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What Is The Most Expensive Part Of A Kitchen Remodel?

The most expensive part of a kitchen remodel is replacing the kitchen cabinets. Cabinetry can be stock, semi-custom, or fully custom, ranging from $2,500 to $25,000.

Large open space kitchen with white kitchen island and farmhouse sink with overhead lights

The kitchen is one of the most popular areas in a home to renovate, but being the most popular doesn’t mean that it is the cheapest. Kitchen renovations can come at a very high price point simply because of everything that goes into them. Of course, if you want to lower these costs, you will need to understand what factors influence the price.

There are three common considerations that will heavily influence the price of your kitchen remodeling project, which means that if you want to keep costs low, you will need to focus on these key areas when making your decisions. Understanding how certain factors can influence your price can help you to invest in a kitchen remodeling budget that you will be proud to spend your money on—and not just because of the amazing work that we do!

1. The Cabinets

The cabinets are a big part of a kitchen, and they will influence the price of your kitchen remodeling process. One look in almost any modern kitchen will show you why—cabinets take up the majority of the space. Given how much space cabinets take up, it should be a surprise that the materials and the accessories that you choose will influence the price.

Though it can be tempting to consider cabinetry the perfect place to save, it is important to remember that you are significantly more likely to find yourself struggling if you don’t choose quality items here. Cabinets face a lot of use, and they are also one of the more visible decisions that you will make—don’t skip out here if you can avoid them.

Prefabricated or Semi-Custom Sets

Prefabricated cabinets are one of the favored options by homeowners for one primary reason: they tend to be cheaper. These materials give you the ability to save significantly on expenses, but that doesn’t mean that they are entirely without fault.

On average, investing in prefabrication allows homeowners to save anywhere from $5000 to $10,000 dollars per project. This is a significant savings opportunity, which demonstrates just how great of an opportunity it can be for your budget—but what you save in money, you gain in time.

When ordering prefabricated materials, it almost always means that you will be ordering them from another country, which can cause significant problems. Right now, prefabricated materials can come with a wait lasting anywhere from 16 to 24 weeks—a fact that can significantly impact your project schedule. This is being caused by the global shipping delays that are impacting every industry right now, a problem that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Custom Cabinets

Custom cabinets for a kitchen remodel in Modesto, California

At KHB Construction, we personally prefer custom cabinets made with a local fabricator. This is a more expensive option, but it is well worth the investment if you can swing it for your budget. This approach to cabinetry can cause you to spend more on labor and overhead. Still, it is arguably the better option. Custom cabinets can take as little as 3 to 6 weeks to receive.

The obvious benefit with custom cabinets is in the name—custom. When you choose custom cabinetry, you gain access to all of the accessories and upgrades that you can imagine. While prefabricated alternatives will come as they are, custom cabinets let you choose what you do and do not want to see in your kitchen, including spice racks, organizers, and specialty designs.

There is a less obvious benefit that still ties into the custom nature of these kitchen cabinets. Rather than investing in premade designs that seem like they will work, you gain the benefit of having the actual fabricators on-site in your home. This means that they can take the measurements and design everything to specifically meet the needs of your kitchen.

2. Solid Surface Fabrication Install and the Material Itself

Countertop material options for kitchen remodel
Solid surfaces are the countertops and backsplashes that will be present in your kitchen. These surfaces, like the cabinets, account for a significant amount of space in the kitchen—and they are also available in a variety of different materials. Considering this, it isn’t a surprise that the decisions that you make here can significantly drive up the cost.

The Price Range

The first factor to consider when making solid surface decisions is the price range itself. The average price from the total budget can range from $800 to $5,000, depending on the decisions that you make and the materials that are involved.

Considering the significance of this range, it is important to thoroughly consider your options—and the factors that influence them. This range will help you to know how you are doing compared to other homeowners.

The Number of Materials

The reason that solid surface fabrication costs so much is that it isn’t actually a singular cost. Depending on the amount of surface that you have to cover, you can expect to pay more. On average, most people end up paying for 3 to 4 pieces of their chosen countertop materials. Ultimately, this means that you will need to multiply the price of any material that you choose by the number of pieces that you need.

When you look at base prices, it is also important to remember that you will be dealing with markup to ensure that everything is covered and in good order. This markup can be anywhere from 30% to 70%, depending on the contractor that you work with.

Fabrication Costs

The fabrication costs to make and present your materials can range from $100 to $150 dollars per square foot, depending on the fabricator and the way that they run their company. These costs can vary depending on a variety of internal factors, so it is important to work with a fabricator that you can trust. This can easily be accomplished by working with your contractor directly for this step, which we would always recommend.

An important consideration with fabrication costs and the fabricator themselves is the level of expertise that the group has. The reality is that not every fabricator has the expertise, knowledge, or ability to handle fully custom challenges.

If you want fancy arches, waterfalls, or specialty kitchen countertops, you will find that not every fabricator is up to the job. To ensure that you spend the right amount of money and receive a quality design, it is important to work with a group that is able to handle these challenges.

Consider Your Materials

The materials that you choose can play a big role in your total kitchen remodel costs, and this is where some homeowners can find themselves in trouble. The material costs can vary significantly because of what is involved when working with them. The remodeling project costs for these differences really come down to materials that are natural as opposed to man-made. Natural materials must be obtained, and they must be handled completely differently, too. In most cases, natural materials are more fragile and need to be handled with care. This can take more time to work with, and it can also increase costs.

3. The Labor and Overhead

Any time that you work with a general contractor, you are giving yourself over to someone else’s level of expertise, time, and design experience. The amount of work that goes into bringing your kitchen remodeling projects to life will always have a big impact on how your final price plays out.

Time, Material, And Labor Hours

When pricing out how much you will be paying the general contractor team for their work and services, you will need to consider the time, material, and labor hours. Time is the amount of time that will actually go into making your dream kitchen into a reality—and what that entails.

Material costs can influence pricing in a couple of different ways. There is, of course, the general cost of the materials themselves, but that isn’t the only point of interest here. The materials that you choose can also come with different installation methods and considerations, which might increase the price further.

The labor hours involved are the number of people that are present on the site in order to see it through to completion. If there’s any plumbing or electrical work done, then the price will increase as well. This involves the different people required with different areas of expertise and the amount of time that they contribute to being at the site, a fact which can vary depending on what is involved—and whether or not you decide on any changes during the process.

Changes To The Layout

The biggest factor when pricing out the labor involved and the average kitchen remodeling cost is really whether or not you are making changes to your kitchen. Any time that you move something in your kitchen, you should consider the associated cost.

When we trade a kitchen like-for-like, it means that we are just going to put new materials in the same place as the old ones. This means that there is significantly less work involved, which ultimately means lower costs for you.

When we move certain items, it changes everything. Moving plumbing, hookups for accessories, adding new appliances, or redesigning your kitchen in any way will ultimately have us offering more labor—and this means that it will cost more to see it through.

Elegant kitchen with white cabinets and classy navy blue kitchen island with golden lights above it

How About The Most Expensive Part Of A Bathroom Remodel

Generally, kitchens tend to be more expensive because they’re larger spaces that require much more upgrades and features. With that said, a bathroom remodel doesn’t have to cost a fortune to match your changing needs.

Usually, the most expensive part of a bathroom remodel will either be the vanity, especially if it’s a double vanity made of hardwood and with premium sinks and countertops. If you choose a simple, wall-mounted vanity, you’ll pay a lot less.

The next most expensive upgrade in a bathroom remodel would be a tiled shower with glass enclosure. These upgrades can be as expensive as $15,000+.

The Takeaway

Your kitchen renovation can vary significantly in cost based on the choices that you make, which is why it can be helpful to discuss your budget with your contractor in advance. Together, we can always find a way to give you your dream kitchen without charging you more than you want to spend. With your budget in mind, we can help guide you through the decision-making process and keep an eye out for ways to save on expenses as we go along.