many online providers make ordering simple – they don’t want mistakes any more than you do. Use the ordering tools to request just the right size and amount for items such as cabinets, hardware, lighting fixtures.
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