Monthly Archives: December 2016

How to Save Money on Bathroom Renovation

Bathroom remodels run the risk of emptying your wallet. Here is how to save money by nipping problems in the bud.

Each item is a potential problem that typically drives up costs.  Following each item is a suggested solution.


1.  Size of the bathroom will change

Solution: Resize only if absolutely necessary to accommodate your needs. This is the single most expensive aspect of the bathroom renovation; avoid at all costs.

The reason is because plumbing–particularly the toilet discharge and sewer pipe–are expensive to move.


2.  Load-bearing walls must be removed or moved

Solution: Explore possibilities of expanding through non load-bearing walls–walls that do not bear weight.  These walls can easily be removed using simple hand tools.  Often, no permits are required for this.  As a rule of thumb, exterior walls tend to be load bearing.  Interior walls that run parallel to ceiling joists tend to be non load-bearing.

If you do want to move that load-bearing wall, it is possible to do on your own.  Materials do not cost a lot.  Mainly, you need to correctly calculate the load and purchase a beam suitable for carrying the load.


3.  Walls cannot support additions of new vents, ducts, wiring, windows

Solution: Walls do not necessarily have to be totally replaced to accept these additions. Bad studs can be sistered to increase their load-bearing capacity.

  Raise this issue again with your contractor or seek a second opinion.

4.  Drywall is water-damaged; needs full replacement

Solution: Drywall often must be completely replaced in bathroom renovations due to the high moisture content; this is common enough and should be anticipated. Confirm with your contractor that full replacement is needed.

  It’s possible that only the affected areas need to be replaced.

5.  Sink, tub, and shower fixtures to be removed and replaced with new ones

Solution: Do they functionally need to be replaced or just aesthetically? They may be ugly but operable, and can be replaced easily by yourself at a later time. If that fails, buy on your own and supply to contractor. Or instead of replacing, you can install a liner over your tub or shower. If you don’t like the idea of a liner, you can always refinish your bathtub.

Bathroom Vanity Ideas

Bathroom vanity units are one of the easiest, fastest, and most satisfying bathroom remodeling projects you can take on.


Exaggeration?  Hardly.  When you compare them to kitchen base cabinets, you’ll see just how easy they are.


  • Top and Sink Included:  Many bathroom vanities are bundled with an included top and sink. All you need to do is add the fixtures and hook up the plumbing.  Some even come paired up with fixtures.  Not only that, the tops are pre-drilled for easy insertion of the fixtures.
  • Often Free-Standing:  Free-standing bathroom vanity units only need minimal installation. A few screws into the studs behind the unit to stabilize it, and you’re good to go.
  • Easily Shippable:  Most bathroom vanities are flat-packed, shipped flat, and easily transportable.  They can even be ordered on-line.  Shipping costs for these small units are minimal compared to shipping cabinets for an entire 10′ x 10′ kitchen.
  • Scalable In Predictable Sizes:  Bathroom vanities start at 24 inches and can even scale up as big as 60 inches wide–that’s wide enough to accommodate two separate sinks.  48 inch bathroom vanities, while not wide enough for two sinks, will accommodate large sink basins.  While not practical for one person to wrestle, 72 inch wide vanities are available, too.
  • Money-Saving:  Labor charges for installation?  How does zero dollars sound?  The hardest part is assembling the vanity.  Installation is a snap.  Cutting out labor changes means you have more money to spend on other parts of your bathroom remodel.  I estimate that roughly half of the cost of a professionally-installed bathroom vanity is devoted to labor.


Bath Vanity Common Sizes


About 22″.  By “depth,” we mean, if you are standing at the sink, the distance from the back wall to the front edge of the counter.


About 34″.  Like depth, this measurement rarely varies.


Vanities can be as small as two feet wide–barely big enough for the sink–to behemoths that are 6 feet wide that can accommodate two sinks and acres of counter space.

The scaling:

  • 24 Inch
  • 30 Inch
  • 36 Inch
  • 48 Inch
  • 60 Inch
  • 72 Inch