Outside of the kitchen, bathrooms are well known for being the most expensive room in the home to remodel. Contrary to popular belief however, if you’re serious about remodelling your bathroom on a budget, it’s far from an impossible task.
With a few savvy shopping choices and a willingness to reuse rather than replace, it is possible to turn a dull, boring bathroom into the bright, vibrant variety without going broke in the process.
Should you find yourself with a bathroom that’s seen better days, here are eight straightforward tips for transforming it on the cheap.
Know When to DIY
First off, we have the small matter of DIY, when used correctly it can save you money, when used incorrectly however, you’re more likely to wind up with flood damage. Make a list of every job that needs to be done and be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot do. Paying somebody to paint is ridiculous, paying somebody to tile is debateable, paying somebody to install your shower is money very, very well spent.
Choose Your Contractor Carefully
If you do need to hire some professional help, take the time to do your research. Ask friends and family for recommendations and make sure that you get a few rival quotes. It’s also well worth offering to pay in advance, most contractors will give you a small discount in return for upfront payment.
Keep the Flooring Plan
Unless there’s something seriously wrong with your existing floor plan, don’t even think about changing it. As soon as you start moving pipes around, you can expect the cost of your remodel to skyrocket. If you don’t have a choice on the matter, consult with a plumber before doing anything. They will be able to tell you the most cost effective solution.
Don’t Replace What You Can Refurbish
Just because your bath is looking worn and tired, that doesn’t automatically mean that it needs to be replaced. Look into both refinishing and refacing, both of which can transform the look of your tub at the fraction of the cost. The same logic applies to both laminate countertops and vanity cabinets, the former can be re-laminated, the latter can be stripped and repainted.
Purchasing fixtures without seeing them in person isn’t ideal. Unfortunately however, if you want the best prices, it pays to shop online. Not only are online retailers generally cheaper, price comparison is obviously a lot easier to do from the comfort of your own home. Considering the size of the average online retailer, you can also expect to benefit from a significantly wider selection.
Shop Second Hand
Another often overlooked way to cut the cost of a bathroom remodel is to simply purchase fixtures second hand. When homeowners remodel their bathroom, it’s not uncommon for them to rip out perfectly working fixtures. And it’s therefore surprisingly easy to find second hand items that are not only cheap, but in near perfect condition. The best places to look are, of course, ebay.com and craigslist.com.
Use Less Tile
If you’re going to remodel your bathroom, you’re almost definitely going to want some new tile. As you’re likely to have heard however, it’s not exactly the cheapest thing that you can cover your walls with. It’s therefore important not to go overboard.
- Limit your use to high impact areas.
- If you fall in love with an expensive tile, use it as an accent rather than the main event.
- If at all possible, do the job yourself (it’s not as difficult as it looks).
Learn How to Save on Countertops
Finally, despite their small size, bathroom countertops aren’t exactly known for being cheap. And this is especially true if you opt for wildly popular granite. The good news is that it is possible to cut your costs with a little bit of savvy shopping.
First off, avoid the most popular colours i.e. neutral colours such as tan and beige. Secondly, look for slabs with visible imperfections where your sink or faucets will be. Despite the fact that you’ll be cutting the imperfection out, you should still be able to get a handsome discount.
Mary Wilson, the author of this post, works for one of the well established roofing contractors in CT. In her spare time, she likes to blog about home improvement topics. (127)