Rehab Costs Revealed: The Bathroom

Hi gang!  I’m really excited about sharing this post with you guys as I have a lot of pride in this little room.  Out of everything I’ve done to the house so far I think that the bathroom is what I’m most pleased with, so pardon me if I gush with pride a little more than usual.

The Beginning

For such a small room this project took a lot of time and material to complete.  I guess when you do a complete gut of a room that is expected, but that wasn’t the case with the living room.  However, bathrooms are plumbing intensive with showers/tubs, toilets and sinks.  That is where much of the expense comes from and when you have never soldered a joint before or set a toilet it takes time to learn these skills.

The first part of redoing this room is the demo.  Demo is fun if you like tearing shit up!  Like most men my inner child comes out when I can wreck havoc on something.  Everything came out, toilet, cabinet, sink, light fixture fan/vent, tub, floor, tile around the tub.  All of it.

Tub is out, but I had yet to tear out the tile or replace that old three handle faucet

Changing three handle faucet to a one handle.  First soldering job ever and no leaks!

I think part of the pride that comes with this room is not just the finished product, but the effort, headache, and sweat that went behind it.  Doing your own rehab is not always fun.  It took me a while to figure out how to solder and run the new supply lines to that new valve.  I had leaks  in my drain that had to be resolved as well as a clogged drain in both the tub and sink.  I didn’t have an on/off valve for the sink either and that needed to be added.  I made multiple trips to Lowes, cursed the day  I ever bought a foreclosure and many nights said, “Fuck It!” and had a beer(s).  And yet I would not give up this experience, for there is much truth in the claim that our lives are filled with a sense of accomplishment when we are striving, not when we our content and things are easy.

This is looking from the hallway into the bathroom.  It had a second door that went into the utility room.  I removed this door and walled it.

Original tub and tile wasn’t bad.  I could have removed the old, dirty caulk line at the bottom and put a tub over the original and this would have saved me money

This picture above shows the HVAC vent above the shower and you can see how the paint has cracked.  I sanded this down and retextured it.  This was also why I replaced the exhaust fan unit.  There was also cracking of paint at the top wall where it meets the ceiling.  This comes from two things; an under powered exhaust fan or one that is being underutilized.  These exhaust fans are designed to exhaust moisture laden air out of bathrooms to keep it from damaging the interior over time.

This just has fun written all over it right?  Would you tackle a project like this?


New tub installation

Now that you have an idea of what I started with lets take a look at how things started coming together.

Proper substrate for the new tile installation


Half way point with tile work.  Next up is grout and applying a grout sealer.

The finished product.  Funny how not knowing the work that goes behind it makes it less impressive.

IMG_20140312_093722 (2)

Remember that second door?  This is how it looks now!

IMG_20140310_123929 (2)


Playing with a different way of installing crown, direct miter joints versus what I did in the living room.

Enough show and tell; how much did all this cost?  Below is a itemized list of the costs associated with the renovation of the bathroom.

  • Toilet: 99.67
  • Tile/supplies: 282.39
  • Tub: 189.74
  • Drywall/Cement board: 47.34
  • Plumbing supplies: 109.17
  • Shower/tub faucet: 135.68
  • Vent cover: 14.19
  • Vanity base and top: 399.92
  • Vanity faucet: 103.88
  • Door: 76.32
  • Paint: 21.45
  • Crown: 11.78
  • Exhaust fan: 115.88
  • Switch/outlet cover: 9.51
  • Mirror: 42.39
  • Light: 45.78
  • Hardware (Towel rack etc.): 54.11
  • Clogged Drain: 99.00*

Total: $1858.50

* This is were my DIY skills failed.  Although I was successful in fixing the clog in the tub I had no such luck with the sink.  I tried all my DIY skills with no luck so I called a plumber. *sigh*

I would love to hear what you guys think of not only the work itself but the cost of this project.  I know that I could have saved money, but this is another example where my preference for creating a home rubs up against my belief that this is an investment project.  Can they be both???

14 thoughts on “Rehab Costs Revealed: The Bathroom

    • Thank you so much Leigh! Part of what makes the project fun is the idea of building a home and infusing a bit of my personality and style into it. I think that is what we all do with our homes.

      Although it adds a little more to the cost of things, I believe that to a prospective buyer some of the details will be more appealing versus just going with what your standard rehab property looks like.

      • Definitely! I feel like I haven’t infused as much of my personality into this place since it was all nicely upgraded when I bought it. I’m slowly changing things though! The master bedroom and the balcony are the only real ‘rooms’ that have seen much change.

        I love seeing all the photos of your place – keep posting them!

      • I think it comes with time. Plus you’re working way too much to be able to immerse yourself into it, but you’re making huge strides in paying down that mortgage and in no time you will be able to relax and enjoy some of the fruits of your labor.

        I’m glad to hear you like seeing the progress. I will definitely keep this series going. 🙂

  1. Looks good. Impressive with the soldering of pipes. I hire plumbers for everything except changing faucets. And your costs look quite low. Not sure where you could cut without losing the benefits of quality materials. My similar bathroom makeover will probably cost about $3k based on initial estimates.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I really appreciate all of your comments and perspective.

      I actually impressed my dad with the soldering. He is very much a jack of all trades and told me he questioned my ability to do the valve replacement that came with changing the faucet out. He knows I’ve been a book worm most of my life and have only recently found a love of working with my hands. I appreciate your compliment on my work.

      How big is the bathroom you’re working on? This one, as I’m sure you can see in the pictures, is quite small. My savings came from doing the work myself which I know you have to account for your own labor and I guess I will be compensated when it comes time to sell. Plus I get to live rent/mortgage free which is awesome!

      As far as price savings goes there are several areas I could have saved on that I just didn’t think about early on because, well, I just didn’t know what I was doing. Now that I’ve gained a little experience I know of other ways of doing things that can look great and cost less. I think it all comes down to the neighborhood your working in and what the expectations are for the area. I feel confident that the things I have done here will appeal to potential buyers in this area. The next property I’m looking at rehabbing will most likely be one I use as a rental to generate some cash flow and I will do things slightly different utilizing the knowledge I’ve gained from this one as well as keeping my improvements firmly in line with my goals for the property.

      Thanks again for stopping by; it’s great to have you here! 🙂

      • My bathroom is small too – maybe 5′ x 8′. It needs to be completely renovated like yours: new tile, tub, toilet, vanity, etc.

        How much did your “jack-of-all-trades” father help you? My wife and I don’t have anyone in our families who is a talented in that way, so we learn as we go and hire pros when we get scared.

      • Wow… That’s the exact same dimensions as mine.

        He lives in the same state, but 1.5 hrs. away. He has been over once and that was when he and his contractor friend came up to install the windows and doors. That’s been it. The rest is The Stoic’s work. 🙂

        I’m not sure if yours is an investment project or your personal residence but what I have found incredibly helpful is to set up an area where you can practice something, your own personal lab if you will. Before I even attempted the soldering work on the valve I practiced outside under a shade tree with the copper until I had a firm grip on how things were going to go and what the process required. I did this before I tackled the tile as well. I took a piece of scrap cement board and set up everything just like I would do it around the tub. It allowed me to know how the mortar was going to go on an how quickly it would dry. Doing these small trial runs are worth the extra time it you’ve never done something. Combine this method with google, youtube and books from the library and you’re ready to attempt about anything.

        Also what I’ve learned is not to let fear paralyze you into not attempting something. The best piece of advice I have received is not to be afraid of screwing something up because anything can be fixed. There is a tendency for us new to this game to feel we have to attain perfection and anything short of that is not acceptable. That just isn’t the case. Sure it will suck to be out time and money for material if you make a mistake and have to do it over, but if you plan on doing part of your own rehab work on personal or investment properties that experience will become priceless and well worth what it costs you at the time you’re doing it or redoing it, whichever is the case.

        Best of luck with your project and leave me an email or comment if I can be of any help. I’m no expert, but will be happy to share all that I’ve learned.


    • Thank you! Thanks for the tip on the kitchen cabinets as well. I will be sure to check those out.

      Bathrooms can be intense there’s no doubt. I’ve learned a lot from it and looking forward to continuing to develop my skills on future projects.

      Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks DM! Always nice to see you around here. You and I have talked about this a couple of times, but I honestly don’t have a natural talent for this. It’s something I’ve learned over the last eight months and I have made my share of mistakes. Just compare it to your situation of what you knew when you first started investing. You started out having no idea what was going on and now look where you are. It’s similar with rehabbing real estate, you learn as you go.

      If you ever change your mind on buying a place let me know and I’ll come down and help you with it. 🙂

      Have a great weekend!

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