Q: I’m thinking of remodeling my kitchen, but I have no idea how much it’s going to set me back or how much value it will add to my home. Is there any way of knowing how much it’s going to end up costing?

A: A remodel can make your home more comfortable and add to its value. And if you plan on selling your home in the near or distant future, a remodel can offer a significant return on investment.

Unfortunately, there is no truly reliable average cost per project type, and remodel pricing is not based on square footage. Ultimately, the cost and value of your remodel will vary based on several factors.

Company size. Every remodeling firm sets pricing based on business expenses. A smaller firm or a handyman will be less expensive than a larger outfit because their staffing and overhead costs are modest. Larger remodeling companies are more expensive, but they have the staffing and resources to handle projects of all sizes.

Age and condition. The age of Seattle-area housing stock varies a lot. Older homes require more detailed planning because they’re more complex to remodel than newer homes. If a home has been well maintained, fewer complications and unforeseen developments are likely. However, most older structures will need to be substantially reinforced and brought up to current building code, which can increase overall project costs.

Materials and finishes. Costs vary greatly depending on your materials and appliance and fixture selections. There are so many places to shop and dozens of finishes to choose from. When you’re planning a kitchen, bathroom or whole-home remodel, the material costs add up quickly. Many homeowners also find it confusing to navigate the myriad options.

If you’re planning a home remodel, you can see finished projects firsthand and speak directly with builders during the Remodeled Homes Tour on Oct. 26–27. Free and open to the public, the event offers the chance to tour recently remodeled homes and meet the companies behind them. Tickets and tour details can be found at remodeltour.com.


Choosing a design-build firm for your project may help control costs before construction begins. They’ll educate and work with you to offer a selection of options that fit your budget. With a handyman or contractor, you will need to hire a designer separately and/or spend your own time researching and shopping for materials.

The bottom line? Remodeling here is expensive and will likely cost more than you think. Being upfront about your budget with your remodeler and doing your research prior to meeting will help you and the company you hire embark on a successful project.


Melissa Irons is co-owner of Irons Brothers Construction, Inc., a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS). If you have a home improvement, remodeling, or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of MBAKS’s nearly 2,800 members, write to homework@mbaks.com.