Help compare kitchen renovation quotes

5 days ago

Ok, so I've gotten two quotes for my kitchen renovation. Markedly different - one is about $28k and the other about $38k. Both are much higher than I was expecting - I am working with a tight budget of $50k.

Neither includes the following: actual cost of cabinetry; cost of countertop; installation of countertop; cost of backsplash tile; installation of sink; installation of appliances nor cost of any appliances to be replace; cost of lighting fixtures; undercabinet lighting is also not included.

So I'm really struggling with figuring out what I can reasonably cut from my budget, but also with figuring out which contractor (both came highly recommended to me by the KD) would be better to work with as I try to go forward.

Quick description of what I have and what I want to do: Have a kitchen and an adjacent dining room, each 10'x13'. Want to remove a non-load-bearing wall between them to create a larger kitchen (20'x13'), and move kitchen functions from the current kitchen to the current dining room. This also means removing the current kitchen floor and replacing it with hardwood oak to match the rest of the flooring. Build a pantry closet (approx. 3'x4'). Replace old wood-framed window. Update and install new electrical wiring, outlets and lighting as needed. Remove existing cabinets, install new. Save and reinstall existing dishwasher, sink faucet, and refrigerator. Install new sink and range. Remove part of a load-bearing wall between current kitchen and living room.

Both estimates include installing the actual cabinetry, and a dumpster for debris.

Vendor "A" estimate was not nearly as detailed as Vendor B's estimate. I'll summarize the differences:

Vendor "A" did not include any allowance for his charges IF I want him to get permits, to complete and submit permit documents, to manage and schedule permit inspections, etc. Vendor B did included these in his estimate.

Vendor "A" did not mention about hanging plastic or putting down anything to protect the flooring in the rest of the house; Vendor B did.

Vendor "A" would only put in new drywall "as needed" and would attempt to repair any drywall that could be repaired. For example, the canned lighting in the ceiling would need to be moved to reflect a new cabinetry layout; he would not remove the existing ceiling drywall where cans might be removed, but would just patch it up.

For the new pantry closet, both would frame it out, but Vendor A included building/installing shelving, whereas Vendor B did not mention it.

Replace wood-framed window in kitchen (nearly 50 years old window) with new vinyl replacement window - Vendor A did not include this, Vendor B did.

Both would install new hardwood flooring in the current kitchen to match the rest of the hardwood flooring; Vendor A is including an "allowance" towards that - if his selected flooring contractor charges more, the extra cost is on me. Vendor A specifically mentioned about pulling some of the boards from the adjacent space and weaving them in to help minimize any difference in pattern/shade; Vendor B wants to do a hard line, insert a strip of wood at 90-degree angle to sharply delineate the space (and to avoid having to match the wood flooring that closely).

Vendor B plans to take down all the existing drywall in the current kitchen and dining room, and would add insulation to the exterior walls; Vendor A would not.

Vendor B would specifically run dedicated electrical lines for each of the following: Range, Range Hood, Refrigerator, Microwave, Dishwasher, Garbage Disposal and 2 GFCI outlets.

Vendor B specifically mentioned installing baseboard, quarter-round, window trim; Vendor A did not mention it.

Vendor B would apply two coats of paint to all walls, ceiling, and trim work. Vendor A did not include any painting.

I feel like Vendor B would, overall, do a more complete job - and that I'd be less likely to run into workmanship issues down the road. Vendor A though sounds like his flooring contractor may do a better job with the flooring to create a more seamless look, as well as installing shelving in the pantry.

Thoughts? Should I look for a 3rd and possibly 4th estimate? For those who've done kitchen renovations, how many estimates on average is advised or typical?

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