The Do-It-Yourself Bathroom Remodel
Bathroom remodels and bathroom additions have the highest return on investment of nearly any other home project, which makes perfect sense, because we all want a bathroom to be nice. When shopping for homes, buyers are looking for how many bedrooms and baths a home has, not kitchens or laundry rooms. But bathrooms can be expensive when you think of new plumbing, a new bathtub, a new toilet, a new floor, new paint, a new sink, a new sink base…the list goes on. Even though you know you’ll make all this money back at closing, it’s hard not to want to do this work yourself.
Not everyone is a handyman. Many of us think we are, many of us know we’re not, and still many more know what they’re doing, but don’t want to mess with plumbing or electricity. Depending on the type of remodel, you can save a serious amount of money if you can handle the work. Consider these ideas before you do anything.
Professional Look vs. Cheap Look
If you can manage all the work yourself, can you manage to make it look professional? We have all been in bathrooms where the tiles are cut funny, the toilet isn’t level, or some other noticeable oddity catches our attention. Ask yourself if you can live with a job that looks less than professional.
Living With the Remodel
If you have ever done a project yourself before, you know that your eyes—and your frustration—always return to the places where you made a mistake or places where you are unsatisfied. This can bother many people, and if you are one of those who can’t stand to look at your failures every day or can’t stand imperfections, then you need to consider this before deciding to do the project on your own.
Product Comparison and Good Deals
Bathroom remodelers know many people in their industry. From people who sell fixtures to tubs to tile to sinks, they have been in this business long enough that they know who has the best stuff at the best prices, and who is willing to cut them a deal. As a homeowner and someone not in the industry, you will not be privy to these deals or this information, and you may be paying more just for the material than what the contractor is charging, even after his markup.
Consider Your Value
If you only have one bathroom, remodeling it yourself can put a pretty big stress on the family, so you better have a good marriage to be able to handle this. Don’t forget, too, that every second of your time is valuable. This remodel can mean that you don’t get to spend as much time with your children or your spouse. You won’t have as much time to do the things you love because you will be constantly thinking of grout and tile patterns. These remodels can take over your life, plus they never seem to be finished. Bathroom remodel costs are also notorious for adding up quickly.
Leave Bathroom Remodels to the Pros
Remodeling a bathroom is often too big of a project—and too important—to do yourself. The money you could save does not justify having a bathroom that looks unprofessional and ate up most of a month of your life. Some professional bathroom remodels take more than a month, and this is by a team of people who know what they’re doing, working ten hour days. Bathrooms are such high-value rooms that the smart money is to get the highest quality job you can afford so you can make that money back at closing. Yet there are a few places where you can save money down the line. Click this link if you want to read more about working with bathroom contractors.
Places to Save Money
If you are not interested in a total remodel (or even if you are), there are still a few places where you can save a little money on your bathroom remodel.
Buy your own fixtures: If you are not using standard fixtures in your bathroom, ask the contractor if it is okay to purchase them yourself. Contractor usually mark the items up 10 percent over retail for their time to find and retrieve the fixtures. You can save this money by getting them yourself. In many cases, the communication between contractor and client gets frayed and the wrong fixtures go in. Buying them yourself allows the contractor to be certain that he is installing exactly what you want.
Remove the tile: If you are going to replace the floor, ask your contractor if you can save some money by tearing out the floor yourself. Typically, contractors are happy to comply with this one because it saves them time and allows them to do more jobs. But check with your contractor first. You bathroom floor might be different for some reason, and he might want some insurance in knowing that you will do a good and thorough job.
Painting and tiling: If you just need a new coat of paint or are wanting to lay some tile, even if you are doing a total bathroom remodel with a contractor, have him leave these items to you. If you are not a good painter, there will just be a lot of cleanup, but you can get there. Tiling can drive you crazy, but if you start by practicing on an old table, you can get pretty good before you do your floor.
Some projects can be learned or tried that won’t affect the appearance of your home or its function–building your own shelving unit for the garage or a brick patio, for example. While these things may not look as good as they can, they will still do the job and look better than nothing at all. Bathrooms and kitchen are too tied to function and style to have them be anything but top shelf. Leave these rooms to the pros. Do the work yourself in areas where the remodel can be a little less than perfect.
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