Rehabbing Kitchen Estimate - is this a fair price?

48 Replies

Hello!

I'm looking to rehab this kitchen and found a contractor I really liked. This would be a place I will be living in for a while and I want to be sure it's done right, not cheap. Here are some photos, so you have an idea of what I'm talking about: 

Essentially, I'd like to demo the kitchen cabinets, knock out the wall to the left and create a peninsula. I'd then like to move the stove where the fridge is, and the fridge to the right of the sink counter. I then want to install 4 can lights over the kitchen and 2 pendant boxes over the peninsula. All new appliances, hardwood floor (to match the rest of the condo), etc.. 

The contractor I liked the best gave me a quote of $10,500. I would have to purchase all appliances, sink, floors and extras. This is what I have budgeted:

$3000 for appliances
$350 sink
$100 garbage disposal
$450 hood vent
$300 facet
$100 backsplash
$350 hardwood floor
$1000 granite counter top
$1000 white wood cabinets with silver hardware

First question: is this a reasonable budget for what I'll need to buy? 

Second question: What is the wiggle room for what contracts quote you and what they will go down to?

Third question: This is the estimate I received, does this seem reasonable?

You have prices things pretty right.

As for the labor, in my experience, the following itemized numbers for sure, are priced high:

1, 2, 5,10, 11, and maybe 13.

You say you don't want it done right and not cheap, but all you talk about is price ;)  

Pricing on labor seems fair... could you get it for cheaper...?  If you've gotten multiple bids, why do you like this guy and how far is he from the low bid? 

Have you checked references?  Seen pictures of previous work?  What is his resume? I don't know in california, but in some states you have free access to court records... I would check that if available. Licensed and insured... are you pulling permits for this work? Seems like most of it would be exempt from permitting, but you are talking about california here. Electrical and structural modifications probably have the most concern. 

Medium e3logo smallEmilio Ramirez, E 3 Design Shop | [email protected] | 7204413083 | http://www.e3designshop.com | CO Contractor # Class B

@Julian L.

The galley kitchen...we have something similar (maybe a bit longer). We gutted everything and knocked out wall, added counter seating. New cabinets, granite, glass tile backsplash, moved some plumbing and electrical around a bit, etc.

Pricing in LA and NY might be similar. If that is the case...we spent all-in about 25k (materials & labor). That was 8 years ago.

I think you might end up spending more than you think for granite, cabinets, hardwoods & appliances. 

Best of luck!

@Julian L. Nice vision. Have you look into the project loans from lowes or home depot? Might loosen some of the pricing constraints, they also offer contractors. I have never used the service; although, I plan too. I've only heard other talk highly about their experiences.

Keep us posted.

Originally posted by @Emilio Ramirez :

You say you don't want it done right and not cheap, but all you talk about is price ;)  

Pricing on labor seems fair... could you get it for cheaper...?  If you've gotten multiple bids, why do you like this guy and how far is he from the low bid? 

Have you checked references?  Seen pictures of previous work?  What is his resume? I don't know in california, but in some states you have free access to court records... I would check that if available. Licensed and insured... are you pulling permits for this work? Seems like most of it would be exempt from permitting, but you are talking about california here. Electrical and structural modifications probably have the most concern. 

 Well yes, of course I want to be sure this is a fair price. If this is what it costs, this is what it costs. I just wasn't sure how much padding contractors put in their proposals. I want to see if I can negotiate the price. 

I've seen his work before and it's good. I have several friends who have used him and he comes highly recommended. 

Despite the size of the kitchen- for the amount of labor, materials etc that figure sounds about right. In the end, when you hire out work- you get what you pay for. 

I think all those labor prices are high... Even for LA.  I couldn't imagine paying that in Atlanta.   I mean $950 to tear out cabinets and haul away... It would take you 2 hours max to do that and then you could buy a bagster from home depot for like 60 bucks for the debris. 

Framing the header for $1200...? Moving a water line for $450..? I've had my plumber move tons of water lines for and hook up sinks... both would cost me together $175 max.  $1150 for installing granite?  Since you are supplying the granite you know they offer free installation and sink when you buy it.

If I were you I would hire each trade out separately.  This is a small job and you don't need a contractor.  Find a plumber for the water lines, find an electrician for the can lights, buy the granite from the store and they will install it, find a painter and floor guy.  Reasonable labor should be like 7.5k total if you are buying all the material.

Remember the contractor is just subbing all this work out to the lowest bidder anyways.

Best of luck.

I think it seems high since it doesn't include any materials and the kitchen looks so small . I agree with the poster above. Also will he be the one doing the labor? If the pics you saw were of his own work, I would wonder about the quality of the work the guy who he hires the job out to would do. Also sanding and finishing floors is a special skill, would not hire out to someone who doesn't specialize in it , talking from experience here.

Jessica H., Roof Over Head, LLC | 6102481644

@Watson Smith nailed it with the granite for sure. The other areas mentioned are within a standard deviation of what you should expect. I wouldn't not hire the guy over an extra 50 bucks to put in can lights or run a new water line. But I would not hire him for charging that much for what your granite supplier will do for free. The place I go through also does a free stainless steel sink and installation when you spend more than a $1000.

I suspect that you will pay more for granite, cabinets and back splash than you have estimated.  

Does his estimates for the header, paint, primer, and drywall include those materials or are those also supplied by you? Those things are inexpensive on their own but will add up quickly. 

Is the wall you are removing and adding the header a bearing wall?  If it is, check with your building official about the permit requirements.  They will probably tell you that the header needs to be designed by a structural engineer and design details submitted for review.  Does your costs included engineering, permitting, post supports for the header, and possible foundation work?  If this is a bearing wall, I would add another couple thousand.

Originally posted by @Gary Landon :

Is the wall you are removing and adding the header a bearing wall?  If it is, check with your building official about the permit requirements.  They will probably tell you that the header needs to be designed by a structural engineer and design details submitted for review.  Does your costs included engineering, permitting, post supports for the header, and possible foundation work?  If this is a bearing wall, I would add another couple thousand.

 I was told by the inspector that it is a no load bearing wall. 

If it is no load bearing then you wouldn't need a header.

Cabinets for $1,000?!

Cali is not that cheap either.

Lowest level here is roughly $2,900 that is minimum for a Single Family "live in". Cheaper for a low level condo/apartment maybe.

.02

I'd look more for $500-$700 for backsplash and $600 flooring as well. Pretty clean, quick overhaul you have planned.

Medium home evolutions 1 transparentDennis Pressey Jr, Home Evolutions LLC | 856‑209‑3511 | http://www.allhousedeals.com | NJ Agent # 60062252

Your estimates seem alright. It depends on what you buy. But the labor is extremely high, at least for my area. Your contractor will be making more per hour than my lawyer.

Always negotiate. Always get at least 3 quotes.

I would be inclined to demo on my own for removing cabinets but I don't mind demo.  Appliances should be an exchange with whoever you buy them from (free delivery and haul away or donate to your local habitat restore).  Prices are area dependent but they  seem to break down ok.  Only other thing I would do is deal directly with the cabinet and granite guy. There is no reason to break that out,  it will cost you more if you do granite separate from the labor.  For cabinets what amount are you getting?  I don't think that $1000 is enough. You want the local price for basic cabinets just look at kitchen cabinets on craigslist ads or price them at your basic cabinet warehouse you will see you are too low.  You won't get enough cabinets to get the kitchen done for that price.  In fact to check your material prices get square footage for everything and run to the store to get a reality check.

If it is not a load bearing wall then no header is required.  Take the old doors off of the cabinets and have a cabinet maker come and measure for replacement doors and drawer fronts.  They can do full overlay with hidden hinges in any style door you want.  They can build you a cabinet to fill in where the stove is and a filler if needed to fill between the cabinet and new stove location.  Based on the style and look, it appears the cabinets that are there are already solid wood cabinets.  Call a granite installer and they will measure and install top and sink.  The upper cabinets on the peninsula side are easily removable.  A decent carpenter can remove that portion of wall.  The rest is just calling a few subs.  Plumber, Electrician, etc.  Good Luck

Man you are getting are getting screwed. 

$800 to lay flooring in an 10' x 4' space?  Its going to take him a couple of hours to lay that wood floor down. What are you actually paying for here? 

Also reconsider sanding all the floors to match, a small job like this your contractor should be to essentially tape off the flooring joints and match the stain to the existing floors. Unless your existing floors are tired looking....

$450 to spend an hour under your sink.

$650 to prime and paint? Again what is he painting?  It looks like your new configuration will only have the back wall and ceiling exposed.

$950 to demo. Like someone else said. 2 hours of work max.

When you move a gas stove, you might find some building code restrictions must be met on proximity to combustible surfaces. Especially when you have the stove planned to be butted up alongside the wall. 

I like what @Watson Smith had to say. I just remodeled my own kitchen, top to bottom, side to side. I did all the work myself. I moved the refrigerator across the kitchen, moved the gas stove so I had to re-route the gas line, can lights, new water line for the fridge, 18" travertine tiles. The only thing I didn't do myself was the drywall, because that was part of a larger project with a specific finish and I hate drywall work.

My total cost was $5,000, not including appliances. The granite guys came and installed the granite for free, along with a free sink. I think the prices are pretty high, especially for the rerouting the refrigerator water line. That takes about 7 minutes, and the copper pipe is about $20. The hardest part of that job is unwinding the tubing so it doesn't crimp.

Not sure what the other contractors came in at, but if you can handle it, I would act as my own general contractor to get the jobs done. It will take longer, but you could come in a lot lower. 

Is this guy using subcontractors? If he is, get signed lien waivers from every single subcontractor before you write that final check. I got that piece of advise from my dad and that saved me about $11,000 when my GC walked off with the drywallers money...

Good luck!

No real opinion on the costs, but you might not be as far off necessarily as some suggest. I think you will find compared to the middle of the country, labor costs will be quite a bit higher in LA, but materials often won't and sometimes might even be a little less.  Take granite and cabinets.  In Los Angeles, it comes right off the ship and after a very short truck trip is ready to go.  For the middle of the country, you have got to get it put on a combo of trucks and trains and sent across the country and shipping costs by weight add up pretty quickly on really heavy items like granite slabs.

Thank you all for the replies. This is extremely helpful and giving me ammo to negotiate with. This is the middle bid and I liked him the best... the key is to get him to come down. I thought $10,500 seemed a bit high for that size space. 

Based off the research I've done, it looks like the going rate in LA for demoing cabinets and existing tile should be more like $500. 

I didn't realize the frame header was only needed if it were a load bearing wall.. I'll confirm with him that's it's needed. If it's a no load bearing wall, like I was told, I could knock that wall out and save a truck load on the frame. 

I can't find any info on how much it should be to move the sink, facet, supply lines, etc... I'm going to say I have a bid to do it for $250 instead of his $450? Is that a more realistic number?

@Justin Owens my existing floors are beat up. They are real hardwood, but beat up. This proposal does include sanding and finishing all of the floors in the condo, so they match. 

I'm passing on the prime and painting. I can do that myself and am painting the living room and dining room anyway. 

Cabinets are too low, countertop and backsplash are too high. For labor, granite is way too high, if he has and pays for workers compensation, he is about right, i would guess he is a 2-3 man type GC which I do not think he is doing everything legal and cutting corners, so offer something like 7k to start, that's more than his actual cost.

The expensive range countertop price i have seen is about 300/slab with regular bullnose, 150 is good enough. Install is about 150, small job like this is about 200/slab at cost.

@Julian L. you wrote...

The contractor I liked the best gave me a quote of $10,500. I would have to purchase all appliances, sink, floors and extras. This is what I have budgeted:

$3000 for appliances
$350 sink
$100 garbage disposal
$450 hood vent
$300 facet
$100 backsplash
$350 hardwood floor
$1000 granite counter top
$1000 white wood cabinets with silver hardware

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My input for what it's worth.

Numbers look solid for a contractor bid. But you can save about 25% or more if you are contractor and sub the work. And you'll keep your costs under control.

$3,000 for appliances? Buy from a resale place or even Sears Outlet (if you have one). Will probably only cost you a max $2,500. I would use that extra $500 on the backsplash and upgrade to glass tiles or higher end backsplash.

$1,000 for granite (installed) is very reasonable. If that's only installation, then your contractor is robbing you as you can granite installed for $1,000 - $1,200 likely.

In a rehab, I would get stock cabinets and paint. For that size room, $1,000 seems about right with hardware. I think you meant to say brushed nickle or stainless hardware not silver. Also, you can increase the look and value added if your hardware is not just knobs but pull handles.

I'd say it's a little high, but not terrible.  I have 3 GC's we work with in LA County that I could refer you if you'd like another quote