My New life Dealing with a Bathroom Remodel (The First Week)

Happy Wednesday Scribblers. Here we are again.  Another week into August (can you believe it’s almost September?).

This week I thought I would share with you my current journey of having my bathroom (and only shower) remodeled.  The process has only just begun (week one) and we’ve run into snags, cost overruns, and increased timeline.

Let me start at the beginning. Our house was built in 1938 and we moved in on September 2000. The first thing we did was turn our home, formerly the neighborhood crack-house, into something livable, which included a full bathroom remodel. We did a lot of the work ourselves (my father at the time was a general contractor) so we were confident in our skills and his ability. After a month of ongoing cleaning and household updates, we moved in. The bathroom was shiny, new, and we loved it (see the photos above. Nice. Right?).  That was eighteen years ago.

A few years back we noticed that not only was the bathroom getting a little dated, but some tile cracked and we were having issues with leaking (it happens).  We started planning for a bathroom remodel. Since we had done this before we knew what we were in for, and we also planned for what we knew would be water damage (broken tiles and water stains).  We created a budget and went to work trying to find a contactor (we couldn’t do the work ourselves and my father had retired).  After finding the top three Kitchen and Bathroom companies in our area (based on the BBB, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.) we called them all in to view the space (which is only 8-feet by 7-feet) and give us an estimate. The process took about two weeks.

First lesson, the cost of the bathroom remodel would be $10k more than our budget (I wanted to throw up).

Second lesson, the timeline would be about two weeks longer then we planned for. (I didn’t throw up, but I came close).

See, when we had done the remodel ourselves it took a little over a week (and we weren’t living in the house). The cost, well we didn’t have to pay much labor because we did a big chunk of the work ourselves (except for the plumbing, which if we would have done we wouldn’t have had the leaking… ugh) so those costs were low. We didn’t go into this blind; we had done our research so we felt we had planned on a healthy budget (overly generous if you would have asked me when we started the process, did I mention the size of the bathroom 8-feet by 7-feet. It’s small).

Not happy with the budget news and the timeline we picked the contractor we felt would do the best job and seemed to get our style. They weren’t the most expensive, and they weren’t the cheapest. None of them were cheap… oh well I’ll get over it. I don’t want to sound ungrateful because I’m not. I understand how lucky we are to be in a position to fix all this. And I also realize that labor isn’t cheap and I believe people should be paid for their knowledge and their expertise… but does it have to be so much?  Ugh.

Documents signed, first and second design meeting finished. The big day arrived. Demo…

Oh, before I get ahead of myself, we decided to continue to live in our house. We managed to set up an outdoor shower (in the backyard). Stop laughing. We have it tented with sidewalls, a propane insta-hot water heater, rack for our soaps and shampoos, etc. So, it works.  It’s not ideal, but it works.

Okay, back to the Demo.  We left our bathroom in the morning and came home to what can only be described as the gateway to hell.  Dry rot on the exterior wall, decaying floor joists, 2x4’s that crumble in your hands, etc. You can see the damage in the photos.  Is it as bad as it could be? Probably not. Was it worse than any of us thought?  Yes. Yes, it was.

The Contractor and the Designer came to meet us, last Friday, to talk about what we needed to do. More demo was needed to tear out all the old rotted wood before they could repair it.  This would include knocking out the back exterior wall. As you can guess this changes the scope of work, adds more time to the timeline, and more dollars to our already inflated, ridiculous, outrageous, budget.  This has happened all within the first week of construction. Oh, joy. Oh, bliss. According to our Contractor we have about another four or five weeks to go.

Just shoot me now. I don’t think I’ll make it.

Now of the best part. A co-worked asked me, when I started talking about a bathroom remodel, what we were having done, what our budget was, and about contractors. He as looking at doing the same thing as us. Well, a few days ago we were talking, and he informed me that he was getting his bathroom done for $6k (new floors, new fixtures, new tile, new everything, and the guy was a licensed contractor) this time I really did almost throw up. I have no idea how either bathroom is going to turn out, but at this point I can’t help but feel like one of us is going to be getting screwed… and not in the good way.  Ugh.

Well Scribblers, I thought I would share this journey with you. Again, I don’t want to seem ungrateful or unappreciative because I’m not. For me it’s all about shock at this point. I know we are going to have an amazing bathroom when it’s all done. So, do you have construction nightmare stories?  Do you feel like venting about it?  Feel free in the comments below.  I would love to hear that I’m not the only one.  Until next week, I hope you have a great week. If you want to share this blog post with someone who is going through a remodel of their own, you can do so by clicking on the share button just below.