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Every homeowner knows that improvement projects around the house have a tendency to go wild and break budgets. That’s certainly the case with tile work, but it absolutely does not have to be the way. Having a clear-eyed plan, shopping intelligently, and doing some—if not all—of the work by yourself are some of the surest ways to freshen up your house on a budget. The goal here is to guide you on the rarest of all home improvement paths: one that proves to be shockingly affordable. So, let’s take a look at ways you can spruce up the place with fresh tile without blasting a big hole in your savings. Whether you’re down to roll up those sleeves and get in there or you’d like to hire out the work, we’ll show you ways to proceed without wasting money.
Craft a plan and stick with it.
One of the surest ways to drain your savings on a home improvement project is to change course mid-stream. Develop a clear vision for what you want and then go for it. Don’t go in with a vague idea. Know how you want your kitchen or bathroom or foyer or wherever to end up, and bring that vision to life. With a plan in place, you can begin shopping for supplies—if you’re going to do the work—and tile; when you don’t need to buy now, you can hunt for bargains. Ceramic and porcelain tile are great cost-effective options. Porcelain is harder and a bit more expensive than ceramic. The added hardness makes it a bit more difficult to cut. For that reason, lots of do-it-yourselfers prefer passing porcelain work along to professionals. Of course, that comes with an added cost, as well, but porcelain’s hardness also gives it an edge in durability over ceramic.
Lots of homeowners mess up on the front end by ball-parking the amount of tile they need and ending up with the wrong amount. Of course, it’s not so great to buy too much, but buying too little can be a problem too, especially when you head back for more and can’t find it anymore. So, measure the space and buy accordingly—you should always end up with an extra box or two, so you have it down the road in case any tiles get damaged and need to be replaced.
Hire a pro.
Not only does crafting a clear-eyed plan well in advance give you the opportunity to look for deals on materials, but it helps you in the contractor department, too, if you choose to go that route. The longer you wait, the likelier that your chosen contractor will be booked. You should also keep seasonality in mind. Most homeowners choose to spruce up their abodes during the spring and summer—this holds true even for interior work—so locking down a contractor during the offseason won’t only give you more contractors to choose from, but it should get you a better price, too; it’s simply a matter of supply and demand.
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But don’t simply be wooed by the cheapest contractor. Be wary of estimates that blow away all competition; there might be a not-so-great reason behind the “value.” Always vet your contractor. Take a look at online reviews. See examples of their work. And, if you can, speak with former clients.
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The surest way to save money is to install the tile yourself. Laying tile, especially if you’re working with ceramic, is something most do-it-yourselfers with a little get up and go can handle.
But if you ultimately don’t want to break out your tile cutter and do the work yourself, at least consider doing what you can to ready the space for your contractor. All the work you do in advance will save you money; this includes everything from buying the tile to ripping up old flooring.
Whether you’ll be laying the tile yourself or hiring it out, having a clear vision and a time frame that allows for smart shopping are the surest ways to keep money in your pocket. And if your tile work comes in under budget, who knows what you’ll be inspired to take on next?
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