Nationally, the average cost of a kitchen remodel is $12,961. Across the board, Thumbtack kitchen remodel contractors state that the average time to remodel a kitchen is three to six weeks.
Read this cost guide to learn more about the variables — construction, cabinets, countertops, appliances, flooring, design and more — that will impact your cost so you can plan and build a wonderful kitchen that fits within your budget.
What’s in this cost guide?
- Average cost by project size: small, medium, large
- Kitchen renovation cost by square foot
- Contractor and labor costs
- Appliances, fixtures and finishes
- Additional cost factors
- Tips for planning a kitchen remodel
- How to keep kitchen remodel costs low
- How to hire a contractor
- What to watch out for
- Past kitchen remodel projects from Thumbtack pros
- Hiring a pro vs DIY
- Is a kitchen remodel worth it?
- Find a kitchen remodeler near you
Your kitchen size impacts your remodel costs. The larger the kitchen, the more materials, labor and prep work required.
For example, Mike Big of Big Brothers Development in Skokie, Illinois estimates that in his region customers spend, on average, $18,000 for a small kitchen remodel, $30,000 for a medium kitchen remodel, and $50,000 for a larger kitchen remodel.
Here are some pricing examples for different kitchen sizes and what might reasonably be included in respective costs, as shared by RJ Nassar of Opus One Design Build in Dallas, Texas:
40 to 60-square-foot kitchen (small): $16,000-$18,000 for a standard renovation, including new counters, floor, backsplash, cabinets, and mid-range appliances.
135 to 165-square-foot kitchen (medium): $28,000-$30,000 for galley kitchen in a townhome or smaller home, including new counters, floor, backsplash, cabinets, and mid-range appliances.
A medium kitchen can also be $65,000-$70,000 or more, depending on finishes and components. RJ explains that the difference is spending:
- $2,200 on countertops or $9,000 on countertops
- $5,000 on cabinets or $20,000 on customized cabinets
- $1,000 or $4,000 on tile backsplash
- $800 on a hood oven
- or $5,000 on a hood oven with exhaust
360-square-feet and up (large): $45,000-$50,000 for a large kitchen renovation with standard finishes. But RJ explains that with large kitchens, anything can happen.
"We just completed a very high-end kitchen that cost $400,000," says RJ. "The high-end appliances cost $100,000, the marble was custom and specially sealed, the countertops were $50,000, the cabinets were $80,000, the backsplash cost $8,000 [and] the lighting was $15,000. They had three sinks, a bar area, wine storage, walk-in pantries, an eat-in area, skylights and entire back of kitchen was all glass.”
>>Get free estimates today. Here are the best kitchen remodelers near you.
Contractor and labor costs
General contractor costs depend on your project scope. Most general contractors quote you a project cost that includes all the services you will have done, including their project management fees. Many general contractors expect construction plans, so don’t assume the contractor will design your kitchen for you.
|Contractor or subcontractor||Hourly Rates|
|Plumbers (performing pipe installation or replacement)||$50-$130/hour|
A kitchen remodel quote will include the cost of any materials they are supplying as well as estimated labor costs and project management fees. Some general contracting companies have all the laborers in-house, and others hire subcontractors for electrical, plumbing, tiling, painting, framing and repair work. General contractor costs are driven by the type of subcontractor labor required materials you select.
Cost per square foot is relative to what is included in the kitchen remodel project. There is no one-size-fits-all template for kitchen remodeling costs. When you get price quotes from contractors, compare beyond the price per square foot.
For example, if you have a 10x10 kitchen and one contractor quotes you $50 per square foot and another quotes you $75 per square foot, don’t assume cheaper is better. Richard Kaufman of American Home and Hardscape says, “Compare the quality of the materials and scope of work between bids. Otherwise, you’re comparing apples to watermelons.”
Where you live, regional labor costs, materials, cost of fixtures and finishes, type of subcontractors required (framers, plumbers, cabinetmakers, electricians), the permits required and if architectural plans are required all impact the cost per square foot. Because of these variables, Ken Moniz of Moniz Home Improvement in Harwich, Massachusetts says that home remodel costs in his region can range anywhere from $25 to $100 per square foot or more.
The fixtures and finishes — appliances, countertops, tiles, etc. — you choose have a major impact on your kitchen remodel cost. As an example, custom hand-painted tile floors while also selecting a chef-grade range from Viking can mean the difference in an additional $30,000 on your kitchen remodel or not.
Here's a breakdown of costs for appliances, countertops and cabinets to help you understand how these choices impact your kitchen remodel price.
>>See local pros. Contact the best kitchen remodelers near you.
Kitchen appliance costs
Here are several examples of standard, mid-range, and high-end appliances as sourced from a popular home improvement store:
|Kitchen appliance||Standard cost||Mid-range cost||High-end cost|
For many kitchen remodels, the cost of appliances is not included in the bid. Customers are expected to purchase their own appliances and the contractors will install them.
Quality appliances are a good place to invest, shares Mike of Big Brothers Development. That said, quality, mid-range appliances typically do just as well as higher-end brands like Wolf or Viking, shares RJ Nassar of Opus One Design Build. So, look for chef grade appliances from companies like KitchenAid or JennAir instead of blowing your budget on a brand name.
Pro tip: stainless steel finishes continue to trend high and are a good choice when thinking about resale value.
Kitchen cabinet costs
Here's a look at how much building, installing, refinishing and painting cabinets might cost you, on average:
|Installing kitchen cabinets||$480-$1,940|
|Building a custom a cabinet||$1,000-$6,161|
|Painting kitchen cabinets||$1,200-$7,000|
|Cabinet refinishing and repair||$1,800-$2,200|
The cost of new kitchen cabinets can range anywhere from $75-$1,000 per linear foot. Cabinet refinishing costs, on average, between $1,500-$6,000. Refinishing cabinets is a renovation technique wherein the cabinet boxes and cabinet doors and drawers remain, but the outer layer of the wood or veneer is sanded down and reapplied or stained to provide a fresh new face to existing cabinets.
Refacing cabinets costs range, on average, from $1,000-$9,000, depending on the cabinet face material, linear feet and labor required.
For those interested in a brand new cabinet system, here are some examples of cabinet costs:
Stock cabinets: $75-$400+ per linear foot. These are pre-made cabinets available from home improvement stores. In one example, Virgil Miranda of New Bedford, Massachusetts charges $55 per linear foot to install stock cabinets or $70 per linear foot to first remove existing cabinets then install new stock cabinets.
Semi-custom cabinets: $150-$900+ per linear foot. Usually made from a higher grade MDF than stock cabinets, semi-custom cabinets have more flexibility when it comes to measurement and configuration — even though they are also factory-made in standard sizes.
Custom cabinets: $500-$1,400+ per linear foot. These are the cream of the crop and are hand constructed by skilled carpenters to the customer’s specifications. Fuentes Woodworks — a company that specializes in custom cabinets, designed, built and installed specifically for customers’ space and design plan — charges between $500 and $700 per linear foot, including installation.
Pro tip: always install cabinets to go to the ceiling. Flush to the ceiling makes your ceilings look taller, makes your kitchen look bigger, and makes your cabinets look custom.
Countertop installation or renovation cost
Granite countertops cost an estimated $40 to $200 per square foot. But your cost will depend on your zip code, type of granite slab, slab source, thickness and color.
In contrast, the cost for laminate counters and installation may be well under $1,000 total due to lower material costs and a material that is easier to work with. And in another example, the installation of quartz countertops (including quartz, materials and labor) may range from $40 to $135 per square foot, according to 221 Construction in Kearney, Missouri.
Pro tip: Be sure the cabinets you select are sturdy enough to support the weight of your new countertops, says American Home and Hardscape. “I’ve had to custom build out a 2x4 cabinet base because the cabinet base the customers bought wasn’t strong enough to hold their stone countertop. Do your research before you buy.”
Adding a kitchen island
If you want to add a kitchen island, expect to pay an average of $6,000, though prices can cost reach as high as $20,000.
Flooring installation and replacement
Thinking about adding in tile, stone, hardwood or vinyl flooring? The average cost of flooring ranges from $1,000 to $10,000, so budget carefully.
Tile installation can cost between $265 and $2,500, though some homeowners may pay closer to $7,000.
The average cost to install a backsplash is $445, and the cost per square foot is typically between $10 and $40.
The average cost of dishwasher installation is $130, but prices can reach $225.
Garbage disposal installation
If you want a new garbage disposal, the average cost ranges between $120-150.
What affects the cost of a kitchen remodel?
There are a few additional cost factors that may impact the cost of your kitchen remodeling project, including:
Nationally, the average interior designer costs range between $60-$125 per hour. Hourly rates will be higher in cities with a higher cost of living. Designers are available for big-picture planning, drawings, fixture and finish selections, space planning and project management.
When hiring an interior designer to help with your kitchen remodel, “the most important thing you can ask is ‘how many kitchen remodels have you done?’ A layout or design can look good, but if they don’t know the true workings of a kitchen it won’t execute as well as someone with long term experience,” says Georgina Lipsey of Spatial Transitions in Tucson, Arizona.
“Having a good designer who excels at space planning is critical,” says RJ, “especially in a small kitchen.” Even for homeowners managing their own remodel, RJ recommends working with a pro to formulate the vision. “This might take three to siz hours at $100-$130 per hour or more, but saves you money and time in the long run because the contractor will then have plans to work from.”
Geography is a major factor in your kitchen remodel costs. Regional labor costs as well as material costs can be much higher in expensive cities than in those areas with a lower cost of living.
The conditions underneath the surface of your kitchen will impact total project cost. If you have mold, termites, water damage, broken sub-floor and other damage, your kitchen remodel will be more expensive. In most cases, the contractors are not able to predict these unseen problems until demolition begins.
If repairs are required before the remodel can move forward, ask the contractor to outline the labor costs, the cost of materials and their gross profit so you completely understand what the repairs cost and why.
>>Get tips from the pros. Contact the best kitchen remodelers near you.
The key ways to keep your kitchen remodel costs low are to avoid changes once the plan is in place, keep your original kitchen footprint and source materials yourself:
Avoid changes. Changing the materials or design after starting construction will increase your costs due to the wasted materials, extra labor and change orders required. Avoid mishaps by measuring (with a measuring tape) and marking any layout changes. This allows you to visualize and walk through any spatial changes planned.
Retain footprint. The difference between a surface makeover and a full kitchen remodel is important in understanding kitchen remodel costs. If you are working on a budget, a surface makeover is the way to go. You’ll have a fresh new look without the added cost of changing out the electrical, plumbing, and taking on under the surface work.
To save money, keep your appliances in the same place, don’t take down walls and don’t move your countertops.
Source materials. Save money by researching the appliances, counters, flooring and tiles yourself and save on paying a designer. Always run choices by the pros before purchasing.
Starting a kitchen remodel is a big project. Follow these steps to make sure you cover your bases:
Step 1: Ask questions.
Before you begin, American Home and Hardscape in the Washington D.C./Baltimore area recommends asking yourself the following questions:
Do I know what I want and do I have a plan? Before calling contractors, look at Pinterest, take photos and visit kitchen stores. Create a general outline of what you want your kitchen to look like with the type of appliances and finishes you want. If you’re working with a designer, they will walk you through all of these steps
Do I have a start and finish date in mind? Do you need your kitchen for summer break? Look at your calendar and consider potential blocks of time when you can have a non-operational kitchen for approximately two months
Am I financially prepared to undertake this remodel and are my finances in order? Be clear on your max spend before reaching out to contractors. If you do your prep work researching finishes and fixtures, you’ll have an idea of what your remodel will cost before labor. Don’t wing it when it comes to remodel finance
Step 2: Plan your budget — and let the contractor know.
Next, determine your budget and identify the designer and contractor you will work with. Be upfront about money from the start.
“Cost engineering is going to help a great deal. Let the contractor know your max budget from the very start,” says RJ of Opus One Design Build. “Start with importance of what needs to happen first.”
Step 3: Finalize your plan with the contractor and designer.
With good planning, a project will start and finish with ease, states Mike of Big Brothers Development. “Ideally, a client has finalized the project with a designer and contractor, meaning everything is picked out and designed to fit the client’s needs.” Then, most projects begin with demolition — removing the old and making way for the new.
Step 4: Make necessary changes and get an inspection.
Next, if necessary, any changes in the rough framing, electrical, or plumbing is addressed, followed by an inspection from the local city hall to make sure everything is up to code.
Step 5: Begin remodeling.
Next is cabinet installation, followed by the countertop fabricator coming in to do a final measurement before they cut the stone. While waiting for the countertop to be delivered, remaining trim and accessory work can be prepared and installed, and/or painting is usually taken care of.
Once the countertop is delivered and installed, finish plumbing occurs (setting up the sink and installing appliances), followed by installing door knobs or hardware and adjustments to the cabinet doors.
“And finally,” says Mike, “we do a deep cleaning before final walk through with the client.”
Hiring a contractor doesn’t have to be hard work. However, it is an important relationship that can make or break your kitchen remodel, so put in the time and effort to research pros and get multiple quotes.
When reviewing and communicating with the best kitchen remodelers near you, ask yourself these questions:
- Are they licensed and insured to work in my state?
- Do they have good reviews?
- Do they have a portfolio of work I like?
- Do they answer my calls and emails in a timely way?
- Are my questions and concerns treated with respect, and do I get clear answers?
- What will the approximate cost be, and do they provide a clear breakdown of costs?
- Might there be additional costs beyond what is in the scope of work?
- Are they available in my timeframe, and do I understand when the project will complete?
- Do they provide a signed contract outlining timeframe, budget, and scope of work?
Everyone has heard kitchen remodel horror stories. Watch out for these red flags before partnering with a contractor or kitchen remodeler.
- Be suspicious of pricing that’s too good to be true.
- Never pay for a project in full up front. Designate milestones and pay as project milestones are completed. Each state has their own regulations to protect consumers from unscrupulous business practices.
- Companies with mostly poor reviews. There will always be one or two unhappy clients (and how a company responds is a good sign of how they treat their customers overall), but consistently bad reviews are a serious red flag
- Poor communication from the start. Kitchen remodels can be draining. Don’t hire a contracting company that makes a challenging project even harder
Kitchen remodel costs vary based on your project scope, repairs required, finishes selected and zip code. Still, it may be helpful to compare and contrast sample jobs to understand what costs what where.
As a regional example, Maples Construction Co. in Knoxville, Tennessee shares three examples of job costs (in 2017). Remember that showcases such as these don’t dictate what a kitchen remodel will cost in your home:
Size of remodel
Cost per sq ft
Frame whole kitchen; plumbing for gas and water; install cabinets; install flooring; paint walls
Stainless steel appliances; soft-close hardware and brushed-nickel pull; vinyl click flooring; paint walls
$4,500 price includes labor and materials, but not appliances. Price part of a whole home remodel, hence lower than standalone work
$100 per square foot
Demo old kitchen; install cabinets; install backsplash; install lights; build-in island; install countertops; paint walls
Soft-close hardware; white shaker cabinets; granite countertop; 60/40 double sink; LED strip lighting under cabinets
$11,000, including labor and materials
$57 per square foot
16x16 surface make-over
Installed countertop; refinished and repainted solitary cabinets; paint walls; install backsplash; install plumbing line for gas stove; install new appliances; build-in island
Marble countertops w/ decorative edges
$6,200, including labor and materials (not appliances)
$24 per square foot
>> Start your project today. Get free estimates from the best kitchen remodelers near you.
Safety, reliable results, lower stress, quicker outcomes and a professional look are the perks of hiring a pro over DIY. Home remodeling shows make kitchen remodels look easy, but without professional know-how and adequate people power, a small DIY remodel can drag on for many months — even years.
Unless you are a licensed plumber or electrician, never move plumbing pipes or electrical wiring on your own. You can do real damage to yourself, your family, your home and even your community.
Structural integrity is also a serious safety factor. If you don’t have building know-how, you can create safety risks with poorly installed flooring or improperly secured cabinetry. When it comes to vision, never DIY the design, recommends RJ. Hire a designer from the beginning.
Professional kitchen remodeling contractors do this work everyday. They are efficient, have all the proper tools and equipment, and know what materials are required. The kitchen is the center of operations for your home — it pays to place its upgrade in the hands of trained professionals.
A kitchen remodel is costly, but it may provide a great return on your investment — both financially by improving the home’s resale value and personally by improving your day-to-day life in your home.
Across the country, the ROI for kitchen remodels is booming, but in some regions it really pays to do the work. The Cost vs. Value 2018 report compared the average costs for a minor, mid-range kitchen remodel* and their respective ROIs, based on region.
|Region||Average Kitchen Remodel Cost||Return on Investment|
|Pacific Coast average||$23,587||92.9%|
|Central Southeastern average||$19,788||81.3%|
*Per the specifications of the Cost vs. Value report, a minor, mid-range kitchen remodel is defined as: updating a 200 square foot kitchen, install new, shaker-style wood panel cabinet fronts and drawers on 30 linear feet of cabinet boxes, install new cabinet hardware, install 30 linear feet of laminate countertops. Update fridge and cooktop/oven range with energy efficient models and install mid-range sink and faucet. Prices include repainting trim, adding wall covering and installing new resilient flooring.
Find a kitchen remodeler near you
Ready to finally build the kitchen of your dreams? Start your project today by comparing the best kitchen remodelers near you.