Ways to Save On Your Remodel

Ways to Save on Remodel

Beginning renovation most people fear they might fail to meet the budget and for a good reason. Even if you have a 20 percent cushion to cover the unexpected expenses and checked contractor references, it doesn't guarantee that you will meet your budget.

What you want is get your house renovated at the price you are ready to pay, without cheaping out as well. It is a quite attainable goal when some strategic planning about design, materials, and timing is employed. In this article we will tell you how you can decrease your home renovation costs without cutting corners. But keep in mind that when it comes to renovation there is a universal truth: every little thing adds up. When you save a little on many things, you'll finally end up saving a big sum of money.

Increase efficiency, not size.

Instead of breaking the walls to expand your kitchen think how you can reorganize and equip it for maximum utility. Consider replacing space stealing shelves with cabinet–height pullout drawers 8 inches wide, with racks for things you need. This way you will get three or more horizontal planes instead of just one. You might spend several thousands to equip cabinets with dividers and pull–out pot trays, but you can save a lot by skipping these upgrades.

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

Bring in natural light without adding windows.

The first thing most people do when they want to bring in more natural light just add the windows. Don't do it. There is a cheaper and less invasive way of capturing light. Consider installing a "light tube", which slips between roof rafters and funnels sunshine down into the dark area you want to brighten [1].

Cost to add a double–pane insulated window: $1,500

Cost for a light tube: $500

SAVED: $1,000

Hit the recycling center.

You can save a lot by using recycled or lightly used fixtures and building materials. However, it should be noted that some contractors refuse to work with salvaged items, or materials supplied by the homeowner in general, because they are not sure in the quality of the material and are not willing to assume the liability if something goes wrong. But if you're doing all or much of the work yourself you can find lots of good stuff like prehung doors, acrylic skylights or even partial bundles of insulation.

Price of 4–by-5–foot insulated window in a home center: $600

Price at ReStore: $300

SAVED: $300

Donate your trash.

Before starting a renovation get the local Habitat for Humanity to remove materials and fixtures for later resale. Most things in a house are reusable, including the cabinets, the tub, the sink, etc. This way you will save space in the landfill, get a tax deduction for the donation, and contribute to a good cause.

Cost to trash a suite of bathroom fixtures: $50 to $75

Cost to donate: $0, plus you get a tax deduction

SAVED: Space in the landfill

Do your own demo.

You can save much money by doing some of the demolition yourself, but make sure you do it with great care. Otherwise you can get in trouble if you take out a load–bearing wall or plunge a reciprocating saw into live wiring or pressurized plumbing.

Cost to demo a 200–square–foot deck yourself: $450

Cost for a pro: $1,000

SAVED: $550

Consider long - term costs, not just short - term gains.

If you need clapboard siding, you can save more in the long run by opting for the preprimed and prepainted one. Even though it will cost an additional 10 to 20 cents per foot, you'll save more on paint jobs later. Factory finishes last longer since they are applied on dry wood under controlled conditions.

Cost of unfinished siding for a 10–by–40–foot addition, plus two paint jobs: $5,000

Cost for prefinished claps and one coat of paint at installation: $3,750

SAVED: $1,250

Rely on your contractor's sources.

When you need to change your old flooring, find out whether your subcontractor has odds–and–ends stock left over from other jobs. This material can be sanded and refinished, and the sum of money saved will be really big.

Cost of new flooring: $19,200

Cost to use someone else's discards: $10,500

SAVED: $8,700

Limit recessed light fixtures.

Lots of recessed lights you put in will increase the costs. Not only will you have to pay for the added fixtures, but also for the labor to cut all those holes and insulate them properly. Light fixtures that are mounted on the wall or ceiling typically deliver more wattage, so you can install fewer fixtures.

Cost to install six can lights: $900

Cost to install one surface–mounted fixture of equal wattage: $300

SAVED: $600

Consult an architect.

Even if you don't need a complete architectural project with a number of construction drawings, a one–time design consultation with plans can help you make sound decisions concerning opening up a partition wall or moving a door.

Architect's fee to design a 300–square– foot home office: $2,250

Fee for design consultation only and plans: $580

SAVED: $1,670

Partner with a contractor.

If you are good at particular construction job but feel that your skills are not perfect consider getting the contractor's consultation on an hourly basis to avoid costly mistakes.

Cost to drywall one room: $1,000

Cost with DIY consultation: $300 (2 hours of coaching), plus materials

SAVED: $700

Do some of the job yourself.

You can save a lot by handling your own demolition or doing some of the finish work yourself. For example, you can insulate, paint, sand and help with cleanup every day.

Cost for construction workers to do the cleanup: $200 a day

Cost to clean yourself: $0

SAVED: About 3 to 5 percent of the overall job cost

Deliver yourself.

If you're purchasing materials yourself you can cut costs on delivery by picking up goods yourself. If you don't own a pickup truck consider purchasing a used single–axle utility trailer which can be towed behind your SUV. Such a trailer costs around $400 and it will get paid for itself after 5 or 6 trips. When looking for a trailer to purchase consider checking out eBay.

Cost of 10 deliveries: $750

Cost to buy a used trailer: $400

SAVED: $350, plus you get to keep (or sell) the trailer

Cut costs on wall prep.

If your walls require lots of preparation work we recommend using Texturglas, a breathable, nontoxic wall covering produced by Florida based company Roos International. This material is made of fine glass filaments and looks similar to the fiberglass matting widely used in auto-body work. Texturglas comes in a variety of surface patterns. It should be applied right on top of existing surfaces. It has many advantages, including ability to take paint readily and add 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

Consider using materials that look alike.

Lumber company Weyerhaeuser offers quality hardwood made of a fast-growing natural eucalyptus hybrid Lyptus. The trees are sustainably harvested in plantations in Brazil, and the hardwood looks and feels like mahogany. It's available for sale as 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

Demolish the whole house and start from scratch.

Sometimes building a new house is a better option that a major remodeling. For example, sometimes expanding the property requires such a great amount of work and money that it makes sense constructing a new building for a relatively small additional cost, plus the owners would enjoy all the benefits of new construction, such as enhanced energy efficiency and safety.

Cost to remodel: $570,000

Cost to replicate: $588,000

SAVED: nothing but gained extra space and greater comfort

Choose the right time to start.

Avoid starting your renovation during the peak season (the mid summer), around September when school starts, and before Christmas. This is the time when contractors are busy and deliveries are slower. By starting constructing work in the down time (right after the New Year) you can even get a discount of up to 5 percent on projects.

Cost of a major bathroom remodel in peak season: $25,000

Cost in January: $23,625

SAVED: $1,375

Skip the foundation.

If local code permits, why not support a small addition on posts and beams if it costs less.

220–square–foot addition with poured foundation: $40,000

Same–size addition on posts and beams: $35,000

SAVED: $5,000

Avoid moving the kitchen sink.

Moving the kitchen sink or the toilet significantly adds to the cost of the plumbing. If you can't avoid this make sure you upgrade the pipes to save money in the long run.

Cost to move toilet more than 3 feet: $500—$1,000

Cost to leave in existing location: $0

SAVED: Up to $1,000

Plan with stock sizes in mind.

Consider the size of the material when building something made of plywood. Apply the same rule to stock windows and doors to save on the premiums of custom fabrication.

Cost of custom doors: $1,500—$2,500

Cost of standard doors: $500–$800

SAVED: Up to $2,000

Buy building supplies at auction.

At building–supply auctions you can find a range of good quality building supplies at the fraction of the cost.

Cost of wood wall cabinet at a home center: $300

Cost at building–supply auction: $10


Make decisions early.

Plan ahead and start looking for things you will need in advance. By browsing the hardware stores or home centers you will know what fixtures and appliances you want and how much they cost.

Cost to plan beforehand: $0

Cost of change orders midstream: the difference in the item price, time wasted.

SAVED: Up to thousands

[1]: Lighting Choices to Save You Money | Department of Energy