How We Saved $20k on Our DIY Kitchen Remodel Cost

May 11, 2021

How We Saved $20k on Our DIY Kitchen Remodel Cost

May 11, 2021

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how to skip painting mistakes
making painting mistakes

Here’s how we’ve saved nearly $20,000 on our kitchen remodel cost, which I can confidently now share, even though we’re not 100% finished. Kitchen remodels can be insanely – even prohibitively – expensive, but they really don’t have to be. If you have the time, energy, and willingness to learn (and accept some imperfections), tackling your own kitchen remodel can save you buckets of money.

kitchen remodel cost

Our DIY Kitchen Remodel Cost – Overview

First, it’s important to note that we’re remodeling our house with plans to sell and recoup the investment cost. We chose nice materials and didn’t aim for the cheapest possible fixtures or appliances. You could certainly find ways to cut more corners if you’re on a tight budget.

Today I’m sharing how our savings compare to the cost of a new kitchen. In this post, I’ll explain where we saved/splurged on:

  • Cabinetry
  • Flooring
  • Appliances
  • Countertops
  • Backsplash
  • Hardware + Fixtures

A kitchen reno is a major undertaking, so do the research first. You might decide to hire subcontractors for portions of the work, but some jobs are truly DIY-friendly. As Wyatt says, if you already own a screw gun and can find YouTube, you can install cabinets. That’s a huge savings!

installing cabinets

Easy Meals During a Kitchen Remodel

Background

Read these posts for more details on our layout, materials, cabinet and paint reviews, and other choices:

Yes – A DIY Kitchen Remodel is Possible! – our plan
Our DIY Kitchen Remodel Costs and Lessons Learned
The Best Paint for Kitchen Cabinets
Choosing a Kitchen Backsplash Tile Pattern
Easy Meals During a Kitchen Remodel



How We Saved Money on New Cabinets

You can read all about our cabinet saga here. The short story of a long adventure is that we ordered some new cabinetry online to expand our kitchen and replaced the doors and drawers on the existing cabinets. We ordered unfinished products and I painted everything to match with Benjamin Moore Advance paint. OK, here is how we saved major money on this portion of the kitchen remodel cost:

Professional Quotes

$24k – Quote to replace everything with a brand new kitchen (cabs, counter, hardware, sink), plus labor.

$11k – Quote to replace everything with new product – cost for materials only; we would handle installation.

$12k – Quote to reface existing cabinets (new doors, drawers, and paint) + add the new cabinetry, which we would install and paint.

DIY Solution

$7,600 – Total cost spent on cabinetry, new doors and drawers, paint and supplies, and hardware.

$16,400 SAVED

Read more about the cabinetry cost here.

kitchen remodel cost
range | range hood | Turkish towel (20% off with code LIST20)

NOTE: It would not be that much more expensive to replace everything with all new cabinetry since we handle installation. We could shop around and probably find cheaper cabinets to buy than the $11k quote. However, our old cabinets are in great shape and it felt wasteful to rip everything out. Plus, our kitchen was usable throughout this entire project (save for a few days when we replaced the countertop) – a HUGE plus when remodeling a kitchen!

How We Saved Money on a New Kitchen Floor

Here’s an example of how labor can really affect the price. By the way, I use this online calculator to estimate costs. Wyatt has a fair bit of experience installing tile, so he tackled the kitchen floors over a few weekends. Or maybe months? (It’s a blur now.) We installed this porcelain tile.

$2,600 – Estimated professional labor + materials.

DIY Solution

$450 – Total spent on tile, mortar, grout, grout sealer, and tools.

$2,150 SAVED

installing floor tile
porcelain floor tile

How to Get Appliance Deals

OK, nothing revolutionary here. We’re picky about appliances, so we ordered the exact models we wanted when they were on sale.

Good appliance sales typically happen around Labor Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, and other 3-day holiday weekends. Apparently, that’s when people go appliance shopping. If you don’t care about a few dents or dings, you can sometimes score a great deal at regional appliance factory outlets.

We bought: refrigerator | range | dishwasher (similar) | range hood

kitchen remodel cost
Turkish towel (20% off with code LIST20)


Countertops

There are very few shortcuts if you want a solid slab countertop. I’ve never heard of anyone installing granite, quartz, marble, or another stone counter as a DIY project.

$3,400 – Typical estimated cost of our size Pental quartz countertop + installation, including sink and faucet.

Our Cost

$1,800 – Total cost for our materials + labor. We were lucky to get a price break through a connection we have, so we got a great deal. I’m not including this in our total savings.

kitchen remodel cost

Ideas to Save Money on Countertops

If you’re willing to explore other countertop materials, here are some budget choices:

  • Tile is much cheaper than a slab.
  • Buy new Formica countertop

How to Update Your Laminate Countertop with Contact Paper

diy countertop contact paper
contact paper

Backsplash Savings

If you’re willing to tackle a tile project, installing your own backsplash tile is a great place to save money. Here are some numbers for our kitchen, and you can read about our tile plan here. Stay tuned for a blog post on that project over the summer!

$1200 – Estimated cost of materials + professional installation.

DIY Solution

$200 – Total cost of tile, mortar, grout, grout sealer and tools.

$1,000 Saved

white ceramic tile
3 x 12 white ceramic tile

Hardware and Fixtures

Here’s where we don’t cut corners: hardware, sink, faucet – anything you’ll be using day after day. Cheap faucets show their true colors sooner than you’d expect. Cheap cabinet hardware finishes will flake off after continued use. I think it’s worth buying quality cabinet hardware, faucets, sink, garbage disposals, etc. All the components that need to function well, continuously.

We bought: undermount sink | faucet | square bar pulls – 5-1/16 (most doors) | 8-13/16″ (hutch) | 12″ (pantry) | round knobs

kitchen remodel cost
mockup of our planned backsplash


Total Savings on Our Remodel

If you’ve been keeping track, our kitchen has cost approximately $10k so far. That knocks our kitchen remodel cost down from an estimated $30,000 to roughly $10,000. The other way to think about it is that we invested sweat equity and $10k, and now we have a kitchen equivalent to a $30k remodel! I feel pretty good about that.

Here’s what I’m counting as money we’ve SAVED in our DIY kitchen remodel:

Cabinets – $16,400
Floors – $2,150
Backsplash – $1,000

Drumroll please . . . Total Savings ~ $19,550!

That’s a wrap! Hit me with your questions. I’m sure you’ve got some! I probably missed something here, as well. After all, this project has been evolving for years and my memory is a colander these days. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the big reveal this summer, once we’re done!

kitchen remodel cost

Read More About Related Projects

list in progress kitchen projects

1 – Kitchen Trends in 2021 to Consider
2 – Yes, A DIY Kitchen Remodel is Possible – Part One
3 – 2021 Cabinet Hardware Trends and Where to Shop
4 – Choosing a Kitchen Backsplash Tile Layouts

Erin

Hi! I’m Erin, a Colorado-based home improvement blogger and lover of all things DIY. I aim to inspire creative folks to tackle home improvement with confidence and style. Read more here

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