How to start

musicteacherJune 11, 2013

We need to redo our 30 year old bathroom in a modest but comfortable house and I am so over my head. We have a 76 inch vanity which I was told today will have to be custom, pop corn ceiling which is going, A whirlpool bathtub , rarely used so is almost like new except for some yellow plastic "spouts" and tarnished brass fittings. The shower is the worst- all black mildew that will not scrub off, so I suspect there is some degree of moisture in the wall board which may need replacing too. We don't want to replace the slate-look floor tiles but may have to if things don't fit the same. The prices I saw for a new vanity are just about the price we wanted to spend on the whole thing. How does one stay in a budget when everything is so complicated and prices are not listed? It's like if you have to ask the price you can't afford it. Have us come out and measure, pick all your finishes etc, and THEN we will tell you how much it costs. I think I want swanstone shower walls - but have no idea of prices on that. Home Depot will sell bathroom cabinets but not install them. Is it really necessary to spend the extra money on a contractor for this kind of job? I want materials that will hold up, and not look cheap, but don't need top of the line, and am happy to make it special with paint and accessories not expensive glass tiles. I have been reading here about everyone's search for the perfect tiles etc, but how do I go about just getting job done as correctly and inexpensively as possible? Thanks for your help.

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First of all your question about the contractor . Are you going to do the whole job by yourself or even some of it ? By job I mean demolishion, drywall, floors, electricity , plumbing..... Or do you have separate people to do it for you? Like you know a plumber , electrician , painter . If the answer is yes to either questions ,then you don't need a contractor , but if its no , then you need a contractor that will provide you with all the people needed to do your job . The contractor can provide you with the materials too , or help you choose them , or you can get them on your own , depending on the deal with him and what you want .
In my opinion this is the first step in your project .
I had to hire a contractor, because I wasn't going to do any of the required jobs , and I didn't know separate people to do it for me . The contractor supplied me with the people and the basic material for the whole job plus the cabinets. I chose to get my own fixtures, tub , toilets, sinks, vanity top and tiles .
Good luck

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 5:29AM
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You *could* serve as your own contractor. Although your lender might require you to prove that you have project management experience - if you are going to finance this. You could locate/interview/hire your own subs, using sources like Angie's List for referrals, also you can find good subs through word of mouth - networking. Of course, doing your own GC work, you have to pay the individual people, rather than just paying the GC.

I say this because my dh and I are GCs for our entire new house. It does take a bit of time - probably less for your one room, though. And - it does save money, both by not having to hire out the GC job and also b/c we are in charge - better able to look for deals and for exactly what we want.

Sure, you can hire a GC. But that isn't the only option.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 8:27AM
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Take a deep breath. You've come to the right place, and we can help. :-)

The best place to start is with a design that meets your budget. I'd suggest you post some photos here, along with your wish list and budget. Also, let us know your ability to DIY any portion of it. We can help steer you towards finishes that will meet your budget, or suggest ways to save money (like on that non standard sized vanity).

Materials are pretty easy to price using the internet (google "swanstone shower walls," for example, and you'll find some stores that sell it online). Labor, if you need to hire it, is tougher to estimate because there's a wide geographic variation. You can, but don't necessarily need to hire a general contractor, you can just hire tradespeople for the different parts.

So start with photos, wish list, and budget, and we'll help you come up with a reasonable plan.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 8:40AM
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I think you just need to start here, and ask a lot of questions... (for example, I am not sure why you'd need a custom vanity made for a 76" counter. It would be easy enough to make a 72 or 75" set from stock cabinets, then add small filler...)

Start by posting up your space, current, with a layout with dimensions and what you'd like to do (if you know).

Then, we can help from there.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 12:34PM
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You could also go to a custom cabinet maker who could give you precisely what you want for cabinets, and probably at a better quality and price than you would find with stock cabinets...

At any rate, yes - post what you'd like to do, your dimensions, etc., and see what you get for ideas. It also doesn't hurt to look at books/magazines for bathrooms to get ideas of some brainstorming - this is YOUR bathroom, so make it work for you...

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 12:44PM
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This is the vanity. The cabinet looks better than the picture but the counter, faucets and the awful corroded mirror look worse in person.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 7:29PM
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Reflection in the mirror of the wall behind me. It has the door, the toilet and then on the far left, the shower. oh, ns the ugly lights

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 7:37PM
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Another cabinet to the left of the vanity. I like it because it has a built in hamper, and some very shallow shelves.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 7:39PM
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the last one. Little half wall shielding the toilet. Behind the toilet is the shower. The shower door faces the little narrow hamper cabinet. I did take a picture of the shower but I think my camera deleted it because it was so gross.

The basic layout of the room is fine for us, I just want it to look cleaner, nicer. Because it would cost $2-3K to replace the vanities we are thinking of keeping them, painting, getting new hardware including new slides for the drawers. We NEED to replace the countertops, all faucets (tub and shower too) the shower of course, remove the popcorn ceiling, get new moldings around the floors and paint everything.
I can remove the popcorn but maybe it wont look really smooth and clean. I can paint, do the moldings, cabinet hardware, but not the electrical, plumbing or tiling. Do you think we will be sorry we didn't replace the cabinets?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 7:55PM
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If the layout works for you, that's a great start. No need for expensive plumbing changes.

Are your cabinet boxes in good shape? If they're solid, consider just changing out the doors and drawer fronts (see link below for a purchase option). You can get the precise, custom sizes you need without high custom upcharges, and completely update your look. Paint everything to match, change out the hardware, and you've got a great new look for a few hundred dollars.

That also lets you avoid changing the tile, since you're happy with it.

The mirror and lights are easy to change out for something fresh and updated. Consider two individual framed mirrors, over each sink, which would leave you room for a wall-mounted 4" deep wall cabinet in between for more storage.

For a vanity top, what materials are you thinking? Watch Craigslist and you might find a granite top in the size you need.

For faucets, I watch ebay (some sellers have new stuff that's closeout/discontinued, so a good deal) or buy from Browse and see what styles you like, then shop around by model number online.

What's your shower look like currently (tile?), and what are the dimensions? You mention Swanstone appeals to you. Shop online for shower "kits." It's not cheap, but it's easy to install, so you'll save on labor. Can you reuse the shower pan?

Here is a link that might be useful: custom cabinet doors

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 7:27AM
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Thanks Weedy! My current shower is tiled and I hate the grout. It is about 37 inches square and has 4 sides and a door (the 4th sides being about ff10 inches on each side) And the tile wraps all the way around to the outside. I think I would need a new drip pan as it is tiled and might get holes.
The swanstone kits I saw on line only have 3 sides...but I haven't called them or anything. I appreciate the site on the cabinet doorsWatched the video. Do you think that veneer would eventually peel? Inside the cabinets would still look stained and and scratched but I guess I could just paint inside the cabinets to make them "clean" again?
What you said about the mirrors is exactly what I had in mind.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 8:48AM
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4 sides and a door? I'm not getting it. Can you post a photo?

You can just buy sheets of Swanstone and make your own custom deal if a kit won't fit what you've got.

What's scratched inside the cabinets? If it's the bottom, you can get some sheet vinyl and cut it to fit, covering it up and making it easy to clean.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 10:54PM
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