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How Not to Overspend When Remodeling Your House

By on May 16, 2017
How Not to Overspend When Remodeling Your House

You’re going to do it. After years of complaining, arguing and strategizing, you are going to remodel your home. Whether it is the bathroom, the kitchen or the basement, you know it is going to be stressful, time-consuming, disruptive and expensive. Nothing you can do about that.

However, there are some things you can do to save some of the enormous amounts of money you are about to spend. Sometimes that means doing it yourself, other times it just means smart planning. Here are a few helpful ideas to get you through your project with a little more of your money.

Do It Yourself

If it were so easy we’d do it all ourselves, but we know that’s not the case. Home remodeling is serious and technical, and making mistakes is not an option. However, you can save money doing some of the grunt work — the simple but laborious tasks — yourself. Ask your contractor if you can do some of the light demolition, cleanup and painting. Here are a few other ideas.

  • Basic plumbing: Take a class at your local hardware store or community center. Learn how to repair leaks, replace toilets, replace valves or sweat pipes. This will save you quite a bit of money in labor costs.
  • Tile Flooring: Stores like Home Depot offer classes on how to tile your own floor. They sell all the materials you will need and are usually happy to make the necessary cuts for your specific plan. You can decide if this is realistic for you.
  • Purchase and Haul Your Own Supplies: Rather than pay delivery fees or pay your contractor an hourly rate, pick up all the supplies yourself. Consider that you might have to rent a truck, which advertises the service and costs around $20 per hour.

Paint It First

“This puts a fresh coat on things,” is a common expression for seeing things a new way. Before you tear everything apart, consider a paint job first. Find a new, energizing color for that drab old room. This alone makes the entire place look much better. Maybe you don’t have to remodel it after all.

Rent a Dumpster

Instead of paying your waste service special fees for picking up large bulky items such as your old, stinky basement couch, rent a dumpster to hold everything you don’t want which cannot be sold or given away. Maybe you are up against a timeline and aren’t able to sell or give away items that must go. Don’t worry — most everything can go in a dumpster and be hauled away at once. This includes mattresses, furniture, carpeting and waste materials from your renovation.

Of course, there are exceptions to everything. What can you not put in a dumpster? First and foremost, don’t put in anything hazardous, toxic or flammable. Most household electronics and chemicals should not be out in a dumpster. The same is true for batteries, fluorescent bulbs and other environmentally harmful items. These should be properly recycled or disposed of. Televisions, computer monitors, hard drives and most other computer equipment have harmful chemicals in them like lead, cadmium, beryllium and mercury. These items need to be properly recycled and disposed of by authorized agents.

Refrigerators and air conditioners also contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment. These should be donated if still usable, recycled or hauled away by services that handle the proper disposal of these items. Your contractor will be able to help you.

Use Standard Sizes

The construction trade has uniform dimensions so building is more efficient and less expensive. Don’t design custom windows or doors, which will require more labor and expense. Plywood comes in 4-foot sheets, so take that into consideration before designing a project. Ask your contractor about standard sizes and anything in your design that might increase material costs and labor time.

Use Existing Plumbing

If at all possible, create your new bathroom over your old bathroom. That way, you don’t have to incur the costs involved with tearing apart walls and plumbing into a new area. If you don’t care for your old, moldy shower stall, replace it with a new one right where the old one was. Save more money by using a shower curtain instead of a glass door.

Build for Resale

Sometimes spending more money can save you money. Replacing linoleum countertops with granite is a wise investment. Granite is beautiful and lasts forever. This will no doubt increase the resale value of your home should you decide to sell, and you will enjoy the improvement as long as you live there.

If replacing windows, pay a little extra for increased insulation and efficiency. Don’t skimp on an expensive roof job by using low-quality materials or by skipping needed replacements. Don’t waste your money by replacing one inferior product with another.

The most important outcomes when going through the pain and expense of remodeling are that the job is done right and you are happy with it. In this case, expense is just one factor — but it doesn’t mean you have to open your wallet and close your eyes. Careful planning and personal involvement in your project can give you a sense of accomplishment and save you quite a bit of money in the process.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington

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