Most homeowners know that of all home improvement projects, bathroom renovations are a particularly sound investment. Research has found that on average, this kind of project recoups 80 to 90 percent of its cost in home value. Although the average Canadian bathroom renovation costs around ten to sixteen thousand dollars, we’re here to tell you how it can be done for half that amount and still add tons of value to your home. Here’s how to plan a cost-conscious bathroom renovation without skimping on quality and style.
Go In With a Plan & Prioritize
The first step in any successful – and cost-effective – home improvement project is to create a thorough plan of exactly what you want to do with your space. The bathroom renovation process consists of a number of smaller projects, and many savvy homeowners opt-out of certain aspects to cut costs. For example, you can save thousands of dollars by maintaining your current floor plan.
Overall, you want to go into your project with a precise budget based on the exact features you want to be replaced. Start planning and sourcing well in advance to avoid soft material and labour estimates. Little extras add up – having a strict and comprehensive budget will lessen the odds of you finding yourself in an unexpected spending frenzy partway through the project.
Understandably, replacing old and mouldy tile is at the top of many homeowners’ wish lists. Porcelain tiles may be beautiful but ceramic tiles are by far the cheapest option. Ceramic tiles are made from a mixture of clay, water and minerals. These tiles are both durable and water-resistant, making them a great option for damp spaces like bathrooms. The best part is that they will cost $3 to $5 per square foot in materials – porcelain retails for almost double that amount. A pro or handyman can install these cost-effective tiles in just a couple of hours.
Another great strategy is to use more expensive tiles as accents alongside standard subway tiles. Use a strip of high-quality statement tiles on the shower wall or create a bold pattern in the shower nook. One more thing to keep in mind is that larger tiles will give your bathroom a contemporary look and cut down on hourly labour costs. Whichever you choose, remember to have a pro run through your options before you start your project to ensure your budget stays on track.
Compared to other rooms in the home, bathrooms are relatively small, meaning floors can be redone at a marginal cost. The only caveat is that you have to choose the right material. What most homeowners don’t realize is that the cheapest flooring options are also the best suited for bathrooms. Luxury Vinyl Flooring, for example, is affordable, resilient, and completely waterproof. It comes in a variety of styles and will only cost an average of $3 to $5 per square foot to purchase. For installation, be sure to do a cost comparison between hiring an installation specialist and a handyman. Handymen typically charge by the hour, and replacing the floors in a small powder room should only require one to two hours of work.
Fresh Coat of Paint
Again, because of the size of the space, painting is a fantastic option. In Canada, you can expect to pay a painter between 15 and 30 dollars an hour. Consider experimenting with bold colour that will open and brighten up your space. Alternatively, you can purchase some gorgeous wallpapers for just one to three dollars per square foot and have them installed by a pro in no time.
Try an Upcycled Vanity
Most designers will tell you that the focus of any bathroom is the vanity. Homeowners and designers alike are always coming up with creative and cost-effective ways of revamping this bathroom staple. One of the most cost-effective methods we’ve encountered is to have a plumber or handyman add a sink, faucets, and plumbing to vintage pieces of furniture.
Another option many homeowners don’t consider is using remaining materials from past kitchen renovations. A contractor will be able to size and fit stone leftover from a kitchen countertop installation onto an old desk or dresser.
Refinishing Is Your Friend
Another thing not all homeowners realize is that you can drastically improve the look of your bathroom without buying a new bathtub or toilet. Your toilet and tub can both be professionally refinished at a minimal cost. Consider a brand new colour scheme and hire a pro to sand, paint or stain your vanity cupboards. A pro will remove the previous layers, fill dents and sand the surface smooth, altogether giving you a brand-new piece. These options are particularly cost-effective as they eliminate the cost of removing and installing brand new fixtures.
Shower & Tub
A single pane glass shower gets rid of the added costs of hardware. Consult a glass installation expert to go over your options, but a good rule of thumb is the more minimal the design the better for your wallet.
Similarly, this may go without saying but stay away from expensive jetted tubs. They require additional electrical and rarely get used. A standard model costs between $200 and $300 and will look just as good.
Save on Labour Costs
While you will require the help of a pro, there are ways to save on labour costs. For example, many homeowners wish to consult with an interior designer for their project. Because this is a relatively small project, reach out to a new designer wishing to build their portfolio or a junior designer at a well-known firm. When possible, inquire if trades will work at an hourly rate, which will typically be more cost-effective for this kind of project.
Armed with these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to build a budget-friendly bathroom oasis. Keep in mind that whatever you invest in your bathroom, you’re likely to get back if you eventually sell. There’s no reason to spend another day in a dingy, outdated bathroom – contact a pro today to get started on your project.
Article updated on October 23, 2019.