Best Bathroom Remodeling Ideas on a Budget

Last week we discussed 3 really affordable ways to save money while renovating a kitchen. As with the kitchen, bathroom renovations can reach up to $25,000 with high end materials and custom work. However, I’m more interested in showing our customers the best 3 ideas on how to create a beautifully updated bathroom for half that price, at most!

Before you start any remodel to your home, there are few things to consider before dropping money on your Lowe’s Card. 

  1. Labor Costs
  2. Permits
  3. Type of Contractor

Bathroom Remodel Labor Costs

Labor is always a huge factor in bathroom remodels, costing between $50-$75 per hour but can be more if you need a plumber or electrician. Different things affect labor cost, such as the weight of the materials used in your remodel (i.e. granite slab countertop). The heavier and more fragile the material is, the more it will cost in labor. 

Bathroom Remodel W Granite Floors and single vanity

There really is no way of getting around the base of $50-$75 an hour, but the goal is to make sure it takes less hours to complete. For example, if you want a custom granite bathroom floor or treated hardwood that can handle steam and water, it’s going to take more time to install the flooring.

The size of your bathroom is arguably the single greatest indicator on price point, because no matter what more square feet means more spent on labor costs. Always consider the size of the bathroom you want to upgrade before planning your budget.

Bathroom Building Permits

Permitting is such an after-thought for most home-owners that many families don’t even know that a permit is required by most states (Virginia included) regardless if you live in row homes, condos, apartments, duplexes, or single family homes in the suburbs. Bathroom permits can cost up to $2,000 in the D.C. area, depending on the type of work being done.

When Would I Need a Building Permit?

If you’re making changes to your home, such as building a new shower, moving the electrical wiring, or anything with the toilet, shower, or sink, you need a permit. Minor work such as putting in a new vanity or new paint doesn’t require any extra permits or paperwork. 

Type of Contractor

The type of contractor you need has a massive impact on the cost of your remodel or renovation. For example, hiring a plumber will cost at the very least $120/hour, but in our area it’s closer to $200/hour. However, if you only need a general contractor to remove and replace your flooring, countertops, or vanity, you’ll only spend about $300-$500 per day.

Contractors don’t get paid hourly because project time could vary based on many factors (amount of work, skill, materials used, etc…). You can expect to spend about 15%-22% of your overall budget on contracting. 

Mid-Century Bathroom Upgrade with Double Vanity

How Do I Save Money With Contractors?

The best way to spend money with contractors is to use more affordable materials, make subtle changes, and talk to your contractor about what materials are easy and quick to put in and which ones are not. 

  1. Shower Remodel

It may be different for every person, but the first thing I look for in every bathroom I go into is the shower. I’ve turned down houses that my wife and I looked at because the showers were in bad shape. For me, there is nothing more important than the shower. However, the biggest problem with shower remodels is they can cost anywhere between $1,000-$20,000. 

My goal today is to show you how to remodel your bathroom shower for a fraction of what many people spend. Showers don’t have to be terribly expensive if you choose more accessible and affordable materials. 

Shower vs. Bathtub Installation?

It’s always going to be cheaper to install or renovate your bathtub than it is to install a shower stall. However, in recent years, installing a shower has become much more affordable than past decades due to technology and cost-saving materials as alternatives to stone or tile. 

There are very few ways to add value to your home like the addition of a shower stall instead of a bathtub. According to HomeAdvisor, the cost difference between a shower stall and bathtub can be as low as a $100 difference.

How Do I Save Money for Shower Installation?

There are a few companies that sell bathroom liners, such as Re-Bath and Bath Fitter. These companies specialize in offering an alternative to tile or stone and can save you thousands on installation costs. 

Bath Fitter and Re-Bath will save you money because instead of mortar and cement, they attach the specialized lining to the already established walls in the bathroom. Think of it like putting a waterproof protective case on your iPhone. It’s easy to install, adds more protection, and most contractors can get it done in less than a day, depending on the size of your shower. Either way, using a shower liner instead of tile will save you thousands in labor costs because you don’t need a tile expert to install the tile.

You can get a Re-bath or Bath Fitter installed for as little as $3,000-$7,000, depending on the size of your shower. I believe that if you only had money for one upgrade, a walk-in shower is the way to go. 

  1. Bathroom Flooring

Bathroom flooring can be easily one of the most expensive parts of your bathroom to upgrade. It’s very easy to ask for granite, laminate, or custom hardwood, but there are better materials for bathrooms that cost a lot less than stone or hardwood. 

The big buzz in flooring is the use of Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP), which is about 50% less than hardwood and most people won’t be able to tell the difference between the two. You can see LVP in the majority of flip houses because it’s cheap to build with and doesn’t require any addition to the subfloor. LVP costs about $2.50 to $5.00 per square foot, whereas stone and hardwood will cost at least double that. 

Why is LVP Great for Bathrooms?

LVP is so good for bathrooms because it’s manufactured to be 100% waterproof and moisture resistant. LVP is one of the only flooring types that doesn’t have to be nailed or glued down to fit perfectly. 

LVP is perfect for families with pets and small children because it can be made scratch and stain-resistant with a urethane finish on top. There is no other flooring for your bathroom that will give you this high of a Return on Investment (ROI) and cost as little as $2.50 per square foot. 

  1. Bathroom Vanity

Upgrading your bathroom vanity is one of the most expensive upgrades you can make to your bathroom besides a shower and high-end flooring. However, it doesn’t have to be as expensive as many families make it to be.

According to Home Advisor a bathroom vanity can cost as much as $3,000 for installation and labor. That’s not including the $500-$1,000 it could take for running a new plumbing line or electrical to fit the new vanity set. 

Shower and Bathtub Combo Upgrade

How Can I Save Money on a New Vanity?

There are a couple things you can do to get an upgraded vanity and save thousands of dollars. First, you can buy pre-made vanities for as little as $200 for a 2.5’ single vanity with sink and storage drawers. 

The biggest bang for your buck would be a pre-made 5’ double vanity with Jack and Jill sinks for a couple or big family. A 5’ double vanity can cost as little as $1,200-$2,000 with installation and labor. 

Secondly, you can do some of your own demo to save money on the front end of the remodel. For example, if you take out the old vanity you can save up to $1,000 on the demo. 

The only thing you have to worry about is the water line, you don’t want to smash a water line and have a busted pipe filling you up like a backyard swimming pool. This is why we suggest hiring professionals to do all work around electricity and plumbing.

Why Should I Choose Monumental Contractors?

Monumental Contractors is the best choice for the D.C. and NOVA areas because we offer the best prices, contractors, and service for bathroom remodels and renovations. 

When you consider things like permits, demolition, and installation costs, Monumental lumps that all in one cost that we present to you at the beginning. Applying for permits and knowing when one is needed is something we deal with everyday, but the paperwork can be confusing and tedious for people with no training. 

If you contact our team at Monumental, you’ll receive a free consultation and the ability to book any contractor we have on our team, from plumbers, general contractors, and electricians. Some of our professionals at Monumental Contractors have decades of experience in their specialization. 

We couldn’t be more excited to share with you some of the best craftsmen on the planet. Give us a chance to impress you and set up an initial appointment today! If you have any questions please contact us at 703-539-6164

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