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How to Cut Bathroom Renovation Costs

By Melissa Green | Citizens Bank Staff

There’s little debate about whether or not investing in a modern bathroom is a good idea. It’s a great example of a project that can increase resale value (60% ROI) as well as the functionality and enjoyment your family will get from it.

When renovating, a good rule of thumb is to expect the unexpected — and a bathroom renovation is no exception. One of the biggest surprises a homeowner can face is the cost of their project. However, with some careful planning and smart shopping, you can discover ways to help keep your project costs down.

Break down the bathroom renovation costs

The national average cost of a midrange bathroom remodel is $20,420. By understanding what goes into that number, you’ll be in a good position to make informed decisions, and potentially save some money.

Take a look at the graphic below to see how the cost breaks down:

3 tips to cut bathroom remodeling costs

Whether you’re making midrange upgrades or just refreshing your bathroom, there are ways to help you from going over budget.

  1. DIY. The largest portion of your budget (20%) will likely be labor costs. Talk to your contractor about what you might be able to DIYsafely. Even if you’re not particularly handy, taking a sledgehammer to that ugly tile that’s haunted you since you moved in is my idea of a good time. Demolition, disposal, and painting are all examples of things you can do yourself to help cut costs.
  2. Keep the same layout. Functionality is arguably one of the most important considerations when taking on a bathroom renovation project. If your current bathroom works for you and your family consider whether moving the bathtub to where the sink used to be is a “nice to have” or a “must have.” Changing the layout comes with some pricey plumbing, so keeping the same footprint will help keep your budget on track.


    @smithandragsdale via Instagram

  3. Shop smart. When it comes to choosing fixtures and countertops, shop around to find the best prices. Think about nontraditional materials that are cheaper, look great, and work for your space. You may be able to save by buying direct versus having your contractor order materials for you. Additionally, if you’re not afraid of a fixer-upper, flea markets and salvage yards offer great finds that may be perfect for your design — and cost a fraction of the price.

    @ispydiy via Instagram

What to remember

Although the national average of a bathroom remodel is north of $20k, it’s important to remember that material costs and labor will vary based on your area. Do your homework and shop around to find the best deals and contractors that fit in your budget

More information

You have options when it comes to funding a renovation project.  If you’re just refreshing paint and door handles, a credit card may be a good fit. For a mid-range project you may want to consider a personal loan. If you’re going high-end or changing the layout completely, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) may be the best option.  Talk to an experienced financial advisor to find out what’s the best option for you and your unique situation.

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