When you first start your kitchen renovation, you probably do not have much of an idea of what your vision might cost. Of course, several factors will play into this, such as the size of your space, if you need new appliances or not, what you will do with your space, and of course your budget. According to recent studies, the typical average that someone would spend on a kitchen renovation is anywhere between $25,000 and $50,000. This is based on a national average. With that being said, there are actually several common reasons kitchen renovations typically tend to go over the original budget. In this article, we will address those common reasons, in order for you to best avoid surprises while doing your kitchen renovation.


The first, and probably biggest reason that a person tends to go over their budgets on a kitchen renovation is the decision to upscale their products or materials. Let’s take cabinets for instance. Costs for cabinets will vary widely depending on where you purchase them. For example, if you were to buy cabinets from a big-box store, you will pay less than if you were to have custom cabinets. Custom cabinetry is one of the biggest culprits in breaking your budget. Case in point, stock cabinets typically will cost you $50 per linear foot, while custom cabinetry can run up to as much as $2000 per linear foot.

Another common cost that will skyrocket your kitchen bill is special features. More specifically, special features you have added on to the innards of your cabinets. Having that nice but pricey cabinetry add on, or add-ons, can add up as much as $10,000 or more to your budget. So, before committing to any special feature such as built in lid racks, sliding pan shelves that pull out, spice racks, and a hide-away trash can drawer, take into serious consideration how much you actually will use it, and if it’s worth the cost to you.

Countertops are another item that people will tend to upgrade, costing them more money than they originally thought. Plastic laminate countertops are very affordable at $8-$20 per square foot. However, if you decide that you like the look of quartz or granite better, these prices typically run much higher, and can cost anywhere from $50-$120 per square foot. So, make sure you have a clear idea in mind what you want before you start so you can anticipate this cost.

Backsplashes can also be a significant cost. For instance, let’s say that you like the look of the stone backsplash against your kitchen stove. Stone back splashes can get pretty costly, depending on type of stone you want to use. However, these days there are plenty of faux stone panels out there that replicate the look of a real stone wall, while saving you from breaking your budget. Plus, faux stone panels are not only inexpensive, but they are also easier to take care of, and won’t put a weight strain on your walls.

Appliances are another way people easily break their budget. There are so many different options to choose from and it’s easy to be talked into making an upgrade of $500 or more, per appliance. In order to avoid this up-charge in price, do your research and know exactly which brand that you want to go with, before starting your renovation or entering the presence of the sales person showing you all the fancy stuff you don’t need. Or, visit the store, get information from the people working there, then go home and process rather than making a decision on the spot.

Another surprise you may encounter during your kitchen renovation is unforeseen structural issues. For instance, you might open a wall and find that termites have eaten half the studs. Or, once you remove the floors you realize there has been a water leak and has rotted the floor. Regardless of the issues that arise, it would be wise to reserve a 20% contingency in your kitchen renovation budget for unexpected surprises.

Finally, one of the biggest reasons a kitchen renovation budget is broken is because the person simply will change their mind. If you change your mind part way through your renovation, this can take more time, add more paperwork, and mess up the schedule, all of which will end up costing you far more money than you had originally anticipated. Again, make sure that before construction starts, you have the exact layout and idea of what you want for your kitchen.

While it may be impossible to anticipate every little cost that will go into the kitchen renovation, you can take certain steps in order to avoid any big surprises along the way. Just have a clear vision of what you want, have your big-ticket items already picked out, and do your best not to change your mind in the middle of the project. If you can do all of these things, it will lower the chance of you having large, unexpected, budget-breaking costs.