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How to Give Your Bathroom the Upgrade You Deserve for Less

Monday, October 22, 2018   /   by Leon Zhivelev

How to Give Your Bathroom the Upgrade You Deserve for Less

Contributed by Jim McKinley


How to Give Your Bathroom the Upgrade You Deserve for Less


When you think about remodeling your bathroom, you may feel those pursestrings instinctually tighten. That’s understandable; the average price of a full-scale bathroom remodel is over $19,000, and that figure can hit upwards of $25,000 for fancier projects. That’s not too friendly to the homeowner on a budget. However, the good news is you don’t have to spend anywhere close to that. Here’s what you need to know if you want to give your bathroom a significant upgrade without breaking the bank.


Set a Realistic Budget


Don’t do anything before you figure out a realistic budget — don’t call a contractor, don’t knock out a single piece of tile, and don’t change your toilet seat. A proper budget is crucial to getting your remodel done at a reasonable price. First, you have to decide exactly what you’ll be DIYing and what you’ll need a professional for. Know the average hourly rates for all different types of laborers. Labor costs will run you around 30 percent of your total cost on average. Calculate the costs of all supplies, knowing that you may pay more than a pro will.


HGTV suggests that you also put in a 10 percent cushion — extra money budgeted for the unexpected. Something always happens.


Prioritize Less-Expensive Projects


Once you have a total budget in mind, think about which specific projects you want to prioritize. The good news is that there are some relatively cheap bathroom renovations that not only make a big impact but also bring a solid return on investment.


  • Fixtures first. You can update your lights, sconces, towel racks, and other accessories for fairly cheap and this makes a huge visual impact. This is a good place to look for extra ways to save. For example, there are plenty of cashback opportunities and ways to get discounts and cash back on bathroom accessories at Lowe's Hardware.


  • Opt for a tile-and-paint combo. As Money Crashers notes, tile can get expensive. You can mitigate this by using cheaper tile and accenting with more expensive tile. Also: “limit the amount of tile and focus on high-impact areas like the floor (instead of the floor and inside the shower stall walls) … or tile one horizontal strip along the wall and paint the rest.” Need to save on paint? Look for sales at stores like Sherwin-Williams.


  • Update your grout and re-caulk. This is a DIY project that costs very little but can make a bathroom floor and tub look like new. And if you want to save some money on materials, check for coupons through sites like Groupon.


  • For the best return on investment when it comes to major appliances, go green. Make sure you upgrade your toilet and sink/bath faucets with models that conserve water.


  • Other great ROI bathroom jobs include extra storage, dual sinks, a shower seat, and glass shower doors.


Do It Yourself When You Can


Although you may end up paying more for materials if you do it yourself, you’ll likely save enough on labor costs to make it worthwhile. Consider this: You should be able to DIY anything that doesn’t involve one of these things: moving electrical, major plumbing, and significant demolition that affects load-bearing walls. If any of your bathroom projects require one of these things, call in the pros. Not only can tackling these as a novice be dangerous, but you’ll actually end up blowing money and having to spend more money on professional labor anyway.


Know this: The bathroom remodel is one of the best projects you can undertake in terms of home satisfaction and boosting resale value, so you’re starting in a good spot. But you don’t have to go wild out to achieve this. Pick the right projects and be smart about DIY.


Photo by Aaron Huber on Unsplash

  investment, single-family homes, buying a home, remodeling

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