A kitchen can be one of the most expensive rooms to remodel in your home. But it often offers the highest return on investment (ROI), too.
There are the appliances, of course, and depending on which ones you choose, this can be a huge part of the expense of remodeling. But that’s an obvious budget hit we’re all prepared for. What many people overlook is the cost involved in replacement of the kitchen cupboards and cabinets.
When I decided to remodel my kitchen in my first house flip, after I found out how expensive it would be to replace the kitchen cupboards, I considered simply refinishing the ones I already have. I couldn’t believe that wood and finish could cost so much money when I could just take the existing cupboards, strip them, sand them, and refinish them for a fraction of the cost. I changed my mind about doing that after watching a television show about house flipping and seeing all the work that goes into refinishing the cabinets that were already in place. It was a lot more work than I thought. They can take hours of labor, you will inhale lots of particles, and they may not even look very good once you’ve re-finished them. That, and all the toxic fumes you have to inhale when you stain or paint them…
(Special note: If you’re a house flipper, you need to decide whether to refinish kitchen cabinets or tear out the old ones and install new cabinets. The majority of house flippers rip out the old cabinetry and replace them with new ones. They’re usually cheaper and you can buy the kind you want that fits both the house’s style and what’s selling in the neighborhood, which is very important.)
I decided to just buy new fixtures, figuring that the time I would save by not refinishing the existing kitchen cupboards would be worth the extra expense. What I hadn’t planned on, though, was that my business partner and I would have such different taste in kitchen cabinetry.
I wanted kitchen cupboards that were simple and functional and I thought that getting a couple of cabinets with glass doors on the front would add a nice touch. My partner had other ideas. He wanted stylish, fancy, masculine-looking cabinets, with all the special features like a special custom drawer for pots and pans and a butcher block cutting board that slides out from a secret compartment built into the kitchen cupboards. And he would not even entertain my idea of glass front cabinet doors. He thought most people wouldn’t like that look and nobody wants to see what’s in your kitchen cabinets anyway. He had a good point. It’s hard enough for people to keep clean the visible areas of their home when they have people over without worrying about making sure their kitchen cupboards are in order.
Eventually we compromised and purchased cabinets for the remodeled kitchen that we both liked. We decided against the glass front doors, and did not get any custom made features like the sliding butcher block cutting board. We saved a ton of money, too, which, obviously, means bigger profits!
And the new kitchen cupboards still ended up costing us more than the replacement price of all the appliances.
Don’t even get me started on countertops!