Consumer Reports' Bathroom Remodeling Guide helps maximize your budget including ways to makeover your bathroom for $1000 or less
YONKERS, N.Y., March 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When it comes to remodeling, bathrooms are only second to kitchens on people's wish list of rooms to revamp. On a cost-per-square-foot basis, bathrooms are one of the most expensive spaces to remodel, but that doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune. Consumer Reports' Bathroom Remodeling Guide, available at www.ConsumerReports.org, is a comprehensive device that will help you decide when to splurge and when to save while creating the bathroom of your dreams.
"Consumer Reports' product testers spent months evaluating the latest toilets, sinks, countertops, and other bathroom essentials to help consumers easily determine the best items to choose for their bathroom remodel," said Daniel DiClerico, senior editor for Consumer Reports. "If a full remodel is out of reach, but you have some cash to spend, we've also developed some easy ways to give your bathroom a facelift for $1,000 or less."
- Do splurge on the shower. If you don't use the tub that often, consider turning the space into a large shower that can perhaps accommodate features such as his and her showerheads, body sprays and steam generators. If the space is large enough, you can probably do away with the door, since the showerhead(s) can be oriented so that the spray won't reach beyond the shower area (an L-shaped design is helpful). This will eliminate a sizable expense, especially if you were planning on a pricey frameless door. One caveat: Don't eliminate the bathtub if there aren't any other bathrooms in the house with a tub.
- Do consider water efficiency. Showerheads, toilets, and faucets have all become more water-efficient in recent years. In its latest tests of showerheads and toilets, Consumer Reports found many models that deliver performance and efficiency – saving you money on water costs. For example, if you're replacing a toilet that dates from 1995 or earlier with a new model that uses 1.28 gallons per flush can save you some $90 per year in water bills. Choosing a faucet with an aerator can reduce your bathroom sink's water flow by 30 percent or more.
- Do budget for the unexpected. When deciding your budget, factor in a ten to fifteen percent cushion. An experienced contractor will do exploratory work early in the project to sniff out as many issues as possible, but since he can't see through walls, he may not catch every possible pitfall. In the end, if nothing goes wrong, you'll have a nice little windfall when your remodel is complete.
- Don't rush the process. Poor planning is the leading cause of cost overruns on bathroom remodels. Depending on the size and scope of your project, spend several weeks to a few months on the planning process. Consider a Pinterest account if you don't yet have one - this website lets you keep a digital ideas file of inspiring images, such as tile styles, fixtures and clever designs, you find online. When planning the space, try to come up with a design that keeps the major plumbing lines in place. Moving the toilet from one wall to another will mean relocating a 3-inch drain line in a home, which can cost thousands.
- Don't skimp on skilled labor. The DIY approach can be an effective way to trim costs, but it's best to focus on the front and back ends of the project, say, ripping out the old tub during demolition and handling the finish painting. Leave the more complicated installations to professionals, ensuring they're highly skilled. Find a top-notch general contractor to manage operations and meet with at least three, preferably those found through word of mouth. The one you choose should have an up-to-date license and insurance, including workers' comp. And scrutinize the contract; it should list every product down to the model number and finish. And don't automatically go with the lowest bid.
- Don't cut corners on key materials. Cheaping out on things that get the most use is a common mistake people make when remodeling. Decide carefully when choosing items such as faucets, particularly their finish and tiles. Save on items like light fixtures. Consumer Reports recommends opting for a basic finish on faucets and fixtures that can save you hundreds of dollars without compromising quality.
The $1,000 Makeover
A thousand dollars may not go as far as certain remodeling shows on TV would have you believe, but if your space functions well—no leaks or loose parts – there's a lot that can be done with $1000 to give it a facelift. Here are some ideas Consumer Reports thinks are worth considering:
- Replace the vanity with a new wood model that has a stone counter.
- Add a new mirror and faucet. Alternatively, keep your current vanity but replace your toilet and faucet and add a new vinyl floor.
- Improve lighting and ventilation with a new combination light and exhaust fan. One with a heat setting will keep you from getting chilled when you get out of the shower.
- Add a set of sconces on either side of the mirror or medicine cabinet.
- Update towel bars, hooks, toothbrush and toilet paper holders, and cabinet hardware. Add matching toiletry and towel shelves.
- Switch your standard showerhead to one with multiple settings, including a pulsating or massage setting.
- Keep your towels toasty with a heated towel bar, some of which cost $100 or less.
For more information, check out Consumer Reports' Bathroom Remodeling Guide which features the complete list of bathroom remodeling do's and don'ts; five small touches that will make a big difference when remodeling; and the latest Ratings of toilets and showerheads.
Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit annually rates thousands of products and services. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.
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SOURCE Consumer Reports