Sunday, March 17, 2013



Anyone need to use the bathroom?

List the work your remodel involved:
My wife and I went beyond gutting the bathroom during our whole-house renovation. When most people hear the word “gutted,” they think of taking out some drywall and maybe removing some carpet or tile. But that's like thinking of hot dogs when someone says “barbecue”—and this bathroom gut was definitely more of a full rack of ribs. We removed the plaster walls, two ceilings (including the joists), the rot-damaged subfloor and joists, removed and walled-over a window, and removed all wiring, plumbing, and all existing fixtures. Then we replaced the floor and ceiling joists, replaced the subfloor, re-wired, re-plumbed, installed a floor-heating element, and installed new flooring and (mostly new) fixtures.

Before #1.

Besides paying for it, what was the hardest part of your remodel?
When you say “I built this” because you actually did the work (as opposed to “I built this” meaning “I hired a contractor,” paying isn't hard. And since we didn't have to deal with that, the most challenging part of our bathroom renovation was laying out and installing all of the drain and vent plumbing in such a way as to fit everything in an old house—where it needed to be—while at the same time satisfying present-day code requirements that I didn't completely understand. Everything else just seemed like it took forever, but that's because were were doing the same things all over the rest of the house at the same time.

Before #2...ha ha ha, get it? Not really funny.

What do you like best about your remodel?
The awesomeness of the finished product is what we like the most. In the end, it doesn't matter how much you saved or spent (we spent well under $5,000 total!), or if you did everything yourself or just wrote a check (we did the former!)–if you don't like the end result, the path to getting there doesn't really matter. And we love how our bathroom turned out. It is functional, spacious, has a warm floor, looks great, cost very little, and—unlike many diy (and seemingly just as many contracted jobs)—our bathroom renovation passed all municipal code inspections. While we did it for ourselves, that last part is something the next owner of our house will probably like—after all, when you're the next owner, the previous owner's shoddy renovations are often gifts that just keep on giving.

After #1.

How did you save money during your remodel?
Living in a small, rural community in northeast Nebraska, you do not have easy opportunities to find great deals through local used- or retro-based renovation supply businesses, garage sales or things like Craigslist, so we did our best at big-box stores, waited for sales, and even bought all of our floor tile during one of those “brown-bag sales” where you got a discount on whatever would fit in the bag. We made at least twenty trips in and out of the store to do that, but it brought the price of each tile down to 60 cents. And when we were done bargain-hunting, we installed everything—joists, drywall, electrical, plumbing, and fixtures—ourselves. That not only saved us money, but it lets us honestly say “we did this.”

After #2.

Tell us anything else you'd like us to know about your remodel:
For both this room and the rest of the house, we worked on evenings and weekends in addition to our regular 40 hour/week jobs. We were able to teach ourselves both the basic and complex aspects of home construction with little previous experience. A lot of time, patience and effort was needed, but it taught us both that so many people—including ourselves—can accomplish just about anything if they just have the confidence to try and the dedication to work through problems (expect lots of those!) encountered along the way. We were also able to end up with such a beautiful and functional room for a fraction of what this would cost someone else to do it. There is a lot of satisfaction found in that.

No comments:

Post a Comment