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    Check out this Awesome Bathroom Renovation for Half the Price: Here’s How You Can do it Too!

    Looking to save on your next bathroom renovation? Find out how this homeowner did it!

    Homeowner Austin Alvarez was not pleased with the $24,000 figure he was quoted for his bathroom renovation. He and his wife, Liz, have taken on their fair share of DIY projects and knew that they could pull off a brand-new master bathroom for a fraction of the cost. So the duo, who chronicle their home improvement projects on their blog, Building Our Rez, decided to get smart about which work they could complete with their own two hands and when calling an expert was absolutely necessary.

    In the end, the total cost to refurbish their bathroom was $10,000—and included higher-quality materials than the ones in the original quote. Their smart money moves saved them about $14,000, but they attribute their gains to more than just being good with a hammer.

    Below are their secrets to success and how you can follow suit for your own renovation


    The bathroom in early stages of renovation
    The bathroom in early stages of renovationAustin Alvarez

    The finished product complete with subway tile and a claw-foot tub
    The finished product complete with subway tile and a claw-foot tub

    Make a thorough budget

    If you’re going to manage a remodel yourself, Alvarez recommends first creating a budget: “Research the cost of all materials and tools needed to complete each part of the project, but also include labor costs, and estimate a timeline.”

    “Compare the cost of tackling the renovation yourself versus making it a DIY project with handymen versus managing subcontractors versus hiring a residential contractor,” he says.

    According to Alvarez, residential contractors generally require the least oversight but are most expensive; subcontractors or tradesmen are much more affordable, but you’ll have to manage the project, people, and materials yourself. Handymen are the cheapest option, but many of them aren’t licensed and often have a day job, which affects their availability.

    For most plumbing, electrical, and HVAC work, he recommends a licensed contractor.

    Alvarez did his bathroom update primarily as a DIY project with a few trusted handymen and a few subcontractors.


    Practice, practice, practice

    Instead of just jumping right into your project, assess the quality of your DIY skills in a safe and controlled environment.

    “Most DIYers are willing to tackle a new project for the first time with zero risk management,” he says.

    Alvarez tested his ability to sweat copper pipes by creating a capped fitting that would screw onto his outdoor spigot.

    “Every time the cracks leaked, I would resolder the joints until the fitting was consistently leak-free,” he explains.

    After practicing the technique outdoors, he felt comfortable moving copper pipes inside his house.

    Alvarez also watched videos and read DIY blogs, and one particularly handy neighbor taught him how to install flooring, use a saw, and drill correctly.

    He and his wife also experimented with other small projects: “We didn’t like the linoleum in the laundry room, so we took a class at a local hardware store on how to install tile.” Since it was a small space, there wasn’t much risk involved, and they were able to hone their skills.

    The bathroom midrenovation
    The bathroom midrenovationAustin Alvarez

    The refurbished bathroom with all-new fixtures
    The refurbished bathroom with all-new fixturesAustin Alvarez

    Enlist family and friends

    DIY means you may be taking on the bulk of the project yourself, but it doesn’t mean you have to complete every task alone. Alvarez and his wife enlisted help from friends and family members.

    With the help of his DIY team, he tackled the following projects: demolishing the recessed lighting soffits, heated floor, floor tile, shower tile, new toilet, new vanity, new light fixtures, replacing a garden tub with claw-foot tub, framing a new closet, and moving the doorway and respective header.

    The custom double sink and door in the finished bathroom
    The custom double sink and door in the finished bathroomAustin Alvarez

    Know your limits

    There were some projects that required skills beyond Alvarez’s own, so he hired some help. For example, he hired a subcontractor to add new drywall. He also left replacing the window to the pros.

    In addition, he subbed out the glass shower enclosure. “We felt that was beyond our comfort level, and could have ruined it by shaving or chipping it too much,” he says. In the end, he felt it was worth paying $500 to get it installed correctly.


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