It may not seem possible, but a cheap bathroom remodel is absolutely attainable. Popular home remodeling culture makes it seem like bathroom remodels must cost five figures and everything must be ripped away and replaced. But resisting that notion is the first step to deflating spiraling bathroom remodel costs and bringing everything back down to earth.
Bathroom remodeling, along with kitchen remodeling, takes its toll on homeowners in terms of misery, unmet timetables, and high costs. Given the staggeringly high cost of bathroom remodeling, it pays to think outside the box and search for smarter and more economical alternatives. After a low-cost and lean bathroom remodel, not only will you have a clean, bright, and functional bathroom, you will have considerably more money in your bank account than homeowners who went the more expensive, wasteful route.
1. Use Lower-Cost Lookalike Materials
Retaining and refurbishing your existing materials is always the best option for saving money. But if you must swap out materials, inexpensive alternatives often can look amazingly like the real thing. For example, instead of real wood plank flooring, try luxury vinyl flooring. Today's vinyl flooring looks far better than earlier iterations. Innovations such as luxury vinyl flooring and plank vinyl can even fool the eye from a distance. High-definition laminate countertops and quartz countertops now vie with granite for the look of authentic natural stone. Faux-stone ceramic and porcelain tile backsplashes can mimic the look of travertine and marble.
2. Refinish Your Tub Instead of Replacing It
Consider total replacement of your bathtub to be your last possible option, at least from a cost savings standpoint. Instead, try relining or refinishing. Bathtub and shower refinishing is a prime example of the dictum "Repair and retain rather than remove." If the problem is mainly cosmetic, such as a yellowed surface and some cracks and nicks, you can refinish your shower or bathtub. Alternatively, bathtub and shower liners, never a permanent fix, are not as cheap as they seem. Requiring professional installation, liners will carry you through a few years. Bathtub refinishing, instead, is cheaper and often looks better.
3. Refresh Cabinets With New Hardware
Buying and installing new bathroom cabinets can get expensive. A far easier and cheaper way to bring life to your existing cabinets is to strip out the old hardware and replace it with fun new hardware. To make the process even easier, before you buy the new hardware, make sure that its screw alignment matches up with the holes on your existing cabinets. This eliminates the need to drill new holes.
4. Install a New Sink Faucet
As with installing new hardware on cabinets, installing a new sink faucet is one trick designers and do-it-yourselfers alike use to make a sink sparkle without replacing the entire top or vanity.
5. Resist the Urge to Move Major Plumbing
Save money by leaving the toilet and bathing facilities where they are. There's no need to move the plumbing when their current locations satisfy your needs. Moving water supply and/or drainage immediately drives up the cost of any remodel project.
6. Install Your Own Bathroom Vanity and Top
Bathroom vanities and tops practically come assembled for you. Because bathrooms are small, it is possible for you to buy nearly or fully assembled bathroom vanity units and vanity tops and have them in place within a couple of hours. Vanity units come in stock sizes ranging from 24 inches to 60 inches wide. Coordinating counters can be purchased that even have sinks fused into them, eliminating sink installation and caulking woes.
7. Install Wainscot on the Lower Half of Walls
If a bathroom material still works, fix it up and reuse it. This is the guiding principle of any surface-level renovation (with the caveat that you never want to cover anything because it needs to be replaced). For example, there is no better way to cover up the lower portion of walls than with easy-to-install wainscot. Wainscot is a pre-fabricated board that extends as high as 48 inches and eliminates the need to patch wall dings and minor holes; wainscot simply covers it up.