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Help Remodeling Bathrooms On Budget

Updated on April 3, 2016

Worn Out And In Need Of Up-dating

This bathroom needs help
This bathroom needs help | Source

The Bathroom Is In Terrible Shape

The bathroom was in terrible shape. Twenty years of heavy usage and a collapsed roof has left this bathroom desperately in need of repair There is mildew, the tile is falling off the wall, a bathroom remodel is inevitable.

Planning to remodel anything is an adventure. You delve into the likes and dislikes of those regularly use the bathroom. Part of the adventure is the challenge of sticking to the plan and bringing your remodel in on time and on budget. Get ideas everywhere you go. Keep a notebook of what you like and where you saw something you like. Peruse magazines, visit model homes and open houses in your neighborhood for remodeling ideas. Visits to Home Depot, Lowe's and other home stores can give you ideas too.

Our local library sells magazines for fifty cents. At that price you can afford magazines to cut up for ideas to put in your notebook.

Once you have a plan look on-line for the best prices. Researching every aspect of the remodel before you start the project helps ensure success.

Once you know what you like, the next step is to determine how it works with your budget. Here are some questions to help you with planning.

  • How deep do you need to remodel? (Tear out all the drywall or just repaint)
  • Is there dry rot?(Plan on some if your bathroom is older)
  • Is re-piping necessary?
  • Will you need to do a whole house re-pipe or just the bathroom?
  • Do you need to replace electrical outlets and wiring?
  • Can you detect sub flooring damage? This isn't necessary if your foundation is slab.
  • Is there anything you will keep? Our friends have remodeled their cottage bathroom several times. They always leave the vintage brass nobs on the sink. During this remodel we kept the toilet that was only 4 years old and move it to our other bathroom.

Once the planning is complete look for a contractor. Ask his opinion on your plan and seriously listen to him. A professional often sees areas in your planning that could be done in different ways. Sometimes his or her ideas might be less expensive, sometimes they are just more efficient.

The best contractor is the one who listens to you, has ideas you like and has a great reputation

Getting Started

I have been the co-contractor on a couple of projects and just didn't have time or energy for this projects. Three different contractors gave estimates. One was a home remodeling company that called my home to offer to do a FREE estimate. I made an appointment. No body ever showed; when they called back a few days later I said," No thank you", to the offer of another appointment and a discount. They might be very reputable, but we wasted several hours waiting for the contractor and were infuriated.

The other two contractors were amazingly punctual and polite. The estimates were very close. The one we chose was the partner of a friend. Our friend was in the middle of remodeling and moving himself. Taking on another job would have been ill timed..

Both of the contractors had reputations for honesty and efficiency.

It was easy and efficient to use email to communicate with our contractor.

Know What You Want

One thing I was sure I wanted was a towel hook right next to the shower/tub
One thing I was sure I wanted was a towel hook right next to the shower/tub | Source

The Contrator and Homeowner Relationship

Ways to choose a contractor you can trust. First you need to find one you can communicate with

  • Suggestions from friends or Angie's list should be your starting point when looking for a contractor.
  • Look at examples of their work.
  • Ask questions about other work the contractor has done?.
  • .Does the contractor listen to what you want done?
  • Does your contractor make suggestions. Seriously consider his suggestions. He is the professional?
  • Dose the contractors schedule work with yours?
  • Does the contractor get along with your dogs? If someone is going to be in your house for any length of time your dogs need to approve of him.

How To Cut Hardi-Backer Board

Construction Materials

  1. Permits
  2. Paint
  3. Exhaust fan
  4. Lighting with any mounting brackets needed.
  5. Electrical outlet, fan and light switch with face plates.
  6. Shower fixture (if used)
  7. Shower encasement (tile , granite, marble. etc...)
  8. Soap/shampoo holder in shower
  9. Backer board
  10. Bath tub fixtures (if needed)
  11. Tub if used with trap, drain, and overflow
  12. Counter top
  13. Mirror/ medicine cabinet
  14. Sink with drain, trap and overflow if necessary
  15. Vanity
  16. Drawer pulls
  17. Sink will need trap and drain as well as any new piping.
  18. Toilet with wax ring
  19. Flooring
  20. New door with, hinges, door stop knob and wall fitting Some contractors save time with pre- hung doors.
  21. Baseboard.
  22. Towel racks
  23. Toilet paper holder (Attached to the wall or free standing)


Plan For Delays and Cost Overrides

Cost overrides come from change in plans. Some of these changes are just the facts of life. The most major example we had was in moving a toilet. We were going to change the toilet from the bathroom we were remodeling to one we weren't. It was an energy efficient model that was not old. It was the first thing we did. Out with the old to make room for the newer made sense. Though the whole house had been re-piped five years ago the older toilet had never been replaced and the bolts attaching it were rotted. There was plumbing that needed to be done before new bolts could be installed. One of the contractors had never seen the system in our bathroom, but the other had and was the bearer of the bad news. $$

The next cost over ride was my fault. Since they were going to have to do take out the toilet again I decided a new floor was a good idea. $$ In negotiating a deal with the linoleum salesman the wrong size lino was cut for the extra bath. We didn't discover that error until the day of installation. I ended up buying another piece of linoleum. $$ Not all cost over rides are disasters. I love the second piece of linoleum. While the original piece looked wonderful with all the new cabinets it looked awful with my old ones. It actually made the old vanity counter pop. With a coat of wax on the vanity and new flooring the second bath got a face lift that made it look nice. Cost override for the second bath was about $200.

These glitches plus rain added an extra week to the project. Our contractor was great and made it so we were never without a two toilets for more than a couple of hours and never during the weekend.



Remodeling is stressful at best. When things are not in the proper places it is irritating. Do your research well. Know what materials cost so you don't go into shock at your contractors estimates. Know what you want. Have a good relationship with your contractor. Because you trust your contractor it is good to listen to his advice. He knows the tricks of the trade and you might just like his suggestions.

When the dust settles enjoy your new bathroom.

If You Remodeled Once Would You Remodel Again?

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    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      5 years ago from California

      wilderness, was delighted to find your D.I.Y. hubs. They are helping to replace the spot Jerricoh Usher left in H. P.

      Sorry about the bathroom. When they go, they go.

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 

      5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      We've been thinking about remodeling our bath and have now found a soft spot in the floor next to the tub. Looks like we can't put it off much longer. Your work here will be of value - thank you!

    • stars439 profile image


      5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Thank you for sharing this useful information. It will be helpful for us. GBY.

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      flashmakeit- A pleasure to be helpful.

    • flashmakeit profile image


      6 years ago from usa

      The bathroom is one room I feel a need to keep in order so thanks for posting the useful information.

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      formosangirl, Hope you are enjoy your new bathrooms and you got some good ideas on your visit.

    • formosangirl profile image


      6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Tirelesstraveler, I enjoyed reading your remodeling article. You are correct regarding the extent of remodel. Now that I have 2 new bathrooms (close to completion), the existing one will be stripped down to the sub floor, a job that we will not start until a year after our expansion is complete. Voted Up and Useful.

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      Peggy thanks for visiting. I like to space my remodeling projects really far apart. The stress is a direct corollary to how much my husband has to do and time required. He was really stressed at work for this remodel. We had a son do the demo and a contractor the rest. I wrote the checks, my husband was stress free this go round.:)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We have never had any major remodeling done but I know that it can be stressful and there can be unexpected expenses that crop up. Your hub lays out all types of things to consider if remodeling a bathroom. Voted useful and up.

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      pinkdaisy, best of luck on your remodel. I love my new bathroom.

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      rebeccamealey, I surely hope this will be helpful. The contractor was a gem. He even did some other work.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This looks easy enough to manage time wise and pocket book friendly. No doubt it will be helpful to many!

    • pinkdaisy profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      Great Hub! I need to remodeling my bathroom before the summer is over. Voted Up :D

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      Bedbugabscond, that sounds like a good idea. I will put it on my list.

    • Bedbugabscond profile image

      Melody Trent 

      6 years ago from United States

      You know, if you could figure out where all the re stores are at, it might make a great hub. That way people from everywhere could figure out where to get cheap home fixtures.

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      tillsontitan- So true. One unexpected event in our remodel was there was no dry rot. I was sure of it, but it wasn't there no where. But that is a rare event the it goes that way.

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      Bedbugaboscond, Greetings, I have other projects. I will go looking for the restore. Sounds like my kind of place.

    • Bedbugabscond profile image

      Melody Trent 

      6 years ago from United States

      This is great! I just did a remodeling project and I learned something very interesting. I found this place called the restore, I guess it is sort of like a Good Will for home stuff. While there I found a toilet that was just as beautiful as a new one for $85 less, a sink basin that is beautiful for $78 less and other supplies as well. I purchased the items myself, then had the contractor install them all. In the end I saved about $300 that way. Everyone should try to see if they have a store like that. I think it might be ran by habitat for humanity.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      6 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Awesome suggestions for a someone who needs to remodel.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Very comprehensive. The best thing to stress is nothing ever goes as planned and there are usually delays and cost overrides. This is a very useful and informative hub. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • kingsbathroom profile image


      6 years ago from Salford, Manchester,UK

      Perfect, just what everyone needs to know and consider when remodelling their bathroom.

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      Greetings Vellur. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Very useful and clever planning.Voted up.


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