• Gita Jacobson

What a Kitchen Remodel Costs Post Covid

Updated: Jan 28

A few years ago, I wrote a popular blog post about the true costs of a kitchen remodel in the bay area. I'm realizing that this topic deserves an update post-Covid. The pandemic has drastically changed the construction industry and clients are paying the price with longer lead times, less choices, and higher pricing. Despite all of this, remodeling is at an all-time high with no signs of decreasing.

The main thing that still rings true is a kitchen remodel is never really just a kitchen remodel. Most clients are looking to open their homes and create great rooms; combining multiple smaller spaces/rooms into one large kitchen, dining and family space.

There are different levels of quality when it comes to kitchen remodels and the items you select to use. I stick to a professional-grade level of materials. The outcome is more in line with the overall value of the homes here and most buyers expect this level of finish.

On average here’s how a kitchen remodel breaks down in price:

Cabinets $35k - 40k

Pre-covid $20k - 25k

Cabinetry has been on the rise since Covid began. From staffing shortages to lumber pricing to backordered inserts. You will be paying a lot more for cabinetry and waiting a lot longer to get them. There was a cabinet pricing increase at the beginning of this year and I am getting word of another one next year (2022).

Pre-covid the wait time for cabinetry was around 6-8 weeks. Post-covid It's at 18-28 weeks! This massive delay has created a huge issue with kitchen remodel timelines. In a perfect world, you wouldn't order cabinets until the framing is done and the space is measured. However, if you wait until that point, you will have 2-3 months of dead time where the contractor is waiting for cabinets. Some clients have decided to risk it and order cabinets before demo to try to reduce that dead time. Others have just decided to wait it out.

Appliances $20k - 40k

Pre-covid $15k - 30k

Appliances have always gone up in price yearly so this isn't a huge surprise. The bigger issue we are facing post-covid is availability. Most appliances are 6-8 months backordered. And some up to a year. I am placing appliance orders before we even demo to try to bridge this gap. So make sure you shop early!

The Thermador appliance package is generally one of the better priced packages because of the One-Two-Free Package that throws in free products. The appliances themselves are decent. Clients have complained about the range ovens and slow customer support & service for repairs.

The Sub-Zero, Wolf & Cove package is top of the line. Superior product quality and service. They typically run a $1,000 rebate + points towards free countertop appliances. I am obsessed with the countertop appliances.. think countertop oven, toaster, electric tea kettle, coffee maker, griddle, you name it. All with their signature quality and red knobs.

I have not included wine refrigeration, beverage centers, or extra appliances that clients typically get.

Thermador Appliance Package:

French Door Refrigerator $9,600

36" Gas Range $6,400

36" Wall Hood (free with 1-2-3 deal)

Dishwasher (free with 1-2-3 deal)

30" Wall Oven $4,400

30" Built-In Microwave $1,700

SubZero Appliance Package:

36" French Door Refrigerator $11,400

36" Gas Range $7,300

36" Wall Hood $3,000

30" Wall Oven $6,000

30" Built-In Microwave $2,300

Cove Dishwasher $2,400

Plumbing Fixtures $3-5k

I haven't noticed a huge jump in plumbing fixture costs. The main issue is availability. Many brands are on backorder and some have even stopped taking new orders until they catch up. Make sure you work with your plumbing rep so they know when your contractor will need your fixtures. They can steer you towards the brands that will make it to your job site in time!

Designer brands such as Rohl, Waterstone, Newport Brass, California Faucets & Brizo. Read about plumbing fixtures in my previous post.

Faucet $900-2,600

Pot filler $800-2,000

Sink $1-2k

Air switch $200

Garbage disposal $370

Soap Dispenser $200

Tile $5k

I haven't noticed a huge jump in tile costs. Tile is still relatively easy to get because you have so many options.

Showroom quality tile including backsplash and accent tile behind stove. This figure does not include tiling the floor in a kitchen or any other room.

Counter tops $6-10k

I haven't noticed a huge jump in slab costs. We also haven't had many issues with delays.

Medium sized kitchens usually require 2-3 slabs. Each slab roughly costs around $2,000 - Marble or Quartz. There are of course some more expensive options.

Lighting $2k

This would include any pendants or sconces for the kitchen area from a lighting showroom or well known brand such as Restoration Hardware. This category can be a lot more expensive if you use custom or higher-end fixtures. Be mindful of lead times as they have increased.

Flooring $25 - 40k (Floor + Install)

Pre-covid $15 - 30k

Flooring has seen a big jump in price increases. Floors that were in the $5-6 range are now $7-8. Flooring companies have also needed to switch manufacturing facilities so we are getting discontinued and new flooring colors.

The issue you run into with a “kitchen remodel” is that you end up touching most of the common areas of the house, if not the entire house while you do the work. One major contributor to the budget is flooring. In order to rearrange your kitchen layout, open up a wall into an adjacent room or simply bring the flooring up to a more modern look, you end up needing to replace flooring throughout your entire home. On average hardwood floor runs about $7-15/sq. ft. Installation is usually around the same price per square foot.

Architect/Engineer/Designer $10-15k

Lamorinda requires that you to pull a permit for any upgrades you make to plumbing and electrical, as well as any modifications you make by moving or removing walls. Your contractor will also require a set of drawings to do the work.

Labor & Materials $100-150k+

Pre-covid $80 - 120k

Pricing in this category has most certainly increased. Contractors are having to pay subs more and trying to keep employees. Timelines have also increased with the extra demand and less labor force.

This is the labor and construction materials that the contractor will charge. For this example I have added a budget that includes all the facets of a kitchen remodel. This doesn't include extensive structural work, any finish materials (cabinets, tile, plumbing, slabs, windows, doors, flooring, etc.)

Average Total: $206k - 305k+

Pre-covid $143k - $206k+

So what’s the best way to save money on a kitchen remodel? Typically it is very difficult to get contractor labor pricing reduced unless you reduce scope of work or reduce the quality of your contractor. So you’re left with one choice: downgrade your material selections. Here are a few options:

  • Use a budget-friendly, good-quality appliance brand such as Bosch

  • Shop online for tile from places such as

  • Shop online for plumbing fixtures through online retailers such as (just make sure you understand exactly what you are buying and that it is California compliant)

  • Shop online for flooring (just make sure to order samples and understand the tradeoffs you are making as flooring is not easy to replace down the line)

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