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The Wonderful World of Remodeling

When starting a home renovation or remodeling job, especially a do-it-yourself project, a person should really start by considering the cost. How much is this project going to cost? There are two parts to consider: construction and destruction. Everybody knows that materials must be bought and the laborers compensated (even if it is only a couple of pizzas and a case of beer on the work days).

Destruction

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For some strange reason, the takedown phase of a project tends to be my favorite part of the job. The smashing, the breaking, the…well, destruction. For a moderate sized job, it may just be sledgehammers, and crowbars and the like. For a bigger job, you might find the need for a compact front-end-loader, or a jackhammer or, quite likely, dumpster services to haul away the pile of trash that is about to make an appearance.

Scope of Work

Let us say, for example, that it’s time to update the kitchen. That could mean a fresh coat of paint and resurfacing of the existing cabinets and drawers. On the other end of the spectrum, it could entail ripping everything out down to the bare walls and sub-floor and starting again. Obviously two very different price points, workloads and timelines. All this needs to be accounted for in considering the cost. In terms of both actual financial cost and opportunity cost.

Cost of Materials

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Determining how much money you want to spend or can realistically afford is, possibly, the biggest piece of the puzzle. One important factor in determining the budget is deciding which type of material each component will be made of. Today, the choices vary widely in material and price range. Consider the following (all cost (installed) numbers taken from the HomeAdvisor website):

  • Kitchen Counters—Choices here run the gambit from laminate surfaces to DuPont’s Corian® (generically, solid surface) to quartz, along with numerous other options. With varied options comes a variety of costs. The cost (per 100 sq. ft.) for laminate countertops generally ranges $3,000-$4,000 while quartz countertops can be well over $10,000.
  • Kitchen Sinks—Here again the choice of materials is varied. A stainless-steel sink generally costs between $100 and $800, while a solid surface sink to match the counters can exceed $3,000.
  • Kitchen Flooring—In general, flooring is made either of wood, laminate materials or vinyl. Within each, there are several variations to consider. Wood flooring can include economy wood such as pine ($6-$11/sq. ft.), mid-ranged like oak ($9-$18/sq. ft.) and high-end/exotic materials such as mahogany ($12-$22/sq. ft.). Laminate materials mimic the appearance of other materials such as wood, stone and tile and run, on average ($5.50/sq. ft.). Finally, there is vinyl flooring ($2.50-$3.30/sq. ft.) and linoleum ($3.30-$4.20/sq. ft.).

The Laborers

The cost of labor on any job can easily become the most expensive part of any project. A reputable and licensed contractor who hires competent sub-contractors will, of course, be the most expensive labor option. It takes money to hire good people to do the job in a workmanlike manner. It will raise the cost, but save a lot of headaches and backaches. Thereby lowering the cost of pain medications.

Depending on your experience, relationships with family and friends (in my experience there can be a lot of yelling, swearing and throwing of things in these cases) and just plain gumption any of these jobs can be done by a do-it-yourselfer. It may be grueling, but it can be done.

Hoist the Jolly Roger

Well, maybe not. Unless you happen to be a pirate commencing an attack, in which case we should be discussing galley remodeling, not kitchens. But, I digress. In all seriousness, if you do attempt anything DIY and you find you have gotten in over your head signal for help. A word of warning, it may add money (maybe a significant amount of money) to the project for a contractor to first undo what was done. However, that can be cheaper in the long run than living with a project gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Article Submitted By Community Writer