How to Budget Your Bathroom Remodel and Save Money

bathroom remodel

A complete bathroom remodel costs between $3,000 and $12,000 on average; but for a luxury remodel, it isn't uncommon to pay $50,000 or more.

Whatever size bathroom remodel you're doing, this guide will shed some light on how to budget properly and save money in the process.

 

how to save money on your bathroom remodel

1. Find your maximum budget, and stick to it.

“How much can I truly spend?”

This is the #1 question you should ask yourself before beginning the bathroom remodeling process.

We all have our dream bathrooms, but you have to be honest with yourself (and your contractor) about how much money you can truly afford to spend on this bathroom.

With that being said, if you plan on selling your home sometime in the near future, your remodel should be viewed as a worthwhile investment.

Consider the features that will give you the greatest return on investment, and budget your remodel to accommodate them.

Adequate planning is the key to sticking to a bathroom remodel budget, but unexpected issue can still pop up.

find your maximum budget

You can plan your bathroom from top to bottom, but the unpredictable can still happen.

Homes built before the 80s may contain asbestos or lead paint, which will require testing and proper removal.

Unforeseen costs like these add up quickly, so budget accordingly.

Consider the tip below...

TIP: Add 20% of your total project costs to your budget as a safety net for those unpredictable circumstances.

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2. Figure out your needs, and design everything first.

Bathroom remodels are complex, and there are a lot of questions you’ll need to ask yourself before getting started, like:

  • How do you plan on using your bathroom? Guests bathrooms, half baths, master bathrooms—they all serve different purposes. Which purpose will this bathroom serve? Keep that purpose in the forefront of your mind.
  • How many people are typically in your bathroom at a time? If you have a big family, and your bathroom gets busy in the mornings, double sinks and an open floor plan with lots of storage are a good idea.
  • What do you need to store in your bathroom? Do you just need a spot for towels and toilet paper, or do you have drawers bursting with toiletries, beauty tools, and band-aids to organize?
  • What are your must-haves? If you absolutely must have heated floors, or you need a waterfall showerhead, budget for these items first. Keep “nice-to-have” items in the back of your mind, too, so you can budget for these accordingly.

Making last-minute changes quickly increases the overall cost of your bathroom project, so the more research you do and the more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be.

You may be tempted to “wait until later” to make a design decision, but this tends to be a bad idea. When it comes to remodeling, nothing is ever as simple and straightforward as we’d like to think.

For example, if you know you want to tile your shower, but you don’t know which tile you want to use, and you figure you’ll decide when the time comes…

It’s not that simple.

Tiles come in many different materials, sizes, and patterns—all of which affects material and installation costs.

Do a ceiling-to-floor checklist for what you expect out of your bathroom, and then design it to your specifications and budget.
 

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3. Pick out the materials yourself…and do so carefully.

choose your fixtures carefully

Sure, you could leave the entire bathroom remodeling process up to a contractor, but that’s a good way to let costs get out of hand.

Shop around for big-ticket items on your own, such as vanities, toilets, tubs/showers, and flooring.

Vanities

The price of vanities and cabinets varies immensely, so take your time to find a quality vanity that fits your budget.

In most instances, you can get the same look you’re going for with a different wood or design.

Vanities can be made of furniture-grade plywood, but to ensure cabinets last, choose vanities with doors and drawer fronts made of solid wood.

Soft-close features are an excellent choice, too.

Fixtures

The price range for bathroom mainstays—like sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers—covers the board.

You can find a quality toilet for about $100, or the latest and greatest toilet for thousands of dollars.

The same goes for sinks, showers, and tubs.

There are countless styles available and a choice for every budget.

Flooring

Flooring is yet another aspect of bathroom remodeling in which pricing ranges a great deal.

To get the best prices on hardwood floors, check out surplus stores or overstock warehouses.

For tile flooring, the big name home improvement stores typically have the best prices.

Shop around to find the right products for your lifestyle and budget. Don’t become fixated or obligated to go purchase the most popular brand-name products. Planning is key to stick to a budget.
 

4. Research several contractors before hiring the right one.

Before you consider hiring a contractor, you should have the following things covered:

  • Know the rough layout of your bathroom. — Have a PDF mockup of your desired layout so that it’s easy to send to a contractor or print out for them. Even if it’s a simple sketch, this will make it easier for a contractor to provide an accurate bid and timeline.
  • Have all your desired materials. — The more materials and items you have before the project begins, the easier it will be for the contractor to finish the work. This will not only minimize costs but will also cut down on the time it takes for the contractor to do the work. (Time is money!)
  • Have a good understanding of the scope of work. — Knowing the volume of work and approximately how involved the process will be are key pieces of information for the contractor. Maybe you just want a cosmetic upgrade with no major layout changes, or maybe you’re looking for an entire revamp of your bathroom space. Whatever the case, the more specific you can be about what you want to be done, the easier it will be for a contractor to accurately bid on your project.

After you’ve prepared all the necessary information for your bathroom remodel, go to HometownDemolitionContractors.com to find a directory of qualified interior demolition contractors in your area.

We typically recommend getting quotes from at least 2 - 3 contractors, but the more contractors you talk to, the better.

If a bid sounds too good to be true (i.e., cheap), it probably is. 

Ask contractors for line item bids so that you can closely compare how contractors price their work, and ask for references to see what they’ve done in the past.

Insider Tip: Take advantage of contractors’ slow time of year—the months that come after the holidays and before the first signs of spring.

Contractors appreciate indoor work during this time and could be willing to bid lower.

Be sure the contractor(s) you hire is properly licensed and insured, and that they have the necessary permits needed to do the work. If not readily available, ask to see their certifications; don’t just take their word for it.
 

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5. If possible, handle some of the work yourself.

A bathroom remodel can be complicated, but there are certain parts of the process that are DIY friendly.

If you’re willing and capable of taking on some of the bathroom remodeling process yourself, you could save big on the total cost of your project.

Replacing cabinets (and/or doors), painting, replacing flooring—these are just a few examples of jobs you can do yourself during a bathroom remodel to save money.

Keep in mind that although going the DIY route is a great way to save money, it doesn’t always mean you should choose to DIY. Only do the work you feel comfortable handling yourself and leave the tougher work to the pros. Always be safe!
 

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