Rental Bathroom Overhaul

New Shower

Yesterday I wrote about how I renovated the basement in our latest property and the bathroom reno was definitely the most labor intensive.  Because I had so much painting to do, I let my contractors do the all the work, but I did tear out everything for them before they started to save some money.  So I tore out the sink, vanity, toilet (ewww…), and shower walls.  It was fairly easy to do, it just took a while.  I had renovated a bathroom down to its studs before so I had experience this time around.

As a reminder, this is what it looked like post purchase:

Old Bathroom

Spectaaaaaaaacular right?!  What you don’t see is the vinyl floor coming up on the other side of the toilet where the years of urine overshot had made the glue unstick.  Gross.

So, to tear out the bathroom, I just worked my way from the front of the bathroom to the back.  Disconnecting the faucet was first, then I ripped out the vanity.  The mirror and light fixture came next.  Then the nasty toilet was on the chopping block.  All this took me a half day to do mostly because the vanity did not want to come out easily.

Basement Bathroom Torn Out

Removing the shower walls took the longest and was the most dangerous.  Imagine shards of ceramic slivers flying toward your body.  Goggles, long pants, and a long sleeve shirt were a must.  A crowbar and hammer made easy-ish work of this but knocking that hammer against the crowbar was LOUD, so I suggest ear plugs.

Basement Shower Torn Out WideAfter the walls came down, I pulled up the shower pan.

Basement Shower Torn Out

The last thing to do was the floor which the contractors did because it was vinyl and they used a blow torch to melt off the glue to pull up the floor.  I don’t own a blowtorch and honestly, after wrestling with the shower all the day before, I was happy to do nice, easy painting in another room.

So, after all my frustrations on the world were unleashed in that bathroom, I went shoooooooping!  Seriously, picking out new tile, paint, faucets, etc. is the best part.

I initially went to a specialty tile store since they were having a “huge” 20% off Memorial Day sale and spent about $1,200 on tile.  After all that time picking out the tile with the bonehead sales guy (I say bonehead because he tried to steer me to all the expensive, hard to care for stuff even though I told him it was for a rental), I just said, “Yeah, sure $1,200 sounds totally reasonable.”  I then went to Lowe’s and worked with a guy in the tile department who said, “A rental?  You definitely don’t want to spend a lot.  I know just what you need!”  He totally got me (reno soul mates) and I had all the tile I needed for $250!  Of course, I canceled the first outrageous tile order.  Big box stores really are the best for this kind of stuff…

After buying a toilet, vanity, faucet, and fixtures and having my contractors install it all, I had this:

New Whole Bathroom

I used Repose Gray by Valspar on the walls and that tied in beautifully with the tile on the floor and the accent tile in the shower.  I used white subway tile with a medium gray grout to modernize the space.  Because there’s not a lot of storage space, I installed a shelf above the toilet and also a medicine cabinet with a mirror above the sink.

Basement Bathroom Front

All said, because I did all of the demo, the bathroom total came out to be about $3,000 with labor.  It was more than I wanted to spend, but for the rent I was asking, I needed the bathroom to look swank and it will pay for itself in less than 4 months so for me, that’s a win.

After seeing the contractors put the bathroom all together from beginning to end, I think that next time, I’m tackling the entire project myself… except for the plumbing in the shower… that still scares me because of the whole leaking-behind-the-wall thing.  I’d try all the rest though.  Me and my crowbar and new tile saw that I still need to purchase… ahhhh, new project, new tools!