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Home Improvement: Easy and Low Cost Bathroom Remodel

Everybody knows that taking a remodeling project can be very expensive. A bathroom remodel is probably the second most expensive projects to do in your home, second only to a kitchen remodel or a room addition. A few months ago, my husband and I had decided that our guest/powder room needed a makeover. With very little money and a little bit of elbow grease, and a lot of help from our contractor/friend named Han, we have managed to pull it off.

Here is how we did it. Before we even called Han, who we use a lot for our remodeling projects, my husband and I already did our homework. We knew we did not have much money to remodel so we had to approach this project wisely. We came up with a budget of $1,000 which includes the labor and materials to replace the counter top, sink, floor, fixtures, mirror, and to repaint the wall. Impossible you say…well not really.

We started by looking at home improvement stores for ideas and compared prices both in stores and other places, as well as online. We knew we wanted tile floors to replace the old vinyl flooring, so we went to Lowe’s and bought nice ceramic tiles that looked like porcelain. Priced at about 82 cents a piece, we bought a total of 35 pieces, we only used 32, total cost for the floor tiles $31.07 including tax. I also searched and bought online for a glass vessel sink and vessel faucet. I found an online store that sold these items as a pair for a low price of $175.00, tax, shipping and handling included.

We found a piece of scrap or left over granite from a granite warehouse that we had them cut and honed on the corners, had 2 small pieces of back splash for a total of $180.00 including tax. Another trip to Lowe’s to purchase chrome hardware to replace the gold toned fixtures that showed the test of times- replaced the toilet paper holder ($5.99), towel bar ($8.99), shower and bath fixtures ($38.99) totaling to $58.42 including tax. Purchased from Ross is silver painted framed mirror to replace the frame less one, $27.06 including tax. A trip to Orchard (OSH) to purchase a gallon of wall paint ($11.99), grout for the tile ($5.97), a tube of silicone grout ($1.99), granite and tile sealer ($7.29), mastic $18.00 a tub, grand total $48.96 with tax. Materials cost us a total of $520.51, we paid Han a total of $450.00 for labor, helping him in the demo, painting, sealing, and hauling. Work was completed in less than 2 days. The total project cost us only $970.51, $29.41 under budget.

Sweat equity played a major part in the savings. We were able to keep the cost down by doing some of the work ourselves and by keeping the vanity. Since it is still in good condition, we only had to clean it up and put a little coat of light oak stain which we had stored in the garage from the kitchen remodel. Replacing the vanity would have probably cost us another $200-250. We did not even add drawer pulls and knobs so that we can keep the look clean which also save us extra dollars. Another thing we did not have to replace was the lighting, the bath tub and surround. Since they are still in good condition we just cleaned the tub and wall and added new fixtures to make them look fresh. The biggest savings was with the granite counter.

We were lucky enough to find the design and color we wanted. Since the vanity counter top size is not too long, buying scrap or left over pieces from the granite warehouse saved us a bundle. Since Han has tools and we are using vessel sink, he only had to drill two small holes, one for the vessel faucet and one for where the sink will go. If we were going for under mount sinks would have cost extra to hone the edges, to make it look nice. We chose a straight edge design instead of a rounded bull nose to save money; this look added a touch of contemporary flair. The vessel sink and faucets were also a bargain. I have looked at designer show rooms and could not find anything lower than $195.00 for the sink alone. Even our contractor was surprised for he just finished a project somewhere else and the same sink cost the owner $575.00. So I was very elated with that, knowing I saved a bundle. The faucet was included in the price as well as the drain stopper, pipe or tubing, etc. Shipping, handling and tax were all included. I saved up so much that I already pre-ordered another style of vessel sinks and faucets for my daughter’s bathroom. That would be a bigger project since she has bigger a counter top to cover and double sinks.

Helping with the remodel, my husband and I learned a few things that someday maybe we can do ourselves to save more on labor. It also sped up the process, which is why we only had to pay 2 days worth of labor. We also used a paint that matches the color of the granite and floor tiles. We had an idea of painting the ceiling light blue as if to depict the color of the sky. Since the bathroom is quite small, this technique added some interest and depth to the room. Han also suggested we paint the inner moldings of the doors, which he helped us do, achieving a cohesive look.

With the savings of $29.49, I was able to buy a pair of shadow boxes with sea shells on them, which I thought would be a good match to the room since they had the same color hues as the tiles, granite, as well as the wall and ceiling paint, I paid $28.23 tax included for both. Including that to our grand total we still had $1.26 left. A final grand total of $998.74 spent to achieve this new look is not too bad for a bathroom remodel. After we have completed, we showed it off to our friends and family and they could not believe what we have accomplished for less than $1,000 in less than 2 days. I hope sharing this story would inspire others to tackle their next big project even when the budget is small.

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