The special-order fixtures, fittings, shower pan, tile and glass block panel can take weeks to get in hand, so do the necessary legwork and ordering well in advance. Before gutting the bathroom, check to make sure that there are shutoffs for all the fixtures or a master shutoff for the entire bathroom. If not, buy ball valve shutoffs sized to fit your pipes. Then turn off the main water supply line where it comes into the house from outside, cut the pipes feeding the bathroom and install the new shutoffs right away (see Photo 7).
Demolition. All remodeling jobs start with tearing out and removing elements that will be replaced. Depending on the level of your remodeling job, this can be a simple matter of removing old fixtures and flooring, or as complicated as removing everything down to the wall studs and floor joists. Either way, this can be hard work but it is not difficult, and most homeowners can do this work themselves to save money. Most demolition can be done in a weekend. You will need to rent a roll-off dumpster or arrange for a disposal company to take away a pile of demolition debris.
Plumbing rough-in. The plumbing work is one area where DIYers should be cautious, as the results of a bad installation can be catastrophic. Very skilled DIYers can do their own plumbing (and save lots of money), but most DIY remodelers hire pros for the plumbing work. The plumber may make several visits over the course of the remodeling job—one reason why this is one of the more expensive components of the project. Two inspections are required: one at the rough-in phase, another after the final installation.
The “Gorilla Style” Method: Bend a metal coat hanger so that the hanger portion forms a hook. This is a great way to fish out any clumps of slimy hair that might be clogging your shower drain. With an old plastic grocery bag acting as your catch-all for the mess, quickly tie the bag shut when all the gunk is gone to contain the odor. Pour baking soda down the shower drain. Then, add vinegar and immediately plug the shower drain with the rag. Wait 20 minutes for tougher clogs.
The cheapest route of all also typically the one that takes the most time: doing all or most of the work yourself. A very (very) skilled DIYer with plenty of time and a group of willing friends and helpers may be able to finish a bathroom remodel nearly as fast as a general contractor, but very few homeowners fall into that category. And there is the issue of quality: good contractors will do the job professionally, while many DIY installations will be recognizable as the work of an amateur.