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The cost of renovating a kitchen in South Africa

Though it may be one of the more expensive rooms to renovate, the kitchen should be your top priority when pursuing renovations that add value to your home.

The Cost of Renovating a Kitchen in South Africa

Article summary

  • The kitchen is the heart of the modern home, and should therefore be a priority when pursuing renovations that add value to your home.
  • The cost of renovating a kitchen ranges from R10 000 to R250 000+, depending on the size of the kitchen and the extent of the remodelling project.
  • Plan your kitchen renovation by weighing the value that each individual feature – whether it be cabinets, lighting or worktops – contributes to your home against the proportion of the renovation budget it consumes.

It’s often said that kitchens sell properties. The heart of modern homes – kitchens were once little more than a place for servants to churn butter, but now they’re a place for the family to cook, eat, socialise and even work.

So if you’re looking for renovations that add value to your home, the kitchen is going to be your top priority. It is one of the more expensive rooms to renovate, a fact that is usually offset by the significant value it adds.

The average cost of kitchen renovation

Construction company, Smarten Renovate, estimates the total cost of a kitchen renovation to be about R85 000, all-inclusive, for 12 days of work (versus R52 000 for a bathroom renovation). However, they do include the disclaimer: “…to ask what is the cost of renovation in South Africa without having all the specific requirements, is an almost impossible task. Each project differs because the detail differs.”

Plumbers Cape Town puts the national average cost at around R210 000, though they break it down into more detailed price ranges:

  • Small kitchen remodel: R10,000 – R150,000
  • Mid-range kitchen remodel: R150 000 – R250 000
  • High-end kitchen remodel: R250 000+

Essential Kitchens, a Cape Town-based kitchen renovations company, further breaks it down into an individual cost for each feature of the kitchen:

  • Kitchen cupboards: R75 000
  • Building work: R55 000
  • Worktops: R24 000 – R28 000
  • Electrical: R19 000
  • Plumbing: R18 000
  • Gas point: R5 700

Aside from being a highly skilled profession that demands a high cost of labour, cabinet carpentry consumes such a significant portion of the budget because it usually involves removing the old cabinets and installing the new ones.

Kitchen renovation on a budget

Breaking down the cost of kitchen renovation into individual features makes it easier to budget accordingly, as you can determine where cost savings are possible.

The Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen conducted a survey of professional kitchen designers, to determine which elements of the kitchen renovation receive the highest amount of investment from clients (and which receives the lowest).

Countertops had the highest level of investment, with 72%. This makes sense, as upgraded countertops can significantly improve the aesthetics and workability of the kitchen, without breaking the bank. Furthermore, it’s the place where food preparation takes place. There’s a wide range of materials to choose from when it comes to installing your countertops, including:

  • Granite. Probably the most widely used material, granting the kitchen a rich elegance, though it is quite pricey. It can chip as well (although it’s not that hard to repair).
  • Wood. Otherwise known as “butcherblocks”, wooden countertops grant the home a rustic, homely feel; although they have to be cleaned often to prevent water damage.
  • Concrete. Can be customised to look similar to granite countertops, although also pricey, and can stain if not properly maintained
  • Marble. Naturally, this material grants the kitchen a royal appearance. That said, it is not commonly used, not just because of the price, but because maintaining marble countertops is difficult. Kitchen owners willing to incorporate them will certainly be awe-struck by the beauty.
  • Quartz. An engineered stone material that is easy to maintain and scratch resistant, though not very heat resistant. The material of choice for traditional kitchens.
  • Stainless steel. Durable and easy to maintain. Some kitchen owners may find it bland, while others will appreciate the clean, slick appearance.

Meanwhile, homeowners renovating on a budget generally choose to conserve funds by skipping lighting (40%) and functional hardware (37%). That said, Plumbers Cape Town suggests that installing energy-efficient lighting may add to the cost upfront, but can save money in the long-term.

Since kitchen cupboards make up the bulk of the budget, many homeowners are tempted to work around rather than replace them. However, the survey also asked homeowners to name the items they regretted skimping on, and kitchen cabinetry led with 62%.

Nonetheless, Plumbers Cape Town recommends DIY work, if possible, as the best way to reduce costs when working with small or big kitchens; as professional installation and repair contribute significantly to the cost of kitchen renovation.

Do it your own way

Kitchen renovation is an exciting step in home ownership, allowing you to stamp your own signature on your dream home. If you have a particular property in mind that you’d like to remake in your image, bear in mind that ooba Home loans – South Africa’s largest home loan comparison service, offers a range of tools that make the home buying process easier.

Start with their home loan calculators; then use their free, online prequalification tool, the ooba Bond Indicator, to determine what you can afford. Finally, when you’re ready, you can apply for a home loan.

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