By Candis Meredith
When Andy and I first started renovating houses together, we were still learning a lot about the renovation and restoration process. I’ve always loved old houses and the idea of bringing them back to life so that people can create memories in them again, but that doesn’t mean that I knew anything about budgeting a kitchen renovation.
In our early years working together, no matter how carefully I worked our kitchen renovation budgets, they always went over. Eventually, though, I started paying attention to exactly where and how much we were going over, and I figured out a few reasons that kitchens always cost more than you think they will—and how to account for that so you don’t bust your budget.
Custom Cabinets Are Costly
The cabinets were one item that we were always losing money on. I’m a big fan of old kitchens (unsurprisingly), and I always want to get our kitchen renovations just right. Andy’s the same way. So when we started restoring and renovating, we’d immediately start looking at custom cabinets that would perfectly complete the new look of our kitchens.
Somehow, custom cabinets always end up costing more than you think they will, and I’ve learned from experience that you can almost always work around the need for them. From refacing the cabinets you have to getting store-bought cabinets and customizing them yourself, there’s a lot you can do to save cash here.
Code Compliance Catastrophes
This is another one that we learned the hard way and that definitely cost us a few times. When the homes we renovate were first built, there weren’t any codes to comply with. That doesn’t mean that you can build whatever you want and renovate however you please in an old house, though. It still has to pass inspection. If it doesn’t, you’re going to have to fix it, and that can cost.
Finding out what codes you need to comply with and how to stay compliant before you start work is a huge budget saver.
Countertops Can Cost Too
I used to think that we absolutely had to go with marble countertops or something equally expensive for every old home renovation we did. But there are so many really cool materials out there that cost a lot less than marble and will still make your buyers really happy. Sometimes you do have to go with a more expensive material, but when you do, you can budget for it instead of having it surprise you.
Not Sticking to the Plan
Finally, I used to have the bad habit of changing my mind about what a kitchen needed when we’d already made a plan and started working. I’d decide that we needed a different finish on the cabinets or that the flooring wasn’t quite right.
Most of the time, I made the change before work began, but it would cost more than the original plan. It’s always more cost effective to really think through what you need, make a plan, and stick with it instead of changing your mind halfway through.
In most cases, if you keep these things in mind, you can avoid going over budget on your kitchen renovation. And you might even find ways to cut down on your spending to make your renovations that much more cost efficient.