Kitchen renovation horror stories can be found all over the internet these days. From poor workmanship and unqualified contractors, to bad material, extended timelines and of course the worst, skyrocketing costs above your initial budgets. In this blog we aim to give you a better understanding of the costs involved in kitchen renovations, ways to save money, what to expect throughout the process, and some key tips to help ensure you're always on the right track.
So what is actually the average kitchen renovation cost in Calgary?
For an average Calgary home, you can expect the following numbers for a kitchen renovation project:
If we're looking at it from a cost per sq ft basis, typically you should expect to be spending somewhere between $100 and $325 per square foot, or;
- Between $15,000 and $100,000 in total
- With a mid-range estimate around $20,000 to $40,000.
This is not including the cost of appliances; for a medium-sized kitchen.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the cost of a kitchen renovation is going to depend on a lot of factors. These average cost estimates don’t really mean that much until you really look at the specific project you’re planning. For example, the style of kitchen, how high end your finishes are going to be, the types of material used, and who is doing the work are all major factors that play into the budget size of your renovation project.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that if you’re just sending over the size of your kitchen to a contractor, you’re not going to get an accurate quote.
Here’s a another tip: if your quote is under $20,000 but if you're doing substantial work (Cabinets, island, stone counters, etc) watch out for the small print in the renovation contract (unless it’s a relatively minor project)
What is the process for getting your kitchen renovated
The fact is, every company does it a little bit differently, some companies have more options and professionals to guide you throughout the process (interior designers) while others may be more reliant on your drawings and concepts, or simply replicating work they've done in the past. But when it comes to a general outline for getting your kitchen renovated, here's a quick breakdown of some steps you should expect to see along the way.
Pre - Establish the work that will be done, set timelines, sign agreements and provide deposits.
Step 1 - The Gathering phase
This is where you'll gather inspiration from other places (Pinterest, Friends & Family, Builders, etc) Some builders will have extensive photo gallery's to browse and draw ideas from, while others may just suggest you do your own exploration and research by them and other companies.
Step 2 - Measurements
Initial consults will usually involve rough measurements and pictures. Most companies will want to get measurements done early on once the project has been started, this allows them to start using their software, and working with design experts to start building out your renovation project.
Step 3 - Design
Sometimes this doesn't just include your kitchen. Often home owners want their kitchen to tie into other elements of their home and provide continuity throughout the space this makes the design portion critical for things like resale value and the overall increase in value of the home from your renovation, keep in mind, a poorly designed kitchen could have a significant decrease in the value of the home if it isn't appealing. You will take things like style, function, and layout into account as you create a vision, choose materials, colors, appliances, and accessories.
Step 4 - Manufacturing and Build
This is the step where your kitchen is built on the backend, from engaging suppliers to ordering material, you could see timelines that could be weeks to months depending on the material and products you choose, some companies you work with may manufacture and supply their own cabinets, handles, etc. Consider this as well, a kitchen that is going to feature high end custom appliances could take months depending on the availability from the manufacturer, make sure you have specific timelines in place.
Step 5 - Site Preparation
This is where you ensure your belongings are gone from the areas, ideally things like paintings and art are taken off the walls, and your home is prepped for the demolition / remodel stage.
Step 6 - The renovation begins
Now the fun begins, the plans you've worked so hard on are finally coming to fruition, you'll likely be working with a project co-ordinator or project manager who will communicate and book in trades, and suppliers as well as ensure everything is going according to plan.
Be aware: Depending on the company you work with, and the price you pay, you can see an enormous difference in the level of service and professionalism. This means you might have one company who ensures the site is very clean and safe at all times, while others may not have the staff or care to bother and will leave your site / job messier and potentially unsafe (tools left lying around, etc) some companies will repaint your kitchen on site, causing way more fumes and harmful vapours while others will take them to their facility to spray and finish. This is why it's important for you to discuss with the business you engage for your renovation and have a clear expectation of what you should expect throughout the process, don't assume anything and ask a lot of questions.
STEP 7 - THE Finishing touches and final walkthrough
What you've been finally waiting for! The final walk through, this will likely take place with your project manager, and a site supervisor, they'll take note of any issues or fixes that need to get done, most good renovation companies will also send in a post construction clean up crew to ensure your home is spotless!
Factors to consider when pricing a kitchen renovation project
Keep the following questions in mind when you’re working out kitchen renovation costs so that you can avoid surprises down the road.
1. What is the scope of the project?
What is the extent of what you need to do? Are you looking at a complete overhaul, swapping out cabinets, or updating countertops?
Are you changing the layout of the kitchen or just doing cosmetic work?
This is probably the biggest factor that will affect the cost of the kitchen renovation project.
2. How big is your kitchen?
It’s obvious that the size of your kitchen will significantly affect the cost of renovation. A larger kitchen means more cabinets, more tiles, more plumbing to deal with - basically, more materials and more labour.
3. What permits will you need?
If you're working with a company that states you do not require a permit and you're doing major work, we highly recommend you reach out to the city of Calgary permitting department and ask for their input. If you're working on a budget, this is not the step you want to skip in order to save on costs. Permits could be necessary for plumbing, electrical, development, building and other work being done.
4. Does the kitchen renovation project need structural work?
You might need to tear down / move walls during your renovation. If you want to convert your kitchen into an area with more open space for example, your project will require careful thought and planning with respect to structural layout, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC.
Remember, moving walls around might also entail adding or removing windows and doors! This will cause your costs to climb quickly.
5. Who is doing the work
There are a few ways to approach a kitchen renovation project. You can be the manager of the project yourself, hiring independent trades to come along through the process, or you can hire a professional kitchen renovation company to do all of the work and management for you, and the companies reputation, craftsmanship, demand, and much more all play a major factor into the overall costs.
A small kitchen condo renovation for a property you intend to use as an AIRBNB may not require the level or expertise and workmanship seen by custom luxury kitchen renovation companies, you may only need to bring in a really talented backsplash tiler, install new counters, and hire someone to paint the walls in order to transform the small space into something much more rentable. Who you work with matters, and the goal should always be looking at who provides the best value.
Typically in higher end budgets, you will find a higher degree of product/material, job site clean up, impressive finish work, and better management of timelines. The saying 'You get what you pay for' very much rings true in this space.
6. What kinds of fixtures and materials are you interested in?
This is another big factor in costing a kitchen renovation. Fixtures, fittings, and finishes vary wildly in price depending on the brand, and the materials they are made of. You can double or triple the cost of your kitchen remodel just from this factor alone.
You can see that until you work out at least these main factors, it’s impossible to get an accurate idea of how much your kitchen renovation will cost.
How to budget costs for a kitchen renovation
Here’s a breakdown of the proportion of costs involved in a typical kitchen renovation. This will help you to get a clearer picture of where the biggest costs can arise in this type of project.
Kitchen renovation costs breakdown
Project Component % of Total Budget
Cabinetry & hardware 29%
Appliances & ventilation 14%
Walls & ceilings 5%
Faucets & plumbing 4%
Doors & windows 4%
Design fees 4%
So what is the most expensive part of a kitchen remodel?
Based on this typical breakdown, you can see that the most expensive parts of a kitchen renovation involve the cabinets, countertops, and other hardware. These can account for almost 40 percent of the total project budget!
Generally speaking, the other major costs of the project are appliances, HVAC requirements, installation costs, and flooring.
Depending on the contractor you use, your labour costs will either be bundled together into one invoice (if the contractor is managing a team), or you’ll receive a bunch of invoices from the different professionals involved in the project. These can include:
- Interior designers, if your kitchen remodeling plan is major
- Plumbers, which are usually required for most kitchen renovation projects
- Electricians, if you are changing your kitchen layout or lighting
- Carpenters, if you’re choosing to install custom-made cabinetry
- Architects, if your renovation projects involve significant structural changes
- Tilers for any flooring and backsplash
- Flooring installers for any flooring installation
Are there budget-conscious options when planning a kitchen renovation?
Yes, but be advised that it’s never a good idea to cut corners with any type of home renovation project. There are ways to save money during your renovation, but cutting corners is a surefire way to regret and potential impact on resale.
If you can’t afford a quality kitchen renovation project, it might be wise to wait a bit longer and save some money rather than rushing into it and struggling to renovate your kitchen on a limited budget. You could also find a payment plan that works for your needs as some companies will provide financing options.
That being said, you can always make smart choices to keep your costs down. For example, you could choose to refurbish your existing kitchen cabinets rather than installing new ones. We've seen quotes to have cabinets repainted for $10,000 vs the cost of $20,000+ to get new ones. You could also try shopping around for appliances which are on sale, or even used, this can find you savings in the 20-70% range, but be weary, cheaping out on appliances and getting mismatched sets could really put a damper on your new kitchen. Potentially you could achieve a similar look and feel from your countertop with a slightly lower-priced material, and we ALWAYS recommend you shop around for your countertop, in our experience we've seen some material quotes be as high as 2X as much for the same quartz product (not including labor). Finally, simple cosmetic changes like a new paint job or sink could go a long way to rejuvenating your kitchen space.
The advanced DIY'er pro tip: We've seen more adventurous home owners embark on sites like Alibab where they engaged suppliers themselves in order to bring costs down. For example, kitchen hardware at a big box hardware store that would typically sell for $15-20 per item was as low as $3 for a similar product (Shipped to your door) some homes can have hundreds of handles matching throughout the kitchen and bathroom spaces + closets. While it may not be much in the grand scope of your kitchen renovation project, savings like these can allow you to utilize your budget for even better high ticket items like hood fans or faucets.
Make sure you get value for your money when renovating your kitchen
Your kitchen is the heart of your home. It’s where you and your family gather to prepare and eat meals, talk and spend time together.
A properly planned and executed kitchen renovation project can make that space feel fresh and exciting. It may even cause you to plan more parties, events, and special meals.
Don’t forget that kitchen remodels also increase the value of your home. In fact, they can produce one of the highest returns on investment of any home renovation project. This is also why it's important for you to get feedback from trusted friends and family who can give you their thoughts on your plans and ideas, it's quite common for real estate agents to come across homes that have been recently renovated but done so with just the sellers desires in mind, this can sometimes pose an issue if their tastes aren't broadly appealing to others.
Best Kitchen Renovation Companies in Calgary
Wondering how to find the best Kitchen renovation companies in Calgary? There's a few great ways to get started, first and foremost, ask your real estate agent, they should be able to provide you a good list of companies they've worked with personally or have recommended to their clients. If you want to do a little research on your own though, Homestars is one of the best places to find legitimate reviews and tons of good information about the best kitchen renovation companies you can find in Calgary. Be mindful of other sites that offer 'the best' lists, these are often sites that have 'pay to play' schemes where they pay for the top spot to be featured on.
This blog is just general advice and should not be taken as a professional consultation, individual situations will vary and you should consult with multiple professionals including your REP REALTOR® in order to ensure you're making the most informed decisions.