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DIY bathroom remodeling is not only a popular trend going around the U.S., but it’s also one of the most valuable. In fact, on average, bathroom remodeling projects yield a 60% return on investment. As such, you may not only get to enjoy the luxury of using an updated bathroom, but the monetary return as well.
Nevertheless, bathroom remodeling is not easy. To make a difference, you need honest advice from the pros. As such, we rounded up six common DIY bathroom remodeling projects and the steps to complete each without a pro.
If you feel some these are biting off more than you can chew, be sure to contact a professional bathroom contractor near you.
Bathroom Remodeling Costs
Before we dive into each project, we must cover the average costs. According to our bathroom renovation cost estimator, the national average for a bathroom remodeling job is $7,920. This price includes hiring a professional. Therefore, expect your DIY bathroom project to be much less expensive (expect longer completion time though).
DIY Bathroom Planning
Before you start your DIY bathroom remodel project, you must ask yourself six essential questions. By asking and answering all six, you will know if this bathroom project is not only worth your investment, but time as well.
The six questions you need to ask yourself before every DIY bathroom remodeling are:
- What is in the bathroom remodel budget?
- What do I need & what do I want?
- Who will be using the bathroom & what is its function?
- How long can the family function without this bathroom?
- Do I want to install energy efficient products?
- Do I need more bathroom ventilation?
For more tips and guidelines into this six questions, please see DIY Bathroom Remodel Planning.
DIY Bathroom Ideas
Time to jump into your DIY pants. I am going to start off with the easiest and most prevalent DIY project around the house. Believe it or not, new paint can transform your bathroom from 1980s drab to 2010s fab. Whether you go bold with dark blue or casual with stripes, new paint will not only give new life to an outdated bathroom, but make it feel larger as well.
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Making your small bathroom feel large is not as hard as it sounds. There are easy, proven painting tips that can make your small bathroom feel like the lavish master bath you deserve.
- Use light colors
- Keep all same tone
- Blend tile color & wall color
- Paint ceiling & wall same colors
- Paint vertical stripes to make it seem taller
- Paint horizontal stripes to make it seem wider
- Use light colors on doors, windows & molding
- Color unexpected accents
- Paint a statement or accent wall
To see how to take advantage of each tip, please see 10 Painting Tips To Make Your Small Bathroom Seem Larger.
We spend much of our time in the shower and fortunately for DIY homeowners, there are a few easy DIY shower projects you can complete without a pro.
Clean & Unclog Shower Drains
The first shower project is not so much a DIY project as much as it is DIY maintenance. With long hair myself, I know what it’s like to see hair all over your shower drain. Anyone with longer hair knows the struggle of cleaning your shower drain. Luckily, there are a few over the counter ways to unclog/clean your shower drain.
- The Baking Soda & Vinegar Solution: After pouring boiling hot water down your drain, add a ½ cup of baking soda and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then, add a ½ cup of vinegar and one hot cup of water. Cover the drain.
- The “Gorilla Style” Method: Bend a metal coat hanger so that the hanger portion forms a hook. This is a great way to fish out any clumps of slimy hair that might be clogging your shower drain. With an old plastic grocery bag acting as your catch-all for the mess, quickly tie the bag shut when all the gunk is gone to contain the odor. Pour baking soda down the shower drain. Then, add vinegar and immediately plug the shower drain with the rag. Wait 20 minutes for tougher clogs.
To see the remaining steps, please check out DIY Tips for Cleaning Your Shower Drains.
Retiling a shower is not a project for the weak. It takes good old elbow grease to get your old tile out of there. Retiling a shower consists of completely knocking out the existing tile and installing new tile. You will need many tools, which I have outlined in How To Retile A Shower, to complete this project right.
After removing your shower head and handle, cover your shower floor with newspaper. Take your hammer and chisel and start from the bottom corner. Gently place the chisel on the side of tile and use your hammer to push the tile out. Start gently. As you move on, you may have to use some real elbow grease to get these tiles out. Once all tile has been removed, chisel off any remaining mortar as well.
After cleaning the walls, prepare them with mortar. Cover the bottom half of the wall with thinset mortar and spread it with your notched mortar trowel. Press down hard with your trowel. Make sure it’s clean and even throughout the wall.
Set the bottom row of tile in place, starting at the center of the wall. Press the tiles into the mortar with spacers between them. Work your way to the sides, cutting the end tiles if you need. If you don’t feel comfortable cutting tile yourself, take it your nearest Home Depot and they can cut it for you. Add grout and voila!
Note: A very similar process can be done to replace your bathroom tile floors. For exact steps, please see DIY Tips For How To Remove Old Ceramic Tile From Bathroom.
Add Shower to Freestanding Tub
Freestanding tubs look terrific, but more often than not, we opt for a shower. Why not have two in one?
Without a pro, you can add a reliable and relaxing shower to your freestanding tub. Other than look great, it could also save you thousands of dollars off a regular shower installation. Below are all the steps needed to install a shower to a freestanding tub.
- Turn the water off.
- Use a wrench, preferably an open-ended adjustable wrench, to disconnect the water supply lines and faucet.
- Connect all parts that come in your tub-and-shower assembly, but do not attach to the freestanding tub just yet.
- Attach the faucet to the freestanding tub.
- Add the shower riser to the new faucet.
- Attach the shower riser support rod.
- Add mounting bracket to the back wall and/or sidewall to attach the shower-curtain ring.
- Attach the shower head and try it out.
If you want to see how it’s done, check out This Old House’s video below or get an in depth guide to each step at How To Add A Shower To A Freestanding Tub.
The bathroom toilet can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Sadly, a leaky toilet is one of the most prevalent issues in a bathroom, but thankfully, it is also one of the easiest to fix.
Generally, there are two major culprits that can lead to a leaking toilet: the inlet valve or the flapper. Once you have identified the problem, turn off the water main and drain the tank of the toilet so that you can tackle the specific issue.
If the problem is with the flapper, you can remove it once the tank is empty. You might notice a few cracks or a loose fit, which is likely why the problem exists in the first place. Slip on a new flapper, check for a tight seal and then reintroduce water to the tank to test it. A single flush should be enough to tell if you were successful.
If the problem is with the inlet valve, you may need to separate the toilet from the water main and take apart the whole assembly. This requires a number of tools and can take several hours. Unless you have a lot of plumbing knowledge, this part is best left to the professionals.
Honestly, the bathroom will get foggy and smelly. No matter who is using your bathroom, it’s going to smell and the mirrors are going to fog up. One way to combat both dilemmas is through a bathroom exhaust fan.
Installing a bathroom fan is not a simple process, but one that the average DIYer can accomplish. While it’s not expensive to accomplish (average is $338), it can take a good chunk of your time.
To install a bathroom fan, you must:
- Plan the project
- Pre-wire and mount the bath fan
- Run the ducts and drill exit point
- Complete the exit route
See our detailed instructions at How To Install A Bathroom Exhaust Fan.
The bathroom is one of the most trafficked rooms in the home and as such, deserves to be one the most attractive and functional as well. Fortunately, all the above DIY bathroom projects are easier then they sound and will save you hundreds, if not thousands, by not hiring a pro.
For other smart bathroom projects, please see our Bathroom Remodel Return on Investment Guide.