Remodeling costs: Apples to Apples.


Are you planning a project on your home? Need to know the cost? Of course, yes. Like shopping for a car. Open the paper or go online. Prices are listed, you compare dealers and if you like it, you go to the dealer and say, “This is the one I want. The one that says $22,500.00, loaded!” The sales person says,” Oh, we don’t have that one exactly anymore, but here’s one just like it for $34,650.00, and it’s loaded too!”

Your excitement fades into confusion and a wrinkled forehead. “Huh? Why would you advertise one thing and sell another?” Maybe, because you’d never come in to the dealership otherwise. But now that your there…

Apples to Apples

When my bids are compared to others, I’m told, “But this other guy is $6,000.00 cheaper for his basement.” Or, “The other contractor I got an estimate from says he can do it $2,000.00 less.” Can he really?

Often, I’m confused. How can he do this? Is he permitting his work? Has he specified out EXACTLY what he’s going to build or install for that price? Is he certified to remove lead paint. Have you seen his certificate? These are questions I often ask when someone says this to me. Contractors pricing for material is very often the same. Labor too. Taxes and overhead can be different, but usually not to the extent of thousands of dollars on a job. Here’s where the rubber meets the road: material.

The cost of material can vary greatly. Ever wonder how the price of that printer stays the same or gets cheaper over time? Materials. Nothing has any lasting potential anymore. Yes foreign labor is always helpful, but material costs are a big factor.  It’s why we have to buy new dishwashers every 6-8 years. Yep. Hold onto that 20 year old Maytag. They don’t make them like that anymore, unless you pay a premium, and sometimes that’s no guarantee.

Pricing for kitchens or baths, even basements, vary based on the materials and options you want in them. Materials can also drive the price of installation up or down, depending on ease of installation. I like Kohler® plumbing products. They cost 15% more, but can be installed with fewer extra pieces and half the time. It’s like someone actually thought about it! But it might make my price seem higher than the guy using Pricefister® products. My philosophy is: “Do it once, don’t come back.” Don’t come back for leaks, defects, bad cartridges, etc… Better products mean fewer return trips = Happy Customers!


So What’s it cost in Dayton, OH?

Now the Meat and Potatoes. 3 common renovations.

A standard bath: 5′ x 8′,  New tub/shower ceramic tile, toilet and fixtures –  $10,000.00 – $18,000.00. This is plus or minus, but can be used a general rule of thumb. Higher end fixtures, go up. Cheap, quick, in and out – go down a bit.

Bathroom with reconfiguration, medium to large: $15,000.00 – $30,000.00 and up. Yep. Bathrooms are extremely labor intensive and require more time then many other projects. Plumbing fixtures can really add up. I can build and entire basement in the same time it takes to renovate a small bath. Space is at a premium when working inside a bath. Typically, you’ll only have 2 people in there at anytime, thus slowing the process down.

Kitchen: Size not withstanding, figure you’ll spend between $6500.00 – $35,000.00 and up. Cabinets are the big determining factor as are appliances. Countertops can make a difference. Here’s how to break that down: Level 1 – Plastic Laminate. Level 2 – Solid Surface or Granite. Level 3 – Quartz products. Level 4 – Exotics: recycled glass, cool sounding things like “Eco-Friendly” or “imported”, stainless steel, etc.. Here is a good comparison link: Countertops

Basements: Figure on Between $25,000.00 – $50,000.00 and up. Anyone doing it for less, will not be around long enough for the warranty to expire. It’s just that simple. There are a few things you can add to the basic range, like a full or half bathroom, a bedroom, or a bar/kitchenette. When you add Home theaters and specialty rooms, you add cost very fast.

All of the above mentioned things can vary. Anyone advertising ” $500.00 off your new kitchen now!” can easily look like a good deal. But $500.00 off what? We are all in business to make money. It’s why reputable companies have been in business a long time. They make money. That works for you too. They’re around to service their product and to help you again when you need it. These are long term relationships not quick transactional relationships. If you want long term, then use a contractor that spells it all out for you. Make sure you compare apples to apples and may the best apple win!

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