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Shop around for vanities and fixtures. Compare prices online, in big-box stores, in specialty stores and even on Craigslist. Watch for sales and clearance items, too. You can find deals online on everything from faucets to vanities, and the online selection is much larger than what you'll find at any store.
Use granite remnants for counters. Granite shops often have small bits of granite left over from bigger jobs and will sell you enough for a bathroom vanity counter at a discount. To find out what's available, call your local shops first then drop by to see the granite and negotiate the price.
Shop around for tile. You can find nice floor and wall tile for $1 to $2 per square foot. Use that less expensive tile for most of the work, and then incorporate luxury tile as accents.
Tile a smaller area. Instead of tiling all the bathroom walls, tile only around the tub and shower, and use drywall for the rest of the area.
Create a vanity from a piece of old furniture. “If you want to get creative, and you have that creative gene ... you can create something unique,” Redd says. If your vanity is wood, refinish or paint it rather than buying a new one. She bought a used piece of furniture for $45, a cultured marble top for $150 and two sinks on closeout for $50 each, creating a unique double vanity for just $245.
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Save Money on Bathroom Modeling - Bring in natural light without adding windows. Before cutting a big hole in the side of your house and rearranging the framing, consider less invasive-and less expensive-ways of capturing light. To brighten up a windowless bath or hallway, for instance, you can install a "light tube," which slips between roof rafters and funnels sunshine down into the living space.
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Save Money on Bathroom Modeling - Hit the recycling center. Do–it–yourselfers can reap big savings with recycled or lightly used fixtures and building materials. Habitat for Humanity operates about 400 ReStores nationwide, which offer salvaged materials at half off home–center prices. One caveat: Many contractors won't work with salvaged items, or homeowner–supplied materials in general, because they don't want to assume the liability if something goes wrong. That said, if you're doing your own work, you can find anything from prehung doors to acrylic skylights to partial bundles of insulation. (To find a ReStore near you, visit habitat.org.)
Save Money on Bathroom Modeling - Donate your trash. Before you begin a Remodeling job, invite the local Habitat for Humanity chapter to remove materials and fixtures for later resale. "About 85 percent of a house is reusable," says B.J. Perkins, Habitat's ReUse program manager, in Austin, Texas. "We can do a total takedown, or do a cherry-pick job and take the cabinets, the tub, the sink, and so on." You save space in the landfill, collect a charitable tax credit for the donation, and help a good cause. Visit Habitat's website (see Way to Save #3) to find an affiliate near you.
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Save Money on Bathroom Modeling - Do your own demo. Knocking down may not be as costly as rebuilding, but you can still shave dollars by doing some of the demolition yourself-as long as you proceed with care. "If a homeowner wants to demo a deck, well, I am sure they can handle that," says Michael Winn, owner of Winn Design, in Virginia. "But when it comes to interior spaces, I would dissuade them from doing it unless they have done it before." The reason: A reckless wrecker might unwittingly take out a load–bearing wall or, worse still, plunge a reciprocating saw into live wiring or pressurized plumbing. (For tips on how to do demo right, see our October 2005 feature, "Before You Construct, You Have to Destruct.")
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Caustic Soda: Get some rubber gloves and eye protection. Caustic soda (also known as Sodium Hydroxide) can cause nasty chemical burns. You can pick some up from your local hardware store, but always use caution handling it. Pour 3/4 gallon of cold water into a mop bucket, and then add 3 cups of caustic soda. Stir it well with an old wooden spoon. It will begin to fizz and heat up. Pour it into the clogged drain and leave for 20-30 minutes, then flush the drain with boiling water. Repeat if necessary.
Cleaning the Pipe: There are some plumbing jobs that I won't do, but this one is easy. First, place an empty bucket underneath the U-shaped pipe (the trap) beneath the sink. The bucket will collect the water that will spill. Using a plumber's wrench, loosen the slip nuts at both ends of the pipe. You should be able to finish the operation by hand. When the trap is free, remove it and turn it upside down, emptying the contents into the bucket. You may also need to fish around inside it for debris, and do the same with the pipes that were holding it. An old toothbrush is good for getting the tough gunk out. Rinse the trap with water and then put it all back together. In most cases, that will have done the trick.
The Drain Snake: This is a fairly low-tech piece of equipment that works wonders. It's basically a long flexible metal rope with a spiral of metal at the end. The following video shows you just what to do.
Salt and Baking Soda: Mix 1/2 cup of table salt with 1/2 cup of baking soda and pour down the blocked drain. Leave it for 10-20 minutes, then pour boiling water down. The salt, baking soda, and boiling water will produce a chemical reaction that should dissolve some of the nastiest blockages. (See also: 27 Uses for Baking Soda)