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This is not HGTV!   This is your project!

If you’re facing the challenge of attempting to remodel your bathroom you could easily become overwhelmed with a flood of questions, especially if you’re not familiar with the construction world. How much will it cost? How long will it take? How much tile do I need? and so on.

Let me try to help you by addressing the most important points so you can achieve your goal easier by avoiding those unforeseen surprises.

The Doc

The following points come out of years of experience remodeling bathrooms and our free service to join and advice our customers with design and purchase decisions.

My wife calls me jokingly the bathroom Doctor.



A very important but most ignored factor is timing. Just as with any other construction inside of your home, a bathroom remodel will interrupt your regular life.
Imagine the scenario when a three or four head family has to get ready for the day at the same time, or holidays are around the corner and more friends and family are dropping by.
Don’t be scared. Here’s a tip:
If you have to tear out the flooring, cut or break it free around the toilet but leave the existing toilet in place as long as possible, believe me it’s the most important piece of furniture in any bathroom. You still have another sink in your kitchen.
(Btw.: before you start your tear out, do yourself a favor and turn of the central air system or it will blow the dust all over your home and you can write your name on every single piece of furniture)
Another time factor is, the more material you can gather before you start your project, the smoother the process will be.

Let me explain.
If you need any of the following: tile, tub, toilet, vanity, faucets, shower valve, light fixtures, vanity top with sink, chances are that they have to be special ordered from the store.
You can save a lot of money when you plan ahead of your project. Check your Ads and follow the Sales, there should be at least one every month (4.July-Sale, Labor day-Sale,…).
Also, specialty stores like cabinet or tile stores can sometimes be cheaper than Home Improvement stores, because they have to compete harder; and the big Home Improvement stores are counting on your convenience.

Flooring stores or tile stores often have close out sales or remnant sales. Remnants could be up to 100 square feet. Most of their customers (contractors) are buying larger quantities and they always need room in their warehouse for new shipments.

Cabinet stores do not only carry 24 inch deep kitchen cabinets, but also 21 inch deep vanity cabinets. Look out for a potential deal. With some luck you might find a Showroom piece marked down by 50%.
The other thing with cabinets is, today you can get “ready-to-assemble” cabinets for about half the price. But unlike IKEA cabinets, which are made from laminated particle board, those are made from solid wood and plywood. My first cabinet I assembled took me about 15 minutes.
The picture below shows an example of “ready-to-assemble” cabinets. Source: www.sawcabinets.com


Vanity Tops

Granit tops become more and more affordable these days. Compared to man made plastic counters (also called cultured marble) available in Home Improvement stores, granit counter tops can sometimes cost just a fraction more.

Granit (Stone) companies always have left overs (cut offs from big slabs). Because of the unique look of the natural stone, those pieces don’t match any other slab and can only be sold individually as remnants.

Those big slabs are expensive, so they are very eager to sell every little piece they have. You could walk away with a pretty good bargain and the undermount sinks come with the installation.

Tip: make sure you have your new sink faucet at the time of the installation because the holes for the faucet (1 or 3 holes) are drilled on site (at your home).

typical remnant pieces



The high consumer demand today is causing Manufacturers to flood the market with an ever increasing variety of new products. To cut on production costs they use more inferior components, for example Brass is being substituted with plastic for the inner parts. Hard water, chlorine and and minerals are very tough on plastic.

It is helpful to ask your Plumber beforehand, he usually has the experience.

You can also do some research at Facebook/consumer reports, Youtube, etc.

Don’t take it from me, but a Plumber / Friend of mine with 30+ years of experience in the field, recommends faucets and shower fixtures from DELTA because they still make the inner parts from brass and in addition they’re interchangeable throughout the years.

I also found out through him, that according to www.consumerreport.com, a medium priced toilet from GLACIER BAY is comparable in quality to a three times more expensive KOHLER toilet.

Plumber’s advice:

Don’t skimp on quality plumbing! Nothing worse than opening up your walls again after 5 years.

Save yourself a headache later on.


If you purchase tile before you start your project, make sure that you buy enough.      ???

When you have your amount calculated (square footage=length x width), add another 10% overage.

Example: Bathtub 2.5x5x2.5=10’width x 7’height(length) =70 sq.ft. +10% = 77 sq.ft. total.

The 10% overage is considered for cuts and breakage.

However, Big Box stores and Home Improvement stores are catering to high demand, mostly what’s in fashion right now. When the fashion changes, so does what their stock. This means that you may be unable to find the same tile again.

So, you may want to add an additional box of tile.

My saying always is: Better safe than Sorry!

Better to have a box stashed in the attic and you’ll never need it, than need one piece of tile and don’t have one.

The picture below is an example of a tub-shower valve, replaced after 18 years.

The homeowners were lucky to have some tile left over, it was stashed in the garage for the past 18 years.

shower valve replacement


Budget 101

When you add up all of your material cost with the labor cost (contractor(s)), you should add an extra 10% for unknown factors.

Rule of thumb: Budget + 10% = actual cost of project.


I hope you have found this post on “Bathroom remodel on a budget” informative!   Feedback is welcome.

If you have any particular topic you would like me to include in my blog feel free to contact me.

Thanks for reading,

The german guy.