How to Save Money While Remodeling Your Bathroom | WTOP

List of ways to save money on bathroom remodeling.

A bathroom remodel is a target project for many homeowners – and it’s often viewed as a space that can complete or abandon a home sale if the property is in the market. However, when considering plumbing, tile and electrical cables, there is a lot of complexity to be found in a small space. As a result, the price of a bathroom renovation can quickly spiral out of control.

According to the 2020 Houzz Bathroom Trends Study, the average price for homeowners who remodeled a master bathroom in 2019 was $ 8,000. A guest or second bathroom remodel cost a homeowner $ 3,000 in 2019. However, if you want to overhaul your entire bathroom, the price will go up quickly. The Houzz survey reports that the average cost of a major remodel of the main bathroom, including new vanities, countertops, and toilets, in 2019 was $ 17,000 for a bathroom over 100 square feet and $ 10,000 for a bathroom under 100 square feet.

For many homeowners, such a major bathroom renovation is not an option. Fortunately, there are ways to save and alternatives to expensive materials that will make your bathroom feel new again without using up your savings.

[SEE: 15 Ways to Save on a Kitchen Remodel.]

Here are eight ways you can save on bathroom remodeling:

– layout.

– Materials for work.

– Toilet.

– nullity.

– Fixtures.

– tiles.

– bathtub or shower.

– lighting.


Similar to a kitchen conversion, the total costs for bathroom renovations can increase slightly due to the extensive sanitary installations for the toilet, sink, bathtub or shower. If you want to improve your bathroom by changing the position of your shower or toilet, you guarantee a higher total cost.

You save the most money “when you can leave the plumbing where it is and the electrics where it is,” says Paul Dashevsky, co-founder of GreatBuildz, a free homeowner service that connects them with contractors in Southern California .

Materials for work

When you work with professionals on your bathroom renovation, the work plays an important role. HomeAdvisor reports that labor costs represent between 40% and 65% of your total budget.

You can downsize the scope of your remodeling project to better fit your budget or to make it a do-it-yourself project. Alternatively, you can take a look at the material selection. A pre-made vanity or shower unit costs less than a custom design that has to be put together by specialists.

However, the best way to save the total cost of your remodeling is when you can find a contractor by finding a contractor you can trust and providing the full scope of what you want to do upfront. Jon Grishpul, Dashevsky co-founder at GreatBuildz, explains that their company’s platform is focused on connecting homeowners with the right, properly vetted contractor as they can be hard to find on their own. If you think you cannot trust your contractor, do not provide relevant information that will save you money on your remodel.

“It’s not a respiratory arrest competition,” says Grishpul, noting that if you have a tough budget that you can’t go over, you need to let the contractor know. The right contractor may even be able to offer you alternatives to expensive materials that you didn’t know about before.


If your bathroom is being completely renovated by a contractor, replacing the toilet is part of the process. However, if you want to update your bathroom yourself, replacing a toilet requires little skill and can be taken on as a DIY project, says Chip Wade, a master carpenter best known for his roles on HGTV shows like “Ellen’s Design Challenge.” “And” Curb Appeal: The Block “.

To go through the steps without a hitch, Wade recommends looking at more than one online source or getting the help of a friend who has previously changed a toilet.

You can buy a toilet at any major hardware store such as Lowe’s or Home Depot. The price ranges from less than $ 100 to more than $ 300, depending on the sink options and shell shapes, which can add convenience.


Another focal point in any bathroom is the sink and vanity, and it’s also a place that can quickly look out of date when trends come in and out of style. Upgrading from a single to a double vanity is a popular option, but this change can easily run your project over your budget.

To avoid major changes to the plumbing that can drive up the cost of your project, consider your options to simply replace what you have with a more modern vanity. Leneiva Head, owner of Welcome Home Realty, a property management company in Nashville, Tennessee, recommends checking out major stores to see what vanity options can breathe new life into your bathroom. “About $ 300 makes you a really pretty vanity,” she says.

If you already have a particular vanity in mind while working with a professional in a store or online, let the contractor know as it can help you save money. “A contractor might think you want a custom vanity, but you found one on Wayfair,” says Dashevsky.

For an even less invasive project, try breathing new life into the vanity area by swapping out the mirror. “Take that one long mirror that everyone has and get two shorter mirrors,” says Head. Or frame your mirror with a pop of color or rustic wood to match your desired look.

[See: The Best Time of Year for Every Home Improvement Project]


If replacing a bathtub, shower, or sink is outside of your budget, you can make every feature look new again by updating the faucets, knobs, and handles. These jigs are often inexpensive and serve as a simple DIY project with no real plumbing knowledge required.

These devices are easy to find in hardware stores. A variety of sink faucets are available from Ace Hardware for $ 40 to $ 90, while shower faucet sets with a tub faucet, shower head, and handle range from $ 90 to $ 120. Detachable shower heads range from $ 15 to $ 35 at Ace Hardware.


New tiles are often a port of call for homeowners looking to modernize their bathrooms. While you may be ready to try tile yourself, others will hire a professional to make sure each piece is evenly and properly attached to the wall or floor.

HomeAdvisor reports that the cost of a professional tiling a walk-in shower ranges from $ 2,500 to $ 5,000, and can rise to $ 10,000 or more depending on the size of the shower and the type of tile chosen. Ceramic or travertine tile tends to be on the lower end of the cost spectrum, while marble is more expensive.

Bathtub or shower

Taking out your 1980s bathtub and replacing it with a chic, freestanding bathtub is an expensive project that requires a lot of extra work moving drains, replacing tiles, and possibly even removing walls to make room. Head recommends an alternative: “Baths are expensive to replace, but you can actually get them repaired and refurbished,” says Head.

Refinishing tiles in a shower is also far cheaper than replacing the shower. Since this is the shower tray or the shower floor, Wade is not a good DIY project as details about the slope and angles will determine whether the drain will work properly. This project must also comply with local regulations to make it more suitable for a professional.

“Unless you’ve seen it and seen it several times,” says Wade, “it’s not something you learn when you go.”

[See: The Best Free Interior Design Apps.]


Possibly the lighting in your bathroom could use an upgrade. Especially if the top of your vanity mirror is lined with large, round lightbulbs, the top notes of which are reminiscent of a dressing room, you have many options for bringing newer, better lighting into the room. “When you change your lighting style and type, you’re changing the entire space,” says Head.

A monorail light that hides the light bulbs is available online at a variety of prices and styles. It starts at $ 68 on and goes up to $ 250 on Shades of Light. A bulbless light bar starts at $ 48 and goes beyond $ 480 depending on price, size, and style.

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How To Save Money When Remodeling Your Bathroom Originally appeared on

Update 02/18/21: This story was published earlier and has been updated with new information.

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