Mold in the bathroom, how much to fix/replace?

Kay20October 14, 2012

hi all,

Since my dad passed in 2011, I've been picking up the reno slack; my mom and I equally own the home now, and no maintence has been really done since 1990 (the year I was born and they moved in). Back then the kitchen was done, and my dad built a ginormous garage. He of course left the 1974 bathroom intact. Now 22 years later, I think we've got mold. There's greenish blue stuff coming throught the grout, black stuff growing in the corners and red mold growing where the green glass door meets the wall and tub, and under the baseboards (that I was taking out to replace with new ones), and under the tiles.

On to my question, what can I do to remediate the mold I can see till we can afford a full tub/shower gut? Should I take out and regrout the tiles for the time being? What should I do with the crack tiles that seem to be ready to fall off? I'm terrified about what could be going on under the tiles (which are directly adhered to the drywall, and over hang where the tub nook ends, hence how I know there is red mold under the tiles)so I know a gut is going to be required, but how much does that cost? It's a small room, about 5 feet wide by maybe 8 feet long.


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If you don't have a vent fan, install one and use it.

There's no good "remediation" when a a bath is at that stage.

Thoroughly cleaning with a fungicide, letting it dry completely and sealing the grout will slow the mold down, but the mold you see is an indication of a far worse problem under the tiles. It's damaging the studs, the flooring and the wallboard.

Get several estimates for a total replacement - You control part of the cost of a bathroom renovation. If you buy or specify modestly priced tiles and middle of the road fixtures, the bill is less.

Plain cream subway tiles, for example, can be $2 to $20+ a square foot ... the cost of the backer board and waterproofing under them stays the same.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 7:03PM
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I'm sure when it comes time, my mom and I will probably choose simple tiles and standard shower arrangement. I still have a couple of questions. 1) Do I find general contracters to do the bids for the removal? or are there specific people for the job? 2) with the most standard of features, what's a rough estimate of what it will cost to rip out the drywall/tiles and bathtub? (we're in Southern Alberta if that helps) 3) how dangerous is it to live with mold behind your tiles? My mom and I are both on restricted incomes (I'm a college student right now and work when I can, and my mom is getting her Canada pension and working 5 days a week (making roughly $29,000per year) so it may be a year or two before we can afford to get it fixed.

I have scrapped off all the caulking and treated the shower with concrobium from homedepot (it's a mold remover), and plan to put new caulking on tomorrow, should the concrobium stuff help a bit?
Thanks again

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 11:41PM
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Sophie Wheeler

This is a sooner job rather than a later job. You need a GC that's a bath reno specialist. In the US, if you chose a pre fab acrylic shower unit and the studs and subfloor aren't too badly damaged, you could probably do this for 3-5K. If you wait, and more damage occurs, or there is already a much more serious problem already existing underneath the mess, then the price starts rising. Waiting will cause you to spend more money, so it's a false economy to try to bandaid it now. It won't help, and it could hurt a great deal.

If you are remotely handy, or know someone who is and is willing to help, you can probably cut that bill in half by DIYing. Almost anyone can do the demo. But, it's knowing how to assess the conditions under the finishes after they are gone that's the real skill. Since you are in college, I'm sure you know how to do the research on how to do this right before you get started, so read up on this forum as to how to construct a proper waterproof shower. Then ask around to your new college chums to see if they have any connections to contractors that might be willing to work with you on a payment plan to get this done ASAP. One of their dads may be a plumber or carpenter or know someone who is. It IS a doable project now if you put effort into learning about how to do it.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:04AM
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I'm doing the same job right now with my husband in our primary bath. We are starting with the floor, ripping out old tile and replacing rotten subfloor then will move on to the shower enclosure.

I've linked to a post from Barb, who recently DIY'd her bath for about $1000. She saved even more money by shopping for used items at Habitat For Humanity's ReStore.

Tile expert Mongo recently posted a budget for a DIY tile surround (keeping existing tub) of $550 which includes purchasing some tiling tools and the tile at $300.

My project will use tiles priced at $.31/tile and will cost about $100 for the field tile. I'll add some decorative tile which will bump my costs up to $300 but this shows it can be done for less. And BTW the tile I picked is not the cheapest out there, and I'm buying tile from Lowe's. You might be able to score tile even cheaper via Craig's List or ReStore, etc.

As the poster above mentioned, if you ask friends for help, you might be able to tackle this yourself or get help from a skilled tradesman. At the very least you can do the demo yourself and save some bucks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Barb's Budget Bathroom

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:30AM
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I am excited for you!

Another DIY'er is Staceyneil. She did a bathroom several years ago that was very reasonable if I recall. I will look for the link and attach it.

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY budget elegant bathroom...

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 5:00PM
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Definitely fix ASAP, it will get worse.

We just remodeled our bathroom on a smallish budget. If we had been able to DIY to some extent, it would have definitely been a budget remodel. Labor is expensive!

You should be able to do most of the demo. But have an expert evaluate what's underneath and fix as needed, a good foundation is important. If you don't mind a tub surround, those will save money especially since the install is easy. We just put in a really nice one by Sterling and love it. I think the tub and surround were maybe in the $450-500 range?

You can find a vanity and counter with sink at a reasonable price at a big box store. Reuse centers may be helpful too. There are also very imespensive toilets and fixtures available that still look nice.

You would probably need someone to drywall and install the tub and plumbing rough in, but you could probably learn how to put a floor down, hook up the plumbing fixtures, and finishing touches.

I'm not one for loans usually, but if you can get a small (meaning just enough for the absolutely needed costs) to do this, it may be worth it to fix this while it's not out of control.

While you are figuring this out, you could also consider starting to accumulate some of the smaller items you will need, such as faucets (if replacing), lights (if replacing), vanity, etc so you don't have to come up with all the money at once.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:30PM
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We have a similar issue, lack of maintenance due to medical issues. We have a collection of shower curtains duct-taped to the inside of our tiled shower wall to keep the water from getting in the walls. Also get as much ventilation as possible - exhaust the moisture to reduce the mold. If you only have a window, open it then set up a portable fan just outside the doorway to blow in air. Just don't touch it when wet (leave a dry washcloth there to use).

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 9:51PM
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