DEAL OF THE MONTH
Tub and Shower Re-caulk
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Get rid of that moldy and ugly caulk around the tub or shower. Clear or White caulk included. All other colors must be provided by the homeowner. $150 for the first bathroom and $75 for each additional bathroom. Saturdays & Sundays only

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It is easy for a weekend warrior to get overwhelmed when taking on a large remodeling project like updating a bathroom.  You spend Saturday morning at the home improvement store enthusiastically loading up all of the materials you will need for your new luxurious bathroom.  By the end of Sunday you find yourself exhausted, still in demo stage, and standing in a pile of dust and debris wondering if you have gotten yourself  in way over your head.  Follow these realistic bathroom remodeling steps for a less stressful and more manageable project.

The first thing to remember when remodeling your bathroom yourself is that it can take a professional contractor a couple of weeks to complete, depending upon the scope of the work.  He or she has the technical knowledge, the right tools, and years of experience in the field, resulting in a faster and more fluid project.  You on the other hand have a limited selection of tools, have worked in a non-construction field all of your life, and will need to think and rethink your way through each step of the remodeling process.

Although this sounds discouraging, the project can be broken down into several steps making it more manageable for the ambitious “Do It Yourself-er”.  If you are going to attempt this adventure, first make an evaluation of your capabilities .  Painting and tiling are fairly simple DIY projects but plumbing and electrical work not only can be difficult, but there are building codes to follow, they often require advanced technical knowledge, and improperly installed work can cause damage to your home.  It’s safe to say that if the project you are about to embark on is usually performed by someone who had to complete extensive training to acquire the title journeyman or master, it is sometimes wise not to attempt yourself.  If you or a friend do have some experience in these fields, make sure to check your local building codes for the latest updates.

Here is the is the important part and the advice that allow you to keep your sanity and marriage in tact.  Do not demo the entire bathroom!  Instead divide the remodel into manageable mini-projects.  Here are a few mini-projects that individually can be accomplished in a couple of weekends and give you the flexibility to take weekends off between projects, the ability to absorb budget overages, and build confidence throughout the bathroom remodel.

  1. Planning – Spend your first weekend researching design, materials,  installation methods, and your budget.  Figure out if you will need to call a professional contractor at some point.  Then make a modest schedule of the first project.  During the first project you will get a good grasp on how long it actually takes to complete all of the necessary details.  You will then have a better idea of how your next project will go.
  2. Shower or Tub Enclosure– This one will prove to be the most time consuming and may require a plumber  but should really be done first.  Demolition of the walls, installing backer-board, tiling, and grouting will be a good test of your aptitude and efficiency.  You will now have a better grasp on how long your next project will take you.
  3. Vanity Area– I say area because if you change the placement or configuration of the vanity cabinet, you will have to move or install new mirrors, lights, and plumbing.  Make sure you remove any floor tiles where the cabinet base will reside so that it sits firmly on the sub-floor.  One thing to note here is if your new vanity has furniture legs or is a pedestal sink it will need to rest on the new tiled floor.  Place it in position temporarily to get the mirrors, lights, and plumbing lined up correctly and installed.    Make sure it can easily be removed for the next project.
  4. Floor Tile – The first thing you have to do is remove the toilet.  If the existing flooring is sheet vinyl or vinyl tiles, happy scraping!  If you must remove ceramic tile make sure you cover all of your newly finished work so pieces of tile don’t nick or damage the finish.  Wrap the vanity in cardboard for extra protection and always use blue tape when masking and covering.  Always wear gloves and goggles for ceramic tile removal.  Install the new tile and reinstall the toilet with a new wax ring and bolts.  You will now start feeling like a pro.
  5. Patch and Paint – Mask all your newly finished projects with newspaper and blue tape.  Patch and texture all of the areas where you had to move lights, vanities, and mirrors.  And then paint your new bathroom.  You can now brag to your neighbors about your new bathroom that you remodeled yourself.

As a pro contractor, I start with complete demolition, including the floor, on day one.  This gives me a blank canvas to create the new bathroom design and configuration that the home owner has envisioned.  It may take us several weeks to assemble and install everything to create the beautiful bathroom retreat .  When you calculate for inexperience and a two day work week for the weekend warrior, you could be without a working bathroom for several months.  Following these tips will make your overall bathroom remodel more manageable and less stressful. 

 The order of the projects presented here are based on the most common bathroom remodels that we perform.   Make sure the order of these steps work for your project before you begin.  Planning is the least utilized but most important tool in remodeling construction.

Chad Walker – Texas Shower Company

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