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Remodeling Your Kitchen? Know What You’re Paying For


The thought of finally having the kitchen of your dreams is exciting. The price tag of a custom kitchen renovation or remodel? Not so much.

The cost of a kitchen renovation is a combination of several factors. Between labor, permits, and raw and finishing materials, it can range from $45,000 to $250,000. Remodel projects in areas like New York City can also come with additional stipulations for co-ops and condo owners. Together, these often unexpected costs can douse the spark of excitement around a project.

It’s possible, though, to reduce the final price of your new kitchen without sacrificing any of its quality. Let’s break down the elements of a project and how each one factors into a project’s final cost.

What Are You Actually Paying For?

Exactly how much money you pay will differ from project to project, of course. But several factors are common across the board, including:

• Time and labor: Unless you’re a remodeler yourself, your project will always include time and labor costs. The details depend on what contractor you choose and the scope of your project — reconfiguring your kitchen’s layout will cost more than just replacing the countertops, for example.

• Permits and filing fees: Most home renovations require some level of filing for permits, which is typically the contractor’s responsibility. The specific fees depend on the project and location, and the contractor will determine the submission cost.

• Property type: If you live in an apartment, chances are good that you’ll pay more for your kitchen remodel. Your co-op or condo board will likely impose rules restricting certain work to certain days or times. Most buildings require your contractor to finish work by 3:45 or 4 p.m., for example, extending the number of days during which you’ll have to pay for labor. The age and condition of your property, apartment or otherwise, factors in as well: If you live in a home that hasn’t been renovated in decades, you should expect to pay slightly more for your project.

• Raw materials: Out with the old and in with the new also means renovating things like the walls and the infrastructure behind them. From electrical and plumbing lines to sheetrock and compound, these rough materials can have a significant impact on your overall cost.

• Finishing materials and fixtures: The cabinets, countertops, tiles, faucets, appliances, pull handles, and more that make up the face of your new kitchen are the most obvious costs. Those costs can be high or low, depending on the quality of finishes you choose, but the right contractor can help you make the best choice.

• Other costs: Working with a designer or architect to design your space will add cost. So will condo boards and co-ops: They might require replacing plumbing up to the riser or laying waterproof membranes in all areas exposed to water, for example.

When we break the costs down even further, the two biggest cost factors are labor and the quality of finishes used throughout the project. But how much of those costs you incur is up to you.

You could choose to deal with a traditional contractor who operates on a labor-only model, charging you just for labor and raw material. But that leaves you to take on more of the project than you’d probably like. Filing for every necessary permit and bouncing between retail shops to choose cabinets, tiles, and fixtures is costly and time-consuming.

Speaking of finishes, if you have expensive taste, you’ll pay even more for it if you choose to shop yourself. Retail stores build in hefty margins to cover their overhead expenditures, and fully custom cabinetry and top-of-the-line fixture prices skyrocket as a result.

So how do you get the most bang for your buck without quarterbacking the project yourself?

Where Should You Splurge? Where Should You Save?

Saving money sounds great on paper, but there are some areas where skimping on products could hurt you in the long run.

Take tile, for example: Your kitchen probably won’t require more than 150 square feet of tile, so this is a great opportunity to splurge on something that you’ll love and that will last for a long time. Consider spending up on high-quality fixtures — pull handles, faucets, lighting fixtures, etc. — as well. Fixtures play a key role in bringing out the character in your space.

On the other hand, you should definitely save on appliances. Viking and Wolf stoves are beautiful, sure, but they can run you close to $15,000. Consider other reputable brands that offer quality products with a much lower price tag.

One area that merits close consideration is your choice of cabinets. Do you live in a competitive real estate market in a pricier area of Manhattan? Then you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot by going with IKEA kitchen cabinets. A fully or semi-custom upper-mid-grade or higher-end finish is a better bet.

If you’re just looking to renovate your kitchen on a tighter budget and you aren’t as concerned with resale value, maybe those IKEA cabinets aren’t a terrible idea. But if you factor in the cost of assembly required and the cost savings don’t seem attractive anymore, a mid-grade semi-custom cabinet might be more up your alley.

Another way to save? Skip the costs of hiring a designer by working with a company that takes care of design for you.

Leave Your Kitchen Renovation in Trusted Hands

The cost of design can be significantly reduced by working with an all-inclusive company like Gallery Kitchen & Bath. In addition to taking on all design, material selection, and building responsibilities, we also eliminate the need for a designer or architect. That alone can save you between $5,000 and $20,000.

Our internal designer will work with you to design your space and procure all relevant permits, as well as find the best prices for a wide selection of the highest-quality finishes. As a dealer for several different high-end lines of cabinetry, we can offer semi- or fully custom fixtures at much lower prices than you’d find walking into a Manhattan showroom.

If you own a co-op or condo, we’ll find out whether your board will make you jump through any hoops. You won’t be surprised by cost overruns or unexpected invoices because our proposal will include all of your project’s costs, including board stipulations.

We know you’re excited about your new kitchen, and we want you to keep that excitement all the way to the project’s completion. That’s why we cover all the bases for you, controlling your project while you keep control over its costs.

Want to know what your kitchen remodel costs? Schedule your free consultation to find out.