5 Factors in Kitchen Pricing

August 16, 2010

If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably gotten bids for home improvement projects that left you scratching your head trying to figure out why the prices were so different. This is a common issue during kitchen remodeling. There is a variety of supplier and contractors to choose from and they all set their own prices.

When doing a kitchen-remodeling project, there are a few factors that can impact the overall project cost. Every remodeling company will have its own cost of labor, which ranges widely due to experience, warranties and its own cost of doing business. There are some other factors that you can find somewhat standard in the industry. Here are 5 of the most common:

[1] Wood species or the material that covers the cabinet will affect pricing, but not as much as you might think. A stainless-steel-clad cabinet will be the most expensive and a melamine (thin plastic laminate) surface will be the least costly. Cherry is usually about 7 to 10 percent more than oak. Hickory, oak and pine usually run very close in price. Unusual cabinet woods—such as alder, mahogany, fir, rift-cut woods, redwood and teak, etc.—will usually cost more than common oak or pine.Maple currently is the most common wood used and usually prices between oak and cherry.

Maple is popular. Canyon Creek Cabinet Co.’s Newcastle line, for example, is comprised of four wood door styles in maple in six stain colors and a thermafoil door in white.

[2] Layout of the kitchen and the cabinet configuration will largely affect the price. A lazy susan will cost more than a sink cabinet. A stack of drawers will be higher-priced than a one-drawer/two-door base cabinet. A U-shaped kitchen costs more than one that’s L-shaped with an island. A wall oven/cooktop combination makes the kitchen cost about $1,000 more than a freestanding range. Setting a budget to design with can often save many hours of redesign.

A freestanding range, such as Whirlpool’s Resource Saver Double Oven Range, will save you $1,000 when compared to a wall oven/cooktop combination.

[3] Door style. A door with many details will usually cost more than a simple door. If an arch is added to a square panel, expect to pay more. A door with lots of grooves or molding generally cost more than a simple door. A full overlay door (door that covers almost the entire cabinet face) costs more than a traditional overlay door. Doors set inside the cabinet frame (called inset) cost more than doors that are mounted over the cabinet frame.

[4] Type of finish will vary the pricing. Painted cabinets will run 10 to 15 percent more than a standard stain finish. Glazes or layered finishes will run 7 to 15 percent more than a standard stain due to the extra labor. Some finishes are done quickly and will be less costly. The more processes done to the finish (sanding/buffing, etc.), the more money you can expect to pay. Custom distressing or the rub-through worn look is also an increase in labor and cost, but achieves unique looks.

Glazes will cost more than a standard stain. (Shown: Timberlake’s Rushmore in a cream glaze)

[5] Cabinet construction methods and materials. For example, a dovetailed solid wood drawer costs more than a particleboard drawer. To save money, don’t skimp in the area of cabinet construction. Better construction methods make a kitchen durable. Cabinet construction may be 60 percent of the cabinet cost.

—Heidi Morrissey is VP of marketing/sales for Kitchen Tune-Up, which specializes in home remodeling. The company offers wood reconditioning “Tune-Ups” cabinet refacing and redooring, custom cabinetry and closet organization. Kitchen Tune-Up has been ranked Entrepreneur Magazine’s #1 home remodeling franchise for 20 years and has more than 200 franchises in the United States and Canada. Learn about franchise territories that are available nationwide and in Canada at kitchentuneup.com or ktufranchise.com.