Should You Cut Corners in Bathroom Renovations?

Is the Cheapest route the Best Way to Go? 

You have decided that you want to remodel your bathroom. You hire a contractor to come to check it out. You tell him what you want to be done, and then he gives you a quote. Your mouth drops at the price, and you immediately start to second guess yourself. If you are remodeling on a budget, there are several ways that you can cut costs without cutting corners. Most of the time you get what you pay for. 

DIY Versus Hiring a Contractor 

One of the easiest ways to save money when renovating your bathroom is to do it yourself. You will save a ton of money by eliminating a contractor and doing the work yourself. However, if you don’t have experience in plumbing or general remodeling, this is probably not a good idea. You can save money by handling some things such as the clean-up of your project yourself, but don’t completely cut out the contractor.  

The biggest advantage of using a contractor is that they know what they are doing and can help you realistically design your future bathroom. They know about piping, materials, paints, etc. If you aren’t familiar with everything that is involved in installing a bathroom, then you probably need a contractor. 

Not only will the contractor save you time by installing the bathroom faster than doing it yourself, but they also have all the tools necessary to complete the job. Contractors know if you are going to need to get a permit from your city or town to complete part of the project. If you need a permit and don’t get one for your bathroom renovation, you will run into several problems when trying to sell your home. Plus, the penalties and fines are much higher after the fact. 

Another factor to consider is the demoing of your bathroom. You will need certain tools such as a sledgehammer, crowbar, claw hammer, and a prybar. While you probably don’t have these tools, a contractor will. What are you going to do with all the debris left over from your demo? Instead of having to rent a dumpster yourself, your contractor will take care of the debris removal from your renovation. 

How to Save Money 

One of the best ways to save money when renovating your bathroom is to reuse some of your existing materials. Discuss with your contractor what materials you should use again and how they will affect the outcome of your renovations.  

Another option is to use recycled or lightly used fixtures and building materials. Diggers List and Habitat for Humanity Restore Resale Outlets are great places to find less expensive fixtures and building materials. You can even find antique brass-finished faucets for around $400 that would normally cost at least $2,300 when new. 

To save even more money, you can paint the bathroom yourself. Once the contractor is finished installing all the fixtures, all the pipes have been correctly connected, and everything is checked to make sure it is working properly, you can finish your remodeling job by picking up a can of paint and doing it yourself. Contractors usually get paid by the day or the amount of work they do. By painting the bathroom, yourself, you will eliminate at least a day’s worth of work for your contractor and eliminate the costs of the painting supplies. 


Renovating your bathroom is a big project and it is usually not recommended to be done completely by yourself. The advice of a contractor can save you time and money in the long run, especially if specific building permits are required for the work being done. And while there are ways that you can save money by reusing materials, purchasing slightly used fixtures, and painting yourself, it is not advisable to tackle your bathroom’s renovations by yourself. Another advantage of using a contractor is that the work will be guaranteed. If you have any issues in the future that are not caused by normal wear and tear, your contractor will be obligated to fix them for free. If you remodel your bathroom by yourself and make mistakes during the installation, you will be spending more money to get it fixed. When it comes to working with pipes and water, the damage caused could be disastrous. Lastly, you should consider using your contractor for some fixtures. Some fixture manufacturers require that you use a licensed contractor to install. 

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