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DIY Bathroom Remodel Example | $5k Budget

The total cost for this DIY bathroom remodel was under $5k. The average bathroom remodel cost in the US is between $8,000 and $12,000. We surveyed 9 remodeling companies in our state and received quotes that averaged around $125 per square foot.

If your willing to do the work, you can cut a few thousand dollars off your DIY bathroom remodel cost. That’s exactly what reddit user notadeckofcards managed to do, and lucky for us he documented his entire process for us to learn from. If you like his work go check out his instagram page: @notadeckofcards

diy bathroom remodel example

Final Product First! DIY Bathroom remodel for a cost of $5k. I’ve done a few DIY projects before but this has been my biggest yet. I am extremely happy with how it turned out, so please, keep reading and join me for this weeks Video Breakdown. Oh wait, this isn’t Tosh.0. Let me start again. Join me for this week’s DIY breakdown, which knowing you guys, can be just as brutal as he is, but what the hell, I can’t complain, I keep coming back for more!

Here’s what I started with. A pretty small room, with a tight shower, tiny bath, an underwhelming vanity and a poorly positioned mirror that you couldn’t even see yourself in without bending over.

The room has been on my list to redo ever since we bought this place. I put a big shower head in early on which helped delay the decision, but a couple of months ago the door fell off and that was the last straw. Yes it would have been a $2 fix to put the door back on, but I like doing projects so any excuse will do 🙂

This photo shows the current layout. I’ve always enjoyed baths but this one was so small that I only had about 3 of 4 baths in as many years. To get a big enough bath to properly enjoy would mean either putting the shower in the bath or further reducing the already limited floor space. I’ve done a lot of overseas travel with my work and always associate showers in baths with hotel rooms. I didn’t want this to feel like one of them. Therefore we decided to forego the bath for now, but we have plans to do an extension at a later date which will include a bigger DIY bathroom remodel (and bath) so no need to comment that taking out the bath has reduced the value of the house – we’re on it!

When we show people the before photos they often say “it didn’t look that bad”. This collage is just a few of many photos showing how old and tired the room actually was. Cracked tiles, crumbling grout, bad finishes….IT WAS TIME TO GO!

I was so nervous breaking the first tile off the wall. As soon as I hit it with the hammer I felt sick and thought “what am I doing? I could have fixed the shower door for $2…” But a few tiles in I got back in the mindset that this was the right thing to do, especially when seeing the job the previous owners had done (for a start no waterproofing whatsoever).

I used a hammer and chisel for this part to remove the tiles. Remember that when tiles break they can shatter like glass so remember to wear safety protection.

Bath and vanity gone! The bath was held together by a wooden frame that I unscrewed. Same for taking apart the vanity.

Here’s my quick attempt at showing friends what I had in mind for the new shower and tap locations.

I knew there would be some water damage behind the shower as the tap had been leaking on and off.

The shower base was a pain to get up…

The pry bars kept going through the floor which had become soft in some sections from leaks over the years.

Fast forward to the new plumbing. I chose that position for the tap/mixer so you can turn the shower on without having to reach under the shower head and get wet/shocked by cold water if you’re not quick enough to move out of the way. I also invested in a custom shower base ($350) so that the waterproofing and slopes would be perfect.

I used pex and shark bite fittings for the plumbing. They are such an innovative product. You can do it all just by cutting the pex pipe square and pushing on the shark bite fittings. No need to weld or solder copper. I also added lagging to the hot pipes to keep the heat in.

Things getting serious now. Floor gone. Tiles off. Room is ready to be rebuilt!

The drain of the new shower location needed to go just next to the tape measure in the first picture. This is the before and after of that exercise. I cut the pipe with a hacksaw and then use red primer and blue glue to mate the new fittings together. The red primer smells so strong so remember to wear a mask!

A similar situation for the drain of the new vanity location. Before and after again (trying to keep the amount of photos down)

I wanted the shower to be flush with the rest of the floor. So I dropped the sub floor under the shower base (and reinforced it in the process). Detailed Description: To lower the sub floor I installed batons on the joists, as well as adding extra joists, and then I cut the yellow tongue to fit perfectly between the joists and rest on the batons. I also added some joist hangers underneath too.

Coming together! Shower base sits flush with the rest of the floor as planned.

OK, so here is where I wanted to do something different to your traditional shower. Since the bath is gone (for now) I still wanted an option to relax while having a shower. I know a lot of people sit on the floor, so I thought I’d make an actual seat.

I used pine for the bench, with nails, screws and glue to make sure it is super strong. I also made sure to measure it to the exact height of a few tiles so the finished product would have tiles that didn’t end awkwardly.

Gluing the shower base to the floor…. Detailed Description: I used a whole bottle of liquid nails to glue the base to the floor and then left the heavy tiles on it for 48 hours to make sure it really stuck.

Another before and after. I wanted to use the old mirror cavity as a niche, but didn’t want it to be too wide, so I closed up a bit of it. Detailed Description: Just some wood screwed in so I could then screw the plaster onto them. The plaster for the DIY bathroom remodel is a special aqualock variety for added moisture protection.

Tile underlay going up. I also put metal edging around the main edges for extra waterproofing. Detailed Description: the metal edging was cut with tin snips and nailed to the tile underlay. The tile underlay was cut using a score and snap technique then glued and nailed onto the walls.

Waterproofing the joins. I used a bandage membrane to cover the joins. This allows movement in the house without breaking the membrane barrier.

Waterproofed! I used two coats of waterproofing membrane (a thick gooey paint). The 2nd coat was painted in a perpendicular brush direction to the first coat. The next step was tiling. I’d done everything up until here by myself and was planning to do the tiling as well.

The tiling, however, will be the most obvious feature in the room and I didn’t want to come into the room each day and be looking at a bad tile job. Therefore I enlisted a very nice man from AirTasker who did all the tiling and grouting for $1k. Biggest expense of the project but worth every penny.

Here’s the initial stages of working out what tile orientation and what sort of cuts he would need to make.

Hexagon tiles are not easy to lay as they require so many cuts but he did a great job. The floor tiles were cut with an angle grinder because of the type of tile they were. Some tiles can be cut with a score/snap tile cutter, but not these hexagon ones.

Day 1 of tiling done. Hexagon tiles were about $50 per square meter. The white subway tiles were about half that price. In total the tiles came to about $500. We used a combination of 2mm and 3mm tile spacers to achieve the desired look.

Almost done…

While the tiler was doing his thing I found other jobs to do, such as cutting the material to put in the niche and spray painting the ducted heating cover to match the colour scheme of the bathroom. The flat matte black spray paint only costs about $5 per can. Such a cost effective method to making things look nice. 2 or 3 coats and you’re set!

Tiling/grouting finished (it took 4 days all up). Starting to really take shape now! We used slate grey grout for the floors and white grout for the walls. The tiler did this part pretty quick so I didn’t get a full look at his exact method sorry.

It took so much self control to wait for the tiles and grout to set. I don’t know how, but we even waited an extra 48 hours to be 100% sure. When I finally got to walk on them, give them a good clean, and seal them with penetrating sealer, they looked every bit as good as I hoped.

With the penetrating sealer I painted it into the grout lines and then used a sponge to wipe off the excess.

One thing about DIY is how easy it can be to save money. We got one quote from a glass place to supply and install a frameless shower screen that was over a thousand dollars! But a quick google turned up a factory outlet and a youtube video later resulted in the whole thing purchased and installed for $200.

diy bathroom remodel example

Here it is installed. I had my dad come over and help lift it into place. I drilled 2 holes in the tiles using a ceramic drill bit and then after it was slid into the brackets and tightened I used silicon to fix it into place. It also sits on little clear rubber blocks to keep it off the tiles. When you buy the screen they should give you a handful of the blocks to use.

diy bathroom remodel example

Painting… We used a special bathroom/kitchen paint that is anti-bacterial/mould resistant.

OK, no more pictures of the DIY bathroom remodel until the final product…. We were really struggling with finding a vanity. The ones we liked the look of were $2k+ but most were the wrong dimensions. Next we started looking at custom made ones for $1.5k. We were just about to pull the trigger on one until we came across a furniture warehouse of seconds for sale at very reasonable prices. We picked up this bad boy for $350 which brand new was apparently $1200.

After drilling a couple of holes for the tap and basin, making the middle drawer smaller to make room for the pipes and varnishing it to make it waterproof it was ready to be moved in.

Measured the basin and mixer location and then drilled the appropriate holes. Cut one of the drawers in half then reattached the back of the drawer to make it half length. For the varnish, I lightly sanded the unit with a 200-300 grit sand paper, then did the first coat, then lightly sanded again, before applying the second coat.

Connecting the pipes for the mixer and waste… Similar to the previous waste pipe description, I used a hack saw and the red/blue primer/glue to mate the lengths together. For the hot and cold water it was more pex and shark bite.

Spray painting the old handles and the old towel rails to fit in with the new look.

OK, one small detour, we needed a new door solution. Since the room was small, we didn’t want to waste any space having the door open up into the room. The idea was to make a cool sliding door that could go on the outside to maximize the space.

The total cost was about $50 to make the sliding door. Some steel garden edging for the runner and garden stakes spray painted black with wheels attached to allow the door to slide silently back and forth.

Using a 6mm metallic drill bit I made 5 holes in the edging for attaching it to the wall, and 2 holes in the stakes for putting a wheel through. Then another hole to attach it to the door.

Came up a treat!!! Now, without further ado, lets get to the good pics!

A view through the door and into the brand new DIY bathroom remodel – I love this shot.

diy bathroom remodel example

Et Voila! Looks a million times better than the old bathroom (to us at least). So much space and great functionality too! Double shower, niche, bench seat, frameless screen…. You might be asking, does the water stay in the shower area without a door and the answer is yes. We’ve been showering in it for a month and the slopes and dimensions of the space mean all the water stays where it should, and with no door it is super easy getting in and out.

I didn’t explain it earlier, but we frosted the window with a special frosting finish spray can. Not needing a blind for privacy means the natural light is free to come through unobstructed. It’s so bright in the mornings you don’t even need to turn on the light.

diy bathroom remodel example

We chose a round mirror to match the round basin. A black power point to match the black fittings. Also found a clever spot for the floor towel rack (you can just see on the right hand side of the vanity).

diy bathroom remodel example

I can’t walk past this room without stopping here and looking in. Doing things yourself is so rewarding.

diy bathroom remodel example

A bit of an artistic shot.

If you’ve followed any of my other projects you know I like to throw in some cool features, hence I had to get one of these WiFi enabled lights. It’s the best. If you need to shave or do your makeup, bright white, if you want a relaxing shower, dim blue, if you want to have a disco shower, random flashing!

But what’s disco shower without music. Bring on the Google Home! Being able to say “OK Google, set a timer for 5 minutes”, “OK Google, listen to triple J”, “OK Google, dim the lights”, “OK Google, whats the weather?”….etc…. makes this room so fun (and efficient).

Setting the timer so I know how long to spend in the shower means I’m never in a rush. In the past I’d get side tracked thinking about things (shout out to r/ShowerThoughts) and lose track of time and then panic that I’m going to miss my train…but not anymore!

The old light switch wouldn’t do either…replaced with this cool push button unit with tiny LEDs in the middle of each button so you know where the switches are in the dark.

diy bathroom remodel example

Another artistic angle for you.

diy bathroom remodel example

The bench seat works a treat too.

diy bathroom remodel example vanity and sink

One more view of the vanity complete with Google Home.

diy bathroom remodel example

And here’s a slightly warped panorama to show the full layout.

diy bathroom remodel example

And that’s it! A final shot of what I think is the coolest DIY bathroom remodel example going around. Thanks for reading!

Oh yeah, almost forgot. Dog tax….

A big thanks to notadeckofcards for sharing his DIY bathroom remodel under $5k with us! Remember to check out his instagram page and check out our other DIY project examples!

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