The main factors that will determine the cost of a kitchen renovation in Calgary are usually the same, regardless of the renovation. Square footage, the finishes you choose, and the scale of the renovation will impact the cost. There is a lot to consider, and it all may feel daunting. Doing some research on what’s involved in a kitchen renovation and cost breakdowns can help.
With this handy guide and cost breakdown of kitchen renovations in Calgary, you can get the right price for your budget. While there is typically an average cost, a trustworthy general contractor can give you the most accurate cost estimate for your kitchen renovation.
Breaking down the cost
Never start a kitchen renovation without a clear budget. The Appraisal Institute of Canada suggests you budget up to 25% of the house’s value for a significant kitchen renovation. If you plan to sell, then narrow down the cost to 10% to 15% of your home’s value. Keep in mind that those numbers are a general rule of thumb and may be affected by where you live.
The cost of a kitchen renovation in Calgary starts around $25,000 but can go upwards of $65,00 with quality materials and features. That cost typically covers both labour and any necessary materials and supplies. Keep in mind as well that whatever cost you put into a renovation will add value. According to Remodeling Magazine’s cost vs value 2020 report, kitchen remodels can recoup the following:
Minor kitchen remodel recoup: 77.6%
Mid-range kitchen remodel recoup: 58.6%
Major kitchen remodel recoup: 53.9%
According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, kitchen renovations in North America can be further broken down as follows:
Cabinets and hardware: 29% ($8,704)
*Installation: 17% ($5,102)
Appliances and ventilation: 14% ($4,201)
Countertops: 10% ($3,001)
*Installation includes things like appliances, cabinets, countertops, sinks, flooring, or backsplash.
These percentages cover the bulk parts of a kitchen renovation. At the same time, lower costs are associated with (7%), walls and ceilings (5%), doors and windows (4%), and faucets and plumbing (4%).
Another great rule of thumb is to add on a contingency plan in case of emergencies or unexpected repairs. In general, an additional 5% to 10% of the budget should cover most costs.
If you plan a major renovation, then the cost of a kitchen renovation in Calgary should also include takeout bills. Since you likely won’t be able to use your kitchen to make meals, factor in how you will eat. If you have a backyard BBQ, consider cooking meals outdoors. Otherwise, create a separate food budget.
Factors that will affect the renovation cost
No matter the home or kitchen, some common factors will affect the overall price. Breaking down a major renovation into different stages can help ease the stress of a single major overhaul. It also helps further breakdown the cost, so you can plan how much or little to do at once.
Size of the room
This both relates to the current size of the kitchen and whether you have plans to change the layout. A renovation in a larger kitchen will require more labour and materials to renovate. Smaller kitchens will require less of both, but can still ring up a hefty price tag depending on the scope of the renovation.
Here are some cost ideas based Canadian contractor estimates:
Small kitchen average cost (<70 square feet): $6,500 – $26,000
Medium kitchen average cost (100-150 square feet): $19,500 – $52,000
Large kitchen average cost (200+ square feet): $40,000 – $78,000
Calgary kitchens, like most homes, are often the main gathering and socialization space in the house. Large or small families will gather for meals, chat, or just spend time together. When planning kitchen renovations in Calgary that focus on the room size, consider how the space can be used to add family elements: maybe a breakfast nook or more counter space to accommodate more chefs at once. Try to design around your lifestyle, or talk to a realtor to see what family-minded buyers want.
What is involved with the renovation?
Before settling on a full or partial renovation, stop to think about what your kitchen needs. Full renovations include major work like tearing out old cabinets, gutting the kitchen, and maybe expanding the space. The idea is to completely overhaul the room from the top to the bottom.
Partial renovations are the least expensive option and focus on specific changes. These include things like new appliances and more efficient cabinets or just new flooring and countertops. Only the parts of the kitchen that need changing are renovated. If your budget doesn’t allow for a full renovation, then partial renovations are a good option.
Choosing materials and fixtures
Once the planning and layout plans are settled, the final part of a renovation is the actual materials that will be used in the renovation. As mentioned before, cabinets and countertops can both easily blow a budget depending on the material. Custom cabinets are a luxury and worthwhile addition, but they also come with a much higher price tag.
Countertops are also a major spend on a kitchen renovation. The price range varies. Marble is near the top, followed by granite and other natural stone materials. If you want something that mimics the look of stone, there are still options out there. Solid surface countertops are attractive and durable, and a good mid-range option. The most cost effective are laminate countertops.
Unless a high-end material is worth the cost, you can still get the luxury look without the luxury cost. Kitchen renovations in Calgary have trends that are focusing on minimalist and simple elements. Clean lines like open shelving and subway tiles are top aesthetic additions. The only contrast is that bold pops of colour are making their way back into a generally neutral colour scheme.
Fixtures and faucets are worth the extra cost to ensure a quality new addition. While it’s tempting to cut costs on cheaper alternatives, it won’t pay off long term. Quality fixtures will last for years, so invest now to save later.
Who to hire for a kitchen remodel?
You should always hire a seasoned professional for a significant home renovation. Despite the temptation to DIY, a professional has the skills and experience you need. They’ll ensure every penny put into the renovation serves to boost your home’s value and makes it a worthwhile long-term investment. If your renovation is to sell, buyers will definitely notice and it could diminish your home’s resale value.
What that in mind, who exactly should you hire to help with a kitchen renovation in Calgary? Can you hire a handyman or do you need a full-service general contractor? Are interior design or architect services required? Depending on the scope of your renovation, you might have to reply on the expertise of multiple professionals.
Specialized contractors focus in a field of work and have certification and training to qualify their experience, like a plumber or electrician, for example. General contractors may specialize in multiple fields of work, like various renovation projects and home improvement. They are a full-scale renovation company. General contractors also come with a team of sub-contractors, or in-house employees, that can assist with various parts of your kitchen renovation in Calgary.
A key benefit of a general contractor is that they act as the project manager for the entire renovation. In that, they manage the team, oversee the work, and take care of handling and applying for any necessary permits. They’ll also be your point of contact during the process, so you always know what’s happening with your project.
A contractor can also be hired for similar handyman services like installation services for specific finishings or helping with small remodels. You will also sign a contract with a contractor, so you get insurance coverage and guarantees for the job. With a general contractor or full-service kitchen renovation company, you get their expertise in design ideas, construction, work, management, and more. It is certainly worth the investment.
General contractor prices vary depending on the company. Their service fees include handling permits, hiring trade workers, supervising those workers, and working with the homeowner.
Average charge: Canadian general contractors estimate the average charge for their services is 10 to 20% of your total project cost
For an hourly general contractor rate in Calgary, you can expect around $60-$100 per hour. That will vary between companies as well as the scale of work involved with the kitchen renovations in Calgary.
Most handymen are hired for jobs or projects that homeowners don’t have the time to handle themselves. Sometimes hiring a handyman for all or some of your project can help you cut costs. They generally assist with things like drywall repair, installing appliances, flooring installation, and minor renovations.
Before hiring a handyman, find out what their skill sets are and how much the work will cost. In the case of a kitchen renovation, the scale of work involved may not be suited to a handyman. The best way to find out is by contacting reputable handyman services in your area.
Handymen either charge by hour by charge a flat fee depending on the project. Things like installing a new sink or faucet may be a set price, compared to doing minor repairs which could be hourly. It’ll also depend on if the handyman you hire is an independent worker or if they are part of a company. Professional, more specific services like plumbing or electrical may also cost more for a handyman with those specific skills.
The below prices are based on Canadian handyman service estimates:
Set job prices
Small job average (1-2 hours): $100 – $200
Medium job average (2-4 hours): $200 – $400
Large job average (4+ hours – days): $400+
Keep in mind that these figures are general averages across Canada. Within specific cities, these figures can change, depending on the handyman or company. In Calgary, most handymen have flexible means of payments, whether a flat rate or hourly. As such, costs for a handyman can vary, but the lowest range is around $120.
Architect or designer
Architects and kitchen designers generally work in the same way by planning and designing your kitchen. The difference is how they go about that work and what renovation plans you have in mind.
For layout changes, like moving walls or changing floor plans, work with an architect. They will know which wall is load-bearing. An architect deals with the physical structure of the home and turns those ideas into blueprint drawings. Generally, an architect will work with a contractor to create the plans and then have the contractor implement those designs. If you plan to work with an architect and designer, the architect comes first. Most renovation companies will also include these services and include the cost in an estimate. If you hire a separate architect, some Calgary companies may require that you bring in the drawings before they start the work.
An interior designer
Always have a good design plan before starting a kitchen renovation. An interior designer with kitchen expertise will help you determine things like layout and overall design of the space – plus how it relates to nearby rooms. They’ll help choose countertops, backsplash, flooring, new paint colours, light fixtures, and more.
Their goal is to reflect your style while improving the overall function. With Calgary kitchens where custom renovations are often a focus, a kitchen designer can be invaluable. They will take your goals, ideas, and physical kitchen space and layout into consideration. With their help, your kitchen will become a dream space that is perfectly tailored to your lifestyle.
Kitchen renovation companies often include design services, which will be included in any services and cost estimates. Working with the same designer in the company can help make it easier to keep renovation plans and designs on track.
Architect fees will depend on how involved they are in the renovation project and process. They may charge an hourly fee or a percentage of the project if overseeing the entire thing. As such, budgeting carefully for an architect is important. Determine if you’ll need to hire one before starting any part of the renovation project.
Most architects charge either an hourly rate or a set percentage from the total project. As such costs can vary depending, so get a few estimates before you choose. In residential projects, architects may have a price range between $130 to $200 per hour. Keep in mind as well that no all kitchen renovations will need an architect. This is something your general contractor can help you with.
Kitchen designer fee
Kitchen designers may also charge a percentage of the project or a flat fee if it’s a one-time consultation. Most designers are hired to help with the entire project, but sometimes a single consultation session can be enough for kitchen renovations in Calgary. In-house design fees for a set percentage are typically around 4% of the total renovation cost, but that will depend on the renovation company. Many interior designers can also help with creating drawings for the project.
Whoever you decide to hire, make sure they are fully qualified. Years of experience and third-party certification are a good way to get an idea of their skills and work quality. Make sure to get multiple estimates as well before settling on just one company. Once you have a match, have everything put on paper, from estimates to actual plans. That will help with accountability and prevent any miscommunication.
There are ways to get the look of an updated kitchen with a tighter budget. The great thing about a kitchen is that most parts of it has an option to save money without sacrificing appearances. In Calgary, a great savings tip is buying any materials and supplies you need from local businesses. Local cabinetmakers or tile stores will have a great display and great prices to match.
Refinish or reface cabinets
Cabinets, for example, if they are in good condition, don’t have to be replaced. If your cabinet boxes are in good shape, you can opt for cabinet refacing or cabinet refinishing. Cabinet refinishing, or painting is when you strip or sand the exposed surfaces, doors, and drawer fronts and give them a fresh coat of paint or stain. Cabinet refacing is when you remove all the doors and drawer fronts and reface with new, modern ones. A matching veneer is then installed on any visible and exposed panels to complete the look. Both options can completely transform the look of a kitchen at a fraction of the cost of a full cabinet replacement.
Consider all your countertop options
Unless you are picking a high-end countertop to suit your home chef needs, don’t feel you have to get the fanciest, most expensive countertop. Countertops have a nearly endless range of options, styles, and prices to match. As with many cities, kitchen renovations in Calgary are starting to favour organic materials. Either natural stone or textured surfaces are becoming a popular trend. To add to the custom kitchen renovation, consider recycled glass or concrete as unique yet cost-effective choices. Each material is just as robust and durable against stains, cuts, or impact, so they’ll last in your kitchen for many years.
Don’t cheap out on faucets
As far as small but mighty goes, kitchen faucets play a big visual role. White faucets and two-toned white faucets are currently popular in Calgary kitchens. The look is simplistic and blends into the rest of the kitchen. While minimalistic, white kitchens, using coloured handles and fixtures helps add some colour and quality touches. With faucets, focus your spending on a quality pick that will last for years. You will be using your faucet a lot, so you want to make sure it passes the test of time.
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