A few years ago we were looking for ways to save on home remodeling costs. You see, we’d had an extension put on our home.
At the same time, we were renovating existing areas of the house.
Even though we’d hired a contractor to handle the extension, we were able to negotiate discounts with him. How? By doing some of the demo and grunt work ourselves.
In addition, while the extension was being completed, we gutted our kitchen. We did a lot of that work ourselves and saved a tidy amount on that remodeling.
How to save on home remodeling costs
Recently, we sat down to add it all up. We had a sense that we had, in fact, saved ourselves money on those remodeling costs.
Between our elbow grease and sweat equity, we discovered something amazing: we’d saved ourselves from spending about $10,000 on our renovation projects.
One of the ways we did this was DIY, obviously. However, we also used the Facebook Marketplace to sell some items.
Plus, thanks to our local freecycle group, we were able to get rid of items we no longer needed. So, that saved us from having to bring in a costly dumpster.
Anyway, here is how those numbers added up for us.
Saving money on bathroom demo and remodeling
The contractor wanted to charge us about $2,400 to demo the upstairs bathroom. This was the bathroom that our daughters use.
Doing it ourselves meant not only getting rid of a cast-iron tub but also a “vintage” blue toilet. Also, we had to remove the vanity and take out drywall so the room was down to studs.
A sledge hammer took care of the tub. That’s me above cleaning up after demoing the tub.
On the other hand, we were careful to remove the vanity. Because we ended up putting it on Facebook Marketplace to sell.
Someone paid us $20 for the vanity shown here. So, we made money on the deal.
All together we saved $2,420 on the bathroom remodeling costs.
Doing painting ourselves
Because the backside of our home was built into the side of the hill, the first floor of the remodeled space was like a basement space. Therefore, the contractor had to use concrete blocks on the foundation versus poured concrete.
He advised us to paint a water seal on those concrete blocks. This would help waterproof them.
If he were going to do it for us, it would have taken a day of his time. He would have charged us for his time, plus $300 for materials.
We decided to do this task ourselves.
I bought enough DryLok Basement and Masonry Waterproof Paint at Lowe’s. We spent about $110.
It took me a day and half to paint the whole thing.
In addition, we ended up painting the entire interior of the new space ourselves once the drywall was finished. So, that saved us on his painting fees, too.
All told, this DIY approach saved us about $900. Plus, I enjoy painting.
Reusing kitchen cabinets
With the average minor kitchen remodel costing just under $18,000, there was no way my husband and I could afford that kind of dough. This after laying out cash for our addition.
So, like the bathroom upstairs, we did the demo ourselves. That’s me wielding a sledgehammer.
Here’s another cost savings–reusing the existing cabinetry. This was important since new cabinets account for about 50% of a kitchen renovation’s cost.
These cabinets are all custom made and, except for a couple of decades of grease and grime, in great shape.
We planned to degrease them, sand them and repaint them in a milk paint white to match our home farmhouse interior. Best of all we won’t have to spend a dime on new cabinets–only on new paint and new hardware.
All told we saved about $9,000 on the remodeling costs for our new kitchen.
Shopping around for appliances to save
Like most modern kitchens, we want ours to look as up-to-date as possible. And that meant replacing the poop-brown, circa 1970s appliances with new stainless steel ones. This included the refrigerator.
Of course, stainless steel can be pricey, but I felt confident that if we shopped around, we could find a good price. Well, we did.
Knowing the best time to buy new appliances, I hit the stores. There, I found a slightly dented but not scratched stainless steel refrigerator.
It was a standard, side-by-side model and cost only $700. Yes, you read that right, only $700. Who gets appliances for that cheap?
Considering the same refrigerator in perfect condition at the same store retailed for nearly double that price–$1,398–I’d say I scored quite a savings.
Final thoughts on home remodeling costs savings
So what does that add up to? Well, we’ve definitely got at least 10 grand in our hand.
In fact, with these four examples alone, we found a way to save more than $13K.
And this doesn’t even include the money we saved by having my husband do the hardwood floors. Then, we bought countertop remnants to save money there instead of custom ordering the countertop. Finally, we refinished the painted-over fireplace ourselves and saved a bundle, too.
All together these are some pretty sweet savings.