Bathroom Renovation - where do I begin?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jason L., Feb 12, 2007.

  1. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    The time has come to redo my bathroom. Almost everything needs to be replaced. I don't plan on doing any of this myself. If I had an expert over my shoulder like in the TV shows - then yes I would work on it. Otherwise, I would just screw it up.

    I had someone from Home Depot services come out to give me a free estimate. I have a good idea of what I want to do structurally, but when he started going on about tile, porcelain, ceramic, travertine, marble, slate, and then the different man made materials - my head was about to explode. Also I just can't "see" the colors properly and cannot decide what colors the floor tile, wall, shower tile, vanity cabinet, and vanity counter top should be.

    I went to Home Depo Expo and I started looking at the myriad of products and then I had to leave because I was getting a headache.

    I am now in a state of paralysis by analysis. I really don't want to plan this out with an sales expert again because they will be pushy and want me to start on Monday when I don't know exactly what I want.

    I wanted to go with a name brand - either Home Depot services or Home Depot Expo - because they have a powerful brand name behind them in case something goes wrong. Previously, they replaced my carpeting, hot water heater, and a sink incinerator - which went fine. The first estimate that I got from HDS seemed high to me. About 18K for the high grade material and the lower grade material was 14K.

    To all of those who know my pain, how should I go about accomplishing this bathroom renovation?
     
  2. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    You will pay more money by going through HD than a contractor....broad brush statement, but usually. Take your time.....people usually spend a great deal of time in that room so you want to enjoy it too. Might be worth paying an interior decorator/designer a couple hundred bucks for a look see and suggestions.

    Mort
     
  3. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Screenwriter

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    I had both my full bath and a basement half bath gutted in November. Because the plumbing in my house was so old (50+ year old galvanized), I decided to have all of my plumbing ripped out and replaced with copper. Also had a new hot water heater put in. All of that was done for less than your Home Depot estimate, so it might pay to solicit a few estimates.

    My contractor brought in a plumbing company that he told me upfront was going to cost more, but that they did the best work. Glad I took his advice. They came in on a Thursday afternoon and started draining the old hot water heater and cutting out pipe. By the time I got home from work Friday, the entire house had been re-plumbed and the new hot water heater was operating. I was astonished at the speed. They must have had several guys working simultaneously.

    I know the frustration at picking out tiles and colors. It took me three trips to a tile store before a pattern just "clicked" for me. Most places will give you samples you can take home to help you. Take them up on it.
     
  4. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Funny aside about HD... We re-did our basement and my beloved wiff found the perfect sliding door at HD and they sucked her into having them install it. I expresed concern that a sub could do it cheaper, but wiffy insisted these were "HD Employees".... (that made me SO much more comfortable).

    They came, installed and did a decent job. 5 yrs later and we have yet to receive the install bill. I don't complain too much about HD anymore [​IMG]

    PS - "Kirk Gunn" is my online alias and bears no resemblance to any persons, living or dead. Move along, nothing to see here......
     
  5. Jeff_CusBlues

    Jeff_CusBlues Supporting Actor

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    Or, like you said, they were good. I'm always amazed at how fast good, skilled tradesmen work. The seem to do a great job and in amazing time. I've done a few simple home renovations and it always takes me a long time to do it right. Sorry to veer from the theme.
     
  6. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Jason, try this:

    Go to a department store (or Linens & Things, etc.) and pick out a set of really nice, rich, fluffy towels that you'd like to use in your new bathroom. Pick a color you really like.

    Now take one of your towels (or just a washcloth) with you to HD and use it as a basis for picking out tile.

    The idea is that it's easier to pick out towels than it is to pick out tile, and once you've settled on a color/texture of towel, that automatically eliminates a lot of tile colors and textures that you otherwise might be compelled to consider.

    No more headaches.

    Worth a shot?
     
  7. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    We had a house custom built two years ago and the bathroom tile was indeed one of hardest decisions. We went with a slate color on the floor with ivory for the shower walls. This worked well until we decided to change the color pallette from a greyish blue to a goldish brown. It still looks ok but we wish we had went with more neutral tile colors like beiges and taupes, or browns that would "go" with more colors. I would use ceramic tiles, marble will be too slick.
    Our cabinents are the same color as the trim, an off white that goes with anything, cultured marble countertops in white or bone blend with that.
    If you are on well water, do not use copper pipe. Our well water in our last house was highly acidic and it leeched the copper from the pipe and caused a blue tint to form on faucets and showers and caused the bath water to have a blue tint.
    One of the best upgrades we did was have dual showerheads installed, one fixed and one handheld. If we ever build again, we'll do that again. One thing we wished we would have done was put in heated floors, tile can get cold in the winter. Home Depot used to sell, and still might, a rediant heat mat that you put down under the tile for less than a grand unless your bathroom is huge.
    Lastly, do not let anyone get pushy with you, it is your project. HD will be a good starting point but interview several contractors and ask to see their work. The painters, tile guy,trim guy, and stacked stone people all had nice photos of past jobs that can help you to decide how your project should look when finished.
    Sorry for the long response but I've been there and it is mind-numbing but very rewarding in the end. Good Luck!
     
  8. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    Just for clarification (in case you're not aware) HD contractors are self employed and sub contracted by HD. They aren't really employed by the company. They're screened to some extent and have to carry their own liability insurance but likely as not, should something bad happen, it'll be the contractors insurance carrier that you'll be dealing with.

    Mort
     
  9. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    I think I have a better idea of what I would like to do now:

    1. Porcelain Tile - better than Ceramic and it is a lot cheaper than natural stone - plus I won't have to seal it. I don't want to "maintain" it after it is installed.
    2. Grout that isn't white - more like a sandy color.
    3. Big tiles on the shower wall [probably 12"] and the bathroom floor, small tiles [2"] on the shower floor.
    4. Install those glass translucent blocks on part of a shower wall to let in more light.
    5. I like those half/full flush toilets that I saw all over Europe. It doesn't waste as much water.
    6. Rip out the bathtub, make it a big shower. I don't know if I want a sliding glass door or one that swings out. Tile the shower walls all the way up to the ceiling. I hate when they don't tile it up all the way. That looks cheap and the wall gets water logged.
    7. I would like a pair of "indented niches" between the shower faucet and the shower head to hold shampoo bottles and other things. I hate when people just leave their shampoo bottles and such on the shower floor because there is no where to put them.
    8. New shower fixtures, new vanity.
    9. Concrete Backer Board/Hardy Board in the shower. I don't want to settle for Green Board.

    The problem I face now is finding a good contractor - one who specializes in bathroom renovations and can handle any problems that may arise.

    I don't have anyone who can refer a good contractor to me. There are plenty of horror stories about shady contractors. My sister had to sue one to get her money back after he just stopped showing up. I'll have to just pick one and hope for the best. I heard that angieslist.com and servicemagic.com aren't that great. I know to look at the BBB site, but most contractors that I looked up don't have any feedback at all.

    That is why I originally wanted to go with a reputable name like Home Depot. Perhaps I should check out Home Depot Expo or Lowe's.

    Aside from looking through the phone book and hoping for the best - how do I find a good contractor?
     
  10. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    It helps to have a girlfried who watches all those home improvement/design shows

    2 years ago I bought a house and gutted the entire thing. Redid the upstairs bathroom as well as completing the downstairs basement with a bathroom. Design=G/F, Labor=me.


    Id try a tile/flooring store. They should also have a list of contractors they trust for installations.
     
  11. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Basically Home Despot or Lowes will just hire local contractors and then take their cut.....you might as well deal direct.

    What's the raw plumbing like in your house? 50 year old galvanized? A remodel job should be approached in stages. If the raw plumbing needs upgrading, by all means do it before proceeding with a bath remodel job, otherwise you will be tearing out that new bathroom to install pipe in a few years.

    I typed up a written request-for-proposal when I solicited bids for my bath remodel. I went with the middle bid since that contractor noticed little potential problems and put fixes for them into his bid. He thereby demonstrated to me that he knew what he was doing.

    Jason, where do you live? We can't suggest contractors without knowing that.
     
  12. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    The plumbing in the condo is PVC for the drain pipes and copper for everything else I think. It was built in 1984. I also have a small leak somewhere because after I take a shower I can see that the grout between the bathroom floor and the bottom of the tub is wet in two spots. I tried putting caulk everywhere but it didn't help. It has been like that for years.

    I live in Dallas, TX.
     
  13. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    If there has been a leak for a long time, you may have mold issues to deal with which could require ripping out plywood or framing to fix properly. As for the indents for shampoo etc, these need to be built so that they fully drain or you'll have problems.

    Although ripping out the tub may sound like a good idea, they have more resale value than a shower alone unless you have another bath/tub. If going the shower route, I would consider a bench of some kind (again installed to fully drain). Handy for the shampoo and washing feet. I'd be sure whoever is doing the install quote is using cement board and the Schutler system - more expensive, but it won't leak (if installed properly), meaning you won't be redoing this again because it failed on you.

    Do yourself a favor and buy the Holmes on Homes series on DVD, you'll at least have a far better idea of how the work should look (and more importantly, how it shouldn't look) after viewing.
     
  14. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    What kind of size room are you dealing with?
     
  15. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Screenwriter

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    If you can afford a little more, I would ditch the hardy backer and go with wire and concrete, a much better quality. Bigger tiles make the bathroom look smaller so don't go too big.

    I would rip out the tub and put a shower, if you are able to move the wall alittle more to get a bigger shower that would be ideal, if the toilet is in the same room as the shower than you would have to move that as well(would be much easier if it is on the second floor, or you have a sub-floor). You could fix whatever leak you do have which needs to be taken care of.

    Have a small bench built into the corner if you can, so you can put your leg up on it.

    Build a inlet for your soap and shampoo(as others said).

    If you can afford, get a thermastaic valve, and a diverter valve for a hand held shower. If you go this route get a hook for your hand held instead of the sliding pole. Not a big fan of body sprays(never used one so..) they are nice to see in the tile. Also, usually shower heads are too low so ask your plumber to raise it up

    Shower door, I would get a swinging door.

    I would get a new vanity as you said you want to do, try and get a granite top and a large beveled mirror if your layout will allow.
     
  16. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    And if you have room, get a bidet.
     
  17. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    If you are going to the trouble of a big reno, don't forget to get electric radiant heat in your tiles. Your significant other will love it and it allows you to leave out the little mats because the tile is cold.
     
  18. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    Roughly 5.83 ft. wide x 12.5 ft. long
     
  19. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    Jason, for reference since I'm in that business, if your condo is worth at least $250 per square foot, it typically is high enough to warrant electric radiant heat.
     

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