Bathrooms can be one of the most expensive rooms to refinish in a home. But a bathroom renovation can also be one of the most rewarding projects to tackle as it can have a huge impact on a home’s comfort and functionality. The problem is balancing the cost versus the reward, but that’s the case with almost all home improvement projects.
There are ways to tip the scales in favor of savings while still achieving the bathroom space of your dreams. Below are 10 of the top tips for reducing construction costs for your bathroom renovation, and they apply to both DIYers and those outsourcing the project to a contractor.
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1. Do the demolition yourself
If you hire contractors to remodel your bathroom, you can still save a little money by doing the demolition portion of the project yourself. Note, however, that saving on demolition requires a careful, steady hand. Running recklessly into the bathroom with a sledgehammer and a saber saw is a recipe for a very expensive (and dangerous) accident.
Be careful around plumbing pipes, HVAC vents, outlets and fixtures, and similar items in the bathroom. If you accidentally destroy or damage these, it may be necessary to hire a professional to repair them, negating the overall cost savings.
2. Buy used vanities and cabinets
Most bathroom renovations don’t require tons of cabinets or shelving like a kitchen. In fact, many bathrooms only have a vanity – everything else can usually be tucked away in a linen closet.
Because of this, finding a used vanity is usually pretty easy. You don’t have to worry about finding matching tops and bottoms or enough to fill a wall. Habitat for Humanity ReStores, Facebook Marketplace, and local classifieds are great places to buy used vanities. And for those feeling savvy, turning an old dresser or lowboy into a vanity isn’t too difficult.
3. Avoid trends
Considering that many people make renovations to jump into a new trend, this advice might seem hypocritical. However, trends come and go, and remodeling a bathroom every few years to keep up with those trends is a great way to flush money down the toilet.
Also consider the cost of materials alone. Trending materials usually skyrocket in price, meaning that if those prices drop again and the trend changes, the renovation will cost more than it might be worth. Instead, stick to classic designs and materials to avoid inflated prices and frequent remodeling.
4. Avoid moving utilities
A brand new bathroom that looks completely different from the old one may sound great, but it sure is expensive. Instead of changing the entire floor plan, leave the existing utilities in place. This includes utility lines to the sink and shower, drains, power for lighting and outlets, HVAC equipment such as baseboard heaters and radiant heaters, and bathroom vents.
5. Get multiple quotes
It’s not always possible to do a complete bathroom makeover yourself (especially when the utilities move). It may be necessary to hire a licensed handyman or contractor to do the job, which will no doubt cost a pretty penny.
While paying for this expertise is often unavoidable, it is best to seek multiple bids for the job. With multiple bids in hand for a particular job, it’s easier to potentially play the companies off against each other and convince them to accept the job for a little less than the asking price. While some people prefer to avoid negotiation, they might be missing out on some real savings.
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6. Reuse what you can
Destroying the entire existing bathroom may be the quickest way to start over, but it’s not the cheapest. The removal of items that do not need to be replaced, such as B. Drywall that is still in good condition or wall paneling that just needs touching up will cost more than a coat of paint or other small repairs in the long run.
Be especially careful with existing tiles. If just a few tiles break, it may be necessary to replace the entire floor. But if DIYers are careful, they can simply remove and replace the grout for a fresh new look without having to buy new tiles.
7. Be your own designer
Interior designers are almost always worthwhile, but they don’t always fit into the budget. Instead of overburdening yourself for a designer, you can take on the design element of this job yourself. But don’t do it blindly either. Take some time to learn more about bathroom interior design by educating yourself on the subject with a book like the National Kitchen and Bath Association Guidelines and Accessibility Standards (available on Amazon).
It’s also important to realize that designers are worth their money. They sometimes pay for themselves as they have access to discounts and delivery that homeowners don’t have.
8. Focus on devices
Sometimes replacing a bathtub, shower or sink is out of the budget. While these items make a huge impact, it’s still possible to breathe new life into a bathroom with new shower valves or faucets like Luxice’s automatic touchless sink faucet, a favorite in our guide to the best bathroom faucets. Bright, shiny fixtures give the room a fresh look without incurring labor costs to replace sinks, vanities, or showers.
9. Consider open shelves
If the bathroom feels like something is missing but feels difficult to put a finger on, consider adding open shelving. The addition of some open shelves provides the perfect spot for folded towels and knick-knacks, giving DIY designers more surfaces and styles to work with to add plants and fresh decor.
Remember that anything that sits on an open shelf requires constant attention. Aside from the frequent cleanup or dusting, adding a shelf in the corner or floating shelves along a 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 isn’t there. Before the project begins, it’s important to create a firm and realistic budget that will help you achieve your goals while leaving room for emergencies or unexpected renovation costs. This buffer or margin is incredibly important. After all, it can be difficult to tell when a project might go south, so be sure to leave extra cash 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 additions add up over the course of a project.
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