Kitchen renovation costs you may have overlooked

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Ирина Альсмит Eclectic style kitchen
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Planning a kitchen overhaul goes hand in hand with a planned budget, but the sherbet really hits the fan when those unexpected costs start piling up. It is estimated that one should put away about 10 – 15% of the entire budget for unpredictable expenses, which most of us fail to do.  

The bad news is that additional costs, like plumbing or rewiring, sometimes only surface after the renovation has kicked off. And what about when even more unforeseen payments come knocking, such as parking for the contractors or those heaps and heaps of takeaway foods you’re forced to consume, seeing as you’re out of a functional kitchen? 

To help eliminate those shocking surprises (that could very well put a damper on your excitement over your new kitchen), check out these ten costs you may have overlooked.

1. Not sticking to regulations

It’s crucial to always find out whether you need planning permission and how building regulations will affect your planned project. 

Before kick-starting that renovation, speak to an expert (whether your designer, the architect, or someone at the local council) to ensure your do-over goes according to plan.

Failing to properly plan in this regard may mean that your project won’t meet building regulations, leading to additional costs and upheaval for modifications at a later stage. Or worse – scrapping that renovation entirely and losing all the work, time, and money already spent.

2. The design costs

Some kitchen companies charge for time spent on designs, which could add up to a few hundred pounds. Always enquire about this before proceeding with any designs. 

And make doubly sure that you are 100% sold on those designs before you agree on anything. Don’t let the combination of costs, designs, and plans all become so overwhelming that you sign just to get the process over and done with. It will work out much better if you shop around and test your options until you get the precise design, product, and service you are happy with.

3. Preparation works

A kitchen renovation involves more than ripping out the old pieces and sticking in the new ones. Your home’s age is a factor that will determine if existing electrical wiring and piping will need to be worked on, which will mean more costs. A new layer of clean and even plaster will also definitely be mentioned on that invoice. 

Shop around for several quotes before picking a reliable contractor for these preparation works, but be aware that even this can lead to some surprising expenses, such as damp surfaces or electrics that don’t conform to building regulations. 

This is where that 10 – 15% contingency budget will be a heaven-sent treasure.

4. Your own time

Grosvenor | Walnut And Marble Elegance Davonport Modern kitchen Wood Brown

Grosvenor | Walnut And Marble Elegance


Your own time will also need to be factored in. It will start with hours spent visiting showrooms and obtaining quotes from different suppliers, and will lead to you might having to take unpaid leave (or using up holiday allowance) to be home for the project’s duration.

Giving spare keys to your work team will obviously be less disruptive to your daily routine, but this is something that you need to feel comfortable with, and should be discussed before any work begins.

5. Living sans kitchen

MR & MRS KNOWLES KITCHEN Diane Berry Kitchens Modern kitchen
Diane Berry Kitchens


Diane Berry Kitchens

Depending on the size of your project and personal circumstances, there will definitely be a time when you will be without a working kitchen. This means you need to make other arrangements for meals, like eating out, buying more expensive microwave-ready meals, or going to friends’ houses (where you will obviously feel the need to contribute). 

Additional costs could surface with pets and costs of kennels to keep them safely out of the way while work continues.

6. Meeting safety requirements

Those new appliances might require a higher electrical loading, which can mean a new fuse board for you. This can also happen if it’s found that something doesn’t meet electrical requirements during the renovation.

Ensure that you discuss all this upfront (including any possible plumbing or structural damage from an earlier renovation that needs to be repaired) so that you can factor in the potential costs.

7. Unexpected gaps

Countryside Retreat - Living Space Lisa Melvin Design KitchenLighting
Lisa Melvin Design

Countryside Retreat—Living Space

Lisa Melvin Design

If you are planning on keeping your existing kitchen floor, make sure that you are aware of its condition underneath the appliances and units. Reconfiguring a room’s layout could expose some nasty gaps in the floors and walls. 

Also be aware that your new layout could require new positions for the fittings of your kitchen lighting (sometimes more light fittings than you currently have), and factor in the costs of smoothing over the holes where the old ones were positioned. 

While we’re at it, let’s take a look at some: Bright Ideas For Better Lighting Your Small Kitchen.

8. Parking

Existing 1900s Family Home in Hindhead, Surrey ArchitectureLIVE

Existing 1900s Family Home in Hindhead, Surrey


If you live in a metered area, you need to check with your kitchen supplier (before any work gets started) whose responsibility it is to cover the parking costs for the duration of the project. 

In some cases, tradespeople can apply for trade permits, but the onus is on you to find out whether this applies for your project.

9. Delays

Don’t be surprised if unexpected problems surface during the renovation, which will inevitably mean extra costs and a longer project. 

This is especially true if you have a particularly large project where delays mean the workers having to reschedule, particularly when they are already heavily booked up for weeks (or months) ahead.

10. Yourself

Yes, even you could be the culprit who prolongs that renovation and contributes to rising costs! While it is your utmost right to change your mind during your project, be aware that it will cost you.

If, for example, you decide on a different material for your countertops after the originals have already been cut to size, you will have to pay for both. And while certain items may be returned without too much of a hassle, it is worth finding out which may and may not. 

Reduce the risk of all this happening by working with a good designer who keeps you in the loop and shows you all the options from the very first step. 

Remember: Your relationship with your designer/architect could mean the difference between a short and within-budget project, and a prolonged and outrageously expensive one.

Did we miss anything? Let us know, below!

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