Bathroom Remodel - Chicago,IL

Updated on April 08, 2012
J.G. asks from Chicago, IL
6 answers

Hubby and I have finally decided to demolish our upstairs bathroom. We are trying to figure out if it is worth it to hire a contracting company to do the whole project, or if we should just do it ourselves, hiring in for plumbing and electrical.

As it already stands, we most likely will be buying most of the materials ourselves, so it's not like we will just be doing the project from our couch. So my thinking is that if we have to do so much Project management work ourselves, why pay someone else to do it?

Of course it's hubby who will end up doing most of the work. My hubby makes good money, so his time is worth something, but of course contractor types charge more per hour, since they have more hands to feed.

Anyone do a total bathroom remodel themselves? Anyone use a contractor?

As to our skills, hubby knows how to install toilets and vanities. We'd have the bathtub installed. Hubby also is a fabulous tiler, much better than most professionals! And I am a great with dry wall and painting.

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answers from Honolulu on

If you demo the bathroom yourselves, do you know the difference between a weight bearing wall or not?
Or a structural wall, beams or not?
And when demolishing things such as the floor or flooring, do you know what is under your floor or sub-floor?
Do you have the blueprints for your home, so you know the bathroom's structural layout... of the floors, walls, ceilings?
And know where the pipes are and wiring?
And if you have windows in that bathroom, then you need to be careful about it when you demo that room.
AND, do you know how to waterproof the floors and bath or shower, surrounds? And to do it properly?

If you are just taking out dry-wall, well you can just tear it apart.
But, where will you be putting all the materials that are accumulated from the demolishing? And where or how, will you be disposing of it?

Then, there is the time frame of such projects.
If doing it yourself, this usually takes more time. LOTS more time. Than if you hire a professional.
And since your Hubby will be doing most of the work, as you said, will he even have time... to do it?

For a bathroom job, its not like you need a whole team of construction workers to do it.
But you should get a licensed contractor who is bonded etc.
You do not need to hire a "Project Manager." Just a Contractor. They know how to do this stuff.

Then, if you hire a contractor to do it.... and per "buying" the materials.... keep in mind that they get you a Contractor's discount. If you bought it yourself, you would not be getting that discount.
And when having a project done, it is you that is buying the materials anyway. Even if for the Contractor. But at their cost or yours.

Not to mention, what about any building permits if need be.
Usually... with any "structural work"... you do need permits.
But with cosmetic changes, you do not.

A bathroom remodel, is either cosmetic changes (ie: changing cabinets and light fixtures and color of a toilet etc.) ... or a full-on remodel that requires structural work, as well.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

This answer is predicated on the fact that I am not aware of your (or your husband's) skills and I don't know exactly what you'll be tackling in your remodel, but in a bathroom you must always be wary of waterproofing, especially if you are ripping out a tub or tile in a shower. Any error in install and you could wind up with a big mold problem.

Other than that, laying floor tile is pretty easy as long as you are comfortable working a wet saw for making cuts. You'll need to rent one from a local hardware store (like a Home Depot). Demo isn't too difficult and you can save a lot there by doing it yourself. Before tackling the project, I would suggest a trip to a Home Depot to talk with some experts there. They also offer free classes in all kinds of home remodeling.

Good luck and have fun!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I wouldn't hire a contracting company with a project manager for a bathroom remodel. I would however hire a general contractor that does the work himself.
We have a general contractor (father and son) who does all the work in our house. (bathroom remodel and kitchen remodel in our old house, tile backsplash, deck installation, replacement windows, hanging cabinets in laundry room, built in window seat and book shelves, electrical work (ceiling fans,adding lights, electrical panel for hot tub), added moulding etc. for the work they do not do such as wall paper removal, siding repair, painting etc. they always refer me to someone they know and let me deal directly with them.
Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

When a pro does it you get some warranty time which is nice.
Plumbing is pretty crazy, you never know what you might be up against when you remove old fixtures to be replaced with new ones.
Pro's usually get the job done a lot faster than when you DIY, that's the other plus for the price.
I'd say you could cut the cost by doing most of the demo yourselves, that in itself will be quite a job.
If you do it yourself and you are unhappy, you don't have anyone to blame but yourself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

we did our bathroom awhile back it took about 3 weeks once everything is roughed in it will move fast, if you have a plan just stick to it and any ?'s you can always look online we did that often. if you feel comforable go for it. Just do it right and dont cut corners.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

We remodeled our bathroom last year. It was getting increasingly non-functional. I was glad a professional did it for us, although I didn't know if it could happen on our tight budget. (It did - we were on budget to the penny.)

We used the same basic layout, so there was not a lot of expensive adjusting of plumbing and electricity (just a tad). The whole room was demolished because we were concerned that the floor might be problematic after fifty years of baths and showers, but happily they found only a little damage and it was an easy fix.

Instead of going with one of the big remodeling companies, I asked around and found a local contractor with his own business. Word-of-mouth can be the best way of advertising. Three our four independent contractors looked at the bathroom and gave bids, explaining why their bids were what they were.

The man I selected seemed reasonable and good to talk with, and his references were outstanding. He did the work himself with one assistant - except for the tiling, which was done by a professional tiler who worked alone. The whole job was done in about a week. I was the official errand girl and "kibitzer." It was educational for me. In the TV commercials, remodeling looks easier than it really is.

Both men were very good and very helpful. I could pick their brains about how to economize, and where it was best not to. I learned what to replace our old iron bathtub with (I had *no* idea), and what grout is best for what kind of tile. I selected and purchased all the materials when Lowe's had a wonderful sale, with the exception of the tile, and for that I was directed to an excellent local place which gave me the discount because of the people I was using. All the materials lived in the garage until the work could be started.

I'm very pleased to have done it this way, and the contractor has come back to do a couple of other things that I'm not able to do myself.

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