10 ways to reduce bathroom renovation costs

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Bathrooms can be one of the most expensive rooms to refinish inside 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 is the case for nearly all home improvement projects.

There are ways to tip the scales in favor of saving while still achieving their dream bathroom space. Here are 10 of the best tips for reducing construction costs for your bathroom renovation, and they apply to both DIYers and those who hire the project to a contractor.

RELATED: 5 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Bathroom Renovation

1. Handle the demolition yourself

10 ways to reduce bathroom renovation costs

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If you hire contractors to remodel your bathroom, you can still save a little money by handling the demolition part of the project yourself. However, beware that saving money during demolition requires a careful and steady hand. Running headlong into the bathroom with a sledgehammer and a reciprocating saw is a recipe for a very expensive (and dangerous) accident.

Be careful about plumbing pipes, vents, electrical outlets, fixtures, and similar items inside the bathroom. Accidentally damaging or damaging them may require hiring a professional to fix them, completely offsetting the cost savings.

2. Shop for used cabinets and vanities

10 ways to reduce bathroom renovation costs

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Most bathroom renovations don’t require as many cupboards or shelves as the kitchen. In fact, many bathrooms only have a vanity sink—everything else can usually be stored in a linen closet.

For this reason, it is very easy to find a used vanity. No worries about finding matching tops and bottoms, or just enough to fill a wall. Habitat for Humanity ReStores, Facebook Marketplace, and area classifieds are great places to shop for second-hand. And for those feeling ingenious, turning an old chest of drawers or a toddler into a nightstand isn’t all that hard.

10 ways to reduce bathroom renovation costs

Photo: istockphoto.com

Given that many people are doing renovations so they can jump into a new direction, this advice may sound hypocritical. However, trends come and go, and remodeling the bathroom every few years to keep up with these trends is a good way to flush money down the toilet.

Also, consider the cost of materials alone. The price of materials in a trend usually goes up significantly, which means that refurbishment will cost more than it might be worth when those prices drop again and the trend changes. Instead, stick to classic designs and materials to avoid inflated prices and frequent remodels.

4. Avoid moving facilities

10 ways to reduce bathroom renovation costs

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A new bathroom that looks completely different from the old one might look great, but it’s definitely pricey. Instead of changing the entire floor plan of the building, leave the existing utilities in place. This includes supply lines to the tub, shower and drains, electrical to lights and outlets, and HVAC fixtures such as baseboard heaters, radiant heating, and bathroom vents.

5. Get multiple quotes

10 ways to reduce bathroom renovation costs

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It is not always possible to do a complete bathroom renovation (especially if the utilities are moving). It may be necessary to hire a licensed dealer or contractor to handle the job, which will undoubtedly cost a pretty penny.

While paying for this experience is often unavoidable, it is best to look for multiple quotes for the job. With so many quotes for a particular job on hand, it’s easier to pitch companies against each other and convince them to take the job for a slightly lower price than offered. While some people may prefer to avoid negotiations, they may miss out on some real savings.

RELATED: Pro Tips: The 5 Most Common Bathroom Renovation Mistakes

6. Reuse as you can

10 ways to reduce bathroom renovation costs

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Getting rid of an existing bathroom entirely may be the quickest way to start over, but it’s not the least expensive. Removing items that don’t need replacing, like drywall that’s still in good shape or wallboard that just needs fixing, will cost more than a paint job or other small repair in the long run.

Be very careful with the existing tiles. Breaking a few tiles may require replacing the entire floor. But, if DIYers are careful, they can simply remove the grout and replace it for a new look without buying new tiles.

7. Be your own designer

10 ways to reduce bathroom renovation costs

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Interior designers are always worth their cost, but they don’t always fit within the budget. Instead of increasing your capacity for a designer, you can handle the design element of this job yourself. But don’t do it blindly either. Take some time to learn about bathroom interior design by reading the topic with a book like National Kitchen and Bath Association Access Guidelines and Standards (Available on Amazon).

It is also important to realize that designers are worth the money. Sometimes they pay themselves, because they have access to discounts and supplies that homeowners don’t have.

8. Focus on matches

Reduce bathroom renovation costs

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Sometimes replacing a bathtub, shower, or tub is out of budget. While these items make a big impact, it’s still possible to breathe new life into a bathroom with new shower valves or faucets like the Luxice Automatic Touchless bathtub faucet, a favorite in our guide to the best bathroom faucets. Bright, shiny fixtures will give a room a new look without the labor cost of replacing sinks, vanities, or showers.

9. Consider open shelves

10 ways to reduce bathroom renovation costs

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If you feel the bathroom is missing something but getting your finger on it seems difficult, consider adding open shelving. Adding a few open shelves creates the perfect space for folded towels and bedspreads, giving DIY designers more surfaces and patterns to work with to add plants and new decor.

Keep in mind that anything placed on an open shelf needs constant attention. Aside from repetitive or dusty tidying, adding a corner shelving unit or floating shelves on the wall might just be a design trick a bathroom needs.

10. Set a steady (and realistic) budget

10 ways to reduce bathroom renovation costs

Photo: istockphoto.com

No project will stay within the budget if the budget is not there. Before starting a project, it is essential to establish a consistent and realistic budget that will help achieve your goals while leaving room for contingencies or unexpected renovation costs. This buffer or oscillating space is very important. After all, it can be hard to know when a project might head south, so be sure to leave extra money in the budget.

Also, fight the urge to go off-plan and buy more expensive items than necessary. It can be tempting to spend a little money here and there, but these extras build up over the course of the project.

Related: How Much Does a Shower Remodel Cost?

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