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Cost of New Kitchen - replacing Builder Grade Kitchen

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[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 26, 2016
1178 posts
285 upvotes
Vaughan

Cost of New Kitchen - replacing Builder Grade Kitchen

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for all their help in this forum and particular this section. I've asked multiple questions in the past and have always got great feedback and support.

So onto this new thread. I'm purchasing a brand new home set to close by the end of 2021. I haven't yet received the decor upgrade price list but I suspect that it'll be so inflated that it'll probably be cheaper for me to just rip out the entire kitchen and redo it with a contractor. I'm curious if any of you have done this and what you ended up paying to redo the kitchen.

It's a shame to rip out a brand new builder's kitchen (especially since mine has a few upgrades such as deep kitchen gables, valence lights, undermount sink and standard granite) but the amount they charge you for every little change is ridiculous. I already have estimates on what I think they might charge for the upgrades I'll need and I think it'll be higher than the cost of gutting and redoing the kitchen after closing.

I've attached my floor plan for your reference. I have 10' ceilings so I plan on adding another set of cabinetry on top of extended upper cabinets and finish it off with trim work to flush it with the ceiling. I'm going with a 36" stove, no built-in ovens, a niche for the microwave in the island and opting out of the optional sink in the servery. The servery will instead have a under the counter mini fridge.

I've already received one quote for painted mdf cabinetry including installation and trim/moulding work and a separate quote for the stone fabrication of a ceaserstone countertop throughout the kitchen and servery and with a waterfall island. My quote for the cabinetry was $18K and the quote for a ceaserstone countertop was $9.2K. I estimated that it'll cost approximately $30K to $35K to complete the kitchen so I came pretty close. I was wondering if the cost is reasonable or if the cabinetry work seems too good to be true. I'm in the process of receiving quotes from other cabinetry contractors.

I also drew out my kitchen with the ikea kitchen planner just to mess around with it since it prices out the cost of the cabinetry automatically. There's obviously a difference in quality but without the trimwork, mouldings, installation and countertop, I got to just under $10K for all the cabinetry. So I'm curious if any of you have went through this process and how much it cost you to renovate your kitchen (cabinetry and countertop)?
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34 replies
Member
Dec 25, 2006
252 posts
70 upvotes
Who is your builder and what is the community you are closing on? Also please share your full main floorplan. With this information, some of us can give you better insight.

It is hard to say if you will get much value out of what you are suggesting. The builder upgrades are not as expensive as you may think. They price themselves to fall just short of you ripping out and redoing your kitchen. However it all depends on what you have in mind in terms of quality of finishes.

Generally speaking, it is not worth going your suggested route. My initial thought will be that you should pony up the money and enjoy your new build on day 1 with builder upgrades rather than going through a large reno project on day one. Note that some select parts of the kitchen can be done later if desired for cheaper and with convenience (e.g. custom decorated capony with insert hood fan, backsplash, knobs, valance lighting, etc.)
Deal Addict
Jan 15, 2017
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Difficult to know if the $18k for cabinetry is reasonable as the painted MDF refers to just the doors. How are the cabinets themselves constructed? Doors are important. The real differences between a higher quality kitchen and a lower quality builder quality is the construction of the cabinets. Are the cabinets built using plywood construction? Are the drawer joints dovetail joints? Here are some links that outline what to look for in a high quality kitchen cabinet:

https://www.cabinetcorp.com/2018/07/31/ ... h-quality/

https://www.cliqstudios.com/quality-cabinets/

Your post didn't mention it, but does the quotes include demolition and removal of your current kitchen? Does it include a finished kitchen or is it just for say supply and install of cabinets but someone else needs to do the paint touch up and someone else is doing the back splash and an electrician is coming in for the lighting? All these extra costs start to add up.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 26, 2016
1178 posts
285 upvotes
Vaughan
kingsha wrote: Who is your builder and what is the community you are closing on? Also please share your full main floorplan. With this information, some of us can give you better insight.

It is hard to say if you will get much value out of what you are suggesting. The builder upgrades are not as expensive as you may think. They price themselves to fall just short of you ripping out and redoing your kitchen. However it all depends on what you have in mind in terms of quality of finishes.

Generally speaking, it is not worth going your suggested route. My initial thought will be that you should pony up the money and enjoy your new build on day 1 with builder upgrades rather than going through a large reno project on day one. Note that some select parts of the kitchen can be done later if desired for cheaper and with convenience (e.g. custom decorated capony with insert hood fan, backsplash, knobs, valance lighting, etc.)
The community is in vaughan. I didn't think a full floor plan is necessary given that it's only the kitchen that I'm renovating. Thank you for your thoughts. I'm still waiting for the builder to provide the upgrade list and then I can compare. We've already been told verbally that doing built-in cooktop range with oven & microwave will be roughly $6K . I can see the builder upgrades easily running over $30K especially since we'll be adding additional cabinetry on top.
skeet50 wrote: Difficult to know if the $18k for cabinetry is reasonable as the painted MDF refers to just the doors. How are the cabinets themselves constructed? Doors are important. The real differences between a higher quality kitchen and a lower quality builder quality is the construction of the cabinets. Are the cabinets built using plywood construction? Are the drawer joints dovetail joints? Here are some links that outline what to look for in a high quality kitchen cabinet:

https://www.cabinetcorp.com/2018/07/31/ ... h-quality/

https://www.cliqstudios.com/quality-cabinets/

Your post didn't mention it, but does the quotes include demolition and removal of your current kitchen? Does it include a finished kitchen or is it just for say supply and install of cabinets but someone else needs to do the paint touch up and someone else is doing the back splash and an electrician is coming in for the lighting? All these extra costs start to add up.
thank you for the resources. The cabinets will be plywood construction. Not sure if the drawer joints are dovetail. This quote just includes installation of the new kitchen cabinetry and then I'm hiring a separate stone fabricator for the stone installation. For all the other work including demolition, installation of appliances, electrical, backsplash, lights etc, I have a general contractor which I don't think will run me more than $5K. This is why I currently budgeted $30K-$35K as the cabinetry and stone fabricator quote came in at less than $30K.
Deal Guru
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Sep 1, 2005
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Markham
Curious...can you ask the builder to not put in the builders kitchen and get a credit for that? The credit will not seem like much but it's better than nothing and it's better than having it installed only to uninstall it.

Kitchen renos can vary a lot in price.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
Deal Addict
Nov 30, 2011
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GTA
gr8dlr wrote: Curious...can you ask the builder to not put in the builders kitchen and get a credit for that? The credit will not seem like much but it's better than nothing and it's better than having it installed only to uninstall it.
Pretty sure the kitchen is required in order to get occupancy cert.
Also, most builders don't give credits for 'deletions'.
Last edited by westcoastyvr on Dec 23rd, 2020 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Guru
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Sep 1, 2005
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Markham
westcoastyvr wrote: Pretty sure the kitchen is required in order to get occupancy cert.
Also, ost builders don't give credits for 'deletions'.
Can't hurt to ask...pretty ridiculous they would install when you don't want it (you're out money, they're out money). Insanity.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
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Oct 16, 2008
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Maple
Builder upgrades can be costly but you get warranty from builder.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 26, 2016
1178 posts
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Vaughan
gr8dlr wrote: Can't hurt to ask...pretty ridiculous they would install when you don't want it (you're out money, they're out money). Insanity.
I'll definitely ask but I'm pretty sure I get no credit and they have to deliver a kitchen to pass code. The decor person blatantly told me that they put in the most basic range hood to pass code and noone keeps it.

I also asked for a credit on the backsplash if I don't install one and they told me, no credit.

I'll likely just take the cabinets out and use them in the basement or garage. Or if I can sell them online to get a few bucks, I'll do that. I'm wouldn't be surprised if there's people on kijiji who would want the cabinetry for rental properties and such.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 26, 2016
1178 posts
285 upvotes
Vaughan
teoconca wrote: Builder upgrades can be costly but you get warranty from builder.
i agree but from what i've heard, a lot people go through leaps and bounds for the builder to honor the warranty. Most contractors provide some form of warranty too and from my past experience, it has been much easier to get them to come back.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
3235 posts
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Toronto
$15-20,000 for decent cabinets installed from a custom shop.
$5,000 for countertops installed
$1,000 for a new sink - should be templated and installed by the countertop people

$1,500 demo - you'll need more than one guy unless you break up the brand new granite

Some paint touchups etc.

Budget $25-30K for just a cabinet and countertop replacement job. No plumbing, no electrical, no permits should be needed.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
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Toronto
BTW - I always recommend Merlo Woodworking for cabinets. I used them 10 years ago and the cabinets they made for us are great.
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Jan 15, 2017
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otaknap wrote: ...

thank you for the resources. The cabinets will be plywood construction. Not sure if the drawer joints are dovetail. This quote just includes installation of the new kitchen cabinetry and then I'm hiring a separate stone fabricator for the stone installation. For all the other work including demolition, installation of appliances, electrical, backsplash, lights etc, I have a general contractor which I don't think will run me more than $5K. This is why I currently budgeted $30K-$35K as the cabinetry and stone fabricator quote came in at less than $30K.
Great. We are trying to decide whether we want to stay in our home for another little while or sell and move on. We have a builder installed kitchen. Bought the house new build 8 years ago and we are starting to see the wear and tear. If we decide to stay, I will look at tearing it out and replacing it. Our kitchen is 11'9' x 16' so I will be following your adventure closely. Good luck.
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Oct 16, 2008
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otaknap wrote: I'll definitely ask but I'm pretty sure I get no credit and they have to deliver a kitchen to pass code. The decor person blatantly told me that they put in the most basic range hood to pass code and noone keeps it.

I also asked for a credit on the backsplash if I don't install one and they told me, no credit.

I'll likely just take the cabinets out and use them in the basement or garage. Or if I can sell them online to get a few bucks, I'll do that. I'm wouldn't be surprised if there's people on kijiji who would want the cabinetry for rental properties and such.
With builders, if you choose upgrades, you will pay extra. There is no rebate for original package.
Deal Addict
Mar 27, 2015
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Thornhill, ON
I've said this before but this site astounds me sometimes. I can't imagine spending money to rip out a brand new kitchen and install another one. It boggles my mind!
Jr. Member
Mar 9, 2019
148 posts
73 upvotes
which builder? only reason is that every builder and community has different premiums. Your responses will be all over the place because Vaughan is pretty big with a lot of development going on in different areas
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Dec 4, 2009
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I would do all the upgrades along the back wall with the builder. Put in basic countertops with the builder too, then get a custom island built and do your own counters afterward.

I
"I'm a bit upset. I've been grab by the back without any alert and lubrification"
Lucky
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Feb 10, 2006
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I would probably advise you to wait and see the builder pricing.

Going through my own decor appointment lately, just a few things to note:

-since you have standard granite, the cost to go to quartz may not be that much more. In my case it was under 3K to get it to “Level 5” Quartz with an upgraded edge, which was also cesarstone.

-My kitchen layout is more less like yours, minus the servery. Upgrading the cabinets to MDF doors, a “Level 2” upgrade ended up being 7K. Since my uppers were already extended to the 9’ ceilings, I thought the pricing was fair.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 26, 2016
1178 posts
285 upvotes
Vaughan
torontotim wrote: $15-20,000 for decent cabinets installed from a custom shop.
$5,000 for countertops installed
$1,000 for a new sink - should be templated and installed by the countertop people

$1,500 demo - you'll need more than one guy unless you break up the brand new granite

Some paint touchups etc.

Budget $25-30K for just a cabinet and countertop replacement job. No plumbing, no electrical, no permits should be needed.
Thanks this is exactly what I wanted to make sure my estimate of 35K is reasonable.
torontotim wrote: BTW - I always recommend Merlo Woodworking for cabinets. I used them 10 years ago and the cabinets they made for us are great.
Thanks - I will contact Merlo for a quote.
icantfigureoutausername wrote: I've said this before but this site astounds me sometimes. I can't imagine spending money to rip out a brand new kitchen and install another one. It boggles my mind!
I know it doesn't make much sense but think of it this way, if the builder charges me more for the upgrades than what I would pay to rip out the entire kitchen and reinstall a new one of my liking, it makes a lot of sense. Keep in mind, it's not like i'll just be thrashing the old kitchen. I'll probably use it elsewhere in the house like the garage or just sell it online.

Of course the builder kitchen (without upgrades) is perfectly usable and new but we would like to build a dream kitchen from the beginning so we can make the most out of it while we live there. It's something we'll literally see and use every day. It's not so different from people buying mercedes or bmw cars instead of a used Hyundai or Honda. Both get you from A to B.
urbanshack wrote: which builder? only reason is that every builder and community has different premiums. Your responses will be all over the place because Vaughan is pretty big with a lot of development going on in different areas
I am not quite sure why the builder matters. I'm not really asking for feedback on builder upgrade prices as I'll get them in January. I've already made estimates on how much I think they'll cost. I'm asking how much it'll cost to build a brand new kitchen from the experience other members have had and yes, this price can vary as well but that'll depend on the contractor, not the builder or community.
azn_dan wrote: I would probably advise you to wait and see the builder pricing.

Going through my own decor appointment lately, just a few things to note:

-since you have standard granite, the cost to go to quartz may not be that much more. In my case it was under 3K to get it to “Level 5” Quartz with an upgraded edge, which was also cesarstone.

-My kitchen layout is more less like yours, minus the servery. Upgrading the cabinets to MDF doors, a “Level 2” upgrade ended up being 7K. Since my uppers were already extended to the 9’ ceilings, I thought the pricing was fair.
This is very comforting to know. May I ask which part of the GTA you purchased from? My builder unfortunately doesn't use any ceaserstone quartz. All their upgrade levels seem to be from Olympia and they start at Level 5. So a level 5 upgrade would be pretty much be one above the standard stone. I'm not sure if your builder upgrade levels for the countertop are the same.

I've already estimated the cost of the upgrades and I can already tell mine will be close if not well above my current estimate of $30 to $35K to rip and redo an entire kitchen.

Here are some of my estimated quotes including some verbal numbers we've already been provided. I've already had my pre-construction meeting so I got a chance to see all the upgrade material.

We have 10 foot ceilings and want to add another row of cabinetry in the kitchen and servery. I can see that being a minimum of $6K (and I think that's really underestimating). Let's say upgrading the cabinet doors will be the same as your quote $7K. I've already been told that adding the edging to the standard stone will be $2K and let's say upgrading the stone itself is only $3K like yours (although I'd be really surprised if mine was only $3K). Doing a waterfall island, let's add another $2K. Upgrading the sink which I have to do if I upgrade the stone with them will be another $2K. We've been told another $6K if I want to add a cut-out for a built-in oven-microwave range. Then there's the moulding of let's say another $3K to flush it to the ceiling. (although I could do it later, the quote I received included it). Adding a pots and pan drawer will be another $1K. Adding a microwave niche will be another $1K. Adding an electrical outlet on the island will be another $1K. That brings me close to about $30K. This doesn't include the mini-fridge cut out and centering the lights on top of the island instead of the middle of the kitchen, using different colored cabinetry for the base and island, prepping the cabinet sides if I want a chimney hood range or upgrading the builder hood range with the builder, etc.

I also want to be clear that I'm definitely going to wait for the final builder pricing before making a decision. However, getting quotes from cabinetry companies takes a while so I decided to start that search. I have my decor meeting at the end of January and I have to make my decision then.
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Dec 4, 2009
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otaknap wrote: Here are some of my estimated quotes including some verbal numbers we've already been provided. I've already had my pre-construction meeting so I got a chance to see all the upgrade material.

We have 10 foot ceilings and want to add another row of cabinetry in the kitchen and servery. I can see that being a minimum of $6K (and I think that's really underestimating). Let's say upgrading the cabinet doors will be the same as your quote $7K. I've already been told that adding the edging to the standard stone will be $2K and let's say upgrading the stone itself is only $3K like yours (although I'd be really surprised if mine was only $3K). Doing a waterfall island, let's add another $2K. Upgrading the sink which I have to do if I upgrade the stone with them will be another $2K. We've been told another $6K if I want to add a cut-out for a built-in oven-microwave range. Then there's the moulding of let's say another $3K to flush it to the ceiling. (although I could do it later, the quote I received included it). Adding a pots and pan drawer will be another $1K. Adding a microwave niche will be another $1K. Adding an electrical outlet on the island will be another $1K. That brings me close to about $30K. This doesn't include the mini-fridge cut out and centering the lights on top of the island instead of the middle of the kitchen, using different colored cabinetry for the base and island, prepping the cabinet sides if I want a chimney hood range or upgrading the builder hood range with the builder, etc.
$6k for an oven/ microwave cutout?! $1k for an electrical outlet in the island?! Microwave niche $1k?!

Lol, you definitely need to name and shame this builder!
"I'm a bit upset. I've been grab by the back without any alert and lubrification"
Lucky

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