Factors That Affect Cost in a Kitchen Remodel

Factors That Affect Cost in a Kitchen Remodel

From individual material costs, to install costs, to your choice of contractor, a lot of factors can tip your budget in the wrong direction if you aren’t careful.

We start each project with a Design and Budget Consult that includes a Good Better Best budget. We use this approach because in order to price a project accruately we need to understand your needs and present options for you to choose from. 

There are both obvious and not so obvious elements that can affect the cost of your kitchen remodel and it takes time to review and understand these differences. That’s why we review your budget together in our showroom, so you can ask questions, look at materials options and adjust the budget to suite your needs.

How Much Does A Kitchen Remodel REALLY Cost?

As you might assume, the cost of a kitchen remodel can be drastically different depending on size, type of contractor, materials used, etc. The first thing to know before you remodel is that the range of budgets for a kitchen remodel is massive. If you want to see how drastically the budgets for kitchen remodels can differ, check out the Recent Projects section of this website.

One of things we do as part of our design process is look for ways to value engineer a project. We look for ways to compromise and save money while maintaining the overall look and performance you want. Here are some of the factors that can affect kitchen remodel costs. 

Individual Taste

The style of your kitchen can affect the total kitchen remodel costs. Super modern styles for example can increase costs because the level of care and detail needed to get that clean simple look is time consuming. Very traditonal designs can also cost more expecially if there are a lot of ornate features.

One of the more popular styles today is called Trasnsitional, it’s a mix of modern and traditional elements that creates a clean and simple look but with some pattern and detail you might see in more traditional designs. The transitional style offer a lot of opportunitey to value engineer a project so you can get the look you want on a budget. 


A small amount of flooring in one or two rooms is easy to change but replacing the flooring in the entire home is very disruptive and hard to change later on. It pays to invest in quality flooring that will last decades. 

Click the image to see this homeowner’s full kitchen remodel

Travertine marble floor tile like the one we have linked can will cost you over $35 per sq. ft. installed. On the other end of the cost spectrum is the luxury vinyl plank we have in our showroom that can cost as little as $3.00 per sq. ft.

Even within material categories there are price differences. Luxury Vinyl Plank can range from .99 cents a sq ft to $8. Tile flooring has a similar costs range as does enginnered wood.

This makes choosing the right material for your floors pretty challenging. Most people are smart enough not to choose the cheapest option but what about middle range of prices? What’s the difference beween flooring that costs $4 vs flooring that costs $8 ?

When choosing engineered wood or LVP flooring the wear layer has a big impact on the price. Low cost enginnered wood might have a .5 mm or 1 mm wear layer where better floors (and the only flooring we recommend installing) has a 3 mm to 6 mm wear layer. 

The value of your home can affect this decision. Luxury vinyl plank is very popular and used for whole home flooring a lot in homes in the $300,000 – $600,000 price range. Homes costing more than that really call for wood or tile flooring to keep in step with the price of the home.


Click the image to see this homowner’s full kitchen remodel

When remodeling a kitchen, cabinets are usually the single biggest budget number. They are also the main feature of the kitchen, the most expensive to replace and get a lot of use and abuse.

For this reason we don not recommend skimping on your cabinet selection. There are some quality choices in the “good” price range but there is also a ton of junk out there. The differences can be subtle to a novice so it pays to meet with an expereince kitchen designer to make the smarted choice.

The size of your kitchen and number of cabinets you needs will obviously affect cost but so will the type of cabinets you choose. Drawer bases cost more than door bases and cabinets with pullout or organizers cost more than those without those features.


Click the image above to check out this kitchen project. 

The second biggest material expense in a kitchen project is usually countertops. Countertops are a lot easier to replace than flooring or cabinets so if your budget is tight consider installing a lower cost countertop for now and upgrading in few years. 

your lowest cost option are laminate countertops. These are not our favorite for kitchens but they can do in a pinch. We do use them more in laundry rooms and utility rooms.

Solid surface and Thinscape countertops are good budget options that look good and perform well. Solid Surface, or Corian, tops costs between $45 and $65 a sq ft. Thinscape costs around $35 a sq ft. Thinscape is a relatively new material that we have recently started using. We even had it installed in our showroom. It’s a thick laminate product, about 1/2 inch thick, and is very durable. It looks better than thin laminates and is 100% waterproof.

Quartz countertops are by far the most popular choice but also one of the more expensive ranging from $85 to $110 a sq ft. We stick to the name brand quartz tops liek Silestone, Cambria and Caesartone. There are lower cost imported quarts tops out there but they can have some serious flaws and warranty issues. 

A new type of quarts, called sintered stone (or ultra compact stone) is growing in popularity. One popular brand is Dekton by Cosentino. We like to call this “super quartz” as it is almost imposisble to scrath and heat resistant to 1400 degrees celsius. 

Granite is still a good option and ranges from $55 to $135 a sq ft depending on color and material. 


Some appliances, like refridgerators and Dishwashers are easy to change. Others like ranges, wall ovens and microwaves can be more diffiult without modifying the cabinets and counters. So if you’re’ looking to save a little money on your appliance package consider a lower costs fridge or dishwasher that be upgraded later. 

A basic kitchen appliance package can cost as little as $3000. These are the typical packages a budget builder would use. They certainly get the job done but they don’t look great and lack some of the better features people like in modern appliances. 

We find the GE Cafe series to be a really good value. They offer a lot nice finishes and features without breaking the bank. Most appliaces these days have a lifespan of around 10 years unless you invest in high end options like Wolf, Sub Zero or GE’s Monogram series. 


While we love offering good better best chocies for your cabinets, counters and other materials in the kitchen, for us there is really is no such thing as good, better, best labor. We build every projest to the same high labor standard (other contactors might sacrfice quality to lower the cost but we just don’t work that way).

The way you can save money on labor is to modify the scope of work so their is less labor invovled. 

Click the image to see this homeowner’s full kitchen remodel

Tile flooring costs more to install than a floating floor like LVP. Adding new lights and plugs costs more than keeping the old ones. During design we discuss a lot these options but you need to be careful not to compromise the end result.

One of the big reasons we see change orders on a project is because a client was too conservative in design but once the project starts changes thier mind and wants the extra labor items put back. Change order can be more expensive than if we had just originally planned for these itemsf from the start. 


The location of your kitchen remodel is a huge factor in the cost of your remodel. For instance, a kitchen remodel in Tallahassee, FL, where McManus Kitchen and Bath is, would be cheaper than a kitchen remodel in a place like downtown Chicago or Manhattan. Big cities tend to have higher costs of materials and higher wages, meaning that your budget could go up across the board soley based on your location.

Your Choice of Contractor

Sometimes the less expensive estimate winds up being the most costly in the long run. Choosing the right contactor is the most important step in any project and there is a lot to consider. 

If you shop around you’ll find vastly different prices from different contractors. The difference can often be so great they can be really hard to understand. How can there be a $20,000 or $30,000 dollar price differnce between two difference contractors on the same project ?

There are a number of things to consider when choosing a contractor and we’ve written a number of blog posts about it over the years. Check out our article about why we think you should work with a design-build remodeler as an example.

Here are some reasons you might see different prices from different contractors.


On the whole, a more experienced and trusted contractor will probably charge more because they have higher quality standards and understand the true costs of remodelling better.

Accuracy of their Estimate

Sometime contractors are just wrong when they give you an estimate. Instead of taking the time to build a detailed scope of work and seleciton sheet for your project they give out a ‘ballpark’ number that can be significanlty off.

Missing Elements and Low ball allowances

Assumptions get us in trouble. You might assume the contractor is inlcuding all labor and materials in his estimate but he might be thinking about labor only and assuming you will provide the materials.

Other contractors will include ‘allowances’ for materials in their estiamte but intentionally make these numbers low, only enough to buy the most basic and inexpensive cabinets counters and other materials.

Communication and Service

One of the main reasons projects go wrong, and sometimes wind up in court, is when there is a lack of communication on a project. 

To provide great communication, planning and customer service requires you have the right staff, not just carpenters or tile setters but office staff and project managers. These overhead costs increase the price of a project but are critical to having a good remodelign experience. 

Contractor who work out of their truck and don’t use project managers or office staff tend to “figure things out as they go” and this leads to big delays in project completion, errors in constuction and lots of aggravation for the client. 


Very few contractors provide design services. The lowest cost contractors just don’t care and they leave that up to you. But even better quality contractors don’t privide design services and instead refer you to a designer or ask you to find one on your own. 

This means you have additional expenses that are not in their estimate and it can be hard to understand how much design can cost. Workign with separate a designers and contractors can also lead to miscommunication that will cause change orders and extra expenses down the road. 

Materials Ordering and Storage

Many, if not most contractors also do not order your cabinets and fixtures for you. You’ll have to do that yourself and store them in your garage or spare room for months while you wait for the project to start. 

When choosign a contractor make sure you ask smart questions about thier experience level with the type of work you want done, the services they provide and the accuracy of their estimates. If you need help just give us a call, we are happy to review your estimates and give you advice. 

Let Us Help You With Your Next Kitchen Remodel!

Remodeling costs can vary based on a number of factors. For your kitchen remodel, it’s best to work with a quality contractor who communicates their process from start to finish.

That’s McManus Kitchen and Bath! We’ll work with you every step of the way to make your dream a reality. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consult.

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McManus Kitchen and Bath is a design and build company specializing in kitchen and bath remodels