In a world full of difficult realities, the potential exorbitant cost of a bathroom remodel is certainly one of them. Often times a leaky shower or a recently handicapped loved one makes a bathroom remodel an unexpected bill. In that situation people will ask..."How can I lower the cost of this tile remodeling project?"
- Do the demolition of the old bathroom yourself. - A bathroom demolition is something able bodied people with limited tools can do themselves and save a lot of money. The average demolition starts at around $1000 dollars. It requires us to wear respirators for most of the day, work around shmeg from years of use and work ourselves to the bone with sharp and heavy material...we have to do dust control and transporting the waste is a drag... you're guaranteed a nail in your tire visiting the dump. With that being said, if you are willing to put a little sweat equity into your house you can retain those dollars by suffering through your own tear out. Hey, make it a family project. Have a teenage son? Put him to work for the weekend and teach him about manual labor and why he should strive for the highest grades possible!
- Stay within the original layout of the existing bathroom. - When you start getting into moving walls and plumbing things get pricey. If you can live with your existing bathroom layout, a bathroom remodel becomes a lot simpler. Anytime you get a licensed plumber involved the bill gets weighty. Moving plumbing, demoing and rebuilding walls, moving electrical and windows adds time to your project, so prepare to add some zeros to the check.
- Keep your tile selection and layout simple. - When making your tile selection, chose smaller tile ---12"x12" for example lessens the technicality of a project. Think...Large Format Tile (any tile with a side bigger then 15") = $$$..Why, you ask? Not only is large format tile more expensive a square foot but also large tile requires a more exact hand during installation. Your installer may have to use a leveling system and your substrate (walls and floors) have to be flat and true in order to get a lip free installation. My favorite low cost tile selection is subway tile. It's a timeless classic that will never go out of style and the square footage cost is very reasonable. Also, any tile guy who knows his stuff will charge extra for soap niches, decorative bands, linear drains, heated floors, corner benches, and technical patterns (herring bone for example)so keep it simple. An example of simple would be straight set 12"x12" with corner shelves. That is a base model shower. When making decisions on layout and design of a bathroom a good way to think is this, if it seems like more work, it will be more money.
- Buy/pick up your own tile - If you have the ability to pickup your own tile and deliver it to the site, it will save you hundreds. Many tile companies will mark up your tile and charge you to pick it up. Sometimes if you go to the tile store yourself and ask, they will be kind enough to give you builder pricing. I've seen this happen a couple times before. I warn you though, Once you handle a couple boxes of tile you will understand why we charge you a handling fee. Bring your back brace, your knee support and get the ice and Epsom salt bath ready. Handling tile is not for the faint of heart (or mind!)
- Make yourself easy to work for- We had a customer recently that was as close to the ideal customer and I could tell, so his bill reflected that. He was extremely flexible with scheduling, he had his work site prepared for us to work, moved his cars out of the garage for our tools and the materials, offered me water and lunch, did his research, was easy to communicate with and paid as work was completed....just a joy to work for! Let's face it...Every company has a 'hassle' charge. A difficult customer always makes a job harder than it has to be so give off the perception of ease. Run through this logic...if YOU are more work, you pay more money.
- Find a company that is truly quality oriented. - I always tell our clients that although our proposal may be higher than the next crew, we are the least expensive company because you will only have to do the job once. I have seen too many jobs to count that people have to pay for twice because the original install wasn't up to snuff. That is definitely not a way to save money. Do your research...Have your installer show you pictures, do they have a site like mine that shows the building process with CURRENT photos? Do they strike you as meticulous, diligent, conscientious people? How do they water proof and do they mention how important prep is to them? Are you using a big company? Do you get to meet the people who will actually be building your project? What are their reviews like from other customers and are they part of any clubs or members of any trade groups? Don't just go by what people say, go by their track record and what they do.
It's okay if you want to go crazy on your next master bathroom. Nothing is more timeless then high end tile work. Just know that high end tile work comes at a high end cost and that tile is ultimately a luxury. By using these six techniques you can save a considerable amount of money on your next remodeling project.