How I Saved $6718 On Home Renovations

I hate carpet.

It’s impossible to keep clean, especially with kids or pets.

As my readers know, I’ve been searching for a better flooring option. But the problem is that home renovations are expensive! I’ve looked into hardwood floors and tiles as possible alternatives to my 7 year old carpet. Thanks for all of your suggestions!  I agree with DC, Joe, and Jen that hardwood is warm, inviting, and long term.  And thanks to  Femme Fruagality, LaurieBarbara for suggesting laminate as another option.

I’ve come up with a solution! I agree with Cat that my house would look gorgeous with the wood tiles. So, I’ve decided to replace my carpet with a tile that looks like wood.

It would cost $10,125  to install this tile upstairs and downstairs, plus an extra $2,000 just for the stairs! Apparently,  tile is expensive on the stairs because it’s labor intensive! But, as Brian at Luke1428 suggested, I could go with a dual solution.

And, home renovations are great DIY projects if you know what you’re doing or can find videos of someone else who knows what they’re doing!

The Solution:

Downstairs: Tile that looks like wood (installed by a local professional): $5,125

Upstairs: Inexpensive carpet (also installed by a local professional) approximately: $1,000

The stairs: Remove the carpet, sand the stairs, and paint them to match the tile (DIY project): $57

Everywhere: We’re painting the condo, instead of paying someone else $1000 to do it: $225

Total costs: $6407

The Savings:

Overall, the adjustments to the project and doing the stairs ourselves will save $6718! Obviously, I could save more money by just doing the entire project myself (but I don’t have the skills to do that!) or by not doing any home renovations (but it’s really time to get rid of this carpet!)

The Stairs Renovation: Phase 1

Here’s the first phase of the Stairs Renovation. I think I’m more excited about the stairs that the rest of the flooring because it’s relatively easy DIY project. The plan is to remove the carpet from the stairs, sand them, then paint the steps dark brown to match the new wood tile and the risers white.

Step 1: Remove the Carpet using pliers. I was surprised by how simple it was to remove the carpet.

Step 2: Remove the carpet pads. The carpet pads also easy to remove by simply pulling them off the stairs. Some of the adhesive will be left but we’ll remove it when we sand the steps later.

The carpet pads will be easy to remove.

The carpet pads will be easy to remove.

Step 3: Remove the tacking strips. This step takes a little more effort because we had to pry off the tacking strips. Remember to use eye protection in case any of those nails going flying towards you!

Step 4: Remove any additional nails. Luckily, my stairs had very few additional nails to remove.

best with another tool

Step 5: Vaccum up the dirt, sand, and anything else. Use a shop vaccuum to cut down on the dust flying around your house.This is will be gross! I was shocked and disgusted by how dirty my steps were after 7 years of wear and tear. Remember to keep on those goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands.

Vaccuum the steps to cut down on dust

Vaccuum the steps to cut down on dust

Step 6: Sand the stairs (This will take several hours!) Borrow an electric sander from a friend and get coarse sand paper. Then sand each step to remove the paint and smooth the wood. This will obviously create a lot of dust so use plastic sheeting to section off the stairs from the rest of the house.

Sanding was the most time consuming!

Sanding was the most time consuming!

The Next Steps:

We’re painting the condo, instead of paying someone else $1000 to do it. Once that’s done, it’s on the Phase 2 of the Stairs Remodel. Phase 2 is  painting the steps  to match the new wood tile and paintnig the risers white.

Come back soon to read about Phase 2!

Any advice on the flooring remodel? Have you done a similar project?

Leave a comment

  1. says

    I hate carpet too. I lived with it for 7 years in my old apartment but when I bought my house I went with bamboo floors. So much easier to clean. I also considered the wood like tile for my basement. They are beautiful but it was over my budget for the basement so I went with a lower priced tile. Home renovations are expensive but there’s a lot to learn.

    • says

      Yes, you’re right! It’s expensive and there is a ton to learn. I’m glad I chose the wood like tile because its beautiful and durable. But I did consider all of less expensive options because it does cost so much.

    • says

      Thanks! We’ve been so busy finishing up the project since we decided to do the painting, baseboards, and stairs ourselves. I took lots of pictures so I’m planning on writing the update next week :)

  2. says

    Our current house is all tiled (so weird!) and it’s a first for me. The good thing about no carpet is I can convince the husband to clean more often since it’s way more obvious when the floors are dirty.

  3. says

    Looking forward to seeing the finished product! I have not done any flooring projects but we NEED to really soon because our carpet is pretty bad. I am not sure what to choose yet in case we do a bigger remodel down the road – who wants to replace flooring twice in a short period of time?

  4. says

    Ahhh I’m so excited to see Phase 2! Honestly, when I’ve helped with renovations before removing carpet and tack was my favorite part. Probably because I was so excited that I was actually able to do it lol. I think you’ve got a great plan, and you’re saving a ton of money by doing it this way!

    • says

      Thanks! I agree with you and I was excited just to start this carpet and finally get rid of the carpet! Everything went quickly expect for sanding the stairs. In excited to start phase 2, hopefully this week before my new floors are installed! Busy week! Thanks for stopping by 😉

  5. says

    Looks like you’re doing a great job! I did loads of work when we renovated our first place and it saved us a fortune. I did resort to getting the pro’s in for some of the more technical stuff though.

  6. says

    Monica, I have a friend that just put those wood stamped tiles in his downstairs area (he has a split level) and they look amazing. I think you made a fine choice.

    I like seeing pictures of other people’s DIY projects, but I never cared much for doing them myself. :) That said, I have a WIP project in my basement that has been on hold for a few months. I really need to finish that one up, but then my wife will just cook up another one!

  7. says

    I love me a good DIY project! Good for you! I used to hate carpet but know what? I miss it! I have hardwood throughout the home except the basement and the dust bunnies DRIVE ME CRAZY. I miss being able to just vacuum it all and I miss the warmth. My next home will have carpeted bedrooms, hardwood or alike everywhere else and I like carpet in the basement so will also have carpet in the basement/family room.

  8. Scott W says

    I love your site and really appreciate the photos which helps us get a feel for the project.

    My wife and I hated our kitchen cabinets but didn’t want to pay a fortune to replace them. My wife who is the handy one, did a ton of research and ended up painting our old cheap cabinets with a special chalk paint and got new hardware. I’m biased but I think they look fantastic. It looks like we spent $10,000 on a new kitchen and it was about $200.

    If you know what our doing you can really make your house look nice without spending a fortune.

  9. says

    Great job so far. I think our next place will be a fixer upper if we can find the right one. I’d like to work on it a little bit at a time. I’d probably pay someone to paint our rental home. I just don’t have the time and I’d want to get it done ASAP so I can rent it out.

    • says

      Thanks Joe! I completely understand paying someone else to paint a house, especially to paint a rental house. Painting is inexpensive but so time consuming. We just finished painting my the downstairs of my condo and it took several days. Good luck on your painting project and happy new year!

  10. Al says

    I hate carpet too! Go figure. You have a very well thought out plan and are exexcutintg it perfectly. And you look great doing it…

  11. says

    Not bad! I love the wood tile, but our subfloors wouldn’t support it. We just renovated our entire kitchen and living areas and went with a pergo laminate wood. So far so good. I wanted durable since I have a kid and dogs. It just depends on the type though! The first laminate we had was by Armstrong and it was awful. We got it replaced thankfully. About 1800sqft cost us $3200 installed, including a few stairs. The rest of the house is carpet. One day I want hardwood throughout, but the $14,000 quote for just a few rooms was a turn off this year! :) Can’t wait to see how your stairs turn out!

    • says

      Wow, I agree with you Angella! $14,000 is expensive for hardwood in a few rooms, even if it is beautiful. It sounds like you choose the right option for your kitchen and living areas with the laminate, it’s certainly a much better price too. LIke any flooring, getting the right type is so important. I did a lot of research with local companies and online before finally picking a tile and an installer. It certainly takes time and effort to find the right choice. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. says

    Nice! I bought a fixer and gutted the house, so it’s been quite a project! We did the flooring ourselves, and when I say we, I mean my husband. We ended up doing a dark bamboo flooring which came out nice.

    I really like the tile that looks like wood that you picked and a local college near me did that with their high traffic cafeteria renovation. It came out really nice and it holds up really good (so far!) I think we are going that route in the “man cave”. Glad to see that you were able to tackle the stairs! That’s the next project and we need to start step 6 soon! Good luck with your renovation!

    • says

      Thanks for the inspiration, Kate! I’m guessing you probably saved thousands by doing the flooring yourselves instead of paying someone, that’s awesome. Good luck with your man cave, I think a wood tile is a good option for a room like that because it’s durable and easy to clean.

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