Financial limitations can make remodeling bathrooms on a budget a challenge, but it’s not as bad as you might think. If your bathroom has outdated fixtures, or you’re simply tired of looking at decor you’ve had for decades, it’s a good time to take charge and renovate. Even if you have limited resources, a full or partial bathroom remodel is within reach. Here are some practical and economical ideas to consider for the budget-conscious.
Determine how much you can afford to spend on your remodel to determine the extent of the changes you can make. If your budget is on the low end (i.e. $1,000 or less), you’ll want to stick to cosmetic changes, such as new fixtures or a new sink, and new paint. If you have more to spend, you can focus on larger changes, such as adding tile, a bigger shower, or a window. Again, it all depends on your budget.
Be adventurous. Design treatments that would look over the top in other parts of the home are fine in the powder room. Deep dark hues, such as burgundy and eggplant, play well in these small spaces. Not that adventurous? Limit dark hues or unusual colors to wall paint. Pricey materials such as vessel sinks, custom floor patterns, and stone counters won’t be as hard on your budget because you won’t need as much as you would in a larger bath.
How much should you spend on your master bathroom? A rule of thumb is that the total project—including materials and installation—should cost no more than 5 to 10 percent of your home’s value. The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) puts the national average at about $16,000. Another guide is Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value report, which compares the average cost of various renovation projects with the value they retain at resale. In 2011-2012, mid-range bathroom remodels cost an average of $16,552 and recouped 62 percent, while upscale bathroom remodels cost an average of $52,249 and recouped 56 percent. Here’s how the NKBA breaks down the budget for a typical bathroom remodel:                               
The average bathroom remodel costs $10,436 Most homeowners spend between $5,968 and $14,905. You can spend as little as $3,500 to $7,000 updating the essentials in a small or medium-sized bathroom. On a large or master bath, you could spend $25,000 or more. Labor averages 50 percent of the total project price at about $65 per hour. Expect pricing to vary regionally up to 20 percent due mainly to labor. Material prices stay roughly the same across the country.
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Another often overlooked, yet important detail, is grout and caulk. When this gets grimy, it gets unsightly. By simply cleaning the grout and adding straight, clean lines of caulk around the tub and sink, you can add sparkle for a mere few dollars. You might be surprised at what a difference this can make! Grout and caulk are both cheap, so this is a very inexpensive way to freshen up your bathroom.
You can also opt for walk in shower designs without doors. Take a look at our bathroom remodeling ideas, compiled from our previous projects. You could have the other walls solid, glass-only or a solid base with a glass top half. One thing to note about the doorless walk in shower is that it does not allow for much privacy, and this is generally true for all walk in showers. If privacy is not your priority (or is already provided by other means) then a walk in shower is perfect.
Interior bathroom demolition costs $1,000 to $2,300. Prices can go higher if you’re removing and moving walls to create a different footprint. For the experienced DIYer, this is a good place to save money by doing it yourself or assisting the contractor. However, demo can get expensive quickly if you take out a load bearing wall, cut electrical lines or break a water pipe. Avoid the risk by hiring a pro.
The best bathroom remodel ideas can sometimes be easy bathroom remodel ideas. There are small bathroom updates that make an impact without much effort or the remodeling cost of a contractor. New light fixtures can be installed quickly to brighten a dim room and create a design element. Toilet paper holders and matching towel bars can replace dated fixtures. Even different shower curtains can spruce up a bathroom space in minutes.
Focus on durability. The surfaces and fixtures will likely get lots of wear and tear, especially if children use the room. Plastic laminate flooring and countertops are durable and inexpensive, plus the kids likely don’t care if they have high-end materials. As for fixtures, you still want high-quality construction, including all-brass parts and a PVD (physical vapor deposition) finish that resists scratches, but go with basic chrome, rather than pricier nickel or bronze. On the walls, choose an interior paint that resists mildew.
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Just wondering. In the polybutylene story the Ask This Old House trailer is sitting in the driveway of the home in Virginia. Richard is there to emcee but a local company is hired to do the work, so Richard needs no tools. Does someone tow the empty trailer to these distant sites just to use it in the exterior shots? Or, do they haul the lighting and cameras and such cross country in it? Or, do they rent a trailer locally and just temporarily apply an AskTOH wrap for the cameras?
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