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Cost Per Square Foot to Remodel

There are several ways to quickly estimate remodeling and additions costs. Cost per square foot to remodel is probably the most commonly used method for quick estimates. Although this method is often used, it has limitations you should understand before you rely too heavily on this type of estimate.

Related articles:

Contract Checklist
How Much Does it Cost to Remodel and How Do I Get an Estimate?
How to Select a Contractor

The formula for this type of calculation is simple:

Square footage of the X Cost per square foot

area to be remodeled

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While this formula looks simple and straightforward, you need to consider that cost per square foot can range from $100 to $700. This allows for a huge variation in the estimate. For example, a 200 square foot kitchen could cost $20,000 or it could cost $70,000. 

Clearly, there is far too much room for variation and error in this formula. The next step is to weight the calculation. Here you might decide that on average an economical remodel of the kitchen will cost $100-200 per square foot, an average remodel will cost $300-500 per square foot, and a custom remodel will cost $600-700 per square foot. This might help you get a little bit closer to a reliable estimate.

There are, however, other factors that will influence the cost per square foot to remodel. The first is location. The cost of materials and especially of labor varies noticeably from one part of the country to another. In fact, it can vary significantly within a single state. But before you can use this kind of calculation, you need to be able to find out the average cost per square foot for an economy, average, or upscale remodel in the specific area.  If you want to get a remodeling cost estimate to compare to a cost per square foot cost estimate try one of our free - instant - online remodeling cost calculators. Click here to get an estimate now.  

A second factor that influences cost per square foot is time of year. Most contractors and Contractor Selection Workbookb-contractors have a period of time when remodeling activity is slower. Many contractors charge lower rates for work done during this period so they can keep working and keep their work crews busy.

The third factor that affects cost per square foot is how much work you plan to do on the project. Consider some of the cost factors that can be influenced by homeowner involvement:

  • Design
  • Project management
  • Electrical and plumbing work
  • Framing
  • Demolition
  • Clean-up
  • Painting and wallpapering

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When you consider the wide range of possible cost per square foot calculations and the other factors that can affect the cost of the project, it is easy to see that the simple calculation actually has little value until it is weighted to account for these factors. Some online calculators will take account of location. There is only one remodeling cost calculator that also takes into account the amount and value of work the homeowner will invest in the project. This is the calculator at

If this article was helpful, you might also find these interesting:

Introduction to Contracts
Save Money by Having a Well Written Service Contract
How to Handle Disagreements With Your Contractor During A Remodel


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