Q: How much will it cost to remodel our bathroom?
A: A total bathroom remodel from tear out to finish generally runs between
$10K and $15K. Premium faucets and fixtures, art tile, stone, heavy
glass shower doors, etc., can add considerably to the overall cost.
Q: How long will it take to remodel our bathroom?
A: A simple remodel with the fixture locations unchanged, solid surface
tub surround and countertops should take about two weeks. A bathroom
with fixture moves, custom plastering, art tile, solid stone
countertops and heavy glass shower door will take two months.
Q: Do we need a building permit even if we aren't adding on?
A: Most jurisdictions require that a building permit be obtained for
any work that alters structural framing, in-wall plumbing or electrical
wiring. Technically, this work must be inspected before covered over.
While building inspectors are not quality control inspectors, they do
check and insist that all relevant building codes are adhered to.
Q: Is it true that I can save money by acting as my own contractor?
A: It's a general observation that acting as your own general contractor on
a reasonably complex project is really more akin paying a large tuition
to the school of experience than it is to getting the best value for your
money. The savings are often marginal at best and the results are seldom
as good as they should be. So unless you're highly desirous of exploring
the arcane of construction detail, enjoy resolving a myriad of interface
issues, and can cheerfully insist that a diverse assortment of mostly
autonomous tradesmen cooperate and comply, you are best to go with a
general contractor. However the Owner/Builder school in Berkeley offers
excellent courses for the avowed do-it-yourselfers.
Q: Our bathroom is too small and we want to move a wall. Can you do that?
A: Contractors really don't move walls. What we do is demolish existing
walls and construct new ones in new locations. This can be simple or
complex, depending on what's above, what's in, and what's below the wall in
Q: Our current bathroom is awkward. Can you move the fixtures?
A: Moving fixtures is much like moving walls . The old supply and waste
lines are removed and new ones routed to the new locations.
Q: We have only one bathroom. How long are we going to be without a toilet?
A: Two to three weeks. It would probably be a good idea to take a vacation
for at least part of the time. We can provide a port-a-potty.
Q: We like our old deep tub and want it to stay. Is it possible to fix the tub by reglazing it in place?
A: The original glaze on a bath tub is just that: porcelain and glass
adhered to the cast iron in the tremendous heat of a fiery furnace. Onsite glazing is really just a paint job. It's a cost effective way of
changing the color of tub (and even tile) when usage is light and
longevity is not an issue. Under average family usage, the finish tends
to break down in a couple of years.
Repair of dry rot damage to subfloor and walls around the tub often
requires that an existing tub be removed and reinstalled after repairs
are made. This can almost eliminate the potential cost savings of
"reglazing" the tub.
While the standard five foot bath tub is a rationalist compromise
between bathing and showering and therefore shallower, tubs of
traditional dimensions are still available. If the promise of a long,
deep soak after a hectic day appeals to you, then the added expense is
Q: What is dry rot?
A: What we call "dry" rot is actually "wet" rot. This is caused by
wood-eating fungi. The same organisms that in nature recycle dead fall
and leaves into humus and topsoil, flourish in the warm moist conditions
behind leaky tile and floor coverings. The key to bathroom longevity is
keeping water from contact with wood.
Q: What causes the dark stains in my vinyl floor?
A: Sheet vinyl flooring is the lowest initial cost flooring material used in
bathrooms. Quick and easy to install, it's the perennial favorite of
Licensed Structural Pest Control contractors and is offered with a
thirty day guarantee (until the close of escrow). An essential part of
the system is the bead of caulking between the tub (or shower) and the
flooring. While the surface of sheet vinyl flooring is waterproof, the
backing material isn't... After the caulking detaches (which it always
does), water penetrates into the particle board underlayment which is
usually used under sheet vinyl. This material expands and disintegrates
with continual moisture contact. Molds and mildew start to grow in the
particle board underlayment and work their way into the mineral felt
backing of the sheet vinyl with the characteristic black stains showing
through the vinyl surface layers. The cycle begins again with the next