Treat yourself to a new cuisine without spoiling the sauce!

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BIG SPEND. Investing in your kitchen pays off for many already. Provided that the choice of materials blends with the rest of the house… and that we have the budget to do so without going into too much debt.

The kitchen was already one of the favorite rooms in cottages. Repeated confinements and teleworking, courtesy of two years of pandemic, have reinforced its leading role. This has motivated many owners to want to renovate this centerpiece up to date.

Kitchen renovations are so popular that they represent more than a third of the requests for advice and quotes for interior work that RénoAssistance receives these days, says Marilena Tricarico, spokesperson for the organization. Since 2010, this service, supported by Desjardins, has had the mandate to put owners in touch with qualified and trustworthy contractors.

Obviously, the question that burns the lips of all those who wish to take action remains the cost estimate of such a project. “It all depends on the scope of the work,” replies the expert renovation designer. “Making minor changes such as changing a sink and its faucets, modifying the floor or even improving the lighting in the room will cost, at most, a few thousand dollars,” she says.

On the other hand, if the desired works include a lifting of the main room of the house, the bill is easily calculated in tens of thousands of dollars. Especially if the owner moves the load-bearing walls to enlarge the space, she insists. “In fact, the budget allocated for kitchen modernization should correspond to more or less 10% of the value of the house. By respecting the soul of the residence and the neighborhood where it is located, the owners will generally recover their investment in full when selling their property,” she explains. Most real estate brokers are unanimous on this point: it is more advantageous to modernize your kitchen than to install a swimming pool in the backyard to maximize the value of a residence.

The standard option

Three factors will influence the bill for the work, continued Marilena Tricarico, namely the size of the room, the choice of materials and the change of configuration, if necessary. A standard full renovation for a 100 square foot kitchen will cost at least $22,000. This amount, she indicates, includes the purchase of prefabricated cabinets, the cost of which (around $10,000) is 30% less expensive than custom-made entry-level cabinets. Also at this price, the new counters are made of composite materials that imitate stone.

The standard renovation usually involves new vinyl or ceramic flooring as well as entry-level backrests. Add lighting without too much fuss, plumbing and electricity costs, finishing (gypsum and paint) and some expenses for contingencies, she lists. It goes without saying that the cost of appliances is not included in the calculation.

The bespoke option

As soon as the work involves custom-made cabinets, you have to plan to pay between $25,000 to $30,000 at a minimum, she warns. And again, this is a so-called entry-level kitchen. This type of renovation is usually done in collaboration with a kitchen designer. From the outset, the advice of this professional, who offers a turnkey product (including plans, cabinets, handles, sink, counter, island and its surface as well as installation costs), corresponding to an additional cost of 10% to 15% on the invoice.

These professionals, whose reservation book has been overflowing for two years, have the advantage of saving time. “It is a little more expensive at the time, concedes Émilie, an owner who undertook the complete renovation of her kitchen in June 2022. However, these services saved us at least four to five days of shopping at home centers. If not more.”

Kitchen designers generally offer three categories of materials for cabinets and drawers. Variances between product lines can cause the cost of cabinets to fluctuate from $20,000 to more than $40,000, explains the RénoAssistance spokesperson. These materials may contain polymer, polyester, proven materials that are more affordable than thermoplastic or solid wood. The choice of a counter in natural stone (granite, quartz or marble) or in Dektron, the current darling of materials from Spain made up of glass, quartz and porcelain, can alone represent from $5,000 to 10 $000 on the invoice.

Just add an island (a must according to kitchen designers), which is worth between $3,000 and $10,000 depending on its size and materials, a selection of clasps and quality hardware, not to mention panels to camouflage the the presence of appliances (a trend that comes from Europe), and now the renovation work is approaching $50,000, if not $60,000.

Unless you have friends to do the job, you also have to plan for the cost of demolishing the old kitchen, which can vary between $2,000 and more than $3,500 depending on the work, warns Marilena Tricarico. “People are encouraged to recycle their old cabinets by donating to charities or using them for the garage,” she says.

In a context of inflation, all these prices are subject to uncontrollable increases. “Building materials and kitchen accessories have jumped by at least 35% over the past two years,” says Richard Darveau, president of the Quebec Hardware and Building Materials Association (AQMAT). In the last year alone, these materials have increased by at least 15%, he says. Not to mention the workforce, which has also changed its rates upwards.

Do-it-yourself owners are, in the opinion of the president of AQMAT, those who suffer the least from these fluctuations. “For the past five years, the major chains, present in Quebec, have rightly grasped the importance of the kitchen in homes by improving their renovation division. Most renovation centres, he says, have thus established partnerships with Quebec cabinet manufacturers in addition to equipping themselves with planning software. “These tools not only make it possible to define the space, but also to indicate the price of the renovation according to the choice of materials selected,” explains Richard Darveau.

Dose the trends

Admittedly, homeowners are spoiled by social networks, magazines and renovation TV shows that overflow with dream kitchen decor. However, beware of bolder ideas, warns Isabelle Dion, kitchen designer and owner of District Cuisine. Grey, beige and white retain timeless hues. “The important thing is to respect the style of the house. The kitchen must be functional, smart and practical,” she adds. In fact, the kitchen must above all age well. Not only aesthetically, but also in terms of the age of its users who are also aging.”

Other significant advantages

Finally, since the renovation of the kitchen coincides with the arrival of new appliances, this is an opportunity to opt for less energy-consuming appliances. This translates into energy savings of more or less $100 to $200 annually. According to the British-American site Houzz, a kitchen better suited to the needs of its occupants would have the advantage of encouraging a taste for cooking and eating healthier foods. Which is not trivial either!

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