News from the Block, Innovate Building Solutions Blog
News from the Block, Innovate Building Solutions Blog
Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block
Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block

17 Money Savings Ideas to Stop Inflation from Blowing Up Your Bathroom or Shower Remodeling Project

Blog Post - Opening image 17 money saving bathroom remodeling ideas to curb inflation | Innovate Building Solutions #BathroomRemodel #ShowerRemodel #CustomBathroomRemodel

Are you SICK of hearing about ‘supply chain issues’ and ‘inflation?’ These are hot buttons not only for homeowners, but company owners as well. However, it’s comforting to know EVERY POLITICIAN looking to be elected is promising they have just the right formula to get rid of this problem (and if you believe that I’ve got some swamp land in Florida I’ve been trying to unload!).

And if you’ve had your hopes dashed of buying a new home because of high interest rates (due to inflation) or escalating material prices (due to COVID and worldwide supply chain issues), you may have come to the conclusion it’s smarter to stay in your current home and FINALLY remodel your bathroom, shower or kitchen instead.

And while I’d love to tell you a shower remodel or bathroom renovation will not get BLOWN UP by inflation, you’re way too smart for me to tell you that sort of nonsense.

However, what I can tell you is there are money-saving strategies you can use if you want to remodel your bathroom – or improve your bathtub or shower alcove. And the good news is I’m going to share 17 ideas to keep the lid on bathroom remodeling costs – and make this project at least a bit more cost-effective (and this is coming from a guy whose been in this bathroom remodeling business for far too many years and has the gray hairs to show for it).

So, without further delay let’s look at these 17 money-saving (and inflation busting) bathroom and shower remodeling tips. At the end I’d love to hear which ideas were helpful to you and/or other ideas you’ve used to save on a bath or shower remodeling project.

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #1 – Do it yourself….in places where you can’t screw it up

Rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself (vs. hiring a contractor) can be a huge cost saver IF (and that’s an important if) you’re not doing something which (done improperly) can cause you big problems or you need expensive tools to complete.

If you don’t have knowledge of plumbing or electrical – I would hire this work out to stay away from big problems an unproven installer (‘er DIYer) can create.

On the other hand, you can often save money by doing your own demo, painting, or installing grout free shower wall panels.

Bottom line – DIY where you can’t mess things up too bad. DO NOT DIY where you can cause big mistakes, especially with plumbing or electrical systems.

Idea 1 DIY laminate grout free wall panel install Innovate Building Solutions #GroutFreeWallPanels #LaminateShowerWallPanels #ShowerWallPanels

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Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #2 – Don’t buy a la carte! Look for systems. Combine deliveries.

When you buy things piece-meal, you can end up with problems (components which don’t work together) and additional costs (multiple deliveries because you’re buying things separately).

Consider this. When buying a bathroom vanity look for a system which includes the cabinet, top and bowl sold together.

Idea 2 complete bath vanity with cabinet top bowl Innovate Building Solutions #BathroomVanity #BathroomSink #BathroomCabinet

Or – if you’re replacing an alcove shower – buy a complete shower kit (which includes the shower pan, shower wall panels and the glass door). This approach can save money vs. buying each element separately (and paying separate shipment charges for each). And plus, you’ll know the ‘complete shower replacement kit’ is designed for everything to work together.

Idea 2 complete alcove shower kit white marble panels Innovate Building Solutions #AlcoveShower #AlcoveShowerKit #ShowerReplacementKit

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Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #3 – Look to barter or negotiate costs away.

Here is a Ripley’s Believe It or Not thought for you.

Fighting bathroom inflation can be a creative process you can tame with bartering and negotiating.

You see maybe the contractor you’re looking to hire is in need of your services. For example, let’s say you have a business which does web design, or provides accounting or tax assistance – you may be able to barter away costs with your contractor by exchanging services (although pulling out your ‘magic beans’ – like you’ll see in the cartoon below – may not be an enticing thing to offer – ha! ha!).

Idea 3 using barter to save money on bathroom remodel Innovate Building Solutions #BathroomOrganization #BathroomStorage #ShowerRemodel

And certainly, don’t be afraid to ask your contractor – straight up – ‘what can we do to take costs out of this project? Maybe they have cost-saving ideas which will give you the same look, but with less labor or material costs. This conversation can be a friendly way to ‘negotiate’ costs away without feeling like you’re dickering with the Sales Manager while buying a used car.

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #4 – ‘Faux away’ excessive costs with ‘look-alike’ products which save time, money, and labor

Today’s contractors are not only getting hammered (yes, this bad carpentry pun WAS intended) with higher material costs, but they’re also not paying their team (or subcontractors) the same wages they were a few years ago!

Consequently, if you want to keep a lid on inflation costs you need to find stylish products which take a scalpel to run-away labor costs.

One product to look at are grout free shower and bathtub surround panels vs. using tile. The ability to find tile setters has never been worse. In addition, tiling your walls and shower floors drastically increases labor costs and lengthens the time to get the job completed.

Idea 4 blue herringbone 90 degree wall panels Innovate Building Solutions #HerringboneShowerWallPanel #GroutFreeShowerWallPanels #TileNoTileLook

Another labor-saving product to consider are grout free shower pans. These pans install quickly – and don’t have the problems of tile grout joints which get moldy and are a pain to maintain.

Idea 4 low threshold white marble stone shower pan Innovate Building Solutions #ModernLowProfileShowerPan #ShowerBases #ShowerPans

Get Free Samples!

Click here to request free samples of our Laminated Waterproof Shower Wall Panels.

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #5 – Don’t be a P.I.A (or P.I.B.) prospect or customer!

OK – if you don’t know what a P.I.A. or a P.I.B is – I’m going to tell with a P.I.B. is since this is a ‘family-friendly bathroom blog’ and I don’t swear. A P.I.B. is a…

Pain In the Butt

Idea 5 - PIB customer 4 arguing over bath remodel job Innovate Building Solutions #Remodel #BathroomRemodel #ShowerRemodel

So right now, I’m going to tell you a dirty little secret about contractors most bathroom remodeling company owners will not share with you. And that’s when a potential contractor sniffs out on the initial sales call, you’re going to be a P.I.A. (or P.I.B.) they’ll ‘price you accordingly’ (OK, that’s slang for – if they’re going to bid your job at all – they’re going to jack up the prices).

And you may be wondering why a contractor might see you as a ‘PIB’ customer? Here’s a few things which will tip them off you’ll be a pain and will cause your price to be higher.

  • PIB customer #1 – You don’t give your potential contractor the ‘time of day.’ You treat the contractor on the initial appointment like the ‘hired hand.’ You’re ‘too important’ and ‘too busy’ to deal with them. Your lack of interest makes the contractor think the chance of this job selling isn’t high, so they give it minimal effort – and price it higher just in case you do decide to order.


  • PIB customer #2 – You don’t have a clue what you want. While most contractors will help you think through your project, if you’re completely undecided, they’ll know they’re going to waste (‘er invest) A LOT of time with you in the bidding process. This will add extra administrative costs, which need to be included in the proposal. Do you research and have inspirational photos ready BEFORE the initial appointment.


  • PIB customer #3 – You make unrealistic lead time expectations – After you decide you want to do a job, it’s natural (even though this bathroom has been a disaster for years) to want it done yesterday. However, if you give the contractor unrealistic time expectations, they could either no-bid the job (‘er blow you off after the after the initial appointment and never submit a proposal) – or add so much money the job becomes unaffordable.


  • PIB customer #4 – You and your partner/spouse ‘go postal’ arguing in front of the contractor – No contractor (and no one) wants to be included in your relationship problems. Better contractors will walk away from people when they smell they’ll be in the middle of your rocky relationship while trying to profitably complete the job. Do your own ‘negotiating’ (‘er arguing) about what you want before you meet potential contractors.


  • PIB customer #5 – You ask to price out a million ‘scenarios.’ – Bidding a bathroom remodel is time-consuming. And while you want to know where the ‘value’ is on your job, don’t ask to price every small detail out. It becomes so frustrating, better contractors likely move on without bidding your job at all.

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #6 – Don’t change your bathroom layout

The minute you change the layout (and want to take down walls and move plumbing) is the minute your cost ‘meter’ starts running on overdrive.

The simplest way to prevent project ‘scope-creep’ (which is the wording used in the remodeling industry to say the size and complexity of the project keeps growing) is to keep your shower where it’s at. Keep your toilet where it’s at. And keep your vanity where it’s at. Moving plumbing is EX-PEN-SIVE!

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #7 – If you have cash, buy now, ship later  

In many building material categories prices continue to escalate. Supplies are lower than what distributors would like. However, a way you can have your own ‘hedge against inflation’ is to ask the supplier (even if the job isn’t ready now) if you can buy the product now (at today’s prices) and have it shipped later (when you need it).

Idea 7 delivery truck buy now ship wall panels later Innovate Building Solutions #BuyNowShipLater #BathroomRemodelProducts #ShowerDoors

This strategy locks in your prices and prevents products from sitting around too long in your home and taking up room you may not. It also ensures the selection you like will be available when you do need it.

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #8 – DO NOT finance the project like your college son or daughter would with a shiny, new credit card in their hand

There’s nothing like a ‘college-kid’ (‘er young adult) with their first credit card. It’s a bonanza. It’s ‘free money.’ Of course, that’s until the unpaid bill keeps coming and the ‘loan-shark credit card fees’ are piling up. That’s when they start to learn about the ‘time value of money’ (as my professors used to say in my Carnegie-Mellon University b-school classes).

And although college students with their first credit card can be ‘excused’ from learning this painful financing lesson, there are also adults using forms of credit which do them no favors controlling the final project costs.

If you need to finance, see if you’re eligible for a personal loan or home equity line of credit. If you get financing through your contractor, pay attention to the interest rates being charged, or what costs kick in after the ‘same as cash’ period is over.

And unless you have the money to pay the credit card off when it comes in, DO NOT start a remodeling job and plan on paying for it over the next year using your credit card. That’ll be a painful lesson which will add 20+% in additional costs.

Idea 8 don't use credit cards to buy bath remodeling project Innovate Building Solutions #BathroomRemodelingProject #RemodelingProject #TubToShowerConversion

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #9 – Learn how to make ‘custom’ less expensive

I know the word ‘custom’ in a bathroom remodeling project sends chills up your spine. But I’ve got good news you’ll want to hear. There are cases where a ‘custom size’ can be designed to use mostly standard products.

For example, let’s say you have a 66” wide x 32” deep shower. Then you hear the bad news you’ve got a custom size. Well there’s a way to ‘fake this’ size out and make a standard size shower pan, shower glass and even wall panel system work.

To use a standard 60 x 32 shower pan, add a framed ‘accessory ledge’ in the back with a 6” wide framed wall in front of the ledge to make the rest of the shower is standard. This will save money – and get you more storage.

And here’s a second idea. If you have a custom size – but don’t want the expense (and maintenance) of a time-consuming tile shower –look at custom cultured granite shower pans and modular grout free wall panel systems. They’ll save money AND lower your costs of maintaining the shower.

And lastly if you measure your space and need a 53” wide vanity, consider using an off-the shelf 48” vanity where you can choose from 7 styles, 6 colors, 11 tops and 2 bowls AND get the product shipped in 2 days (and no you’re not reading that wrong).

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Idea 9 48 inch Cade bathroom vanity Innovate Building Solutions #BathroomVanity #BathroomMirror #BathroomCabinets

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #10 – Check out referral sites. Ask friends for contractors you can trust

Finding a high-integrity contractor who prices fairly – yet knows what they’re doing – isn’t easy. This is the reason you don’t want to choose a bathroom remodeling contractor without asking for referrals.

Check out Angie’s List or your Facebook or NextDoor groups. Call family, friends, and neighbors. Make sure you’re working with quality people who won’t ‘take your money’ and run – or take advantage of your lack of construction knowledge.

Idea 10 nextdoor app for referrals Innovate Building Solutions #BathroomRemodel #ShowerRemodel #ModernLowProfileShowerPans

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #11 – Consider a cosmetic upgrade vs. a ‘full gut’

While you may be tempted to ‘go hog-wild,’ a bathroom remodel should be thoughtful, strategic, consider your home’s market value, and factor in how long you plan to stay in this home.

And if you’re only planning to stay for a few years, or your home is already valued on the ‘high-side’ of the market, consider cosmetic upgrades vs. a full g

Some basic upgrade ideas would be replacing the shower or bathtub surround walls with grout free panels for a fresh look. Or consider repainting, adding new fixtures or lighting. It is possible to spend less than a full redo, and still get a new bathroom which is a big upgrade over your old one.

Idea 11 laminate bathtub surround panels Innovate Building Solutions #BathtubSurroundPanels #LaminateBathtubSurroundPanels #ShowerAccessories

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #12 – Be your own delivery driver. Pick up materials 

As you likely know, domestic freight rates these days are nothing to sneeze at. So – if you have access to a truck, van, or SUV, get prices for products delivered and picked up. You may find more savings here than you think by becoming your own delivery truck driver.

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #13 – Don’t spend money foolishly. Buy for value. Estimate the ‘full price’ of materials PLUS labor.

It’s easy to be fooled thinking you ‘got such a great deal,’ when you scoop up a product with the lowest advertised price. However, before you get excited about the ‘great deal’ you scored, make sure to compare what you’re getting. Some factors to look at:

  • If you’re buying a shower pan, figuring out what the base is made of? Will it flex when the ‘big boys and big girls’ in your family get in? What’s the warranty? Will it come with a drain kit, or will this be your extra cost?

Idea 13 low profile gray stone shower base Innovate Building Solutions #ShowerBases #ShowerPans #StoneShowerBases

  • If you’re putting in bath or shower surround, look not only at product costs but what additional materials and tools are needed to install the product in the pattern you like. For example, just because you find a shower wall tile which is cheap, if you’re looking at having a tile setter lay it in a 45 degree herringbone design, you’ll find it’s A LOT more expensive installed than just the cost of the tiles in the box. For situations like this grout free wall panels are far more cost effective.

Idea 13 white laminate 45 degree herringbone wall panels Innovate Building Solutions #ShowerWallPanels #LaminateShowerWallPanels #WaterproofLaminateShowerWallPanels

  • If you’re buying a glass shower door, see how thick the door is. And if you’re buying a sliding glass barn door or a bypass shower door (which is most common), ask if there’s enough space for your 6’1” spouse to walk in without ducking so they won’t bang their head.

Idea 13 matte black grid style sliding shower door Innovate Building Solutions #ShowerDoors #BypassShowerDoor #GlassShowerDoors

Get Free Samples!

Click here to request free samples of our Laminated Waterproof Shower Wall Panels.

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #14 – Get multiple quotes

Even if you meet (or talk to) the first contractor or supplier and just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them, it’s still wise to get multiple quotes. When you talk to others, you’ll get a deeper understanding about the project and make smarter decisions. Besides, you’ll also make sure the prices you’ve received are fair.

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #15 – Consider your material options. Don’t ‘jump on’ your first selection

You saw the white Vienna quartz vanity top and fell in love with it. It’s stylish. It’s unique. It’s simple to clean. What’s not to love? OK, the price isn’t as lovely as you would have wished.

And while you’d like the ‘best of everything,’ you know your beer budget doesn’t keep pace with your champagne tastes.

So, while the quartz top is at the top (pun intended) of your list, you could also save a few bucks with a natural stone or cultured granite vanity countertop instead.

Idea 15 Cade with boulder cultured marble top Innovate Building Solutions #CulturedMarbleVanityTop #BathroomVanity #BathroomCounters

Before buying, compare material grades so you don’t get ‘overinvested’ in one component of your bathroom and have to go ‘budget-basement’ on everything else.  

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #16 – Eliminate ‘restarts.’ Buy ALL materials before starting

One factor which really wreaks havoc with a bathroom remodeling budget is when the project goes through multiple starts and stops because what you need is out of stock. Then your contractor breaks the bad news they’re going to have to charge you more money, because they have to come back weeks (or possibly months) later.

Money permitting, it’s smart to source all materials before beginning the job to eliminate restart costs.

Inflation busting shower & bathroom remodeling idea #17 – Make a trip to your local ‘restore’ to reduce spending

There’s nothing wrong with hunting for building material bargains, and perhaps there’s no better place to do this than with ‘Restores’ or building material outlets which specialize in close outs. There you can find unused paint, hardware or an old ladder which makes the perfect towel holder for your Modern Farmhouse bathroom. Besides a little bargain shopping can be fun.

So, which money-saving bath or shower remodeling tips were helpful to you? How can me – or my team – help you next?

I know when it comes to bathroom or shower remodeling there’s A LOT of moving parts. There’s plenty of things which can go ‘upside down’ when you ‘open the patient up’ (‘er demo out the old and see what’s behind your walls). However, no matter what products you use, or people you hire, it’s always smart to learn more BEFORE plunking down your hard-earned money.

And while I hope these 17 money-saving bathroom ideas have given you practical insights, I also recognize this article was not written after looking specifically at your ‘wonderful’ (being sarcastic here) bathroom.

And if you want personalized help with your job (both with bathroom products or installation ideas) click for a Free Design Consultation, or call 877-668-5888.

And if you’re looking for a nicer shower kit installed in your Cleveland Ohio home, call The Bath Doctor at 216-531-6085. If you’re outside Cleveland Ohio (which is undoubtedly most of you) ask for a referral to one of our installing dealers).

Thanks for reading and putting up with my wacky humor!



If you want more advice (with less wacky humor because you’ll see the ‘buttoned-up’ business version of me) follow me on LinkedIn @MikeFoti.

And if you’re a bathroom remodeling contractor interested in being a dealer of unique shower wall panels, shower pans and glass shower door systems and purchasing quality shower kits, call 888-467-7488 and ask for Mike.

Mike Foti

President of Innovate Building Solutions a nationwide supplier and regional (Cleveland and Columbus) remodeling contractors. Some of our product lines include glass counters, floors, backsplashes, glass blocks and grout free shower and tub wall panels

Comments (2)

  • Am planning to replace my (single sink) vanity/mirror set and maybe redo the floor tile of my small bathroom. Was considering a floating vanity, but after reading pros and cons I may just go with one that has feet. At any rate, I enjoyed reading your advice articles w/the humor injected!
    Mahalo from Hawaii

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