Monday, September 19, 2011

Ten Cost Saving Bath Remodeling Options

The next series of blogs will review bathroom remodeling.  Improving your bath will improve the enjoyment of your home, add to your quality of life, and increase your home’s resale value.  By square footage, baths are often the most expensive room in a home.  With plumbing, electric, heating, tile, sheetrock, paint, accessories, cabinets, counters, etc. numerous trades and products are packed into a very small space.  There are, however, cost saving options for bath remodeling.  The following is a list of ten options to consider.

1.       Small changes can have a big impact- Your budget may not allow for a full bath remodel but small changes can make a difference.  Options including changing plumbing fixtures, changing the vanity and counter, painting, or changing a tub to a tile shower.

2.       Save on luxury items- Steam showers, jetted tub, heated floors, multiple shower heads, and frameless shower enclosures are all very nice but are a significant cost upgrade to a bath remodel.  A basic, well built, bath may meet your needs at a much more affordable cost.

3.       Consider plumbing options- Plumbing work and materials are a significant percentage of the cost of a bath remodel.  Leaving fixtures in their current locations is much less costly than reworking all the piping and plumbing rough-ins.  Plumbing fixtures come in a variety of finishes with standard chrome being the least expensive.  There is a huge selection of plumbing fixtures including toilets, sinks, faucets, showerheads, etc.  Your designer, plumber, remodeler, or plumbing supply showroom can help you with alternate and cost saving product selections.

4.       Limit the tile work- Older baths often have tile walls four feet above the finished floors.  Tile work is a large cost increase over painted sheetrock.  Consider limiting the tile work to the tub/shower and bath floor.

5.       Use pre-fabricated showers or tub surrounds- Tile is very nice but pre-fabricated fiberglass shower bases and tub/shower walls are fairly inexpensive to purchase, quick to install (saving labor costs), and easy to keep clean.  Certainly for a hall, kids, or 2nd bath this will be a cost saving option.

6.       Install a tub/shower versus shower only-  A tub/shower is almost always less costly than the tile work required for a custom tile shower with a tile base.  Installing a tub gives you the floor and about 16” of wall.  Installing tile includes a vinyl membrane, sloped mortar sub-floor, cement backer board, waterproof membrane, and then the tile.  All added together this is a very labor-intensive process.

7.       Install a pedestal in place of a vanity- A pedestal sink typically is less expensive to install than a bath vanity.  A vanity includes the cabinet costs, the counter, the sink, and the labor to install each.

8.       Save energy and water- Installing energy saving lighting and low water use toilets and faucets will save costs in the long term.

9.       Have a design focus- Consider keeping the basic bath simple and inexpensive, white vanity and white tile for example, with a decorative tile pattern in the shower or on the floor, or a decorative vanity top and sink.  This can create a dramatic and unique bath while minimizing costs.

10.   Consider the accessories- Towel bars, toilet paper holders, towel rings and other bath accessories can create an updated look at minimum costs.  Similarly changing vanity hardware, window treatments, or door hardware can upgrade a bath again at a small cost as compared to a full bath remodel.  Even new bath linens can make a difference.

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