Bathrooms can be one of the most expensive rooms in a home to refurbish. But a bathroom renovation can also be one of the most rewarding projects to undertake, as it can have a huge impact on the comfort and functionality of a home. The problem is balancing the cost versus the reward, but that is the case with almost every home improvement project.
There are ways to tip the scales in favor of savings while achieving their dream bathroom space. Below are 10 of the best tips for reducing the construction costs of your bathroom remodel, and they apply to both do-it-yourselfers and those renting the project from a contractor.
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1. Manage the demolition yourself
If you hire contractors to remodel your bathroom, you can always save some money by handling the demolition part of the project yourself. However, be careful, saving money when demolishing requires a careful and steady hand. Recklessly running around the bathroom with a hammer and reciprocating saw is a recipe for a very costly (and dangerous) accident.
Be careful around plumbing pipes, HVAC vents, outlets and electrical appliances and similar items in the bathroom. Accidentally destroying or damaging them might require hiring a professional to fix them, offsetting the cost savings.
2. Buy used vanities and cabinets
Most bathroom renovations don’t require a ton of cabinetry or shelving like a kitchen would. In fact, many bathrooms only have one vanity – everything else can usually be stored in a linen closet.
For this reason, finding a used vanity is usually quite easy. There’s no hassle finding matching tops and bottoms, or enough to fill a wall. Habitat for Humanity ReStores, Facebook Marketplace, and area classifieds are all great places to buy used vanities. And, for those feeling crafty, turning an old dresser or lowboy into a vanity isn’t that hard.
3. Avoid trends
Considering that many people undertake renovations to jump into a new trend, this advice may seem hypocritical. However, trends come and go, and remodeling a bathroom every few years to follow these trends is a good way to throw money down the toilet.
Also, consider the cost of materials alone. Prices for trending materials usually skyrocket, which means the renovation will cost more than it might be worth when those prices come back down and the trend changes. Instead, stick with classic designs and materials to avoid inflated prices and frequent renovations.
4. Avoid moving utilities
A brand new bathroom that looks completely different from the old one might sound great, but it’s sure to be expensive. Instead of changing the entire floor plan, leave the existing utilities in place. This includes supply lines to the sink and shower, drains, electrical for lights and outlets, HVAC appliances like baseboard and radiant heat, and bathroom vents.
5. Get multiple quotes
It’s not always possible to do a complete bathroom renovation yourself (especially if the utilities are moving). It may be necessary to hire a tradesperson or licensed contractor to do the work, which will undoubtedly cost a pretty penny.
Although paying for this expertise is often unavoidable, it is best to request multiple quotes for the job. With multiple quotes for a specific job in hand, it’s easier to pit companies against each other and convince them to accept the job for slightly less than the quoted price. While some people might prefer to avoid negotiations, they might be missing out on real savings.
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6. Reuse what you can
Destroying the entire existing bathroom might be the quickest way to start from scratch, but it’s not the most affordable. Removing items that don’t need replacing, like drywall that’s still in good condition or wallboard that just needs a touch-up, will cost more than a paint job or other small long-term repair.
Be very careful with existing tiles. Breaking a few tiles may require replacing the entire floor. But, if DIYers are careful, they can simply remove and replace the grout for a new look without buying new tiles.
7. Be your own designer
Interior designers are almost always worth their cost, but they don’t always come within the budget. Instead of pushing yourself for a designer, you can handle the design element of this job yourself. But don’t do it blindly either. Take the time to learn more about bathroom interior design by reading up on the subject with a book such as the National Kitchen and Bath Association Access Guidelines and Standards (available on Amazon).
It’s also important to recognize that the designers are worth it. They sometimes pay for themselves because they have access to discounts and supplies that landlords don’t.
8. Focus on light fixtures
Sometimes replacing the tub, shower or sink goes over budget. While these items make a huge impact, it’s always possible to breathe new life into a bathroom with new shower valves or faucets like the Luxice touchless automatic sink faucet, a favorite in our bathroom guide. best bathroom faucets. Bright, shiny fixtures will give the room a fresh new look without the labor cost of replacing sinks, vanities, or showers.
9. Consider open shelving
If the bathroom feels like something is missing but hard to touch, consider adding open shelving. Adding a few open shelves provides the perfect space for folded towels and knick-knacks, giving DIY designers more surfaces and styles to work with to add plants and fresh decor.
Keep in mind that anything placed on an open shelf requires constant attention. Aside from frequent tidying up or dusting, adding a shelf in the corner or floating shelves on one wall can be just the design trick a bathroom needs.
10. Set a firm (and realistic) budget
No project will ever stay on budget if the budget does not exist. Before the project begins, it is essential to establish a firm and realistic budget that will help you achieve your goals while leaving room for emergencies or unforeseen renovation costs. This buffer zone or leeway is extremely important. After all, it can be hard to tell when a project might be heading south, so be sure to leave some extra money in the budget.
Also, fight the desire to deviate from the plan and buy more expensive materials than necessary. It can be tempting to spend a little more here and there, but these add-ons add up over the course of a project.
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