A Dozen Ways to Save on your Remodel

By Scott Murfey

Whenever you decide to add on to or remodel a part of your home, you’re increasing your quality of life and your property’s value, but many times those projects end up costing two to three times what you anticipated. Last month, I focused on the importance of creating a budget when starting your remodel project and offered tips on how to stay on that budget. One of the items I discussed was finding places to trim your costs. Here are a dozen more specific ways in which you can keep the cost down on your remodel without sacrificing quality.

Whenever you decide to add on to or remodel a part of your home, you’re increasing your quality of life and your property’s value, but many times those projects end up costing two to three times what you anticipated. Last month, I focused on the importance of creating a budget when starting your remodel project and offered tips on how to stay on that budget. One of the items I discussed was finding places to trim your costs. Here are a dozen more specific ways in which you can keep the cost down on your remodel without sacrificing quality.

Make decisions early.

Well before the demo crew shows up, you should be pricing out your materials and appliances. If you don’t know what you want, then you have to rely on your contractor’s estimates, and the two of you may not be on the same page. It always costs more to make changes midstream.

Plan with stock-sizes.

When planning your new doors, windows, additional flooring, etc, consider the off-the-shelf dimensions. Keeping these sizes in mind from the beginning will save you plenty on custom fabrication.

Increase efficiency.

In order to add useful space to your kitchen, you don’t necessarily need to take out a wall. You just need to maximize the space you do have. For example, if you take out large cumbersome shelving and replace it with cabinet-height, pull out drawers, you will be able to utilize three horizontal places where before there was only one.

Add natural light without adding windows.

Cutting a large hole into the side of your house is not the only way to bring in natural light. By adding a “light tube” – which fits between roof rafters and funnels sunlight down into the living space – you can brighten up a hallway or windowless bathroom without the big cost or invasive construction.

Don’t move the kitchen sink.

Or the toilet. Moving these major pipe areas is often the largest chunk of your plumbing costs. If you your new layout can’t avoid this, however, use this opportunity to also upgrade the pipes at the same time.

Consider look-a-likes.

While this might not be true across the board, some imitations can really help cut costs without cutting quality. For example, there is a natural eucalyptus hybrid (brand named Lyptus) that looks and feels remarkably like mahogany at nearly half the price.

Tap your contractor’s sources.

When it comes to things like flooring, ask your subcontractor if he or she has odds and ends left over from other jobs. Useful material that may go in the trash on other sites, could end up saving you thousands.

Donate and/or recycle your trash.

About 85% of a house is reusable. By contacting a local Habitat for Humanity, you can save a trip to the dump, save on space in a landfill, and you can use the donation as charitable tax credit. As a green building expert, we recycle the majority of construction debris and divert demolition trash to a recycling facility instead of filling up landfills. Visit

to find an affiliate near you.

Consult an architect.

By spending a couple thousand dollars on partnering with an architect, he or she may be able to save you tens of thousands by drawing up design solutions that you can then take to your builder. We can recommend an architect that fits your style, needs and budget.

Partner with a contractor.

Along the same lines, some contractors will offer consulting and pre-construction services. You can save a lot of time and money with the help and advice of an experienced contractor, especially when the owner, contractor and architect are working together early in the design process.

Start from scratch.

While this may be a scary concept, if you are doing a major renovation, be sure to crunch the numbers. In some cases, it may cost you less to demolish the whole house and start over than it would to add up all the major remodels. Plus you get all benefits of new construction.

Consider long-term costs.

Even though we are talking about saving on the price of your remodel, don’t get hurt in long-term costs because of short-term gains. For example, while LED lights and solar power cost more, the long term savings are incredible, not to mention the sustainable impact to the environment.

At Murfey Construction, it is important to us that you get the project you’ve been dreaming of at a price you can afford. To find out more ways in which you can save on your remodel project, please contact us at

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