Home Improvement

How to Remodel your Bathroom on a Budget

Story Highlights

  • Repaint the wooden floor
  • Refinish before you replace
  • Touch up before you refinish
  • Use lower cost lookalikes
  • Check the drains
  • Do some plumbing yourself
  • Purchase used
  • Refresh caulk and grout
  • Upgrade cabinets hardware

Along with kitchens, bathroom remodeling is on the top of the list of most expensive and time-consuming home renovation projects.

Considering the cost of materials and fixtures, it’s always recommendable to think outside the box and look for more economical solutions.

Apart from saving your money, such a lean bathroom remodel leaves you with a clean, bright, and functional bathroom that can stand shoulder to shoulder with six-figure bathroom projects.

Here’s what you should do:

Repaint the wooden floor

If your bathroom has a wooden floor, you have two options:

Either rip it out and replace it with a more moisture-proof flooring or paint it with protective enamel. It goes without saying that the latter is far less expensive.

While solid hardwood shouldn’t be anyone’s first choice for bathroom flooring, if that’s what you’re stuck with, a fresh coat of paint can make it last much longer

Refinish before you replace

Replacing the tub with a new one is a costly affair, especially when you can reline or refinish it instead.

Tub and shower refinishing or relining are perfect examples of ‘repair before remove’ policy.

While neither of these are permanent fixes, relining might require professional aid and costs more, while refinishing is much cheaper and recommended especially as a solution for yellowed surface, scratches, and nicks. 

Touch up before you refinish

A step cheaper even than refinishing, a tub touch-up is recommended for nicks, gouges, and peeling paint.

If you’re not thrilled with the idea of refinishing the entire tub, you can spot-fix the problematic areas.

Most of these touch-up products are easy to apply, as they come in toothpaste-like squeezable tubes.

Use lower cost lookalikes

If your remodel requires you to swap out materials, you should consider inexpensive alternatives of luxury materials, which often look incredibly like the real thing.

Instead of real hardwood flooring, try luxury vinyl tiles or planks that come in wood-mimicking textures that can even fool the expert eye from distance.

High-definition laminate countertops with quartz and granite inclusions can look amazingly like natural stone, while porcelain and ceramics are used as faux travertine and marble.  

Check the drains

If your toilet, shower, or the floor drain isn’t flushing or draining properly, don’t jump to blame the fixture. In most cases, the reason is a blocked drain pipe.

While there are drain-cleaning solutions, keep in mind that, apart from being harmful to the environment, they work only with light clogs.

When it comes to serious drain blockages, even the DIY-savvy amongst us would rather call specialists for blocked drains than try to dabble with sewage systems.

Do some plumbing yourself

Even if you’re not advised to tackle clogged drains, there are some plumbing projects you can do yourself and save the money you’d otherwise spend on a plumber.

With the invention of plastic PEX plumbing pipes and push-fit Sharkbite fittings, even a first-time DIY plumber can run new lines with relative ease.

The days of soldering copper joints and joining galvanized pipes are behind us, so consider PEX and push-in fittings if you plan on re-routing some of the fixtures.

Purchase used

Another way of saving money on fixtures, toilets, and showers is buying them used.

Online sites like eBay and Gumtree can be a perfect place to start but you should also visit local stores that sell used doors, sinks, tubs, and mirrors.

Refresh caulk and grout

Grout and caulk are often overlooked but critically important details.

These sealing and binding materials look unsightly when they get dirty, and since both are dirt cheap, cleaning and reapplying them around the tub and sink is a no-brainer way of freshening up your bathroom.

Upgrade cabinets hardware

New bathroom cabinets can get expensive, even if you order the panels custom cut and assemble them yourself.

A far easier and less costly way of breathing new life into your existing cabinetry is to remove the old hardware and replace it with new hardware.

Make sure the screw hole alignment on the new hardware matches the holes on your cabinets.

You don’t need to extend your credit line to transform your bathroom into a relaxing and updated space.

While all the ideas mentioned here are chosen with regards to your budget, keep in mind that updating a bathroom, even on a thin line, adds value to your home.

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