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.
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:
- 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!
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:
$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.
$7,600 – Total cost spent on cabinetry, new doors and drawers, paint and supplies, and hardware.
NOTE: It would not be that much more expensive to replace everything with all new cabinetry since we handle the 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!
Here’s the before/after! Check out what changed and what stayed the same…
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 (out of stock, here’s similar) with this grout: Polyblend Pewter sanded.
$2,600 – Estimated professional labor + materials.
$450 – Total spent on tile, mortar, grout, grout sealer, and tools.
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.
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.
$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.
Ideas to Save Money on Countertops
If you’re willing to explore other countertop materials, here are some budget choices:
- Install a butcher block countertop. Plenty of premade wood species are available.
- Update a laminate countertop with faux marble paint or contact paper.
- Tile is much cheaper than a slab.
- Buy new Formica countertop
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! We chose this 3 x 12″ white tile and Mapei Avalanche white grout.
$1200 – Estimated cost of materials + professional installation.
$200 – Total cost of tile, mortar, grout, grout sealer and tools.
Here’s how I planned mockups of our backsplash before we installed it.
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.
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.