A few weeks ago we told you how to save on your kitchen remodel. Now, we’re going to show you ten ways you can save on your bathroom remodel. If your bathroom is still decked out in 1980’s style, you are probably looking for an upgrade. This guide will help you save money and time and will help you stretch your budget to get the bathroom remodel you are truly desiring.
10. Create a Plan
…And stick to it! Make sure you have everything planned out, materials included, before you get started, and make sure you don’t change your plan after you’ve started. This will cost you a lot more money and time.
Also, have a time frame in mind of when you want the work to be completed. When you let the contractor know your time limit, you can light a fire under him or her by offering an incentive for getting the work done within the specified time. For example, you can tell the contractor that you’ll pay an extra $500 if the work is done within five days. And, if it doesn’t get done in that time frame, then you haven’t lost anything because you won’t have to pay out the extra money.
TIP: Make sure the extra pay is included in your original budget. That way you won’t actually be spending extra.
9. Research Contractors in Your Area
The last thing you want is some unprofessional contractor who doesn’t know a wrench from a screwdriver remodeling your bathroom. So, before you hire anyone, do a background check, read customer reviews and testimonials, check their references, contact your local building department or state consumer protection agency to verify they are bonded and licensed, and make sure they have current personal liability, worker’s compensation and property damage insurance. Also, ask family, friends and neighbors to recommend someone, especially if they’ve recently remodeled their home.
8. Pick Up the Materials Yourself
Save yourself some money by buying and picking up the materials yourself. This way you can make sure you get exactly what you want and not have to worry about paying a contractor to go the hardware store and spend an hour or more looking for what you want–especially since the time spent shopping for your supplies will be included in their bill. As a matter of fact, just tell your contractor that you want him or her to provide labor ONLY. While some may not take too kindly to this, there are some contractors that offer design-only services, Tennille Wood, CEO and principal designer at Beautiful Habitat in Denver, told NerdWallet.
7. Consider Affordable Alternatives
Speaking of materials, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on them to have a nice bathroom. Instead of putting tile everywhere, why not put it just on the floor or in the tub and shower only? Or, skip the tile altogether and opt for board and batten, beadboard or reclaimed wood panels. They still offer that high-end look but for much less.
Instead of getting a traditional vanity, opt for a vintage or antique dresser. You can set a sink on or in it, plus you can seal the drawers shut if need be. Then again, you can always use them for additional storage space.
Also, use a shower curtain instead of a glass shower enclosure and choose chrome rather than brushed nickel fixtures. Chrome is cheaper and available in more choices.
TIP: Whatever you decide to buy, shop around for the best deals. Check online or at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore for salvaged materials. Also, check with granite shops to see if they have any granite remnants for your counters.
6. Keep Your Existing Layout
Moving the toilet, tub, shower and sink will definitely run up your budget. “That often becomes the biggest part of the plumbing-price increase,” Richard Trethewey, This Old House plumbing and heating expert, said in an article on the television show’s website. In fact, moving the tub and toilet can cost you about $5,000 each time! The cost to move the toilet alone can be between $500-$1,000. It’ll cost more to move the lights, too. What it’ll cost you to leave everything as is? $0. Now, that’s a figure we can all live with.
5. Do a Partial Renovation
Unless your bathroom is in need of a complete overhaul, consider doing a partial renovation. You can redo just one thing and it will still feel like you have a whole new bathroom. You wouldn’t believe the difference a new tub or shower will make. Even something as simple as changing the showerhead or adding a new shower curtain and rug can make a huge difference. Painting the walls can give your bathroom an updated look, too. And, paint the vanity while you’re at it–if it’s in good enough condition. Why spend money on a new one when you don’t have to?
4. Bring in Natural Light
According to HGTV, lighting is “one of the first things many people want to change in a bathroom renovation.” But, there’s a cheaper way to add more lighting than using expensive fixtures or installing a new window. Instead, you can install solar tubes to bring in natural light. Solar tubes, also called light tubes, are installed between roof rafters and funnel sunlight down into your bathroom. They’re eco-friendly and have the same light output as traditional skylights, yet they’re usually cheaper to purchase and install. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the glare, heat gain, leaking and potential damage associated with skylights, and they require almost no maintenance. Some types even qualify for federal tax credits.
3. Renovate at the Right Time
You can get a discount if you schedule your renovation during a contractor’s down time. According to This Old House, a Virginia-based contractor said he offers discounts of between 4.5 and 5.5 percent right after the start of the new year. That’s when business is slowest for him. That being said, it’s best to avoid peak times (the height of the summer or between September and Christmas) when suppliers are super busy, laborers are few, and deliveries tend to be slow.
2. Prioritize Your Goals
If you can’t do everything all at once, don’t. We know you’re in a hurry to build that spa-like bathroom you’ve always dreamed of, but that could cost more than you can afford at the moment. Focus, instead on the stuff that needs to be done right now, like replacing things that are broken or don’t work. “Think of your bathroom remodel as a work in progress rather than an all-or-nothing project… and move on to others as money becomes available,” NerdWallet said on its website.
You can save a lot of money if you do some of the work yourself. But, whatever you do, please make sure you know what you’re doing. The last thing you want to do is create problems for the contractor. Depending on the size of the mess you make, you could end up paying out the wazoo. In fact, it may be best if you just tackle the easier tasks (e.g. painting, assembling an over-the-toilet rack, etc.) and leave the harder stuff for the professionals. But, for those of you who are determined to do it all yourself, there are some contractors out there who offer consulting and mentoring services, in exchange for a fee of course. “The most satisfied clients tend to be those who have good manual dexterity, who realize that skills need to be practiced in order to be perfected, and who are willing to risk making a few mistakes and then learn from them,” Chicago-area builder Ted Welch told This Old House.
So, there you have it. These are just a few tips to get you started on your bathroom makeover. Good luck, and happy remodeling!