An outdoor kitchen will change the way you experience your Toronto home on a fundamental level. So it’s understandable that people want their new plein air kitchen to be the best it can be. Unfortunately, this desire often leads to outdoor kitchens that wind up costing 2 and even 3 times the original estimate. In this post we’ll look at some of the most common ways people exceed their budget on this type of project.
Keeping the Outdoor Kitchen Budget under Control
Before you sign any contracts or purchase any appliances it’s crucial that you hash out a realistic budget for your upcoming project. The next most crucial thing is to stick to that budget. Here are 6 common causes of budget bloat:
- Countertops: You want your outdoor kitchen to have a feel of permanence and that usually means stone countertops. The thing is not every type of stone is appropriate for outdoor use and the ones that are aren’t cheap. Granite for instance may cost as much as $100 per square foot installed. Overspending on countertops is a common way for budgets to spiral out of control. Consider ceramic tile instead of granite or soapstone. You may wind up saving 75%.
- Appliances: This is an area where homeowners often get in budget trouble. They allot X amount for appliances and then start shopping around and develop appliance envy. “Everyone”, the salesman tells them, “is installing the Ultra Deluxe Super Ego-Inflator 3000. If you install anything less you might as well hide your head in shame.” No one wants to have to hide their head in shame but there’s no shame in sticking to your budget. Be resolute.
- 11th Hour Changes/Additions: Maybe the kitchen’s island is roughed in and you suddenly decide it’s not big enough. Or you suffer through a particularly bad stretch of weather during construction and you decide the outdoor kitchen really should be covered. Or you decide to expand the seating area. Last minute changes/additions are a sure way to exceed your budget and need to be carefully considered before enacting.
- Failing to Budget for the Unexpected: A thousand things can go wrong during construction. Likewise a plethora of things can get overlooked in the planning stage. As such it’s common practice to have 20% set aside for contingencies. Failing to do so won’t stop the unexpected from happening. It will just require you to dip into your savings account to pay for them when they do occur.
- Not reading the contract carefully: An unscrupulous contractor may add fine print to a contract that states they’re allowed to bill for discretionary items and don’t have to notify you in advance. You then wind up paying for their new drills, saws, extension cords, donuts and anything else they feel like putting on the bill. No reputable contractor would do this but it’s important to be in the habit of reading even the finest of print before signing anything.
- Poor bookkeeping: Some folks set a budget and then forget to keep track of what’s being spent. Halfway through the project they realize they’re running out of money and at that point it’s either call a halt to construction or dip into the college fund. Make sure you keep accurate records of everything being spent and review where you stand relative to the budget on a regular basis.
Stay within your outdoor kitchen budget by keeping the above tips in mind and by making sure you partner with the contractor more Toronto homeowners trust for fair pricing, transparency and quality work than any other: M.E. Contracting.