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No one likes to cut a budget,
especially when it's their own. But when it comes to planning
a remodeling project, homeowners must establish a realistic
budget . . . and manage it.
Preparing for a remodeling
project is a lot like preparing to buy a car. You may
know the room and style you want, but the options you
choose may drive the price higher than you can reasonably
most important step is finding a professional remodeling
contractor for your job.
a professional contractor who is familiar with the building
codes in your area. Replacing work that does not meet
code can be extremely expensive.
well-written contract can prevent costly mistakes or
additions to the scope of your project. It is a critical
step in maintaining your budget.
money by planning ahead. Go through the design process
first and choose everything you want to include in the
new room(s), from appliances to light fixtures. This
will define your budget and prevent hasty (and costly)
decisions later in the project. Be sure to include all
your product and material selections in the contract
to avoid confusion and unnecessary change orders. Include
the model, size, color, and other specifications. It
is also wise to save 10-20 percent of your budget to
allow for items added to the scope of work.
choice is the number one way to decrease the cost of
your remodeling project. In addition, pay attention
to how labor intensive some design features may be,
for example laying ceramic tile on kitchen countertops
and the backsplash.
products and their prices carefully before you make
final decisions. And keep an open mind when you discuss
product and design ideas with your contractor.
decisions based on value and quality, not just price.
about staging the work being done to minimize the initial
financial impact. It is often easier to create a more
manageable budget by starting small and adding to the
project at a later date. This will break the work into
several jobs instead of one large project. The down
side of staging a remodel is that you may end up paying
more in the long run.
creative. There are often multiple solutions to accomplish
a design objective, some more expensive than others.
Discuss various options with your contractor.
the most amount of changes with paint if all the room
really needs is a facelift, as opposed to structural
changes. Changing the color of a room can revitalize
it. This is the best cost-saving technique to bring
life to a room. It is also inexpensive, effective, and
one of the oldest tricks in the business.
or textured wallpaper can work wonders as well. You
can save money by wallpapering a slightly damaged wall
rather than replacing it. If the wall has grass cloth
wallpaper on it, consider whitewashing it for a totally
new look. Several layers of whitewash (in various shades
of white) produces a clean, sophisticated look in any
room. Faux finish painting or other textured decorative
painting techniques also can hide minor damage or irregularities
that flat paint won't.
to keep existing window locations during any
remodeling project. Moving windows is not a cost-saving
more space can be a big budget buster. Once you add
square footage to a home, the price increases significantly.
One alternative is to steal space from a neighboring
room (called space reconfiguration). A great place to
steal space for a bathroom expansion is from the linen
closet. You can make up some of the lost storage by
finding small spaces in between wall studs for small
niches or built-in shelves.
stealing space with optical illusions. There are many
ways to make a small room appear larger. To transform
a small bath, install a bow window or a skylight. Vaulted
ceilings are a nice touch too.
you are going to expand outside the existing home, consider
a small bump out of two to four feet. This may allow
you to cantilever the floor joists and eliminate the
need for excavation and foundation. If possible, be
careful not to extend beyond the roof line which would
add a new roof to your job.
you are adding on new space to a home, have a heating
contractor determine whether your existing heating system
can accommodate and heat the extra space. You don't
want to damage your existing heating system and be forced
to replace the entire unit.
existing appliances, if at all possible, and build your
new cabinets around them. This could save you from $1500-5000
easily. However, be aware that appliances, like anything
electrical, are sensitive to change and may develop
problems if they are moved. Should you decide to avoid
potential appliance "burn-out" and purchase
new appliances, choose energy conscious models for a
reduction in your utility bills.
present location of major fixtures, appliances and utilities
relative to the plumbing, gas and electrical outlets.
This could even apply to the location of the telephone.
Moving plumbing, wiring and jacks can be extremely expensive.
faucet can be a costly item. The least expensive selection
is chrome. Even a high-end chrome faucet is considerably
less than a mid-range brass or porcelain version. A
standard two handle faucet generally cost less than
single handle. Faucets and handles are sold separately,
so you may want to choose a chrome faucet with brass
or porcelain handles for a different look. Faucet
Caution: The price variances in faucets reflect the
various internal and external features. Always choose
a faucet with replacement internal parts. You won't
want to have to replace the entire faucet if it breaks—it's
simply not cost-effective.
neutral colors in fixtures, appliances and laminates.
They are less expensive initially and wont look dated
when the color trends change. White and almond sinks
are much cheaper than color varieties. And neutral laminate
colors for countertops are less than custom colors or
floor covering is important. It ties one room to another
and provides visual consistency. Familiarize yourself
with the prices of the various flooring materials to
make the best decision for your home. To get you started,
vinyl or laminate flooring is less expensive than wood,
tile or slate.
the existing floor covering if it is still in good condition.
If the kitchen has old vinyl flooring, there may be
a hardwood floor underneath which could be sanded and
refinished, avoiding the need for a new floor entirely.
your cabinet options carefully. Those choices will drive
the overall price. You can add some options at a later
date to defray some of the initial cost. Some that are
easy to add include tilt front doors, spice racks and
slide out wire baskets. However, if you decide to wait,
make certain that the option you want will be available
and can be added after installation. Note of Caution:
Waiting will cost you more in the long run.
with a simple design in the kitchen employing single
height wall cabinets, blind corner cabinets rather than
those with Lazy Susans, and other standard options.
Watch your upgrades.
standard cabinetry instead of custom cabinets, or use
a combination of the two if they are compatible.
cabinets that can be operated without the addition of
hardware (those that are finger-pulled).
cabinets without soffits to decrease the labor cost.
Also consider cabinets without trim moldings or with
countertops are the least expensive choice among solid
surfacing, tile and granite. You can dress it up with
wood or tile trim for a more innovative look.
fluorescent light fixtures to the existing ceiling fixture
box instead of installing new recessed lighting, which
may require a new ceiling because of the recessed features.
reglazing a tub instead of replacing it, especially
if it is still in relatively good condition. This can
save you more than half the cost of a tub replacement—and
minimize the dust at the same time!
marble sheets are a good choice for tub surrounds, instead
of ceramic tile. You will save considerably on labor
costs and the marble sheets are much easier to clean.
Fiberglass surrounds are also less costly than tile.
how you are utilizing space. You may be able to steal
some space from a neighboring room or closet. If your
overall space is limited, purchase a jetted tub and
shower combination or install a pedestal lavatory instead
of a vanity cabinet with a sink.
that, while pedestal lavatories do eliminate the need
for vanities and save space, some models may cost more
than a separate vanity cabinet and sink. Look at all
your options before making a decision.
marble lavatories can be a great budget choice since
it is an integrated sink bowl and countertop sold in
one easily installed unit.
what is truly needed in the bathroom. Sometimes an extra
bath is planned when installing a double sink in an
existing bath would meet the need.
you are going to add a large jetted tub to your project,
consider adding a water heater dedicated to that tub.
A large jetted tub can hold up to an average of 75 gallons
or more, which can easily overextend your existing water
heater and cause problems down the road.