Kitchen cabinet/countertop upgrade for B class rental

14 Replies

Hi there

We’re looking for some advice on upgrading our 90’s kitchen and bathrooms. We will be doing the work ourselves, we plan on renting it out when we move out later this year. We already got rid of the wallpaper and painted the walls, my husband got rid of the green laminate floors and installed new flooring, we have also found an awesome vendor who organized brand new stainless steel appliances for us at an awesome price, we are busy replacing the white appliances as they cave in on us. There is already a massive improvement, however, the kitchen could still use some work. (I've uploaded pictures of the progress so far)

We plan on painting the cabinets as they are still in good condition, we just don’t like the orange/golden oak look, will also be adding hardware and backsplash that was gifted to us. Any tips on prepping and painting cabinets for rentals? Is white risky to use in a rental?

The current countertops are green, like moldy cheese green! They are also chipped and have cuts (I’m pretty sure no cutting boards were ever used) Point of the story, they gotta go. What would you recommend replacing them with? We don’t want to go with the cheapest option as we plan on holding this rental for a good while, at the same time it’s a rental in B class so not sure about going high end. Any advice would be appreciated. 

@ Jessica Franco   Thanks for the post and pics!  I think you could go with a good laminate for countertops unless you find a great deal on granite.  The good news is you have plenty of time to find a great deal.  Looks great so far!

Looks really good. Nice work.  I've painted cabinets white in several rentals and always looks good with agreeable gray walls. On my most recent rehab, there was a white tile back splash I wanted to keep, so my painter recommended a darker shade of gray for the cabinets. Before and after below. 

BTW, I've found granite tops to be only marginally more expensive than laminate.  When you show a class B/C, the female's eyes will say 'you had me at granite'.

I've had multiple people in their 30s and 40s assume my laminate countertops from Home Depot were granite.  They can look nice. I've painted my cabinets with Semi-gloss white paint and they turned out nice. 

Floor and decor sell nice granite for $272 a slab - 112" x 26" with a 6" backsplash. I think that's about $13 a square foot. If you have the tools to cut and polish it, you can make out like a bandit. I'm just about done with my second apartment granite kitchen upgrade this year.  I also painted the cabinets. I also replaced the stove (on sale home depot $520). The sink, faucet, backsplash, outlets and fan were already there. 

@Michael King That is really nice work. Smart move on the granite. It is surprising how much $$$ you can save when you acquire the tools and skill.  

Is than an exhaust fan in the wall?  I wonder what the reason was for that vs a non vented range hood?

Originally posted by @Terrell Garren :

@Michael King That is really nice work. Smart move on the granite. It is surprising how much $$$ you can save when you acquire the tools and skill.  

Is than an exhaust fan in the wall?  I wonder what the reason was for that vs a non vented range hood?

It is a wall fan. I don't think it was practical to put a range hood in, or maybe the builders didn't do them in 1950 when it was built. I'd prefer the fan out the wall anyway. Thanks for the comments! It was hard work learning how to cut and polish, but now I have my technique and tools it's going to make good sense to continue doing it in my apartments (only have 4 for now). 

You could use a nice laminate. Pick out something a little more modern with the fancy rounded edges. Or if you can find a guy and a rock :) I get granite for about $200 more than laminate so I'll always go granite and actually we use White Quartz because it's more popular in our market. Find out who the Flippers are using for granite and ask him what's the most popular and get a quote, then go to Home Depot or Lowes and shop laminate for comparison and remember you will likely need a new sink with the granite and you may not with the

@Dick Rosen Awesome thanks, I'll get in touch with some local investors and see where they are getting their granite/supplies from. I was hoping Home Depot or Lowes would have sales for memorial day. 

@Michael King Kitchen looks great! We are pretty handy and do most of the work ourselves, however, we haven't worked with granite before. I see Lowes and HD prices include installation, thinking of going that route, and then watching as they install to learn for the next. Otherwise there is the university of YouTube but I'd hate to have to waste a slab of granite because I didn't know what I was doing. 

Originally posted by @Jessica Franco :

@Terrell Garren Thanks your rental looks awesome! I love the gray cabinets. What countertops did you go with? 

The old laminate was in good condition but was an ugly green.  Several coats of primer, two coats of color and 4 coats of sealant.  Cost around $60 and 20 hours of labor.  I've found it to be a good solution for ugly cultured marble bathroom vanities as well. 


@Terrell Garren That was what we were originally going to do, I was just worried about the upkeep of painted countertops. How have yours held up? I am thinking of granite for the kitchen since there's not much and then paint bathroom countertops with good quality countertop paint. 

@Jessica Franco Agree. For the bathroom tops, my best approach is clean, lightly sand with 220, several coats of STIX bonding primer followed by a couple coats of enamel color.  Ask your residents to avoid using abrasive cleaners.