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Where to Sweat Vs. Spend On Kitchen Renos

We’ve all heard how much value a kitchen renovation adds to your home. Still, taking the plunge – or sledgehammer – to an overhaul can be intimidating because it can cost upwards of $20,000 on average. The good news is that knowing where to sweat and where to spend is half the budget battle. As I renovate my blah builders’ kitchen into a thing of beauty and functionality for my family, I cut costs where I can. Most trades charge anywhere from $75 to $125 an hour. Here are my recommendations on where to sweat and where to spend.


Flooring can be one of the most expensive jobs in the kitchen. It can be challenging if you’ve never installed one before but tearing it out doesn’t require much skill. If you have a friend who has installed floors before ask them for their help and utilize the limitless number of ‘how to’ videos on social media. Remember, a floor can make or break your kitchen, so try not to skim out on this area.

In my opinion, tiling floors is best left to skilled trades, as it is a bit of an art form. However, tiling the backsplash is a lot easier to do yourself. Just be sure to start any patterned tile from the centre and work your way outwards. Symmetry is a must when it
comes to tiling.

Cabinets are like making boxes and therefore in theory aren’t really that difficult to build– especially if you have a comprehensive cabinet making system from Veritas Tools. It’s calculating the offsets that requires skill and care, and of course a using the right saw blade for the job. If time (or patience!) doesn’t allow you to make them yourself, outsource the job and try your hand at installing the cabinets.


Don’t just pick out cheap hardware. It’s the jewellery of the room and finishes off the kitchen while elevating its overall look. Without the right hardware all your hard work
can go to waste. I recommend speciality stores like Lee Valley, as they have one of the most comprehensive, quality selections of hardware in the country. If you’re not sure what style to choose, start a ‘dream kitchen’ Pinterest board or take a page (literally) from the design professionals and start a folder of ‘tear sheets’ from magazines.

Sink and Appliances
A double farmhouse style sink plays a major role in increasing work efficiency in the kitchen as you can wash, chop and clean in an organized manner. Quality appliances are another area I will invest because they translate to less costs in repairs and energy bills in the long run.

About the Author: As founder and owner of Hand Crafted by Chris Palmer, Chris produces beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces for a wide range of commercial and residential clients. He regularly
shares his expertise with audiences across Canada through speaking engagements and media like Global TV’s The Morning Show, The Marilyn Denis Show, Cityline and more.

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