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Many homeowners hesitate to share their budget requirements with their designer. However, your design professional is your advisor and your partner. He or she will recommend products and design options that align with your budget and product desires.

Your personal designer will help you visualize the overall scope of your renovation, select products to be used and determine the viability of your budgetary expectations.

The designers at Kitchen Masters use three general methods to establish initial cost estimates. These help your designer determine possible product options, as well as how extensive the scope of the project may be able to be.

1. What can I expect my project to cost?
This is a very common question. All the spectacle of remodeling TV shows that perform construction magic has created both enthusiasm and confusion for most homeowners. The TV contractors change tiny, decrepit sculleries into luxurious kitchens for a few thousand dollars and they get it done in a week. The remodeling entertainment industry has skewed our reality.

The reality is a bit more complicated. There are different levels of quality in almost every product in a kitchen or bath remodel. Sometimes a basic quality product will serve the desired result of the project, but other times a custom design or custom finish is appropriate. The overall scope of the project is significant to the final cost. Removing walls to open a tiny kitchen into an awesome entertaining Great Room requires additional flooring, wiring, framing and construction, as well as more of all cabinetry and countertops. The product quality is probably higher in larger projects.

These and many other factors contribute to the final cost of your project. A knowledgeable design consultant should be working for you. That person will be able show you product and design options that will serve your purposes at all price levels. Your designer will be able to find a reasonable compromise between the desired scope of the remodel, quality of products, and maintaining a realistic construction budget.

2. How long have you been in business?
This is an important question, considering that 90 percent of construction businesses close their doors in the first three years, sometimes leaving clients with unfinished projects. You’ll be relieved to know that Kitchen Masters has been doing interior remodeling in our community for more than 36 years.

3. Have you completed a project like mine recently?
Chances are, we have. We renovate an average of 40 kitchens each year. They range from extensive projects with walls moved and plumbing relocated to simple cabinet and countertop replacements. We also remodel many bathrooms, family entertainment rooms, basements and other interior projects.

4. Can you provide a list of references?
Yes. We will be happy to provide a list of past clients who had a project similar to the one you are contemplating, so you will understand the total scope of the undertaking. We also encourage you to visit an ongoing or recently completed project—if only to see the quality of materials and workmanship for yourself. Ask the homeowner if the project was delivered on time and within budget. And be sure to ask about the overall courtesy and conscientiousness of the workers on the project.

5. To which professional associations do you belong?
We are a member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association, West Metro Chamber of Commerce, and SEN Kitchen and Bath Business Group. Our employees have served on the local Board of Directors. We are also members of the Better Business Bureau. We belong to these associations for your protection and because we believe we must adhere to a code of ethics and commit to continuing education to ensure you have the best-trained professionals working for you.

6. Will you be using subcontractors on this project?
Yes. We use a select group of screened contractors with whom we have a long working history. They adhere to the same high ethical standards as we do. Our in-house installers will complete much of the project. However, the electrical and plumbing segments of your project may require licensed professionals. Specialty tasks, such as granite countertops and hardwood refinishing, are best left to highly qualified trades people as well.

7. Are you licensed and registered with the state?
Yes. Kitchen Masters carries residential general contractor licenses in Lakewood and other Denver-metro communities. We are a registered corporation in good standing in Colorado.

8. Are you insured and covered by workers’ compensation?
Yes! We have business liability and workers’ compensation for every employee we bring to your property. What’s more, we require the same adherence to the law for all subcontractors to protect you from potential liability arising from unforeseen accidents or events on your property during the project.

9. Do you give written warranties?
Yes. Our one-year labor workmanship warranty is stated in every agreement.

10. Will my project require a permit?
It may. Each municipality has its own set of construction permit requirements and the complexity of your project will be a factor in that decision. Your project is unique and its permitting requirements will be determined individually.

11. What sort of questions should I ask a past client of yours?
Would you recommend this contractor?
Would you use this contractor again?
Were you happy with the outcome of your project?
Was the job completed on time?
Did the contractor keep you informed of the status of the job?
Were there any unexpected expenses?
Were the workers punctual?
Did workers clean up after finishing the job?

1. Cost Per Foot Estimation
BASIC kitchen remodels will generally have a modest scope work, keeping the existing footprint, and using budget-conscious products. The products might include laminate or tile countertops, stock oak cabinets, chrome finish plumbing fixtures, vinyl flooring, and fundamental appliances.

BASIC kitchen remodels can start under $100 per square foot and go as high as $150 per square foot.

STANDARD kitchen remodels will offer more flexibility in the scope of the project. Soffits and non-load-bearing walls may be removed or relocated. Electrical service is upgraded and plumbing can be relocated to create more efficiency. Better quality products, including cabinetry with modification options and custom finishes, unique granite and man-made quartz countertops with elaborate edge profiles, decorative plumbing fixtures with higher-end finishes, tile flooring and backsplashes, up-graded lighting, under-cabinet lighting, and commercial looking appliances.

STANDARD kitchen remodels start about where BASIC kitchens stop, around $150 per square foot, and continue well into the $200’s per square foot. This is the most popular remodel price point.

LUXURY kitchen remodels offer the highest level of choice in every aspect of the project. All walls can be relocated or removed to open living space for maximum utility. Custom drywall texture patterns and custom paint finishes. Electrical improvements allow commercial style appliances, unique light fixtures with the latest technology, and concealed outlets and switching. Plumbing fixtures is often highly engineered, constructed from the most durable metals, hands-free functionality, and sometimes finished in selected metal finishes. Cabinetry is always customizable, finishes hand applied and highly detailed, the internal functioning is maximized, and it is usually highly decorative with detailed crown and trim molding. Countertops will be the most unique and selected granites, often double stacked for thicker edge thickness. Countertops will often be made of unusual or more delicate materials like concrete, glass, concrete and glass combined metals from stainless steel to zinc, recycled materials, exotic woods, and man-made quartz materials. Flooring will be unusual and interesting patterns and materials, like hand scraped woods, porcelain tile, or stone and marble tile. Backsplashes are often elaborate tile patterns using beautiful and exotic tiles. Appliances are almost always the most technologically advanced brands and models. European made and commercial style appliances are standard in this group.

LUXURY kitchen remodel budgets start at the top of the STANDARD kitchen prices, somewhere around $300 per square foot. These projects can easily exceed $500 per square foot when all the high-end products are used in the scope of work.

Most homeowner projects don’t fall absolutely into any one category, but they pick products and services from all the groups. It creates a blend of price levels.
2. Percent of Home Value Estimate
Many reputable publications advise investing between 10 percent and 15 percent of your home’s current appraised value in your kitchen remodel and appliance upgrade. Under this guideline, a $500,000 home would support a kitchen remodel budget of $50,000 to $75,000. In many LUXURY renovations this formula will not be a factor.

3. Comparable Project Estimation
Your designer is your consultant and your advocate. He or she will provide a sense of the investment required, based on past projects that were similar in scope of work and quality of products used. With a little research, your designer will be able to find comparable products and services to create a very accurate estimate of the total project.

The actual budget requirements will depend on your personal taste, choice of products, and the size and scope of work you want incorporated into the renovation. Remember, estimates are only guidelines. That said, when you and your designer carefully analyze the project, an estimation can be used with confidence.