Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

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Cobra Commander
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Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Cobra Commander » Mon May 06, 2019 8:31 am

Our master bathroom shower is about 20 years old. The shower door frame is out of square so no longer closes and, more importantly, something in the shower is leaking. Since we most likely will need to tear out the plastic shower pan we are considering just updating the whole bathroom (although we will also get a quote to just fix the shower). These are the various components of the job and my general thoughts but I am happy to hear other input or lessons learned from experiences others have had. I know this project is going to cost a considerable amount of money so to the extent there are cost saving ideas I am open to those as well. I would like the bathroom to be nice enough but it does not need to be super fancy. Size-wise I think my bathroom is about 225 sq. feet (15 x 15). Shower is about 60 inches long and bathroom vanity is 70 inches long.
Tile: We are probably going to get ceramic or porcelain. We found designs that we like, they are generally low cost and, most importantly, are extremely durable with no requirement to seal or otherwise maintain them as compared to say marble that has to be sealed periodically. We will probably get a masonary base in the shower vs. replacing the plastic shower pan type thing we have now. I think it would also be a good investment to replace the plumbing fixture (water mixing valve, etc.) inside the wall since the existing one is 20 years old.
Grout: I have not thought much about this but to the extent there is any kind of grout that is mold/mildew resistant or otherwise easy to clean I would gladly pay extra for this grout.
Shower door: I think we will be getting a frameless shower door. I have not done any research on them yet so I am not sure what factors affect the price of the door other than perhaps the thickness of the glass. Not sure what else I need to consider on the shower door.
Bathroom Vanity: I have done a little research on these but not much. I was hoping I could buy something off the shelf like at Lowes or Home Depot but I was concerned about whether they would fit properly. It seems like the other alternative is to buy a bathroom vanity without a countertop and have a granite/quartz fabricator install the top. It seems like the advantage to this approach would be that the top of the countertop would fit flush with the wall.
Faucets: I quickly looked at faucets and some are really expensive but I wonder if we find something at Home Depot if we could just get that and be fine? It's not like the kitchen faucet that gets used all the time so I wonder how much we have to spend to get something that will be reasonably durable.
Tub: We will probably not be replacing the tub because we never use it. We have a 90's era house with the raised/platform type sunk in tub. I considered tearing out the tub but it seems like this will cost a lot both in terms of labor and because we would have to buy a new tub that we never use.
Professionals: I think we will just need a tiling person and a plumber. I am hoping that if there is any subfloor rot under the shower that the tiling person can fix that too? Are we better off going with a remodeling company that handles everything or hiring individual professionals (i.e. tile guy and plumber?). I feel the most nervous about this aspect because I lack the technical skill to know what questions to ask or to evaluate the quality of the provider other than say picking someone with a lot of good Yelp reviews or a referral by a neighbor.

Anything else I am missing that we need to consider? Also, if there are any showrooms you guys can recommend in Northern VA that have a decent selection of vanities and shower doors I would appreciate the suggestions. It would be nice to evaluate the sturdiness of these items before purchasing.

EDIT: The master bathroom looks sort of like this (although obviously in mine everything is builder grade and my tub is at an angle as are the windows): https://www.houzz.com/photos/benda-resi ... p~21531248
Last edited by Cobra Commander on Tue May 07, 2019 10:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

Index24
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Index24 » Mon May 06, 2019 8:51 am

Consider going to Lowe's or Home Depot and getting them to the job. I had two bathrooms redone (total gut jobs) by Lowe's and the experience was fine. I don't have any appreciable experience with doing bathroom remodeling work so standing back and watching them do all of it was OK with me. Lowe's offers a warranty on the work and they deal with the contractors too.

renue74
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by renue74 » Mon May 06, 2019 8:51 am

I do a lot of rehab on rental property and a couple flip houses. If you go with a remodeling company, it's pricey. $10K to $20K is the going rate in my area for a complete bathroom remodel.

If you do the shower, get an installer to install a Schulter or Wedi shower system. They are good water proof barriers.

Off the shelf vanities at HD or Lowes is fine. You'll probably end up paying $750 to $2000 for one of those...especially a 60" to 70" one.

Reconsider your tub. If you're going to drop $ on a remodel....go ahead and do it all. This is good for resale. So somebody doesn't walk in and say, "oh...the tub is old." Because that's an initial negative thought the buyer will keep with them. If you rehab the whole bathroom, there's no negative thinking.

These days, folks are opting for free standing tubs. I know...you don't use it. But at least it will look "new."

When you demo the shower make sure all the studs have no water damage. Showers are notorious for damage. Also make sure subflooring and joists are sound.

Think about your lighting needs. Maybe some nice, small 2" recessed lights above the shower or new vanity lights.

Think about a shower niche.

Shower doors are pricey....you'll end up dropping $1000K to $2000K just for the door. If you do spec it, make sure that when the user opens the door that it does not "hide" the towel rack. It sucks to have to get out of the shower, close the door AND then get the towel from the rack.

Also....make sure the user can turn the shower on from outside the shower enclosure.

Hope this helps.

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Watty
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Watty » Mon May 06, 2019 8:53 am

No good answers to your questions but one thing to add to your list would be making the the bathroom as handicap friendly as possible since if you are going to remodel anyway there are a lot of things you can do that don't cost a lot like using a wider door, the general layout, and having grab rails in the shower. You might not only need these when you are older but I have also known people that had limited mobility after being in a car accident.

veindoc
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by veindoc » Mon May 06, 2019 8:54 am

I spent a lot of time hunting down bargains on faucets, tubs, and vanities and found that the online bargains are the same as buying at HD or Lowe’s. Online has more variety. Cost very much the same for same brand name.
For example, Kohler is the same price online or at HD. Online you can find high end brands such Hans grohe faucets and Toto toilets but if you are not trying to make this a super high end bathroom just a functional aesthetically pleasing one, your big box store will be fine.

Frameless shower doors are expensive FYI. Consider framed to cut costs.

I would leave the tub but consider redoing the tile around it. In my opinion nothing looks worse than a half renovated bathroom. I had one. My brother has one and it just looks odd. On one side you are looking at 1990’s and the other 20xx. Just weird and frankly ugly.

Shallowpockets
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Shallowpockets » Mon May 06, 2019 9:00 am

We redid our shower using Lowes. We used the Onyx Collection. Durable, nice looking, low maintainence. One piece walls and pan. No grout at all. Very pleased. We did away with the tub and had only shower put in. In reality a tub is not ever used and it is a fall risk getting in and out as you age. With shower pan the footprint of where you stand is much greater than with a tub.

HomeStretch
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by HomeStretch » Mon May 06, 2019 9:12 am

Costco has well-priced solid wood vanities with counter/sink in quartz, etc.

As this is the master bath, consider replacing rid of the outdated tub.

Install a very quiet exhaust fan. I gave one that also produces heat to warm the bathroom on cold mornings.

JGoneRiding
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by JGoneRiding » Mon May 06, 2019 9:19 am

Shallowpockets wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 9:00 am
We redid our shower using Lowes. We used the Onyx Collection. Durable, nice looking, low maintainence. One piece walls and pan. No grout at all. Very pleased. We did away with the tub and had only shower put in. In reality a tub is not ever used and it is a fall risk getting in and out as you age. With shower pan the footprint of where you stand is much greater than with a tub.
You don't use it! As a mother of a 2 year old I despise the fact that I think they took the tub out of the master and i have 4 bathrooms and only one tub. Both me and my 70 yr old mother enjoy taking a bath as a relaxation. If I ever remodeled a nice stand alone soaking tub would be the only reason.

IngognitoUSA
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by IngognitoUSA » Mon May 06, 2019 9:28 am

Put in lots of outlets.

Curious about the fan that blows hot air as mentioned earlier, would love to hear more about it.

snowox
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by snowox » Mon May 06, 2019 9:56 am

Start here https://www.houzz.com/photos/bath-ideas-phbr0-bp~t_711 I just re-did my bathroom /total gut job and used Houzz for alot of my designing and then shopped around. I ended up buying the bathroom vanity, faucets, granite counter top and mirror though through Houzz as it was the best deal. Just take some time planning and looking and you can save a bundle.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon May 06, 2019 10:12 am

> We found designs that we like, they are generally low cost and, most importantly, are extremely durable with no requirement to seal or otherwise maintain them as compared to say marble that has to be sealed periodically.

If you buy low end tile almost all of the cost will be in the installation. Midrange may get you a better look for little more money.

As noted above, a good system for sealing from water in back of the tile is critical.

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FIREchief
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by FIREchief » Mon May 06, 2019 10:18 am

Last year we started down the path to a bathroom remodel and, based upon initial contractor inputs, decided to just sell the house instead! That might be a bit of hyperbole, but not much. In some areas of the country/communities, I believe it is much easier. In my larger metropolitan area, I've heard nothing but horror stories. Either you pay the "do it all" turn-key contractor twice what it should cost (e.g. $30K+) or put yourself at the mercy of a general contractor who hires work out to a bunch of low bidders that take forever and do a crappy job. I wish I had some more positive suggestions. I think earlier posts about going through one of the big box stores might be good advice. At least there is a clear delineation between material costs and installation costs, and you know what you're getting for fixtures, etc. I would recommend going with a stand alone vanity versus something more "built in." That will allow an easy upgrade ten - twenty years from now when the vanity starts to look a bit tired. I would never go with anything other than a frameless shower door, and I would minimize grout wherever possible. If the house has suspect plumbing, I would also have the bathroom area totally replumbed while the walls, etc. were torn out. Best wishes.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

HomeStretch
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by HomeStretch » Mon May 06, 2019 10:38 am

IngognitoUSA wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 9:28 am
Put in lots of outlets.

Curious about the fan that blows hot air as mentioned earlier, would love to hear more about it.
I have a Panasonic similar to the one linked below in all bathrooms with a shower/tub.
- Installed 7 years ago and no issues.
- maintenance involves dusting vents periodically to maintain good airflow.
- Takes about 10 minutes to eliminate the winter chill. I don’t have radiant floor heat.
- Check specs/reviews to make sure it’s quiet.
- other features I would value if available would be (1) fan with moisture sensor auto on/off if you have family members that are not good about running fan after bathing; and (2) timer to turn heater on about 10 minutes before showers if you have a set bathing time each day.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Panasonic-W ... /203762030

investingdad
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by investingdad » Mon May 06, 2019 10:43 am

We did a frameless glass shower door. Not cheap, but worth it. It feels solid and not flimsy like the framed doors that you have to pull hard to fully close.

Consider radiant, electric heat under the floor if your bathroom tends to get cold. Ours is over the garage and on the north side of the house. Tile feels a lot colder than linoleum.

HomeStretch
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by HomeStretch » Mon May 06, 2019 10:46 am

+1 on frameless glass doors. Don’t get one with a metal track installed on the threshold. It hurts if you step on it plus a pain to clean as it can accumulate mold.

Gladiators2Swansons
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Gladiators2Swansons » Mon May 06, 2019 10:52 am

We had our master bathroom redone recently.

The impetus for our project was like yours – we wanted to proactively replace the cracked original fiberglass shower. We also decided to redo the entire bathroom instead of just replacing the shower. A builder grade shower stall and separate tub were replaced by a single, walk-in, doorless shower.

If your shower and tub are next to each other, removing the tub and going with a larger shower might be an option. I doubt removing the tub would add much cost – our tub was no match for a Sawzall.

It doesn’t sound like you’re doing this, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it’s ‘economical’ to redo the bathroom since you were going to replace the shower anyway. Home Depot sells new shower inserts for under $1,000. Assuming another $1,000 for installation (totally made up), you’re at $2,000. We spent $12,000 and there was a lot we DIDN’T change. Remodeling was 6 times (or $10,000) more expensive. Everything I’ve read online says that you get back a portion of what you spend on the remodel when you sell the house. Spending $1 to get back $0.50 in 10 years when you sell is a bad investment. Remodeling is a consumption decision, not an investment decision.

There are ways to spend less on the project. Our marble counter was a leftover piece from someone else’s counter, and was cheaper than buying a new piece. We set it on top of the old cabinets. We didn’t replace the toilet, and reused the old faucets (did replace the supply lines, though). We only tiled 1.5 walls, instead of 2, 3, or 4. We decided against moving a window and declined to install heated floors.

Tile: The differences in price were amazing. Home Depot sold tile for $0.99/sq ft. Specialty stores sold tile for over $20/sq ft. There was often no visual difference between tiles that had dramatically different prices. We were happy with tile under $5/sq ft.

The tiler suggested avoiding buying from large stores (like HD) because he said they sold tile from different lots in the same package, which could mean noticeable visual differences between tiles. We followed his advice, but I don’t know if there would have been a problem had we ignored it.

Grout: Consider using larger tiles to minimize the amount of grout needed. 12x24 tiles need less grout than 1x1 tiles.

The tiler used epoxy grout. It was more expensive, but evidently it’s much more durable than regular grout. When we keep up with cleaning, the grout looks great. I know nothing about grout, so it’s possible that ‘normal’ grout would perform the same way.

Professionals: We selected a tiler who also handled demolition. We used the plumber, drywaller, and glass company he recommended. Figured he wouldn’t recommend companies that were flaky or low quality since he had to coordinate schedules and work with them. I’m glad we followed his advice here.

It’s a tricky balance between respecting the tradespeople’s expertise and making sure nothing gets missed. The tile that was supposed to be on our walls was initially installed on the floor. I’m really glad I was paying attention and caught that before everything dried.

The remodeling company we talked to said it would cost a minimum of $30,000 and basically told us we were too small to be worth their trouble.

Cleaning: Our new shower requires more cleaning than the old fiberglass one did. Our old shower needed a 5 minute scrub once a week to stay clean. With the new shower, we squeegee the walls and mist everything with a cleaner after each use. It's only 2 minutes per person per day, but we didn't have to do that with the old shower.

Random: If you install an on/off shower valve that has separate controls for water flow and water temperature, you should know that the Delta factory mechanically limits how much hot water could be selected. Delta wasn’t doing anything wrong, but were trying to prevent the water from burning people. The plumber didn’t adjust this when he installed the valve, so the water in the shower was initially too cold. I looked online and realized that I could adjust the ‘stopper’ so that hotter water could be selected.

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GerryL
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by GerryL » Mon May 06, 2019 11:56 am

I had my original acrylic/fiberglass (?) tub and shower taken out to be replaced by a tile shower that offers a little but welcome added space in a constrained area. I'm very practical and wanted economical (not cheap) and low maintenance. It's a shower, not a showpiece. A couple of decisions I made (some of which have already been listed above):

Ready-to-use acrylic shower pan instead of tiling on the floor.
Large (porcelain) tiles to reduce grout lines.
Urethane grout. More expensive but resists mold and, according to the contractor, last decades.
Horizontal grab bar at end of shower. Attractive styles that don't look institutional are available.

Just a few inches more space with the removal of the acrylic tub bump-outs makes the shower feel much more spacious and easier (and safer) to get in and out. Loving it!

kaudrey
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by kaudrey » Mon May 06, 2019 12:12 pm

I am also in northern VA - I redid my master bath in 2017. I used a remodeler, but bought the vanities/faucets/tub, mirrors, and lighting from Wayfair. They were fine with me ordering these things and then installing them for me. They also did the tiling and a full glass/no frame door. I LOVE how it looks. I hated my bathroom for 18 years; I wish I had done the remodel many years earlier!

I agree that doing half of the bathroom will likely look strange.

If you go the remodeler route and want a recommendation, PM me. I was very happy with their help in picking out all of the elements in their showroom and online. The finished on time and on budget, and did a very good job. They are in Fairfax, if you are near there at all.

FI4LIFE
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by FI4LIFE » Mon May 06, 2019 4:24 pm

Either replace only the shower or redo everything. Tubs are cheap. You will hate the tub if you leave the old one in. I worked for a remodeling contractor for several years doing bathrooms almost exclusively. We did everything start to finish and were in and out in less than two weeks. Get references. DO NOT use Home Depot or Lowe's contractors. They just throw a dart at their list of contractors and you get what you get.

123
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by 123 » Mon May 06, 2019 4:41 pm

One thing we missed when we did our bathroom remodels was a small electric heater (built-in) for each bathroom. A small heater in each bathroom would allow it to warm quickly when you enter in the morning instead of turning the heat on for the whole house in order to get the chill out of the bathroom. We could have done it for virtually no cost when we did a gut remodel since we had all the wiring replaced. Whether it's electrically possible for you in an economical way depends on your current wiring and how many circuits go to the bath.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

Juliajones54
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Juliajones54 » Mon May 06, 2019 5:28 pm

In 2016 we had the old shower surround removed down to the studs, took out old tub, put in new white fiberglass tub. Put in new Onyx shower surround with grab bar and shampoo/soap holder, new Onxy sink and counter top to match shower surround (but not a new vanity), and all new bronze fixtures. Repainted bath and ceiling (scraped off popcorn). Did not replace toilet or floor as floor was fairly new and toilet already low flow. Cost of materials and labor was 3000.00. We definitely made it back when we sold our house. We had a stand up shower in our other bathroom so kept the tub. A young family bought our house.

We used a local contractor and local businesses, not Home Depot or Lowes.

drzzzzz
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by drzzzzz » Mon May 06, 2019 8:12 pm

Heated electric floors are the best part of our three bathroom remodels and we bought a mirror with LED lights around the edge that also defogs when you turn it on so no more wiping the mirror when shaving after a shower.

RetiredCSProf
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by RetiredCSProf » Mon May 06, 2019 8:23 pm

I had two bathrooms gutted and remodeled. The work required the following professionals:
  • Architect to develop plans to submit to the city
    Designer to help in selecting finishes
    Demolition crew
    Rough Carpentry (framing)
    Water proofing showers
    Finish Carpentry (hanging doors)
    Installation of windows and shower enclosures
    Plumbing
    Electrical
    Drywall
    Tile installation
    Building and installing cabinets
    Fabrication of vanity tops
    Painting
Products I purchased directly: sinks, tub, toilets, shower enclosures, faucets, mirrors, vanities, vanity tops, tile, lighting fixtures, towel bars. Also, I had to have the electrical panel upgraded to add fans in the bathrooms.

Things I did right:
  • Used the Houzz / Gardenweb forums in getting feedback on design choices.
Things I wish I had done differently:
  • I hired a licensed general contractor who turned out to be a crook. We have been in litigation for over two years. I wish I had hired an attorney to review the home renovation contract before I considered signing it.

hoffse
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by hoffse » Mon May 06, 2019 9:27 pm

A cheap remodel can look cheap unless you really know what you are doing. Either fix the shower and leave it at that or do the whole thing properly with some thought to layout, design, dimensions, etc.

Despite what you hear about resale, it is possible to get your money back on kitchens and bath remodels if you do them right, and if your house is in an otherwise desirable area. That last part is critical. We purchased our previous home for $300k. It was the ugly duckling in an otherwise ok neighborhood. We put $65k into it, and we sold it for $400k 3.5 years later. So even with closing costs and commissions we got all our money back out and even made a little profit. Not bad for less than 4 years.

We used some builder grade things you find at HD or Lowe’s for the hall bath, laundry room, etc. But kitchens and master baths sell houses, so we used a contractor for those.

If you opt to do the whole thing, consider this your opportunity to fix things that are weird or cramped, add outlets, add lighting, add storage, etc. Storage is especially important - there is never enough storage in a bathroom.

For us, a 90” custom vanity with soft close drawers and a storage tower in the center cost about the same as off-the-shelf products and provided significantly more storage. That was a no-brainer. You may be surprised if you price out custom work.

We did a few other things that were minimal expense, but made a huge difference. For instance, we switched the location of the shower faucet so we could turn the shower on without getting wet. We added an outlet near the toilet so we could put a nightlight there and see in the middle of the night. We ripped out a tiled jetted tub that was way too big and installed a more petite free standing tub. That made the bathroom feel a lot bigger. We added additional canned lighting and took out a block glass window. That sort of thing. We kept the color palette neutral - grey, white, and very light blue.

We spent $23k on the master bathroom (we actually paid more for the bathroom than the kitchen, which we also gutted). It sold our house in 3 days.

Spend a little and fix the problem or spend a lot and do a remodel that will add real value. I wouldn’t do something in between.

Globalviewer58
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Globalviewer58 » Mon May 06, 2019 10:20 pm

We had the master bath remodeled a year ago. Three bids ranged from $6,800 to $28,000 for identical materials and scope of work. A background check on the low bidder revealed multiple felony convictions. The high bidder had an excellent reputation and strong bookings so he bid a price that would allow him to sub the entire job and still make the same profit. The point is you must get multiple quotes and vet the contractors. There are websites that offer time and material cost estimates for your zip code. It helped me understand a fair price.

Ceramic tile offers many choices and the tile manufacturer often has a suggested grout product and color to use. It is common to have anti-mildew properties in the grout.

We opted to use Schluter heat on the floor and find that the 225 SF bathroom costs about $1.25 per month to maintain 70 F through the winter in A northern state. This is on concrete slab so a Schluter heat cable and reflective underlayment were set in special mortar before tile was installed. I cannot overemphasize how pleased my wife is with this product. However, if your floor is on the second story you may not benefit from a heated floor. If you choose this feature you need to have a tile contractor with Schluter experience.

The tile edging by Schluter also gives a professional appearance. The various profiles and finishes can be viewed online. We found a wholesaler that also sold to retail customers at half the price of Lowe’s.

You definitely want to replace the mixing valve in the wall during the remodel. Be aware that the valve must be compatible with the shower faucet. I learned that a universal Delta mixing valve does not fit all Delta shower faucets.

One question is whether you need the full 60” shower length. If the dimension can be shortened to 48” you might have a better use for the space. Relocation of walls can be a costly task if plumbing and electrical are involved.

Shower niche is a convenient option. Best location is on same wall as the shower valve or the back wall where water is not sprayed directly into the niche. Wall depth may limit your options.

We used a local glass shop for the frameless door. The showroom models had full size doors, surrounds and hardware to evaluate. The measurements were done after all tile work was complete to allow for non-square opening dimensions. If you measured our shower door you would find the top is not as wide as the bottom because the opening is slightly smaller at the top of the wall. Looking at the door you do not notice the 1/4” difference.

Another design point is to have all of the hardware finish and style match. The faucet handles, shower handle, towel hangers and bars all have the same finish and ornamental shape although they are from different manufacturers.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by unclescrooge » Tue May 07, 2019 12:00 am

Globalviewer58 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 10:20 pm
We had the master bath remodeled a year ago. Three bids ranged from $6,800 to $28,000 for identical materials and scope of work. A background check on the low bidder revealed multiple felony convictions. The high bidder had an excellent reputation and strong bookings so he bid a price that would allow him to sub the entire job and still make the same profit. The point is you must get multiple quotes and vet the contractors.
How did you perform background checks?

confusedinvestor
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by confusedinvestor » Tue May 07, 2019 12:05 am

I'm doing a 500 sq ft addition right now ( 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, expanding my dining) and the bids range from 75K to 225K, all with exact scope of work, exact city-approved plans and exact finishes.

I suggest get 10-15 bids

Souces may include AngiesList, Yelp, Google, family and friends recommendations, flippers, realtors and mostly GC recommended by the subs (eg plumbers)

HTH

steadyhand
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by steadyhand » Tue May 07, 2019 12:37 am

+1 for a onyx shower as a solution. We did exactly the same things using a local remodel company. Included a onyx base too. Tore down old tile shower and cleaned up. Cost 10k but no issues since. Some others quoted half the price but I went with the ones that seemed most experienced and knowledgeable about preventing leaks.

phxjcc
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by phxjcc » Tue May 07, 2019 12:49 am

Look into Cabinets-to-go. Good quality, inexpensive, and easier to put together than IKEA.
Started by the lumber liquidators guy.
You can save BIG here.

IKEA are a HUGE pita to retrofit to plumbing.
I have had to cut drawers, cabinets and plumbing fittings.

I used kitchen cabinets in the bathroom because I wanted higher counter height.

Marble< granite < quartz
Marble stains, not for kids rooms.
Material costs for counter tops varies up to 4x for the same stuff, literally the SAME.
You must shop around.
Bathroom counters are easier than kitchens, good quality pre cut counter slab of quartz with a factory edge should run you 1,000.
Including back splash.
If you have a custom shape, lots more.

Koehler comfort height toilets are great.
American standard are good, but stay away from the easy clean am std as you must use their custom toilet seat.
I have not been happy with HD or lowes house brands.

Moen fixtures have lifetime warranty, and they stand behind their warranty.
Wangchung Amazon $40 special will fail in a year.
Just pay for it now.

Be aware that Koehler is severely back logged on ship dates due to factory fire.
Sinks seem to be most impacted.
Fergusson is a great company to work with.

I disagree with anyone than says "use red board or magic interlocking panel system this or that".

Those that do are saying "use a piece of plastic between water and wood/plaster".

No, NEVER.

Float the shower walls and floors. Period.

Forget the sexy new trough drains, they clog and back up.
Center square drain is my choice.

A nice shower feature is to have the valves on the left wall and the shower head on the right wall.
That way you don't get wet turning on the shower.
For a couple dollars in piping, you will be happy for 20 years.

Buy high cfm fans to get rid of humidity.

What I did not see is the price point of your home.

Obviously, I am all wet (ahem!) if my methods cost your redo 25k in a 100k house.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by jbranx » Tue May 07, 2019 1:10 am

{This topic is now in Personal Consumer Issues}

spinj
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by spinj » Tue May 07, 2019 1:38 am

For the shower you can get a nicer very rigid plastic precast shower pans they'll be more waterproof (and foolproof install). Definitely don't get the semi flexible ones that require concrete. We used a floorstone model and it's better than ones that require concrete for stability. A lot more waterproof than a tile base.
For the door you can get a get big box frameless. At the very least don't get one with channels at the bottom (they're a literal pain to step on, stub your toe over).

Tile I agree, whatever looks nice. Marble is really pricey, ceramic or porcelain works well. Larger format and smaller grout lines help clean up. Getting a darker grout color (grey) helps long term as all grout gets dirty. Tilers should be able to put down some extra hardyboard or plywood to stiffen up a floor for tile. They might do the subfloor as well.

Also you don't need to install gabs now but consider putting plywood over the studs in the shower/toilet/bathtub walls so you can install grabs later.

+1 on a heater, electric floor elements if you redo the tile. Otherwise fan integrated ones are nice. Even the older style infrared bulbs are good (though look dated).

Home depot/Lowes will be fine for faucets, just don't get the cheapest ones (e.g. step up from builder grade). I've used Hansgrohe, Kholer, and Delta and you do get a better construction the more you pay however I've had to replace all three brands and don't see any lasting that much longer than the other brands (besides builder grade which only last a few years). Delta makes a pull out 4" center set which is nice if you want to wash your hair or rinse down the sink.

If you've done some the work yourself (tiling or plumbing) before then hiring individual trades is fine. Otherwise you might consider getting a GC that will do some/most of the work themselves and sub out items they're not as good at. Remodel companies like others have said will want a 30k job.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by MJS » Tue May 07, 2019 9:27 am

phxjcc wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 12:49 am
Koehler comfort height toilets are great.
If an adult in your family is short, "comfort" height toilets range from merely uncomfortable to hazardous (those 19" ones!) If you're tall, imagine sitting on a bar stool to do your business. Leaping off the seat, tripping over your feet and kissing the bathroom floor really wakes you up.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Ed_Sandwich » Tue May 07, 2019 9:34 am

MJS wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:27 am
phxjcc wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 12:49 am
Koehler comfort height toilets are great.
If an adult in your family is short, "comfort" height toilets range from merely uncomfortable to hazardous (those 19" ones!) If you're tall, imagine sitting on a bar stool to do your business. Leaping off the seat, tripping over your feet and kissing the bathroom floor really wakes you up.
Yes, I am the tallest person in our family of 4 at 5'8" and those taller toilets were uncomfortable for everyone, including me.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Sandtrap » Tue May 07, 2019 9:34 am

First Question:

How much do you have (or are willing) to spend on this project?
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Cobra Commander
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Cobra Commander » Tue May 07, 2019 9:58 am

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the input. This feels like such a massive task and I really with I had more time to do research on this given the $$$ involved but it's a bit hard to get out and about with two little kids.

Our house is about $800K so a remodel would not be a crazy expense relative to the value of the house.

A few people noted replacing the tub so I will give that some consideration and get a quote so I can see what that looks like.

As far as the layout of the bathroom goes I'm not sure I would really change anything. When you walk in the vanity is on the right and a storage cabinet is on the left. If you were to keep walking past the vanity there is a shower behind it and the raise platform tub is across from the shower against a wall of windows and the toilet is across from the tub so there is a large open area in the center. Due to the wall of windows near the tub I am not sure that I could really I could change the layout much even if I wanted to. The master bathroom looks sort of like this (although obviously in mine everything is builder grade and my tub is at an angle as are the windows): https://www.houzz.com/photos/benda-resi ... p~21531248

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Cobra Commander
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Cobra Commander » Tue May 07, 2019 10:01 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:34 am
First Question:

How much do you have (or are willing) to spend on this project?
That's a great question and I'm not sure yet. It's not a set number per se but I don't have a great idea on how all the parts are going to fit together. For example, I generally see what the tile will cost but I have no idea re: installation expense. I also took a look at a few shower doors and even the cheap ones seem to be almost $1,000 so I'm sure that will be a large expense too. I know I need to get a few people in here to see what the labor end of it is going to look like and then see where the wiggle room is on some of the other materials re: price/value to me.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Cobra Commander » Tue May 07, 2019 10:08 am

renue74 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:51 am
I do a lot of rehab on rental property and a couple flip houses. If you go with a remodeling company, it's pricey. $10K to $20K is the going rate in my area for a complete bathroom remodel.

If you do the shower, get an installer to install a Schulter or Wedi shower system. They are good water proof barriers.

Off the shelf vanities at HD or Lowes is fine. You'll probably end up paying $750 to $2000 for one of those...especially a 60" to 70" one.

Reconsider your tub. If you're going to drop $ on a remodel....go ahead and do it all. This is good for resale. So somebody doesn't walk in and say, "oh...the tub is old." Because that's an initial negative thought the buyer will keep with them. If you rehab the whole bathroom, there's no negative thinking.

These days, folks are opting for free standing tubs. I know...you don't use it. But at least it will look "new."

When you demo the shower make sure all the studs have no water damage. Showers are notorious for damage. Also make sure subflooring and joists are sound.

Think about your lighting needs. Maybe some nice, small 2" recessed lights above the shower or new vanity lights.

Think about a shower niche.

Shower doors are pricey....you'll end up dropping $1000K to $2000K just for the door. If you do spec it, make sure that when the user opens the door that it does not "hide" the towel rack. It sucks to have to get out of the shower, close the door AND then get the towel from the rack.

Also....make sure the user can turn the shower on from outside the shower enclosure.

Hope this helps.
Thank you, this is all very helpful. I will consider the tub but man it is hard to spend money on something I don't use at all. I suppose it requires some visualization effort on my part as well as we would have to rip out the platform so I would have to imagine the bathroom without the platform which will make the bathroom look enormous. Water proofing is definitely important to me as is correcting any damage from the existing leak with fixing the damage from the existing damage being a large unknown from a cost perspective. No concerns re: towel rack as they are a few feet away on another wall.

A few people have mentioned being able to turn the shower on from outside the shower. I'm having trouble visualizing how that might look but maybe we already have it as the shower handle is right inside the shower but you can reach it from outside and just have to be a little quick to avoid the water. :)

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Sandtrap » Tue May 07, 2019 10:10 am

Waterproof ceiling heat lamp above the shower and tub, etc. You will love this in winter.

If there's enough space, restructure the shower area so no door is needed. Easy to clean.
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Last edited by Sandtrap on Tue May 07, 2019 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Cobra Commander » Tue May 07, 2019 10:11 am

veindoc wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:54 am
I spent a lot of time hunting down bargains on faucets, tubs, and vanities and found that the online bargains are the same as buying at HD or Lowe’s. Online has more variety. Cost very much the same for same brand name.
For example, Kohler is the same price online or at HD. Online you can find high end brands such Hans grohe faucets and Toto toilets but if you are not trying to make this a super high end bathroom just a functional aesthetically pleasing one, your big box store will be fine.

Frameless shower doors are expensive FYI. Consider framed to cut costs.

I would leave the tub but consider redoing the tile around it. In my opinion nothing looks worse than a half renovated bathroom. I had one. My brother has one and it just looks odd. On one side you are looking at 1990’s and the other 20xx. Just weird and frankly ugly.
Interesting perspective on the faucets. I'm old school I guess and I'd prefer to see as much of the items as I can before buying vs. buying online so helpful to know prices are similar in store. I'm a vet so I get an extra 10% off at Lowes and HD which will help. I think I have to go frameless because we're pretty lazy about cleaning and our existing framed door is pretty gross now. We will definitely be retiling the platformed area to the extent we do not otherwise replace the tub.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Cobra Commander » Tue May 07, 2019 10:15 am

FI4LIFE wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 4:24 pm
Either replace only the shower or redo everything. Tubs are cheap. You will hate the tub if you leave the old one in. I worked for a remodeling contractor for several years doing bathrooms almost exclusively. We did everything start to finish and were in and out in less than two weeks. Get references. DO NOT use Home Depot or Lowe's contractors. They just throw a dart at their list of contractors and you get what you get.
That was a concern with using Lowes or HD contractors. I'm know they do some minimal vetting (i.e. licensed and insured) but beyond that I assume anyone that wants to can sign up to work with them.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Cobra Commander » Tue May 07, 2019 10:23 am

HomeStretch wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 9:12 am
Costco has well-priced solid wood vanities with counter/sink in quartz, etc.

As this is the master bath, consider replacing rid of the outdated tub.

Install a very quiet exhaust fan. I gave one that also produces heat to warm the bathroom on cold mornings.
I was looking at Costco and it looks like they have some nice vanities. My only concern on the one I liked is that it didn't have a side splash and I was thinking that might be a problem...maybe...I dunno, maybe water doesn't get on the side of the sink very often. I will keep Costco in mind though, so many awesome products there.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by renue74 » Tue May 07, 2019 12:04 pm

One other thing....if you are going to retile the bathroom, you may consider heated tile floors.

I put them in a property and I thought they were just gimmicky. We live in the south with very mild winters.....but they are awesome. We used Ditra Heat...another product from Schluter for the heated floors.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 07, 2019 1:17 pm

renue74 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 12:04 pm
One other thing....if you are going to retile the bathroom, you may consider heated tile floors.

I put them in a property and I thought they were just gimmicky. We live in the south with very mild winters.....but they are awesome. We used Ditra Heat...another product from Schluter for the heated floors.
+1 I gutted our master bathroom and redid it from the studs in a few years back and my DW especially wanted heated floors. I was ambivalent to the idea and ended up purchasing a similar system to this one. My only regret is that I didn't do this with our hall bath as well. There is nothing better than walking barefooted onto a warm tiled bathroom floor. Using the thermostat, ours only runs for a few hours in the evenings and mornings and is off the rest of the day.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0053HDWY6

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Cobra Commander » Tue May 07, 2019 1:25 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 1:17 pm
renue74 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 12:04 pm
One other thing....if you are going to retile the bathroom, you may consider heated tile floors.

I put them in a property and I thought they were just gimmicky. We live in the south with very mild winters.....but they are awesome. We used Ditra Heat...another product from Schluter for the heated floors.
+1 I gutted our master bathroom and redid it from the studs in a few years back and my DW especially wanted heated floors. I was ambivalent to the idea and ended up purchasing a similar system to this one. My only regret is that I didn't do this with our hall bath as well. There is nothing better than walking barefooted onto a warm tiled bathroom floor. Using the thermostat, ours only runs for a few hours in the evenings and mornings and is off the rest of the day.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0053HDWY6
Interesting, that looks like it would be fairly easy for them to install and not add a lot to the cost.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by Ben Mathew » Tue May 07, 2019 1:38 pm

Cobra Commander wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 1:25 pm
lthenderson wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 1:17 pm
renue74 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 12:04 pm
One other thing....if you are going to retile the bathroom, you may consider heated tile floors.

I put them in a property and I thought they were just gimmicky. We live in the south with very mild winters.....but they are awesome. We used Ditra Heat...another product from Schluter for the heated floors.
+1 I gutted our master bathroom and redid it from the studs in a few years back and my DW especially wanted heated floors. I was ambivalent to the idea and ended up purchasing a similar system to this one. My only regret is that I didn't do this with our hall bath as well. There is nothing better than walking barefooted onto a warm tiled bathroom floor. Using the thermostat, ours only runs for a few hours in the evenings and mornings and is off the rest of the day.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0053HDWY6
Interesting, that looks like it would be fairly easy for them to install and not add a lot to the cost.
We installed heated floors in the bathrooms as well, and are very happy with that decision. We used Ditra Heat as the underlayment, which made installing the wire pretty easy.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by phxjcc » Tue May 07, 2019 3:58 pm

Cobra Commander wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 10:15 am
FI4LIFE wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 4:24 pm
Either replace only the shower or redo everything. Tubs are cheap. You will hate the tub if you leave the old one in. I worked for a remodeling contractor for several years doing bathrooms almost exclusively. We did everything start to finish and were in and out in less than two weeks. Get references. DO NOT use Home Depot or Lowe's contractors. They just throw a dart at their list of contractors and you get what you get.
That was a concern with using Lowes or HD contractors. I'm know they do some minimal vetting (i.e. licensed and insured) but beyond that I assume anyone that wants to can sign up to work with them.
Agree.

I used HD’s contractors once.
2 month job took 6 months.
Threatened litigation.
Did get 50% off, though.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by audioaxes » Tue May 07, 2019 4:07 pm

around here some tile shops advertise their materials on offerup at very good prices that wont be advertised if you just walked in the store.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by investingdad » Tue May 07, 2019 5:21 pm

Our bathroom floor also used the Ditra solution.

If you're in the northeast it's no gimmick.

The garage below can be below freezing in winter. 40F floor versus 70F floor? You've no idea.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by GreenGrowTheDollars » Tue May 07, 2019 10:04 pm

We have a large shower with two shower heads/sets of controls. When we designed that 30 years ago we got some raised eyebrows, but it has turned out to be one of the smartest design choices we made. We also included a deep soaking tub without jacuzzi options. Really nice and very low maintenance.

Mistakes: I wish we had done heated floors. When we remodel (and we are due) that's a priority. I'd like higher vanities and better storage. The lighting is dated 80's brass and hasn't aged well. We were told we didn't need a bathroom fan since there are operable windows. Yes...but in Colorado, I'm not cracking open a window in February after a morning shower.

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Re: Bathroom Remodel - Looking for Advice

Post by FI4LIFE » Wed May 08, 2019 6:29 am

The trade-off for heated floors is they are super expensive to run...at least they were when I was installing them 5+ years ago. Customers would complain about the extra $50/ month on their electric bills. Contractors also upsell this feature and charge a fortune for something that is only a couple of hours of work to install. They are nice though. Can't beat that warm floor first thing in the morning.

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