This page is part of the affordable kitchen remodeling series, created to help homeowners design an elegant kitchen that fits their budget. You can access the entire series here.
This is part two of the three part series called; “How To Lower Your Kitchen Remodeling Costs”.
Part one is called “How To Lower The Cost Of Kitchen Cabinets”, which is here at this link. If you missed it I would go back and read that first because cabinets are the most expensive part of your remodel which also makes it the easiest place to save lot’s of money.
Now that you have that under your belt, let’s move onto the my favorite part of the kitchen, the countertops.
Cheap Kitchen Countertop Options
Let’s start with the very cheapest option, which is a fantastic choice if you’re on a budget, and then we will discuss natural and engineered stone.
By far the cheapest option you have for kitchen countertops is laminate. You might be thinking; “Ugh, laminate sucks!”, but hear me out for a second.
The first thing you should know is that both of the countertops in the picture above are laminates made by Wilsonart. Just ten to fifteen years ago laminates still made a poor attempt at mimmicking natural stone, but they’ve come a long way in that time.
At less than half the price of natural stone it’s literally a bargain and it stands up to a surprising amount of abuse in the kitchen too. If you’d like to learn more about modern laminates I go over all of their pros and cons here.
If laminate is not for you that’s perfectly fine. There are some fantastic natural stones for sale that are surprisingly cheap, especially if you like granite.
Getting The Best Price On Natural And Engineered Stone Countertops
The trick to getting the best price for natural or engineered stone is shopping for slabs at the right place. Just about every company that makes countertops buys theirs slabs from the same handful of wholesale warehouses, and those warehouses are almost always open to the public. You’ll be able to browse aisles full of slabs of quartz, granite, soapstone, quartzite, Dekton; the list goes on.
You can’t buy stone directly through the warehouse, but you can pick one or two out and have it reserved. Your next step is to seek out a few local fabricators (not big box stores) to get quotes from. Visit them in person and let them know you have a couple slabs reserved at the warehouse and that you’d like to get quotes. They’ll discuss a few options with you, set up an appointment to come to your home to measure, and then give you a price.
If you have a sketch of your kitchen, they may be willing to give you a rough estimate off of that, but they won’t be able to give you a final price until your cabinets are installed and they take accurate measurements.
There’s one more thing you need to know before you head to the warehouse. Since the fabricator buys the stone at wholesale from the warehouse, the salesperson at the warehouse doesn’t know exactly how much the fabricator is going to mark the price up before selling it to you, so they can’t tell you exactly how much the slab is going to cost. What they can do however is guide you towards slabs that will be roughly in your budget.
If you’re interested in granite or quartz countertops I have a lot more info on both of them here and here, respectively.
How To Save Money On Kitchen Flooring
Want to save the most money possible while still getting a high quality product?
Have a look at luxury vinyl tile. Often referred to as LVT, it’s very inexpensive, is very easy to install on your own so you’ll save a ton on labor costs, and it holds up beautifully to daily abuse in the kitchen.
It’s my favorite budget friendly flooring option and I have a lot more information on it for you here.
Also very cheap but not as easy to install are sheet vinyl and linoleum products. I’d have a pro install either of these because cutting them right can be a hassle and mistakes are easy to make when you’re cutting and trimming the big sheets to fit your floor plan.
Stick on tiles are another cheap option but they have one enormous drawback that I’ll be telling you more about in part three of this series, which will be arriving in your inbox tomorow as long as you’re on the mailing list.
You’re already on the list right? If not you can sign up for the entire kitchen remodeling toolkit using the form below.
Porcelain And Ceramic Tile
Unfortunately good tiles aren’t cheap and neither are good tile layers. It’s really not a job for a novice either because it’s too easy to make mistakes, and once the mortar dries those mistakes are pretty much permanent.
You may not notice what you did wrong right away, but eventually you will, and it will eat away at you every time you walk into the room.
Before you get quotes from tile layers pick out the exact stone that you want to use and the type and color of the grout. The best place to buy tile is at local tile shops and not a big box store. The quality of the tile at the local shop will be much higher and they will have a better selection than the big box stores too.
But don’t buy your tiles just yet. Find out how much they cost and leave empty handed for now. When you collect quotes let the tile setter know exactly what tile and grout you have picked out and let them include that in their quote.
They can usually buy the same tiles you can for less money and sometimes they will sell them to you at their cost.
If you’re an email subscriber you probably remember reading in the toolkit that there are two types of kitchen lighting, ambient and task. Let’s start with task lighting.
Getting The Best Price On Task Lighting Fixtures
When our electrician finished up in our kitchen we did not have him install any task lighting fixtures, instead we had him install electical junction boxes in the ceiling where our fixtures would hang from. Since our cabinets and countertops were installed at this point this gave us a better feel for what types of fixtures we wanted.
Have you ever been to a lighting showrooom, not the lighting section at Lowe’s or Home Depot but an actual lighting showroom?
It’s quite the experience, hundreds (maybe thousands) of illuminated light fixtures hanging from the ceiling, and hundreds more hanging from the walls.
The selection and the the ability to experience the fixtures in person makes a showroom the best place to shop for lighting, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best place to actually buy lighting.
There are two ways to go about buying lighting fixtures for the best price. We exclusively shopped locally and visited four different showrooms. We compared lot’s of different fixtures and realized that the prices at the different showrooms varied an incredible amount for the exact same or for very similar fixtures.
When we found one that we both loved, and that was priced quite a bit below most of the other fixtures we had been looking at, we pounced on it. We easily saved a few hundred dollars by visiting a few local lighting showrooms.
But at the same time we always looked at prices on-line too. Most, if not all, of the major lighting manufacturers sell their fixtures to online only lighting stores as well. The prices of the on-line stores are sometimes substantially lower than what you’ll find locally and other times they are right about the same. In a few cases you might even find that they are more expensive.
My point is that nothing varies more widely in price than task lighting fixtures, except for maybe plumbing fixtures. It’s worth your time to shop around like this to save a few hundred dollars. By the way, I quickly mentioned plumbing fixtures but you should shop for them the exact same way you shop for task lighting.
Getting The Best Price On Ambient Lighting
For the most part this is very easy to do and it simply comes down to knowing how many fixtures you want and exactly where you want them.
Your electrician likely isn’t just going to do you’re ligthing though. They’re probably going to add a few electrical outlet for you too. As long as you know where you’re appliances are going and any additional outlets are being added they’ll handle the rest.
From there it’s simply a matter of getting three or more quotes to have the work done. Pick an elecrician that makes you feel comfortable and is competitively priced instead of just choosing the cheapest one. It’s a pretty simple process and probably the easiest of the trades to get quotes for.
How To Get The Best Price On Appliances
Appliances are expensive, and other than cabinetry will probably be the most expensive part of your remodel. I’m hoping you don’t need to replace all of your appliances at the same time, but if you do I have some good news for you.
Thanks to factory rebates you can usually save the most money by purchasing three or more appliances at the same time that are made by the same brand.
When we remodeled our kitchen we had to replace everything. There was no way we were going to use our hodge podge of older appliances in our otherwise brand new kitchen. By purchasing our refrigerator, range, dishwasher and microwave all from Frigidaire we got a total of $400 in rebates from the manufacturer.
The appliance store we were shopping in also had a President’s day sale going on at the time, which saved us an additonal $400 on our purchase.
Because appliances are so expensive it’s best to start shopping for appliances before anything else. You can only comparison shop to a degree because most of the stores have similar pricing. So shop early and be on the lookout for sales and rebate offers.
Typically you’ll find the best sales around these holiday’s: Memorial day, Presidents Day, Fourth of July, Veterans Day and the shopping period leading up to Christmas, especially Black Friday. Once you start thinking appliances you’ll start to notice that sale circulars start to circulate in the local papers around every major holiday.
There’s one more important thing to note about appliance shopping. Pick them out before you order your cabinets. If your kitchen designer has your appliance info while they are designing your kitchen layout they can make them all fit like a glove. The last thing you want is to discover that the refrigerator you picked out won’t fit in the refigerator opening after all the cabinets are installed.
Once again I think I have overwhelmed you with information. But we’re not done yet!
If you’re an email subscriber you’ll be getting my guide called; “Simple Cheats To Lower The Cost Of Your Kitchen Remodel” in your inbox tomorrow. That’s the last of the three part series on lowering kitchen remodeling costs. If you’re not on the list you can sign up using the form below.