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Old 05-19-2012, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 29,825,477 times
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We have what I thought was a simple project. Replace the shower surround and shower pan in a stand-up shower, and have the tiles replaced too. We just want a standard builder grade shower pan, basic tiles, etc. We do want to upgrade to a glass surround (we have acryclic right now). The plastic pan that came with the house was just fine for 15 years, and I'm happy to have something basic like that again.

I thought this job would cost under $5,000. Am I being unrealistic? It seemed like this wouldn't be that expensive of a project when I first brought it up:

Replacing a shower pan

We've had three contractors look at the job so far. Each time we told them we wanted to use less expensive materials and keep the job under $5,000. The first two said they would get back to us with a quote...and then we never heard from them again.

Today we had a guy who wants to use the Schluter System. I've heard some positive reviews about Schluter so I said ok... but then he said because he is using the Schluter system we should know that our quote will be well over $5,000 (even with the builder grade pan). And we would have to get the shower enclosure done separately and buy the tiles ourselves (which makes me think this could get outrageously expensive). I'm not sure if he meant the entire job would be over $5K or if he meant just his part--either way it seems way too high. Does this seem realistic or are we being handed a bunch of BS?

This guy also told us that if you use the Schluter System, you can't place tiles as closely together as you can if tiles are on sheetrock, so we will have wide grout lines. We told him we hate cleaning grout and how would he seal it to prevent having to clean it all the time--he said Schluter System keeps mold from growing through the grout but nothing will keep residue from appearing on the exterior of grout so we will still have to scrub it regularly. That seemed strange since others have said sealing keeps you from having to clean grout that much.

What do you think of a response like that? Is he being honest with us, or is this a sign of a sloppy worker? He side stepped the question on whether he would seal the grout at all and I didn't want to press him on it, but now I wish I had.

In addition this guy told us the way showers were built in the 1990s is now "illegal" and the he would not legally be allowed to repair our shower in the manner that it was built in 1996 (I'm not sure how it's built, but it may be tile over sheetrock?) Does this sound right or are we being handed a line? I'm thinking of calling the County on Monday to see if they did indeed pass some sort of code changes that means the construction in my development is now out of code (I live in a very large and well known development that was built enmasse in late 1990s, so I think it's likely they'd be familiar with it).

He seemed like a nice worker, and at least he's an improvement over the contractors that we never heard from again. OTOH the price seems crazy to me (and we haven't even gotten the actual quote yet, just his assurance that it will definitely be well over $5,000.)

Opinions?
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Old 05-19-2012, 08:42 PM
 
43,011 posts, read 103,961,600 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
We've had three contractors look at the job so far. Each time we told them we wanted to use less expensive materials and keep the job under $5,000. The first two said they would get back to us with a quote...and then we never heard from them again.
Keep getting quotes. Tell them over the phone that you want the job done for under 5k. That way they won't even show up to give you an estimate if they aren't willing to do small jobs. That's what it comes down to. Contractors are going to first concentrate on the customers who want high end work or big jobs. They don't want to bother with little jobs if there is more profitable work available.
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:00 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
32,960 posts, read 77,466,602 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
We have what I thought was a simple project. Replace the shower surround and shower pan in a stand-up shower, and have the tiles replaced too. We just want a standard builder grade shower pan, basic tiles, etc.

OTOH the price seems crazy to me (and we haven't even gotten the actual quote yet, just his assurance that it will definitely be well over $5,000.)

Opinions?
1) plan the job to be done as separate tasks by different crews
2) take on the role of general contractor
3) shop all the materials involved and create a shopping list
4) accept that this will all require a longer time

Start with the demo.
Completely remove all down to the studs and sub floor.
Have the wholesaler deliver all the materials you plan to use.
Repair any framing and re-do the rough plumbing as needed.
Look on craigslist for someone to install your pile of materials.
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:19 PM
 
Location: Northwest Indiana
813 posts, read 2,861,006 times
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Does $5000 include a glass shower door? Those glass doors can get really expensive, really fast, even fairly simple ones. Don't be surprised when a good quality (not the ones from the home center) one stickers in at $2500 on its own.

Building a shower stall is tricky. Do it wrong, you have leaks, mold and rot. Whoever ends up building it, you better know they are up to doing it right. Otherwise you will be doing it again, along with fixing whatever damage the leaks caused.

Using the pre-made plastic shower pan should make it more affordable. Doing tile on the floor is far more work, as the floor needs to be waterproofed and properly sloped to the water drain on site. The plastic one is waterproof and sloped (provided its installed correctly).

I would recommend using concrete board behind the tile (Some contractors will call it Durock, which is a brand name of it from USG) instead of drywall. Its stronger and far more water resistant then drywall. Its not that much more expensive then drywall. If you have to use drywall make sure you use the green or blue kind, which are more water resistant then standard drywall.

The last time I built a tub surround, (not a shower stall, but a bathtub) I spent about $600 (a nice mid-grade ceramic) on the tile and supplies, but that included the tile for the bathroom floor. $1,100 to the tile guy to install the tile (the bathroom floor too) and put up the durock.

A way to save a little is to not have an specialty accent tile. My accent tile cost nearly $200 and covers the least amount of space. Tile is another thing where you can easily spend way more money and those accents can be really expensive. A contrasting tile color could replace the accent if you can find the right tile. Or no accent if you like it plain.

Could you do it for under 5 grand? Don't know, keep looking at other contractors. Looks like you live in VA so I imagine labor costs more there. If you add a glass door, I keeping it under 5 grand is going to be tough.
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:38 PM
 
Location: Rural Michigan
6,343 posts, read 13,838,412 times
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If you want a waterproof & mold proof shower, you need to look at cultured marble. The "system" mentioned above does work, but it will cost more, and you won't really know how well it was done until the tiles start falling off in a year or two. There are tons of guys in my area sticking tiles on drywall without using a water management system, and they're really affordable, but those showers will begin falling apart about the same time the check clears.
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Old 05-19-2012, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Ontario, NY
3,352 posts, read 7,365,276 times
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I had a 1950's tiled bathroom, (5x10ft) my girlfriend (now wife) refused to move in with such an outdated bathroom. (old bathrooms give her the creeps). Anyway, I ripped out all the walls to the studs and tiled floor (left the ceiling and tub) which included tiled walls in the tub area almost to the ceiling and half tiled walls. I did about half the work myself, I had a friend of my fathers, a plumber help me with the rest. When I finished I replaced a full windows on the tub wall with a new half fogged window set higher up on the wall, re-tiled the bathtub area to the ceiling, re-tiled the floor, green board the rest of the bathroom, new toilet, vanity, in wall mirror, sparkled and painted room, even had someone come in a re-enamel the tub a different color. Total Cost $5,500, including labor and all materials. I also used top grade tile I purchased from a tile store (thicker, rounded edges), not cheap Home Depot tile, but I did get the vanity and toilet from there.

I paid the full plumber's rate for his labor, $75 a hour, I think his labor ended up being around $2,000, but he did tile in the bathtub area and the floor, not something a plumber normally does. I did the tile grouting. This was back in 2005 when you couldn't get any contractors to do remodeling work cause they were all busy building houses. This should give you and idea what you can accomplish yourself by running the job yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
4) accept that this will all require a longer time
I finished in 10 working days (took vacation from work), but I did have to schedule the tub re-enamel guy, that took a couple of months, but the bathroom was completely usable until he changed the tub's color.
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Old 05-20-2012, 05:42 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 29,825,477 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
This guy also told us that if you use the Schluter System, you can't place tiles as closely together as you can if tiles are on sheetrock, so we will have wide grout lines. We told him we hate cleaning grout and how would he seal it to prevent having to clean it all the time--he said Schluter System keeps mold from growing through the grout but nothing will keep residue from appearing on the exterior of grout so we will still have to scrub it regularly. That seemed strange since others have said sealing keeps you from having to clean grout that much.
Any opinions on the grout lines remark? I know this sounds silly but I just hate scrubbing grout, and the thought of wider grout lines makes me sad.

The idea of a slab of cultured marble sounds interesting. But.... isn't that super expensive?
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Old 05-20-2012, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Morrisville, NC
8,941 posts, read 13,712,479 times
Reputation: 8639
You can also use epoxy grout which does not need sealing nearly as much and should hold up against mold better than normal grout. Of course it's more expensive.

Do you have a Tile Shop store near you? The Tile Shop | Granite, Travertine, Slate, Marble, Ceramic, Porcelain, Glass, Metal, DIY | The Tile Shop they have everything you need and can talk you through it in the store and have videos online in their DIY section on how to do the shower pan and walls.
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:06 AM
 
Location: the AZ desert
5,037 posts, read 8,814,411 times
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I'm not in the business, but I recently had work done and your estimate seems very high to me.

We bought a place with a very nasty bathroom. (See attached pic.) We had a contractor come in and remove all the shower tiles (walls & floor), rip out the carpeting (yuk!), get rid of the water-closet wall (because I hate separate toilet rooms), take out the separate tub entirely, and remove the existing double vanity.

He capped off the tub, enlarged the shower area to make a huge, two-person shower, added cement board, redid the waterproofing for the shower floor, modified the angle of the drainage, and installed 12" tile on the diagonal across the entire floor and up the shower walls, plus added decorative trim and made a cubby for soaps and shampoo bottles in the shower. He repaired the wall where the water-closet wall was removed. (He did not apply grout sealant - we did that, too.)

All labor and materials, including a new shower valve, oil rubbed bronze parts including dual shower heads, (but NOT counting a shower door, new vanity, sinks and sink faucets - because we wanted to do those ourselves, along with the grout sealant), costs less than $5k.




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Old 05-20-2012, 08:59 PM
 
2,986 posts, read 8,546,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
Any opinions on the grout lines remark? I know this sounds silly but I just hate scrubbing grout, and the thought of wider grout lines makes me sad.
I am so with you on the grout thing, hate the stuff and will have a "grout-free" next retirement home

Read the Schulter System web site and nowhere does it specify the width of the grout line. Wonder why the contractor would say that?
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