Content of the material

  1. Cookie banner
  2. Video
  3. The cost of renovating a bathroom
  4. Questions to Ask About Home Renovation Costs
  5. 3. Get multiple quotes
  6. Cost To Renovate A Kitchen
  7. Related Resources
  8. How To Increase Home Value: A 4-Step Guide
  9. 8 Home Renovation And Remodeling Trends For 2022
  10. Should I Remodel Or Move?
  11. Tips for Saving on Home Renovation Costs
  12. Remodeling Cost Per Square Foot
  13. How Much Should I Spend on a Home Renovation?
  14. Determine Financing Before Finalizing Your Budget
  15. Frequently asked questions
  16. What’s the difference between a house renovation and remodel?
  17. How long does it take to renovate a house?
  18. How much does a home remodel designer or architect cost?
  19. How much do home improvements or repairs cost?
  20. Average cost to gut & remodel a house
  21. Cost to gut a house
  22. Cost to rehab a house
  23. Profile Menu
  24. More
  25. Bathroom Renovations
  26.  Average Bathroom Renovation Costs
  27. Small Bathroom Remodels
  28. Mid-Size Bathroom Remodels
  29. Large Bathroom Remodels
  30. Cost to paint a house
  31. Do I Need a Home Renovation?
  32. Make Your Home More Comfortable and Aesthetically Pleasing
  33. Boost Your Home’s Value
  34. Enhance Safety and Improve Accessibility
  35. Increase Efficiency
  36. Fix Existing Damage
  37. You’re Selling Your Home
  38. 19 Ways to Save on Your Home Remodel
  39. 1. Increase Efficiency, Not Size
  40. 2. Bring in Natural Light Without Adding Windows
  41. 3. Hit the Recycling Center
  42. 4. Donate your Trash
  43. 5. Do Your Own Demo
  44. 6. Consider Long-Term Costs, Not Just Short-Term Gains
  45. 7. Tap Your Contractor’s Sources
  46. 8. Consult an Architect
  47. 9. Partner With a Contractor
  48. 10. Make Sweat Equity Count
  49. 11. Do Your Own Schlepping
  50. 12. Don’t Overspend on Wall Prep
  51. 13. Consider Look-Alikes
  52. 14. Wait Until Contractors Want Your Business
  53. 15. Skip the Foundation
  54. 16. Don’t Move the Kitchen Sink
  55. 17. Plan with Stock Sizes in Mind
  56. 18. Buy Building Supplies at Auction
  57. 19. Make Decisions Early
  58. Trending

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The cost of renovating a bathroom

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

Undetaking a bathroom remodel is a great way to boost your home’s value and improve its functionality. Like the kitchen, the cost will depend largely on materials and whether or not you change or keep the existing layout. 

Using the existing layout, and replacing the vanity, floor tile, bathtub, shower, and toilet yourself can be done for as little as $1,500. However, if you hire out the job, decide to move plumbing, or opt for premium finishes like marble tile or a steam shower, you’re looking at closer to $25,000-$50,000.

Pricing the job:

  • Architects‘ drawings or designer plans, $250–$700
  • Tile, $50–$1,000
  • Free-standing bathtub, $500–$3,000
  • Double vanity, $500-$1,800
  • Fully tiled walk-in shower, from $5,000
  • Labor, $1,000-2,000

Ways to save money

  • Demo the old space yourself.
  • Watch a YouTube video on tiling, then DIY new floor tile.
  • Keep the existing floorplan.
  • Choose budget tile like subway tile or penny tile.

Video

Questions to Ask About Home Renovation Costs

The steps involved in a home renovation are complex and confusing for first-time renovators. Talking openly with your general contractor can help clear up questions and avoid miscommunication on home renovation costs.

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  • How much does a house cost compared to a whole-house renovation?
  • Is it cheaper to renovate or gut and remodel?
  • How long will my project take to complete?
  • Will you obtain all building permits?
  • Do you hire and pay for subcontractors?
  • Will they come to my house to inspect the job and provide an estimate?
  • Are your crews licensed and insured?
  • Have you completed many home renovations like this before?
  • Do you typically have cost overruns?
  • Are we on the same page about this idea?
  • Can we review the estimate line by line?
  • My house was built in the 80s. What kind of problems do you expect we might find?
  • What if I change my mind about a design partway through the project? What will that cost me?
  • What kind of payment structure do you require?
  • How do you handle challenges or material delays?
  • What kind of warranties do you provide?

3. Get multiple quotes

One of the best ways to make sure you’re getting a fair price on materials and labor costs for your renovation is to get quotes from multiple service providers. That way, you’ll get a true idea of the going rate for your job.

While it can be tempting to choose the design firm, plumber or contractor who comes in with the lowest bid, this cost-saving strategy can backfire if the project is poorly managed or work isn’t done properly. It’s important to make sure you’re balancing the constraints of your budget with quality work, and that a low price isn’t an indication of a lack of experience or expertise.  

The best way to make sure you’ve got trustworthy tradespeople? Research their background beforehand. Find out about their professional certifications, credentials, and local association memberships through organizations like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, the National Association of Home Builders, or the National Kitchen and Bath Association. It’s also a good idea read reviews on sites like Houzz or Facebook, and always be sure to ask for (and check!) references. Paying a little bit more up front for quality, reliable contractors is always worthwhile. 

Cost To Renovate A Kitchen

Kitchens are traditionally one of the first rooms homeowners remodel and doing so costs $23,000 – $135,000. When buyers look at homes that are for sale, a modern kitchen is what often encourages them to make an offer. With budgets below $4,000, homeowners avoid making upgrades to countertops, cabinets and appliances in the kitchen2.

High-end average cost: $149,079

Additional home value: $80,284

Return on investment: 54%

Mid-range average cost: $75,571

Additional Home Value: $43,364

Return on Investment: 57%

Low-end average cost: $26,214

Additional home value: $18,927

Return on investment: 72%

Related Resources

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How To Increase Home Value: A 4-Step Guide Refinancing – 9-minute read Miranda Crace – April 13, 2022 Home renovations can help boost your home’s value, but they can be costly too. Learn how to improve your home’s value the right way with our step-by-step guide. Read More

8 Home Renovation And Remodeling Trends For 2022 Refinancing – 7-minute read Sam Hawrylack – April 13, 2022 Are you looking to make updates to your home this year? Take a look at some of the most popular 2022 home renovation and remodeling trends and get inspired! Read More

Should I Remodel Or Move? Home Buying – 8-minute read Miranda Crace – February 26, 2022 Wondering if you should buy a new home instead of remodeling? Explore statistics on costs and learn the pros and cons. Read More

Tips for Saving on Home Renovation Costs

When creating your remodeling budget, use these tips to further reduce your costs:

  • Complete demolition yourself: If you’re removing cabinets or pulling up tile as part of your renovation, consider doing the work yourself. As long as there is no expertise required, this is a good way to reduce labor costs and save a few dollars.
  • Order fixtures and finishes yourself: Your contractor will probably charge you an hourly fee to do your shopping for you and may even charge a markup. Be clear about your plans so your contractor knows you’re taking on that responsibility yourself.
  • Be your own project manager: If you need to hire additional subcontractors for your project, interview and select them yourself instead of having your general contractor do it.
  • Do your own painting: Having a room painted by a professional can cost $300 or more. Plan to complete any required painting yourself and you can remove that cost from your remodeling budget.
  • Shop used: Instead of purchasing everything brand-new, pick up used or refurbished items when possible. This can greatly reduce your spend on appliances and finishes.

Remodeling Cost Per Square Foot

Typically, renovating a home costs $15 – 75 per square foot. However, this price can go up to as much as $120-200 per square foot depending on the project and scope of work.

Lets take a look how much you might end up spending per square foot for each room in the house:

Room Type Remodel Cost Per Sq.Ft.
Living room $18-50
Bedroom $15-45
Kitchen $45-180+
Bathroom $35-100+
Basement $25-90
Multiple rooms $15-25 per square foot
Attic $60-190
Addition $80-200
Complete gut renovation $75-185

How Much Should I Spend on a Home Renovation?

To get an approximate idea of what your remodeling budget should be, consider the value of your home as a whole. You don’t want to spend more than 10 to 15 percent of your home’s value on a single room. If you spend more, the value of the renovation will not proportionally add to the value of your home.

For example, if your home is worth $100,000, the maximum you should spend on a kitchen or bathroom renovation is $15,000. If your house is worth more, the spend on a renovation could be higher.

“Most of the time, it’s really hard for a homeowner to know where to start. I recommend bringing in a design build contractor early on in the process. In their initial consultation they can talk about your needs and priorities and help guide you through a project that is realistic for your budget.”

Danny Niemela | ArDan LLC

Determine Financing Before Finalizing Your Budget

Before setting the budget for your home renovation, you need to determine how you are financing it. If you are paying in cash, taking out a loan or applying for credit, the budget of your renovation will need to fit within the limit of your available funds.

Once you know how much you can afford to spend, set aside 10 to 20 percent of your available funds for unexpected expenses. This is important. Something will go wrong or cost more than originally projected. By setting aside a percentage before beginning, you know you will have the funds available to finish your project no matter what happens.

“I recommend setting aside between 10 to 20 percent for a cushion. If you hire the right contractor to do some exploratory demolition or investigative work early on there should be very little unforeseen work that needs to happen. However, in our experience once a project starts many of our clients pull out the ‘While you are here, can you also do…’ list and if client has the money set aside, we can easily accommodate it in duration of the project.”

Danny Niemela | ArDan LLC

Once you’ve decided how much to spend, use the following steps to create a detailed plan and budget.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between a house renovation and remodel?

Renovations are less-expensive repairs, restorations, and cosmetic finishes like painting that typically don’t require permits. Remodeling changes the structure or volume of a space with gutting, installing new elements, new additions, or removing walls.

How long does it take to renovate a house?

Completely renovating a 3-bedroom house takes 2 to 8 months on average, depending on the size and amount of structural changes. Allow 1-month extra for planning, unexpected issues, permits, and custom orders. Minor remodels and cosmetic upgrades take 1 week to 2 months.

Time it takes to renovate a house
Remodel Time to complete
Full home renovation 2 – 8 months
Minor bathroom remodel 1 – 3 weeks
Full bathroom remodel 2 – 12 weeks
Minor kitchen renovation 1 – 2 weeks
Full kitchen remodel 2 – 6 months
Roof remodeling 2 – 7 days
Exterior home remodel 1 – 2 weeks
Basement remodel 2 – 8 weeks
Room addition 4 – 8 weeks
Attic renovation 8 – 10 weeks

How much does a home remodel designer or architect cost?

A home remodel designer costs $450 to $1,500 per room, 10% of the total budget, or up to 25% in management fees to supervise contractors during remodeling. Licensed architects charge 10% to 20% of the remodeling budget or $100 to $250 per hour to plan and create professional blueprints.

How much do home improvements or repairs cost?

National average home improvement costs are $100 to $250 per square foot. Minor house repairs cost $150 to $600 for electrical or plumbing work, while major improvements cost $25,000 and $75,000, such as a home addition.

Still have questions? Ask a remodeling pro. View Pros

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Average cost to gut & remodel a house

The average cost to gut and remodel a house is $100,000 to $200,000, depending on the square footage and age. Gut renovation costs $60 to $150 per square foot and includes demolition, structural improvements, new electrical and plumbing, new roof and HVAC, appliances, and finishings.

Cost of gutting a house and remodeling
Renovation Average cost
Gut a house to the studs $2,500 – $7,000
Complete gut and remodel $100,000 – $200,000

Cost to gut a house

The average cost to gut a house to the studs is $2,500 to $7,000 or more, which includes permits, labor, and material disposal. If the home has asbestos inside, it costs $1,200 to $2,800 extra for safe gutting and removal.

Cost to rehab a house

The average cost to rehab a house is $20,000 to $75,000 or $20 to $50 per square foot. A full gut rehab costs $100,000 to $200,000 to remodel a house completely. Generally, the cost per square feet gets cheaper as the house size increases.

Rehabbing is a term used interchangeably with remodeling and renovating. The extent of the remodel, location, and choice of materials affect the total cost.

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Sweepstakes

Bathroom Renovations

 Average Bathroom Renovation Costs

Low-end cost $2,500
Average cost $10,500
High-end cost $50,000 +

The most common bathroom renovation updates and their average prices include:

  • Sinks: $50 – $500
  • Vanities: $200 – $18,000
  • Toilets: $100 – $1,000
  • Showers/Tubs: $200 – $6,000
  • Countertops: $4 – $100 per square foot
  • Tiles: $1 – $100 per square foot
  • Lighting: $20 – $100

Small Bathroom Remodels

Partial half-bath remodel projects typically cost $500 – $1,500 and include:

  • Sink
  • Toilet

A full half-bath remodel costs $2,000 – $7,000 on average and include updates like:

  • Floor
  • Sink
  • Toilet

Mid-Size Bathroom Remodels

A partial bathroom remodel costs $2,500 – $7,500 on average and includes updates like:

  • Tile
  • Toilet
  • Sink

Full bathroom remodels generally cost $6,000 – $10,000 when updating things like:

  • Tub and shower combo
  • Flooring
  • Toilet
  • Sink

Large Bathroom Remodels

Partial master bath remodels can still be quite involved, costing $14,000 – $18,000 on average and including updates like:

  • Shower
  • Vanity top and sink
  • Toilet
  • Flooring

Full master bath remodels are essentially double the price, costing $25,000 – $35,000, and include updates like:

  • Separate tub and shower
  • Double vanity
  • Dual sinks
  • Toilet
  • New flooring

Learn more about bathroom renovations:

Cost to paint a house

For most other rooms—think bedrooms, the living room, and the dining room—true remodeling options are minimal, assuming the typical homeowner doesn’t plan to move doors or add windows. In these spaces, a new coat of paint can completely change the look and feel of a space—and at relatively low costs.

The cost to paint the interior of a house is, on average, $1,750. Generally, the cost of painting an individual room can be between $380 and $790, and homeowners can choose to skip professional painters by doing the painting themselves and following these tips to save money on a paint job.

Painting interior doors is another low-budget option that is very DIY-friendly. Other wall-oriented remodeling options include adding baseboards, crown molding, other trim, or wainscoting, all of which are relatively affordable (and could likely be paired with a new paint job for an even higher-impact upgrade).

For exterior paint jobs, national averages are between $2,500 and $3,000.

Do I Need a Home Renovation?

The idea of disrupting home life or getting a renovation loan just to complete a major renovation could be enough to prevent some homeowners from taking the leap. A renovation isn’t for everyone, and it’s not always the best option cost-wise; however, you might discover that it’s the perfect option for your family. Renovating an existing home allows you to experience added comfort and luxury, avoid the hassle of moving, improve your home’s energy efficiency, and increase your home’s value.

Make Your Home More Comfortable and Aesthetically Pleasing

You spend a lot of time in your home, especially if it’s also your work space. Why not invest in making your private space more comfortable, functional, and enjoyable? Living in a home that suits your style and needs can positively affect your overall health. Home renovation doesn’t just have to be about resale value. If a room or system has always bothered you, update it and alleviate that nagging stress.

Boost Your Home’s Value

Any significant improvement on a home boosts the property value. That’s money right back in your pocket someday when you decide to sell. An outdated kitchen is a primary deterrent for many prospective home buyers. A kitchen renovation improves ROI (return on investment) by 83 percent, and a bathroom renovation by at least 65 percent or more.

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Enhance Safety and Improve Accessibility

It’s safe to assume most people would prefer to choose a renovation project rather than be forced to complete one due to damage or disrepair. In some cases, renovation cannot be put off for long. Faulty electrical wiring, roof leaks, broken appliances, or storm damage are just a few reasons homeowners should start a renovation project. Safety is a top priority when it comes to deciding on a renovation.

Increase Efficiency

Upfront costs of buying a house are one thing to consider, but many home buyers also factor in long-term energy costs. Monthly costs to maintain a comfortable home add up over time. Even if you don’t plan to sell a house soon, consider renovating some mechanical systems to improve the efficiency of your house and lower bills. New double-pane windows, added insulation, or an updated HVAC system improve efficiency.

Fix Existing Damage

Sometimes a house has sustained some damage that doesn’t affect efficiency or function, but it’s still important to repair any damage to keep property value high. A home that’s always kept in good shape will bring more value to a sale.

You’re Selling Your Home

If you know you won’t stay in your home forever, updating the interior might be a great idea to improve the resale value. A home estimate can help identify areas that would provide the best ROI. Some homeowners do this frequently as house flippers. In this case, it’s best to choose styles, colors, and trends that appeal to the current market in your region.

Selling your home?A home renovation can boost resale value. Get free, no-commitment project estimates from contractors, builders, painters, and more near you. Find a Pro ++

19 Ways to Save on Your Home Remodel

If you’ve weighed your options, and have decided it’s better to remodel your home, here are our tips.

1. Increase Efficiency, Not Size

Anthony Tieuli

If you can reorganize and equip your kitchen for maximum utility, you may not need to blow out the walls to gain square footage. Start by replacing space-hogging shelves with cabinet-height pullout drawers 8 inches wide, containing racks for canned goods and other items.

“You’re getting three or more horizontal planes where you might otherwise get only one,” says Louis Smith Jr., an architect with Meier Group, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

You could easily shell out a few thousand to outfit cabinets with upgrades like dividers, pull-out pot trays, and lazy Susans, but you’ll save many times that amount by skipping the addition you thought you needed.

  • Cost to expand kitchen by 200 square feet: $48,000 to $95,000
  • Cost of super-efficient, custom-designed cabinets: $35,000
  • Saved: Up to $60,000

2. Bring in Natural Light Without Adding Windows

Jared Kuzia

Before cutting a big hole in the side of your house and rearranging the framing, consider less invasive—and less expensive—ways of capturing light.

To brighten up a windowless bath or hallway, for instance, you can install a “light tube,” which slips between roof rafters and funnels sunshine down into the living space.

  • Cost to add a double-pane insulated window: $1,500
  • Cost for a light tube: $500
  • Saved: $1,000

3. Hit the Recycling Center

Courtesy Habitat for Humanity

Do-it-yourselfers can reap big savings with recycled or lightly used fixtures and building materials. Habitat for Humanity operates about 400 ReStores nationwide, which offer salvaged materials at half off home-center prices.

One caveat: Many contractors won’t work with salvaged items, or homeowner-supplied materials in general, because they don’t want to assume the liability if something goes wrong.

That said, if you’re doing your own work, you can find anything from prehung doors to acrylic skylights to partial bundles of insulation. (To find a ReStore near you, visit .)

  • Price of 4-by-5-foot insulated window in a home center: $600
  • Price at ReStore: $300
  • Saved: $300

4. Donate your Trash

Before you begin a remodeling job, invite the local Habitat for Humanity chapter to remove materials and fixtures for later resale. “About 85 percent of a house is reusable,” says B.J. Perkins, Habitat’s ReUse program manager, in Austin, Texas. “We can do a total takedown, or do a cherry-pick job and take the cabinets, the tub, the sink, and so on.”

You save space in the landfill, collect a charitable tax credit for the donation, and help a good cause. Visit Habitat to find an affiliate near you.

  • Cost to trash a suite of bathroom fixtures: $50 to $75
  • Cost to donate: Nothing, plus you get a tax deduction
  • Saved: Space in the landfill (and a little bit of your soul)

5. Do Your Own Demo

Knocking down your home down may not be as costly as rebuilding, you can still shave dollars by doing some of the demolition yourself—as long as you proceed with care.

“If a homeowner wants to demo a deck, well, I am sure they can handle that,” says Michael Winn, owner of Winn Design, in Virginia. “But when it comes to interior spaces, I would dissuade them from doing it unless they have done it before.”

The reason: A reckless wrecker might unwittingly take out a load-bearing wall or, worse still, plunge a reciprocating saw into live wiring or pressurized plumbing.

  • Cost to demo a 200-square-foot deck yourself: $450 (Dumpster rental and parking permit)
  • Cost for a pro: $1,000
  • Saved: $550

6. Consider Long-Term Costs, Not Just Short-Term Gains

If your addition calls for clapboard siding, for instance, you can save more in the long run by ponying up now for the preprimed and prepainted variety. It costs an extra 10 to 20 cents per foot, but “you’ll wind up paying for half as many paint jobs down the road,” says Paul Eldrenkamp, owner of Byggmeister, a design-build remodeling firm in Newton, Massachusetts.

The reason? Factory finishes are applied on dry wood under controlled conditions—no rain, no harsh sun. “I used prefinished claps on my house about ten years ago and the only flaw in the finish is the occasional mildew spot, easily washed off,” Eldrenkamp says. “The paint looks as if it’ll be good for another ten years, easily.”

  • Cost of unfinished siding for a 10-by-40-foot addition, plus two paint jobs: $5,000
  • Cost for pre-finished claps and one coat of paint at installation: $3,750
  • Saved: $1,250

7. Tap Your Contractor’s Sources

When it comes to things like flooring, ask your subcontractor if he has odds-and-ends stock left over from other jobs. While renovating a Civil War-era bed-and-breakfast in New Jersey some years back, contractor Bill Asdal needed wood flooring.

He made a few phone calls and came up with hundreds of square feet of hardwood, in various lengths and widths, that otherwise would have gone into the trash on other job sites. Just by planing it to uniform thickness, then sanding and refinishing it, he saved his client almost $9,000 in materials costs.

  • Cost of new flooring: $19,200
  • Cost to use someone else’s discards: $10,500
  • Saved: $8,700

8. Consult an Architect

David Yellen

Depending on the scale of your project, you might not need a full-on architectural commission, which involves extensive meetings, multiple job-site visits, and several sets of construction drawings, to the tune of about 8 percent of a project’s construction budget. You might be able to tap an architect’s design savvy by having him undertake a one-time design consultation.

For example, for a $400 flat fee, Baton Rouge architect Kevin Harris will meet with a homeowner, examine the problem, and sketch out a few solutions that could be as simple as opening up a partition wall or moving a door. The homeowner can then give the sketch to a builder or take it to a drafting service, which will charge about $1 to $1.50 a square foot to crank out formal construction drawings.

  • Architect’s fee to design a 300-square-foot home office: $2,250
  • Fee for design consultation only and plans: $580
  • Saved: $1,670

9. Partner With a Contractor

Though the practice is controversial among the trades, some contractors will offer consulting and mentoring services to skilled do-it-yourselfers on an hourly basis.

Chicago-area builder Ted Welch charges $150 per hour for such coaching, with a two-hour minimum commitment. “The most satisfied clients tend to be those who have good manual dexterity, who realize that skills need to be practiced in order to be perfected, and who are willing to risk making a few mistakes and then learn from them,” he says.

  • Cost to drywall one room: $1,000
  • Cost with DIY consultation: $300 (2 hours of coaching), plus materials
  • Saved: $700

10. Make Sweat Equity Count

Unless you’ve got loads of time (and expertise) to spend on your project, the best way to add sweat equity is up front, by handling your own demolition, or at the back end, by doing some of the finish work yourself.

“If you want to save money, dig in and start helping out,” says Tom Silva. “You can insulate, you can paint, you can sand.” Or better still, he says, help with cleanup every day. “Instead of paying someone to pick up sawdust off the floor, put your money into the time it takes to trim the window properly,” he advises.

  • Cost for construction crew to handle cleanup: $200 per day
  • Cost to do it yourself: $0
  • Saved: About 3 to 5 percent of the overall job cost

11. Do Your Own Schlepping

If you’re doing your own project, slash your materials-delivery fees by picking up goods yourself. No pickup truck? For about $400, you can purchase a nearly new single-axle utility trailer online, which you can tow behind your SUV. Get one just big enough to carry 4-by-8 sheet goods flat. Use it for a half-dozen trips, and it’s paid for itself. Find trailers for sale near you via eBay Motors, or try your local classifieds.

  • Cost of 10 deliveries: $750
  • Cost to buy a used trailer: $400
  • Saved: $350, plus you get to keep (or sell) the trailer

12. Don’t Overspend on Wall Prep

If your walls are in such rough shape that it would take a painting contractor days of filling and sanding to make them ready for the roller, consider using materials such as Texturglas, from Deerfield Beach, Florida—based company Roos International.

A breathable, nontoxic wall covering made of fine glass filaments, Texturglas has a similar look and feel to the fiberglass matting used in auto-body work. It’s available in a variety of surface patterns, takes paint readily, and is designed to be installed right on top of existing surfaces, adding strength while covering up dings.

  • Cost to patch and paint a 15-by-20-foot room with heavily damaged walls: $1,525
  • Cost to install Texturglas: $1,050
  • Saved: $475

13. Consider Look-Alikes

Some imitations just make sense: Lumber giant Weyerhaeuser sells a fast-growing natural eucalyptus hybrid under the brand name Lyptus. Sustainably harvested in plantations in Brazil, the clear-grained hardwood looks and feels remarkably like mahogany. It’s sold as toungue-and-groove flooring and in planks and sheets for cabinetry and millwork.

  • Cost of 100 board feet of mohogany: $808
  • Cost of same quantity Lyptus: $395
  • Saved: $413

14. Wait Until Contractors Want Your Business

Don’t schedule your reno in the height of summer or between September, when the kids go back to school, and Christmas. “That’s premium time,” explains Lisa Stacholy, owner of LKS Architects, in Atlanta, Georgia. Suppliers tend to be busier, labor scarcer, and deliveries slower. One Virginia-based contractor offers discounts of between 4.5 and 5.5 percent (depending on the overall budget) on projects during his down time, right after the new year.

  • Cost of a major bathroom remodel in peak season: $25,000
  • Cost in January: $23,625
  • Saved: $1,375

15. Skip the Foundation

If local code allows, you may be able to support a small addition on posts and beams, as you would a deck, explains contractor Dennis Gavin, of Gavin Design-Build, in Media, Pennsylvania.

  • 220-square-foot addition with poured foundation: $40,000
  • Same-size addition on posts and beams: $35,000
  • Saved: $5,000

16. Don’t Move the Kitchen Sink

John Gruen

Or the toilet, if you can avoid it. “That often becomes the biggest part of the plumbing-price increase,” says Richard Trethewey, This Old House plumbing and heating expert. If your new layout requires that you move the toilet, use the opportunity to upgrade the pipes at the same time. “That will save you money in the long run,” says Richard.

  • Cost to move toilet more than 3 feet: $500-$1,000
  • Cost to leave in existing location: $0
  • Saved: Up to $1,000

17. Plan with Stock Sizes in Mind

“Ask yourself, ‘Why am I building something 10 feet wide if plywood comes in 4-foot-wide sheets?'” says Lisa Stacholy, of LKS Architects, in Atlanta. The same applies to stock windows and doors: Use manufacturers’ off-the-shelf dimensions from the outset and you will save the premiums of custom fabrication.

  • Cost of custom doors: $1,500-$2,500
  • Cost of standard doors: $500-$800
  • Saved: Up to $2,000

18. Buy Building Supplies at Auction

Brian Peppel, a homeowner in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, attends one building-supply auction each month in nearby Lancaster County. His recent finds include two pallets of concrete block for $10 and a solid-wood prehung exterior door for $65.

“Their inventory is everything under the sun, a lot of scratch-and-dent, misordered custom items, or new overstock supplies,” reports Peppel. He once watched the auctioneer’s gavel fall on a large, custom-made triangular window with an original retail value that he pegs at several thousand dollars. The winning bid? $1.

  • Cost of solid-cherry wall cabinet at a home center: $300
  • Cost at building-supply auction: $10
  • Saved: $290

19. Make Decisions Early

Start prowling the aisles at the hardware store or home center way before the wrecking crew shows up. Get a good feeling for what you want in fixtures and appliances and what they cost.

If you aren’t absolutely specific up front about what you want, you’ll have to rely on your contractor’s estimate, called an allowance, and his notion of what is acceptable may be quite different from yours. “Ninety-eight percent of the time, allowances are too low,” says Tom Silva. For instance, you may have had a glass-tile backsplash in mind, but your contractor’s bid was for ceramic.

  • Cost to plan ahead: $0
  • Cost of change orders midstream: The difference in the item price, but also time lost to project delays and communications glitches
  • Saved: Up to thousands

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