Reader Bathroom: DIY Updates for $1,800 in North Carolina

This series profiles bathroom remodels shared by homeowners on Houzz.

The price tag for a bathroom renovation can range quite widely, depending not only on what is done, but also on the cost of labor and materials for that area — and who does the work. To get a snapshot of projects and their costs, we asked Houzz readers to share their bathroom projects and price tags. Here, we profile an enterprising couple who did everything themselves, or with the help of a couple of friends, and spent just under $1,800.

Reader Bathroom 2: A DIY Reno for $1,800 in North Carolina

Bathroom at a Glance
Who lives here: Will and Jennifer Henderson and their children, Rufus, Julia and Mary
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Size: 48 square feet (4.5 square meters)
Total cost: $1,755
Construction time: 12 days

Before Photo

Reader Bathroom 2

BEFORE: Will and Jennifer Henderson’s hallway bathroom in their split-foyer home in Raleigh, North Carolina, had a bathtub but no shower. That worked when the kids were younger and taking only baths, but it wasn’t great now that their oldest was reaching shower age — nor was it ideal for hosting guests.

Before Photo

Reader Bathroom 2

The Hendersons were also ready for a new color scheme.

Reader Bathroom 2

AFTER: To start the project, Will and a friend tore out the old tile and drywall, taking the bathroom walls down to the studs. After that, Will and Jennifer did the work together, including running new electrical for recessed lighting in the shower and above the toilet. Another friend helped the couple when it was time to lay the tile.

“We did all the work ourselves because we just did not have the financial ability to pay someone, and we are firm believers in being able to learn and use new skills,” Will says.

Reader Bathroom 2

The couple framed and installed Sheetrock on a new wall that encloses the shower. They ran a plumbing line in this new wall so that water could come out a shower head on the other side. They also added new floor and wall tile, along with an efficient new toilet. Beadboard paneling and crown molding give the room a finished look.

As an added functional element in this bathroom, the Hendersons created a laundry chute in the closet. It ends in the laundry area of the basement.

Reader Bathroom 2

“Uh-oh” moment: The couple wanted to add recessed lighting above the new shower space but ran into trouble when trying to center the light. The ceiling joists were exactly where they would put the lighting, making it impossible to gain the clearance needed to recess the light. They solved that problem by using a standard junction box and a thin recessed LED light made by Halo that didn’t need the typical clearance.

Reader Bathroom 2

Style muse: Nature was the inspiration for this bathroom’s decor theme. “My wife and I both enjoy the outdoors,” Will says. “The green walls in the bath combined with the wood-style tile on the wall and floor helps give the bath a natural harmony.”

Lessons learned: “Demolition of old tile down to studs creates lots of mess and takes time,” he says. “If you are willing to get your hands dirty, you can do a lot, if not all, of the work yourself.”

Walls moved: No, but one wall added to create shower
Plumbing moved: No
Plumbing replaced: Yes, lines run for new shower
Professionals hired: None
Special features: Shower niche, laundry chute
Splurges: New toilet
Savings: DIY everything

Cost breakdown
Permitting costs: $65
Tub: Used existing porcelain tub
Shower: $305 for tile, backer board and grout
Cabinetry: $70
Countertop: $59
Lighting: $129 for fixtures and new wiring
Flooring: $319 for tile, backer board and grout
Plumbing: $385 for vanity, shower faucet and toilet
Walls: $132 for studs for new shower wall, drywall, beadboard and paint
Molding: $56 for baseboards and chair rail
Labor: $235 ($200 plus pizza for friends who helped gut the bath to studs and lay tile)
Total: $1,755

Up next: $39,000 Brings New Jersey Bath Into the 21st Century

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