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Evaluating Your Home Improvement Project Costs

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ September 24, 2010

By the time you read this blog, the cost of materials and labor for home improvement projects will have probably changed from the day I wrote it. I continually see prices go up and down--mostly up. The better news is with contractors challenged to fill up their calendars, some labor costs have come down. With a moving target like this one, it's best to include a budget margin for error or overages on your original estimates.

Better Homes and Gardens (BH&G) has compiled estimates based on interviews with sources such as Freddie Mac and Remodeler Magazine to come up with ballpark figures for kitchen and bath remodeling projects. Just remember--your ballpark may differ.

Kitchen Projects

Wonder if you can afford a kitchen makeover? BH&G quotes figures from the National Kitchen & Bath Association, citing the average kitchen project price is $26,888. That includes new stock cabinets ($50 to $200 per linear foot), refrigerator (basic model, $500 to $600), and countertops (laminate, $10-$50 linear foot; solid surface, $100-$200; or granite, starting at $150). Add a new sink and increase your budget planning by $200 to $2,000, depending on material.

Remodeling the Bathroom

Old House Web says to expect to spend $7,000 to 12,000 to remodel your bathroom. BH&G puts the top end closer to $20,000, with the average project costing consumers $11,605. You can guesstimate the cost of a new sink and faucet at about $100, with high-end design and materials running at least $300.

A new bathtub can run from $100 for a basic five-foot model, to upwards of $1,500 for a spa-tub with jets and heater. Need to add a shower enclosure? Fiberglass or acrylic 36-inch models run you between $300 and $1,000, with solid surface walls running the price up closer to $2,000, according to BH&G.

If you need to replace the toilet or add a new one, it costs about $200 for your basic commode, but you could end up spending more than $800 or twice that much, depending on colors and hardware. Putting in new half-baths is cheaper, says Old House Web. You still need to budget between $3,500 and 5,000 for a basic design.

Again, prices can vary widely by factors including the current state of repairs in your existing home, your region, the need for new plumbing or hot water capacity, and your contractor. Get plenty of written estimates before signing anything.

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