Need ideas to start with

crl_October 4, 2012

We are interested in buying a house that needs a fair bit of work. One piece of that is that the master bathroom has had a leak in the past and will probably need to be gutted so the necessary repair work can be done sooner than later. My husband is meeting with a contractor at the house later this week to get an estimate on this and other work that would need to be done.

I think we probably need to be able to give some fairly good idea as to the fixtures and finishes we want for the contractor to be able to give us a meaningful estimate. I have been reading here and googling and have some idea as to my preferences.

My goals would be to keep the overall cost relatively low as there is other work that also must be done. I would like the end result to be durable, easy to clean and stylish, but not trendy.

I am thinking:

Flooring--dark grey tile in the biggest size the floor will support with dark grey epoxy grout, possibly set on the diagonal

Shower (no bathtub)--cast iron pan with white subway tile walls, curtain rather than door

Toilet--wall hung--this might be too expensive

Walls--half way up white subway tile--this might be too expensive

Mirror--recessed medicine cabinet

Vanity--white furniture style, since these are relatively easy to replace I am thinking this is a place to skimp a bit for now and if it doesn't hold up well we could replace it in ten years or so

Lighting--I don't really know, maybe sconces next to the mirror and some source of overhead lighting as well?

Fan--I have no idea except I know I want one that works really, really well

Faucet and shower head--I'd just like something that will work well, no special requirements, probably chrome

Possible big splurge--radiant heat under the tile

What else am I forgetting?

Thanks for any feedback on these very tentative ideas!

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Annie Deighnaugh

It might be helpful to browse for some ideas of bathrooms to get an inspiration.

One thought is, the larger the tile, the less grout, the slipperier the floor. Unless the tile is fairly rough, it can get quite slick.

Also, you didn't mention counter top which can impact the budget significantly.

Also, if you are looking to save money, you might check out Habitat for Humanity's ReStore or Green Demolitions (like a Goodwill store for building products) or other places that sell fixtures and vanities and such at a deep discount. We got our guest bath vanity from one of those places....

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 9:18AM
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Thanks! I have been browsing houzz quite a bit. So many lovely bathrooms there. And here too, of course.

As to the countertop, I am thinking a vanity from a big box store that comes with the countertop and sink. Not the most popular choice here, I know, but we have always had the equivalent of that (though never what we picked as we have not remodelled a bathroom before) and they have been fine. Also thinking the vanity is relatively easy to change so it is a good place to skimp a bit on costs.

I appreciate the suggestion to check restore, etc. Definitely worth doing down the road.


    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 9:32AM
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If you are going to purchase all the finished materials - faucets, mirrors, etc., and even the tile - then it is easier for the contractor to give you a bid.

The standalone, all-in-one vanity is a good idea to cut costs, and there are lots to choose from.

The wall-hung toilet is more expensive, and will also take more room in the wall, so keep that in mind.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 6:21PM
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Thanks! I am assuming that even if we purchase all materials or ask for an estimate without materials costs for now, the contractor will still need some idea of what we have in mind. Laying tile is a lot more labor than putting down sheet vinyl, for example--or at least I assume it is. And big tile might require a better subfloor, right?

I am flexible on who purchases most of the materials, but there are some things I'm just not competent or able to purchase, like the appropriate
drywall for various parts of the job, appropriate subflooring and so on. So while I could purchase and arrange delivery of things like tile and toilets, I don't think I could buy everything. We have never had a gc before (basically we were the GC for our kitchen remodel and had a super helpful carpenter who purchased all his materials and there was very little other work to coordinate). Do GCs usually purchase materials or do they usually have the client do so?


    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 6:37PM
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Find a contractor who is OK with you buying the "finish materials" while they provide the items that aren't seen.

They can get much of that more economically than you can.

My neighbor does a lot of that - he buys the waterproofing stuff by the 5-gallon bucket, backer board by the pallet, etc. And if he uses a gallon of waterproofing on a job, he charges for 1/5 of a bucket. He saves usable chunks of drywall and things to use where the next job doesn't need a whole sheet ... he's "green"!

But he can't do that with faucets, tile, and sinks, so he actually prefers that the customer get the visible stuff, after discussing what will work best, of course. The SO wanted all 12x12 tiles in the shower, until the neighbor pointed out it would be really hard to get a good slope with huge tiles and a center drain and they would have to be cut up anyway. So we have a 2x2 mosaic center and large tiles at the edges.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 1:36PM
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    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 12:13AM
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