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.
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.
With the rough plumbing complete and the toilet chair carrier in position, finish the electrical and add blocks as needed to support the sink (Photo 15), towel bars, grab bars, etc. Then close up the walls. We recommend cement board for durable tile walls and floors, but other tile backers are available at tile shops. Here are key installation tips:
Homeowners often imagine that remodeling a small bathroom—one that is about 50 square feet or less—will be much quicker, much easier, and much less expensive than remodeling a large bathroom. And they are often surprised to find that it's only a little bit quicker, a little bit easier, and a little bit less expensive. The reason? A small bathroom has most of the same elements as a large bathroom and remodeling requires assistance from the same in-demand professionals as does a large bathroom. The reality is that a 50 square foot bathroom may be one-third the size of a large 150-square-foot bath, but it typically costs about 75 percent of a large bath in terms of time, money, and effort.
After removing your shower head and handle, cover your shower floor with newspaper. Take your hammer and chisel and start from the bottom corner. Gently place the chisel on the side of tile and use your hammer to push the tile out. Start gently. As you move on, you may have to use some real elbow grease to get these tiles out. Once all tile has been removed, chisel off any remaining mortar as well.
Given the complexity of bathrooms—multiple components in a compact space, not to mention all that water—doing the project right is a challenge. (See Remodeling Dos and Don'ts.) On a cost-per-square-foot basis, bathrooms are one of the most expensive spaces to remodel. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. That’s where Consumer Reports’ Bathroom Remodeling Guide comes in. Our product testers have spent months rating the latest toilets, sinks, countertops, and other bathroom essentials to separate the winners from the also-rans. We’ve also interviewed designers, contractors, and real estate pros nationwide to find out what to include—and what to skip—on your bathroom-remodel wish list.
You’ll spend $3,000 to $8,000 on the typical remodel. Anywhere from 40 to 65 percent of a bath upgrade cost comes from labor. However, doing any project yourself means no insurance and added fees if something goes wrong. Hire a professional for any work you’re not comfortable doing, such as the plumbing and electrical. Consider the pros and cons of DIY vs professional bathroom remodeling.