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Bathroom Remodel (almost) complete!

February 19, 2018

This post walks through our bathroom remodel in detail, but skip to the bottom if you just want the before, after, and budget!

We decided to remodel our small bathroom.  We suspected possible water damage when we moved in (adjacent closet was always musty), but continued using the shower until we discovered a small water leak.  In the process of repairing the leak, it became clear that there was significant water damage from failed waterproofing over the life of the ~60+ year old shower.  We took this as a sign it was time to update.

Below is the staged photo of the bathroom from the realtor. The medicine cabinet, sink, window, and shower are from the 1950s.  The previous owners made cosmetic updates, covering up the original flooring and painting the formerly green walls white.  The tile border on the right of the photo is the entrance to the stall shower, which you can’t see behind the door.  (A green shower is not a selling point, so not pictured in photos!) It was a small but cute little bathroom!

IMG_1270 copy

… but with water-damaged framing in the shower, behind the green tile.  SAD!



I didn’t get many demolition pictures, but that was a ton of work and we hauled out bucket after bucket of mortar-backed tile and damaged drywall.  As part of the demolition, we uncovered the awesomely horrible original floors – puke green with flecks and a black border. We did some research and determined it was very unlikely the original flooring contained asbestos, but we still treated it carefully.  Do your research if you are messing around in a bathroom with old flooring – especially vinyl floor tiles.  We pulled this up to find the subfloor in good shape.


Once all of the demolition was complete, including very carefully removing the old rotted studs, T completed the framing repairs and built the appropriate blocking for the shower.


Then, we hired a plumbers to install our fixtures.  Both of our showers had quite old plumbing, and if you flushed a toilet (or used the sink or ran the dishwasher) the water would get scalding hot.  This is now fixed, at least for one shower!  With that complete, T hung the plywood to provide a stiff material for the build of the shower, and framed the shower niche that I insisted we have.




At that point, the professional took over.  I had no idea how showers were built until we decided to re-build ours.  It started with a pre-sloped concrete subpan, which was topped with a waterproof membrane (filled with water for an overnight waterproofing test).  Then, Grade B paper (tar paper) and lath is installed to serve as backing to the mortar bed.


Next, the mortar goes on the walls, followed by tiles, then grout, then sealing.



After – The finished bathroom and shower!



This wasn’t a budget remodel, except in the fact that we took on as much of the DIY as we were comfortable with.  To demonstrate this, I’ve included our costs next to the detailed quote one of the contractors gave us.  To make it a little easier to read, I greyed out everything that we spent $0 and lumped all of our materials and supplies into a single line.  We of course did all of the work, it just didn’t make sense to try to break it out.


Note that this includes $2,400 that we haven’t spent yet.

Materials, supplies and tools included a bunch of stuff, some of which will be used beyond this project.  (This list is largely organized by trip to hardware store….) Contractors bags, plastic sheeting , etc. $20, chisel, more buckets $20, Sawzall  $151.63, Ladder $184.23, Circular Saw $148.30, another chisel, shims $30, lumber for framing repairs and plywood $94.70, drywall, joint compound and more wood $130 even more wood, screws, primer $104.62.

Fixture choicesGraff Terra Full Pressure Balancing System With Handshower , Duravit 2336630000 sink, Robern R3 16×26 medicine cabinet, Toto Aquia II toilet, George Kovacs Tube LED light fixture.  T wants to build the vanity, inspired by KERF designs, but this hasn’t started yet.

Before & After Again




5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2018 11:00 am

    It looks really nice! It’s crazy how quickly things like this can add up, especially for a small room.

    • February 22, 2018 8:16 pm

      Yes! The bulk of the cost was the professional labor (we went with a higher end tile guy), but we could have easily shaved off some of the costs of the finishes.

      I’m actually still debating the glass shower door vs the rod we already have been using for 2 months now…

      We’re really happy with the end result though!

  2. March 2, 2018 12:07 pm

    You did such a great job! It looks wonderful! And good job doing so much of it yourselves, I’m very impressed.

    I do really like our glass shower door, I hope you can find people who do good glass doors if you go that route. It’s a striking effect.

    • March 3, 2018 1:38 pm

      Well, T did a really good job. I helped a little, but mostly with carrying out debris buckets and other minor tasks.

      Yeah, we probably will get the door – the curtain annoys me because it blows around with the air circulation from the vent fan.


  1. May Wrap Up | Stacking Pennies

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