When the gum chewing salesman from ReBath informed me that our bathroom could not be repaired for the $500 promotional price he committed to on the phone, but instead would require a $3,000 – $5,000 investment, I realized a do-it-myself job was in my future.
My Construction Background
While I am not a contractor, my construction resume is:
- Tiled the floor in four rooms
- Replaced a number of garbage disposals and toilets
- Built a number of shelves and bookcases
- Painted tons of rooms
I had a friend of mine who, in his “free time,” built his house.
I learned from my friend that projects like replacing a shower/bath are not difficult if you view the project not as one large task but hundreds of small steps.
The steps consisted of:
- The Demolition: This was the fun step. Knocking down the tile pieces, removing the garden tub and finding out that mold had grown on the fiberglass insulation.
- The Plumbing: While plumbing can be scary, this turned out easier than I thought.
- Building the Foundation: Reinforcing the wall with 2×12’s and waterproof drywall, laying membrane to prevent leaks, cement base
- Laying the Tile: This is the part that takes a long time, not too hard, just takes a long time
- Installing the Shower Doors: This made the biggest difference on the look, but took very little time
- Laying the Tile on the Floor to Match Shower Tile: After everything I have done before, this was fast and easy
- Enjoy the Shower That Cost Less Than $300 to Build.
The three pieces of advice to pass on are as follows:
- Measure twice, cut once. This saved lots of pieces of drywall, tiles, wood, etc., from becoming scrap material
- Think about the extras you want before you start. If I would have followed that advice, I would have had a magazine holder near my toilet and two shower heads in my one shower stall. When my friend recommended those ideas, I just wanted the project done, so nothing extra was added.
- Be ready to give up your free time to get this project done. When I got started with the demolition, I had hoped it would go back up as fast as it came down. Instead, it took two months of working two or three nights a week and eight-hour days over the weekend.
While it was hard work and took lots of time, I was able to build the bathroom that exceeded my wife’s expectations and that was much more than any gum-chewing salesman could have done.