Original article is on Angie List (link)

Planning a major renovation sometimes leads to a sticker shock: the average kitchen remodel costs nearly $57,000, while a bathroom renovation runs nearly $17,000 on average.

Don’t let those numbers put a damper on your design dreams. It’s possible to cut costs on a remodel without cutting corners. With some strategic design decisions and creativity in sourcing materials, taking small steps along the way can add up to significant savings. Try these tips to lower your remodeling expenses.

 1. Make decisions early

Researching material, fixture and appliance costs early in the process can avoid headaches in the long run. Failing to specify up front what you want means you have to rely on your contractor’s estimate, or allowance.

Advance research gives you the opportunity to decide early where to save and where to splurge. A change order can balloon your budget with labor costs and create project delays.

Cost of change order: Difference in item price and time lost to project delays
Cost to plan ahead: Zero
Saved: Up to thousands

2. DIY demo

It’s back-breaking work, but doing your own demolition can save about a day’s worth of labor and hauling charges for a single room, even more for larger areas. If you’ve never demolished anything before, it may be better to leave it to a pro who can best prevent any electrical, plumbing or structural disasters.

Cost for a pro: $1,000
Cost to DIY: Sweat equity plus $400 for dumpster rental
Saved: $600

3. Clean up yourself

Rather than racking up labor fees while your contractor sweeps up every day, put your money into other aspects of your project, like installing tile or painting. Not all companies let customers do clean-up for liability reasons, so check with your contractor before building this option into your budget.

Cost for construction crew to clean up: $200 per day
Cost to DIY: Zero
Saved: About 3 percent of the job cost

4. Search for salvage and substitutions

Many alternatives to high-end materials offer a similar quality at a lower price point. You may also get lucky and find enough recycled or lightly used fixtures at your local salvage shop or Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which offers secondhand materials sometimes at more than half off home center prices.

Cost of new marble vanity top: $400
Cost of salvaged substitute: $50
Saved: $350


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