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Bathroom remodel tips?
Old 02-03-2016, 10:09 AM   #1
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Bathroom remodel tips?

DW next dream is to remodel the bathroom in our 8 year old home (new to us last year). Current pic attached... we want to

1. remove garden tub
2. remove glass framed shower
3. replace with walk in shower, pebble or stone floor
4. 2 shower heads (1 fixed and 1 hand held)
5. replace tile in floor
6. replace vanity countertops

Any tips on working with contractor? Expecting estimates to contain detail 'scope of work' list, but I don't expect them to provide itemized pricing (to prevent the prospect from shopping the prices).
Any thing to look out for in pricing. Not looking to squeeze pennies, but don't want to get ripped off either.

On the design side, any tips for materials...sources for picture ideas? thanks in advance....
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:22 AM   #2
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I'd look for a different project, that bathroom looks pretty nice. But if you can't, I'd try to avoid replacing the floor tile if possible. What a PITA job, and yours look like their in good shape from what I can see. We're actually getting our grout cleaned, then recolored this weekend, and I'm hoping that will let us avoid the replacement option.

I don't know how old you are, but if you're getting up there at all you might want to look into getting some old-people additions - walk in tub/shower, wall mounted bars for support, things like that. They'll be useful if you're planning to stay as you get older, and will also be a positive if you try to sell.

My only real suggestion is to make sure you get taller toilets. I've replaced our old ones in both of our houses, and any time I go to a friend's or a hotel or whatever, I always feel like I'm falling over when I sit down. I'm not joking, they're great.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:27 AM   #3
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IMO 8 years old is a bit on the young side for a full bathroom reno.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:32 AM   #4
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I would write the detailed scope and provide it to bidders, which means you would have to have a pretty good idea of what you want. Otherwise you are going to get pitches that will be hard to compare in a meaningful way. Maybe an hourly consult with a bath designer would help on the scope writing. Money well spent considering what you propose.

I agree w/ Harley, unless that setup is not functioning for you, or has some problems, it looks like it would survive for years. What you seem to be describing is a complete gut to framing, not trivial and pretty disruptive.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:33 AM   #5
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Dang, that would be the "after" photo of any bathroom in any house I've ever lived in!

Ditto on the tile, I'd keep it. But I'd keep the whole thing, if it were me. The additional showerheads is a nice addition, and one I'd definitely consider.

For contractors, just be sure that you identify exactly what you want in there, and the price. It is change orders that will "get you" on any project.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:33 AM   #6
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I'd look for a different project, that bathroom looks pretty nice. But if you can't, I'd try to avoid replacing the floor tile if possible. What a PITA job, and yours look like their in good shape from what I can see. We're actually getting our grout cleaned, then recolored this weekend, and I'm hoping that will let us avoid the replacement option.

I don't know how old you are, but if you're getting up there at all you might want to look into getting some old-people additions - walk in tub/shower, wall mounted bars for support, things like that. They'll be useful if you're planning to stay as you get older, and will also be a positive if you try to sell.

My only real suggestion is to make sure you get taller toilets. I've replaced our old ones in both of our houses, and any time I go to a friend's or a hotel or whatever, I always feel like I'm falling over when I sit down. I'm not joking, they're great.
thanks..yes, grab bars are a must..hadn't thought about the taller toilets-good idea.
I totally agree that the current setup is nice enough, however the garden tub is useless to us. The glass framed shower is clouded up pretty bad by hard water spots that we can't remove. It would cost me about 1k to replace the shower frame and glass, but DW is intent on her dream bathroom and she puts up with my crap, so that entitles her.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:35 AM   #7
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When we built our house our contractor proposed that we pay him $x per hour for him and his helper plus materials at his cost (15% off of retail at a lumberyard we both happened to use) and that his total labor would not exceed $xx,000. We were free to provide materials on our own if we wanted to and he proposed subs for electrical, plumbing, heating, etc but we were free to bring our own.

It worked out well... much of the material we purchased through his account thought we brought in much of the finish materials (tile, fixtures, bathroom cabinets, etc). As it turned out, his labor approached the $xx,000 limit just about the time the job was done but he probably worked a couple days over the limit and never mentioned anything about adjusting the limit.

We put in a spa tub (DW's insistence) that hardly ever gets used... I wish we had put in a shower. We do have a fixed and hand-held showerhead (combination) that as a practical matter the hand-held rarely gets used so I would not bother with that.

Typically, tile, fixtures, cabinets, etc are included as an allowance as the actual cost can vary widely depending on what you eventually chose. However, if you have those details decided (which would be rare) then you can get a fixed price.

I wish we had gone with more built-ins in our shower but other than that I'm pretty happy.

Though I will say that the bathroom in the picture looks great to me .... I'm not sure I would change a thing.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:42 AM   #8
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I will add that a friend of ours went through a bathroom reno recently and had a number of problems where the original construction was flawed (drain was not properly connected and other problems) so their contractor had to spend time remedying those flaws so be prepared for that possibility.

These friends renovated their master and guest baths at the same time (one after the other) and when the contractor took out the one-piece fiberglass tub to replace it they discovered that there were NO studs in the wall behind the tub. The funny part was that a year or two earlier my friend had tried to hang something on the other side of that wall behind the tub and couldn't find a stud with her stud-finder so she concluded that the stud-finder was broken and threw it away!
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:48 AM   #9
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bathrooms are the most expensive remo per sq ft - I've done two - good luck!
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:55 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Tailgate View Post
thanks..yes, grab bars are a must..hadn't thought about the taller toilets-good idea.

I totally agree that the current setup is nice enough, however the garden tub is useless to us. The glass framed shower is clouded up pretty bad by hard water spots that we can't remove. It would cost me about 1k to replace the shower frame and glass, but DW is intent on her dream bathroom and she puts up with my crap, so that entitles her.

I understand Tailgate. My house is 10 years old and has a USELESS garden tub with a smaller shower. I want a big shower setup in a basic way you describe... Big shower and no tub for me. Holding off as long as possible though. Maybe 2 more years. Once you mentioned the garden tub was useless, it is easy to figure out you will enjoy the big shower and will not regret it.


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Old 02-03-2016, 10:58 AM   #11
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You may be able to lay the new tile directly on top of the old tile. I did exactly that in my DIY bathroom remodel. Used embossing leveler to fill the grout joints, and ended up with a perfect surface for the new tile. There are a couple of potential gotchas: Clearance under doors, toilet stack height, etc.
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:03 AM   #12
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thanks..yes, grab bars are a must..hadn't thought about the taller toilets-good idea.
I totally agree that the current setup is nice enough, however the garden tub is useless to us. The glass framed shower is clouded up pretty bad by hard water spots that we can't remove. It would cost me about 1k to replace the shower frame and glass, but DW is intent on her dream bathroom and she puts up with my crap, so that entitles her.
I totally don't get the attraction to trying to get clean in a soapy stew of a tub, but that's just me. The gal is a fan of tubs, specifically the just right back slope of some old claw foots. Have handheld and stationary shower in my walk-in shower up north and rarely use the handheld, but it is handy for rinsing the walls or floor. REALLY like not having a shower door.

If you gotta tear up that great looking bath then you gotta - but just to throw something out there regarding the hardwater marks on the glass shower: spend $1.79 on a can of Barkeeper's Friend cleanser at Lowes or Home Depot. Wet down the glass walls of the shower, dump some Barkeeeper's Friend on a rag and gently go over the walls. Let sit 5 minutes. Rinse and wipe off any film or residue. Made a huge difference with a tiny amount of effort for us down here on the glass shower door. Now I use a squeegee on the door after showers - fairly fast and low effort to keep it looking good.
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:06 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Tailgate View Post
DW next dream is to remodel the bathroom in our 8 year old home (new to us last year). Current pic attached... we want to

1. remove garden tub
2. remove glass framed shower
3. replace with walk in shower, pebble or stone floor
4. 2 shower heads (1 fixed and 1 hand held)
5. replace tile in floor
6. replace vanity countertops

Any tips on working with contractor? Expecting estimates to contain detail 'scope of work' list, but I don't expect them to provide itemized pricing (to prevent the prospect from shopping the prices).
Any thing to look out for in pricing. Not looking to squeeze pennies, but don't want to get ripped off either.

On the design side, any tips for materials...sources for picture ideas? thanks in advance....
I looked into remodeling the bathroom at my old house, got a contractor and a plumber out there, and decided it would be easier to move. Luckily when I did, my dream house came with my dream shower.

Good luck with this endeavor! I understand why you are doing it. The bathroom looks great already, but looks aren't everything and having a dream shower is really nice.
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:08 AM   #14
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I see your location is Texas. If you are anywhere where winter is cold....heated tile. When did master 3 years ago did it, added about $500 for heat and controller. WELL worth it.
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:10 AM   #15
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Good point... we decided not to because of schedule issues but I frequently wish we had put heat under our bathroom tile in our master bathroom.
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:15 AM   #16
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regarding the hardwater marks on the glass shower: spend $1.79 on a can of Barkeeper's Friend cleanser at Lowes or Home Depot. .
after spending a lot of time on The University Of Youtube researching, we tried everything that was recommended..and Barkeeper's Friend was the very top suggested product... didn't make a dent. Spots are etched into the glass. Glass company said 'it happens'... they highly recommended using the full strength RainX on all the shower glass every 3 months or so...still need to squeegee some, but not as much and the minerals supposedly won't 'set'.
I think the condition of the glass is what turned DW into the full blown remodel...she wants a walk-in shower with no glass. She didn't discourage me from buying a boat a couple of years ago, so the bathroom is ok with me (as soon as I sell the boat..LOL)
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:16 AM   #17
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Good luck with this endeavor! I understand why you are doing it. The bathroom looks great already, but looks aren't everything and having a dream shower is really nice.
thx W2R... When we were house hunting I polled all the ladies I know and they pretty much said the most important things to a woman are:

1. bathroom
2. kitchen

sound about right?
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:21 AM   #18
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Oh, no, you gotta sell your boat for it? Dang! But yes, happy wife... I do know the drill!

I actually would love two things--a walk in shower and heated floors. Even though I live in a warm climate. Wasn't to be in our current house we built 13 years or so ago, but maybe someday.

And to answer your lady question: kitchen fairly important...living/hanging out spaces way more important. I don't care much about the bathroom at all, but not a girly girl and don't do much "girl lab" time in there.
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:29 AM   #19
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you will have to do something with that window once you demo everything


I'd suggest decora glass blocks or something similar
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:39 AM   #20
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thx W2R... When we were house hunting I polled all the ladies I know and they pretty much said the most important things to a woman are:

1. bathroom
2. kitchen

sound about right?
Right! Although for me it is more like

1. bathroom
2. kitchen

I really, really like having my dream shower. Every day when I shower, I feel like royalty. Maybe that's because I wanted a really nice shower and dreamed about it for so long and now I finally have it.
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