Remodeling offers you the chance to transform your home in many ways. Some remodeling jobs are quite minor while others are major. What holds back many on the decision to start the project is the cost of doing it. Remodeling can be quite expensive. However, there are a few ways to bring the costs down.
You might wonder how planning can make a difference to your remodeling budget. Planning helps you envision and layout your remodeling project from start to finish. Being able to document and plan each step of the project allows you to anticipate the labor and materials needed for each stage. You can take the time before you start the project to get quotes on labor and to determine the best places to get materials.
To start a remodeling project without a plan is foolish and very expensive. Making last minute decisions can cost you a great deal of money. If you find that you do not have all the materials puts pressure on you to find the most ready source. And that can cost more than if you had obtained the materials before hand. To make changes in the midst of a remodel is also expensive since you need to remove what you did before and replace. That often doubles the labor costs and can be costly in materials as well.
Labor is a major cost in remodeling. If you hire a contractor who brings in their own crew, you may spend 50% or more of the budget on the labor costs. Some projects do require the expertise of a contractor. However, you can keep some of the costs down by performing part of the labor yourself. For example, the first part of most remodeling projects is demolition. You may not feel qualified to take down a wall, but you can take down drywall and clean up most of the mess.
Clean up is a big labor component where you can save on labor costs. Site cleanup may sound like only a small part of labor costs, but it can add up on larger projects. Doing most of the clean up work will save you some money.
For those who are more comfortable with home improvement projects, there are other remodeling areas where you can save money on labor. Many trade professionals work in crews of two or three people. Some trade professionals are happy to work with home owners on remodeling projects where the homeowner does the basic work while the trade professionals do the detail work. For example, an electrician can direct the homeowner on where to pull wire through walls and ceilings. Then the electrician can come in and complete the connections and verify the work is up to code. It often takes labor costs down 50% or more.
Doing all or some parts of a remodeling project yourself is, of course, the easiest way to keep remodeling labor costs to a minimum. For instance, if you feel comfortable setting and grouting tile, there is no need to bring in a tile contractor. You can save a great deal on labor in these cases.
The other cost component of remodeling is materials. This is an area where your choices and sources will make the most differences in the final cost.
Material choices can make or break any remodeling budget. For example, if you are selecting tile for your bathroom, you have a wide assortment of choices. You can go with a basic white ceramic bath tile that goes for about $1.50 a square foot. Or you can go for the designer metal wall tile that goes for over $55 a square foot. If you want to cover a wall that is 8 foot tall by 10 foot long with these tiles, the cost differences really become apparent. For the basic white tile, the total cost of the tile would be about $120. For the same wall in the designer metal tile, the cost of the tile would be over $4400.
Most homeowners do not want to go with the basic level when it comes to remodeling their home. However, there are literally thousands of options between the most basic and the highest costing materials. Finding the right balance between cost and quality is the key.
Material source can also make a huge difference in your remodeling costs. You know the materials you want to use in your remodeling project. However, where are you going to purchase them? Blindly buying them without price shopping can be a major mistake that can break your budget. You might not worry about the cost of a box of nails. However, if you need to buy 100 boxes of nails, take the time to do some shopping to find the best bulk price.
So, where can you shop for materials to keep costs down?
Online shopping can save you a significant amount of money. Thousands of websites are competing to get your business. You can use comparison websites to find the best prices on thousands of different materials. As an illustration, let’s say you are looking for a new bath vanity. You can go down to your local bath showroom and pay a premium price for their products. Or, you can get the product specifications and then go shopping online. You can often save 50% or more on materials you buy online using this method.
Using online sources to connect with locals is another way to score low cost or free remodeling materials. If someone has excess materials they want to get rid of, you may be able to score them by just picking them up. Craig’s List is one place to start. But, most local communities have their own online bulletin board systems for similar requests.
Look in the back room. Many companies have store fronts so they can show off their products. You can likely find plumbing and lighting showrooms near you. You can find a wide assortment of materials on display, at premium prices of course. However, find out if they have a discount or closeout area. You can often score designer materials at deep discounts. Even major DIY stores have closeout areas. These areas often have items that are discontinued, slightly damaged, or unwanted special orders. Again, you can find deep discounts if you look hard enough.
Yard sales and estate auctions are another place to score materials at low costs. These settings are places where everything is for sale and most everything is negotiable. If someone is moving, they need to get rid of excess items like leftover building materials. Sometimes, you may even score the leftovers of their remodeling projects.
Some charity thrift stores offer more than clothing. You can often find all sorts of building materials as well as finishing items in their shelves and back rooms.
Reclaimed and salvage materials are a great way to save money on remodeling materials. You can get quality materials at up to 60% savings in many cases.
What It Boils Down to
Layout the remodeling project and determine the labor and materials you will likely need. Begin sourcing and gathering your materials before you even think of starting the project. Determine what parts of the labor you can handle and what you need to bring in the professionals for. Get quotes from the professionals and find the best quality source. Once you have all these components together, go through the project again to make sure you have all the bases covered. Then you can begin the project knowing you have taken steps to save money.
Remodeling is an excellent way to make your home livable and comfortable for your family today and to add additional value to your home at resale time in the future. But, careful planning, DIY labor, and selective material sourcing can bring your costs down significantly.