Total Bathroom Remodel – Not for a Novice!


I desperately need a new master bath. When I bought my house I knew the master bath would have to be redone soon. I saved, but every time I was close to the estimated price (8K), something came up that had to be handled immediately. It took me 5 years, but I finally have the money and called to get a few estimates.

Bathroom Remodel

This is plastic sheeting!

FYI, I am going with Home Depot for the bathroom remodel. The estimator spent 5 hours with me, discussing each piece, showing samples, offering suggestions and guidance, explaining how things worked, rules and regulations, everything.

I got another estimate from my normal plumber, but was disappointed in the provided service. He walked into the bathroom (no measurements) and told me roughly 15K cost. Oh, did I mention when I got the estimate a week later it was 22K? He didn’t ask me questions before he gave the number, and said:

  • A european vanity.
  • No shower door
  • A medicine cabinet had to be on side wall, and didn’t discuss any mirror
  • Put a notch area in the wall for holding supplies (can’t be done in a firewall)
  • Didn’t give me options for shower other than tile
  • No colors discussed
  • No fixtures discussed
  • An exhaust fan (didn’t explain why, or that with a window it wasn’t mandatory)

Not for a DIY novice

Wait a minute, Hestia! Isn’t your philosophy to do things yourself? Well, yes, within reason. We all have feelings on what we want to try, what we know we can do, and what we know in our gut would be BAD for us to do! And based on the bathroom, I knew I couldn’t do at least 50% of the tasks myself. l was blown away what I found out on bathroom remodels.

Tile Floor

Okay, yeah, I could probably do this myself, especially if I took a couple days off work. But because of the other problems, I didn’t think I should do that myself.


The shower is totally filthy. I’ve tried home remedy cleaners, professional cleaners, regular store cleaners, on the hands and knees with a toothbrush, bleach, recaulking, everything. I spend hours each month trying to clean it, and nothing works. The composite walls were chipping, breaking, staining.

I did research on replacing the composite myself, and found out i had to make sure there is water proofing, sealants, perfect measuring, assembly etc. The home improvement books I had didn’t give me any confidence I could tear the stuff down myself, let alone replace it, either with another shower or do more complicated tile work.

The Home Depot bathroom remodel estimator told me the shower wasn’t composite, nor the acrylic sheets I thought it was. It was sheets of plastic, glued to the tile (or whatever it is underneath that dingy, yellowing sheeting. That sounded scary, thinking I was contemplating trying to take that down myself. No thank you!


Okay, that toilet is the one I’ve talked about earlier, the one that wiggles. It’s only about 2 years old, so it is not being replaced. but I found out (thanks to the huge vanity), the toilet placement is not up to building codes. That will be changing!

Bathroom Remodel

OMG! No wonder I am always hurting my elbow.

FYI, there has to be 21 inches of space in front of the toilet, and 15 inches of space from the center of the bowl to any obstacle on either side. One side is fine, but the other side only has 10 inches! I knew I hated bumping my arm into the vanity for a reason!


This is the beast. It doesn’t fit! I know its a normal size vanity, but it is too big for my little bathroom. It cuts into the door frame, and with a bathroom door that swings inside, I don’t really have the room to stand in front of the vanity comfortably.

It is physically attached to the wall. I could replace the vanity myself, that is pretty easy, but taking out the old one is what I am worried about. It’s attached to the wall. What if I ruin the wall trying to remove it? I can repair small pieces of drywall area, but don’t know if I would be able to replace drywall in its entirety.

I wanted just a pedestal sink, but was told by the designer and the roommate it wouldn’t look right. So a smaller one it is.

Bathroom Remodel

This is what scares me about the demolition

Final Analysis

So after all this ranting and raving, I am having professionals do the bathroom remodel, and I will take the credit. It’s a lot more than I guessed, but it will be totally worth it. It will take 5-8 days to complete; after a 6-8 week wait to get the ‘custom vanity’ built!

Here is the list of what you need to think about if you are doing a total bathroom remodel with the existing floorprint:

  1. Shower
    1. Tile for shower walls (or acrylic panels for walls that look like tile) lots of colors and sizes to choose
    2. Coordinating tile floor panel (or acrylic floor panel) probably less colors and sizes to choose
    3. Grout if using tile
    4. Door for the shower (clear or textured)
    5. Faucet knobs and head (style and finish)
    6. Grab bar if you want one
    7. Shelving or notches for accessories
  2. Composite Shower if you want to just slide something in
  3. Toilet
  4. Vanity
    1. Wood and stain for vanity
    2. Drawers
    3. Knob style and finish
    4. Faucet spicket and finish
    5. Material and color for sink and counter
  5. Floor
    1. Tile material
    2. Tile color
    3. Grout color
    4. Tile size
    5. Tile layout pattern (diamond, straight, staggered)
    6. Baseboard (tile or wood)
  6. Accessories
    1. Medicine cabinet
    2. Or just a mirror
    3. Towel racks
    4. Toilet paper racks
    5. Lighting (number of bulbs, shades, style, finish)
    6. Shelving or other storage
Bathroom Remodel

This is my TINY master bathroom, screaming for a remodel!

Yes, I will be doing the painting of the walls myself afterwards. Maybe putting wainscoating up, not sure at this time.

The other thing I am considering doing myself is taking off the door, and replacing it with an accordion door. I know that can look outdated and cheap, but I am considering it, in order to give a little more room in the space when I am standing in front of the vanity.

I will start posting progress as we get closer.

One comment

  1. drroad says:

    The bathroom will be beautiful, he says confidently.

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