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How To Remodel A Bathroom On A Budget - Part 1

Part 2

Remodeling your bathroom (Figure 1), can be one of the most expensive remodeling projects you undertake on a square foot basis. Luxury or high-end fixtures, flooring, and décor items for bathrooms are not inexpensive and a bathroom remodel can easily top $300 a square foot and in a bathroom that is as small as 60 square feet that equates to $18,000.

remodeled bathroom
Figure 1 - Remodeled bathroom

However, there are some things you can do to get the luxury bathroom you want at a fraction of the cost. Bathrooms are generally small rooms and that fact is one of the primary keys to saving money.

Consider the following for your bathroom remodeling project especially when buying the materials.

  1. Vanities:
  2. Although we would all like to have a brand new vanity it is not really necessary to buy a new vanity in order to have a vanity that looks brand new!

    If you are not happy with the style of your current vanity and want a larger or small unit or want more or less drawers, you can build your own vanity. We have provided detailed plans and instructions for building cabinets on a budget.

  • Inside cabinet – The inside of the cabinet, can be cleaned and then painted.
  • Face frame – The face frame is the part of the cabinet that is on the front, the doors are hung on the face frame. It can be replaced with oak if you want a stained appearance. Making a face frame is not difficult and we have provided full detailed instructions on how to build a face frame for a cabinet.
  • If you want a painted finish on your new vanity, you can paint the outside as well. We have provided detailed instructions on painting cabinets and cabinet doors.

  • Doors - If you are a reasonably competent woodworker you can make new doors for your vanity. New doors can be made for your vanity if you are a reasonably competent woodworker or doors can be purchased independent of the vanity cabinet.
  • The luxury material that you want for your countertop is granite! Most bathroom vanity countertops are relatively small, less than 4 feet in length and 2 feet in width and if you visit some of your local granite dealers (not the big box stores), you will find that they have small pieces of granite that may be from broken slabs or pieces that are left over from large projects that they have reduced the price on dramatically.
  • A simple 1/4 round edge is generally less expensive than a detailed edge.

    Additional information on countertop materials and countertop edges.

    If you are adding a basin, rather than a vessel that sits on top of the countertop, do not use an under-mount style. Under-mount style basins require that the hole for the basin be polished – which costs money. Use a drop-in basin and the hole for the basin can be rough finish.

    It should also be noted that vessels are more expensive than basins and the faucets for vessels are usually dramatically more expensive than a basic faucet for a basin.

  • Cabinet hardware – You shouldn’t need a lot of cabinet hardware. Most vanities have a maximum of 2 doors and 3 drawers. But even with cabinet hardware, shopping can save you real dollars. Do not purchase cheaply made hardware, especially hinges and drawer slides, you will just end up having to replace them in a couple of years. Flea markets and garage sales can be an excellent venue for bargain cabinet hardware.
  1. Flooring:
  2. The luxury flooring material is generally considered to be marble tile. Because the amount of square feet of flooring tile that you will need is relatively small, locate a large tile retailer in your area, it is best if they also do installation as they should have a lot of small quantities of marble tiles left over from large projects. To save, do not plan on laying the marble tile under the vanity. Installing the marble floor tiles yourself will save labor costs, and it is not an overly difficult project.

    Additional information on bathroom flooring

  3. Faucets & Bath/Shower Controls:
  4. Faucets and the bath/shower controls can be a complex purchase, if it is the intent of the homeowner that they match. Having all the faucets and bath/shower controls match means purchasing from the same manufacturer and that means you have to shop more carefully. Finishes between manufacturers do not generally match. If, however the vanity faucet and the bath/shower controls are not to close, or if you have shower doors, then an exact match is not critical. Careful shopping at big-box stores, bathroom remodeling centers and on-line can provide excellent bargains. Look for last year’s models! It is important that you purchase quality manufactured faucets in-order to avoid future problems. Faucets with ceramic cartridges that provide a lifetime guarantee are recommended.