anytime plumbing
bathroom renovation
29 Sep

How to Save Money on a Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom renovation can often be a time-consuming and expensive task. But there are many solutions to the “how to save on bathroom remodel” question.

In this article, you can read about the 17 most efficient ways to achieve just that.

As a bonus, we also answer “How often should you remodel your bathroom?” to help you recognize important alerts to issues that require change. Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

17 Ways to Save Money on Bathroom Remodel

You can save money on bathroom renovation depending on the project type, objects involved, labor cost, and more.

Here are 18 ideas to help you choose the best solution for your specific situation.

1. Keep Your Bathroom’s Original Layout and Size

Remodeling a bathroom sometimes requires changing your plumbing pipes’ location. This can be an extremely expensive endeavor. Usually, the most costly elements to move are sewer pipes and toilet discharge.

You should only change these elements if it’s absolutely necessary to meet your needs. Try to refrain from moving heavy and inaccessible objects to avoid spending more than necessary.

In short, yes, you can always change your bathroom’s layout or size, but you have to consider the benefits against the price.

2. Consider Mirror Frame-Ups

You can dress up your builder-grade mirror with a great frame instead of investing in a large hanging mirror. Plus, the frame can hide any wear and tear or damage around the mirror. Flaking often begins around the edges, and a mirror frame will give it a more modern look.

3. Look for Tile Leftovers

When you find beautiful tiles for your bathroom, don’t go straight to purchasing them from the manufacturer or the store. Maybe someone on eBay or Craigslist is selling their leftover pieces at an affordable price because they bought too much and now can’t return it. This can be your go-to chance for getting perfectly good high-quality tiles at a fraction of the price. Alternately, you can only buy a portion through Craigslist, then order the rest as you normally would.

4. Keep the Load-Bearing Walls Intact

The load-bearing walls in a bathroom hold up the second floor or the roof. When you move or remove them, it imposes numerous changes to the structure of the home that can be very expensive to commit to. The external walls are usually load-bearing, while the internal ones that are parallel to ceiling joints are non-load-bearing. You can research how you can expand your bathroom by tweaking the non-load-bearing walls instead.

If moving your load-bearing walls is necessary, you may want to hire a professional contractor.

5. Go for Prefabricated Bathtubs and Showers

One of the most expensive bathroom remodeling projects includes tearing old, prefabricated shower bases or surrounds and installing custom tiled bases or walls. Instead, you can use preformed shower stalls that come in one piece. They are more affordable, and save you extra money over those expensive tile setters.

Another benefit is that the prefabricated shower stalls take much less time to install (only a few hours) compared to days-long tiled shower installation.

An important aspect to consider when installing prefabricated bathtubs and showers is your hallway size. Some hallways may be too narrow to have the tub or shower pass through them.

6. Choose Standard-Type Toilets

If your toilet wastes too much water, it’s only logical to replace it with a newer model. Many new toilets have expensive features and require costly maintenance. Before investing in such a toilet, make sure you truly need all its premium features.

You can always go for a well-designed, straightforward toilet with excellent flushing and little water expenditure. It’s a misconception to believe that toilets need to be expensive to perform well.

Sometimes, if all you need is a simple toilet replacement, you can even do the job on your own. Toilet installation often seems more difficult than it actually is.

7. Keep Your Electrical Circuits in Place

A remodeled bathroom often calls for wiring upgrades. The old ones may not be in line with the latest electrical code standards, or may simply be broken. You can contact your local permitting office to check if your system is in order. If not, you may have to make some changes. A common example is replacing non-grounded outlets with ground-fault current-interrupter ones.

If your wiring is safe and secure, there’s no need to change anything.

8. Plan Everything Before You Start Remodeling

The best way to save money on a bathroom remodel is to create a plan and stick to it to avoid any excess spending. Sure, there may be some unexpected work required to do every now and then, but you should have a clear budget and idea of what you want to achieve right from the start.

You can pair up with a designer or architect to come up with the best and most affordable solution for your particular needs. When you know your bathroom renovation plan comes from a professional, it will give you peace of mind that your timeline, design, and also budget make sense.

You’ll have a clear goal with a structured path to having a renovated bathroom. Hiring a professional designer will save you cash in the long run because it will prevent you from making expensive errors.

9. Update Your Toilet Only Partially

Why change the whole expensive porcelain perch of your toilet when you can simply change the toilet seat and lid? There are thousands of designs to choose from so you can transform the look of your bathroom without extra spending.

Of course, if the perch is broken or at risk of collapsing, it’s only logical to replace the whole structure. Otherwise, the replacement is simply not worth it.

10. Keep the Drywall

Drywall is often completely replaced in bathroom remodeling projects because of the naturally high moisture levels in that particular environment. This is a relatively common replacement element. If your drywall suffers from mold infestation, you should have it removed immediately.

But if your drywall is in good shape, there’s no reason to replace it. You should only replace the bad parts, potentially behind the bathtub or shower. Other drywall areas in a bathroom hardly ever need replacement.

11. Explore Salvage Options

Updating a bathroom doesn’t always have to include expensive additions. You can hit the flea market, resale stores, auction sales, or antique stores in search of salvaged items. There’s no limit to how far the search can go: shower curtain valances, sinks, light fixtures, iron tubs, and more.

Whatever fits your style can be worth it, and salvage items are no exception.

12. Refinish Instead of Replace

When you replace or remove any of your plumbing fixtures or tubs, it only increases the cost of the remodeling project. This can also impact the construction and new installations. That’s why it’s better to ask yourself whether you really need these items. Make sure you only replace them for functional and not aesthetic reasons. If the element in question doesn’t look right according to your taste, you may be able to dress it up or renew it instead.

A bathtub can be refinished with protective coatings that look attractive at the same time. Or you can paint the bathroom cabinets instead of creating more waste and spending more money on purchasing new ones. This way, you’ll help save both your money and the environment.

13. Consider Tile Alternatives

People often associate bathrooms with tiles, and it’s for a good reason. Tiles are waterproof, and simply work well for the environment. However, it doesn’t have to be tiled all the way to the ceiling. You can also consider wood panels, beadboard, and board and batten as alternative options.

The wood does require a bit more care, but it also provides a warm and comforting vibe you can’t get with tiles.

14. Try Open Shelves

If you want to enlarge your bathroom, you don’t always have to do so by literally cutting down walls. Small adjustments like switching from closed to open shelves can give the illusion of space for small bathrooms. You can store private items inside baskets or drawers on high shelves and feature the towels, washes, and soaps out in the open.

15. Use Colorful Paint

Colorful paint can have a huge impact on how small spaces are perceived, and bathrooms are no exception. So if you’re wondering how to save on bathroom remodel, a painting project is certainly worth considering. You can combine paint with your tiles to bring a new dimension to the space you never imagined was possible.

16. Consider the Labor Costs

Professional bathroom remodeling service providers charge a good amount of their price for labor costs. This can account for almost half of the budget.

If your bathroom remodeling project is too big, you can shrink its scope or only hire a professional for the big work. You can always repaint the walls or change your toilet seat cover by yourself. But if replacing a shower or bathtub is what it takes, you may want to go with pro services.

17. Hire a Trustworthy Provider

If you decide you want to hire professionals, make sure they are worth your money. There are lots of scammer companies that only want to take your cash without providing high-quality service.

The best way to save on the total bathroom remodeling cost is to hire providers that can deliver on the full scope of the project. A trustworthy provider will work in your favor. They may even advise you on ways to save on pricey materials instead of tricking you into paying more.

How Often Should You Renovate Your Bathroom?

If you wonder how often should you update your bathroom, you’re not alone. Many homeowners wonder the same thing. A general rule of thumb is that bathrooms should be remodeled every four to five years. This is usually how long it takes for the color to go away or for fixtures to start experiencing issues. Also, chances are higher that you’ll get new ideas or get sick of the look of your old bathroom by this time.

Selling your home is also a good occasion to remodel your bathroom. If you wish to get a higher price on the home, or your fixtures need some replacing, it’s best to do so while you still occupy the place.

There are a few other signs to let you know it’s time to update your bathroom.


Fixture Issues

If your sink, shower, toilet, or bathroom start showing issues including leaking, pressure problems, and others, it’s a great time for a renovation project. The end result isn’t only getting a great-looking fixture, but also refreshing the look of your bathroom.

Bathroom Looks Gloomy

If your bathroom always looks gloomy and dark regardless of the weather or time of day, it may be hard to get ready in the morning or look your best in those conditions. Sometimes changing a single bulb can solve the problem. But oftentimes, you have to invest in completely new lighting.

Bathroom Looks Old

Having an outdated bathroom isn’t a bad thing, per se. As long as everything functions properly, there’s no need to fix it. But if you’re about to sell your home, it may be worth doing a makeover. The buyers will appreciate a modern-looking facility, and this can also increase the value of the home.

Bathroom Lacks Functionality

A lack of functionality is one of the main signs a bathroom needs remodeling. If you don’t have enough storage space, or the layout is completely non-ergonomic, it may be wise to consider a renovation.

Functionality is of utmost importance if elderly people are using the area. The walk-in bathtub, grab handles, and similar items should be accessible and in good shape to make bathroom use more comfortable and prevent injury.

The Tiles Look Bad

Another reason for bathroom remodeling is poor condition of the tiles. You can add visual effects to your bathroom by replacing the worn-out elements that are a pain to clean.

The grout between the tiles can become stained, moldy, or unsightly, especially if your ventilation isn’t the best. If bleach doesn’t help ease the condition, then it’s certainly time for a bathroom remodel. Mold doesn’t only look ugly, but it can become a health hazard if inhaled, so it’s best to eliminate it as soon as possible.

As you can see, there are many answers to the “how often to remodel bathroom” question. If you recognize any of these signs in your home, it may be time to start thinking about a renovation.

Making the Most Out of Your Bathroom Remodeling

Bathroom renovation doesn’t have to be a pain. As long as you understand how you can save money on the project, you’ll be good to go. Ultimately, the secret lies in only performing the changes you need and that will truly bring value to your bathroom.

And when it comes to how often remodel bathroom projects should be done, this depends on the current condition of every individual element in the room.

If you need help planning the endeavor or determining whether a particular component needs renovation, you can talk to bathroom renovation service providers in your area such as Anytime Plumbing. We offer high-quality, reliable, and long-lasting services that won’t break your bank.

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Amer Zaghlouleh is the owner of Anytime Plumbing Inc., a trusted plumbing company serving Santa Cruz County. With a focus on delivering quality work and reliable service, Amer has established himself as a respected professional in the industry. He believes in providing honest and trustworthy plumbing solutions to every customer, ensuring their satisfaction and peace of mind. With years of experience and a commitment to staying updated with the latest technical advances, Amer and his team at Anytime Plumbing Inc. are fully equipped to handle any plumbing job with precision and efficiency. Trust in Amer's expertise and dedication for all your plumbing needs.