IKEA Kitchen Projects: Labor Cost Summary

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When you walk through an IKEA kitchen department, it's easy to think that IKEA has the solution for your kitchen. There in front of you are these lovely displays of clean, modern and super-affordable kitchens, so much nicer than one's own. I think highly of IKEA kitchen cabinets, of course, but the solution to your kitchen involves more.

One simple and obvious tip is this: when you walk around those store displays, multiply the price tag on every display by two. That's a low ballpark of the actual cost of the kitchen. Note that most don't include the price of appliances so if you'll be buying appliances, multiply by 3.

This is simply because the cost of LABOR for a kitchen remodel is often half, or more of the price of the project overall. Materials half, labor half.

There are exceptions. If you are simply removing old cabinets, keeping appliances, and not changing flooring, your labor costs could be 1/3. Keep in mind that countertop must be removed, in almost every case, and appliances too. There is no way to replace cabinets without removing these. In very rare cases expensive solid surface countertop can be left in place, but this is really the rarest exception. Don't plan on this. If your countertop is invaluable, go with refacing, not replacing, even though refacing is often more expensive than an entirely new IKEA kitchen.

In most kitchen remodels labor services that will be needed include:

This includes removing old cabinets and counters and hauling them off somehow. Rental trash dumpsters in some areas can cost $500 to $1000. Or you can hang your old cabinets in your garage, or put them on the curb for someone to re-use. Or you can throw them into a condo trash bin. Up to you.

Wall patching
This can be minor, a few small pieces of sheetrock, or you might need your entire kitchen fixed up, even the ceiling. If you are removing walls or a soffit, expect wall repair to be part of your costs

It's almost always part of a kitchen remodel to add a few strategically placed outlets, relative to your new kitchen layout.  If you are adding cabinet lists, that too requires wiring. This is not very costly but it is something to plan for.

If you have an older home, you might need to upgrade your electrical panel in order to add outlets. Make sure you have your contractor inspect your panel when he bids your project or this can be a surprise cost.

Even removing and then re-installing a sink and faucet or a dishwasher is plumbing work. Moving a sink to an island is significant plumbing work. Sometimes, plumbing needs to be repaired before new sinks and dishwashers can be installed.

Cabinet installation
Of course. Prices range from $70 per cabinet to $130 in the US. It'a worth paying a bit more for fast, expert installation. The beauty of a finished IKEA kitchen is in the details, both design and skillful installation.

Sometimes you have to replace your flooring, other times you'll want to. Tile setters are skilled craftsman so for tile backsplash or tile flooring, labor costs might be significant.

Appliance installation
Some stores include "free" installation in the cost of the new appliance. This looks good but keep in mind that they install WHEN they deliver in most cases. This can be tough to schedule so sometimes it's better to pay your general contractor to install appliances.

After the kitchen is installed, there is the dust. Always there is some dust from remodeling, even if your contractor carefully sets up plastic sheeting, etc. You might also have a huge pile of IKEA cardboard boxes to dispose of. Try to recycle, hire a cleaner if your contractor doesn't have a crew that cleans at the end. Or just enjoy the kitchen by dusting each lovely new IKEA drawer.


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