Oh, Budget...The Bathroom

>> 9.16.2009

So when I began the "cheapest bathroom renovation ever" I knew that I needed to add padding into my contractor's estimate. These things never go as planned. Here's the estimate that he gave me at the beginning of the project:

This plan included ripping out a too-small shower and building a wall into the closet in order to fit a nice deep bathtub. When I saw the original budget, I knew that it probably wouldn't end being anywhere close to that number, seeing as though bathrooms are usually money pits (hey, I watch HGTV and the DIY network). I went into the reno expecting it all to cost somewhere around $3,000. If we were guessing this game price is right style, let's just say that I would be winning. Here's the updated budget: Wait, that's still a total of $2,722... under $3,000?! Wrong. This price does not include some of the hidden costs:

Tile and grout I purchased out of pocket: $200
Price to haul away all the garbage in my yard:
Cost to replace the unattractive/ incorrectly sized shower fixtures (fit for the wrong type of plumbing): $140 Yet to be finished sheetrock floating and texturing (estimated): $350

So add on the additional $765 and we're looking at a total of $3,487. A big $487 over my padded budget and a whopping $1,336 (62%) more than the contractor estimated. It's still a great price for creating a relaxing and usable bathroom area, but I know that I'll be looking for someone who's a bit better at estimates for future projects!

Please, share your budget stories with me! Has anyone out there actually had a project that went under budget?

Oh, and I almost forgot… Come back tomorrow; I’m hosting a giveaway!!


Kerry September 16, 2009 at 11:53 AM  

Going over budget's no fun, but that's still a great total for so much change! I can't wait to see pics of the finished product!

Kate September 16, 2009 at 11:58 AM  

Whoa! Good thing you padded that estimate (and then that you had even more cushioning beyond that). I don't think anything I've done - home related or otherwise - has ever cost less than originally thought.

I can't wait to see your finished product. I need to overhaul our bathrooms too (although it won't be as big of a reno job as yours) and it'll be neat to see what others are doing.

change is a good thing September 16, 2009 at 12:23 PM  

I have to agree that that is still a really great price for the bathroom and I'm dying to see finished pics. We just bought our new kitchen appliances and they were quite a bit under what we expected to spend, so we're happy, but it looks like we are going to do more of a reno on the kitchen than we first thought, so there goes that savings! :) Keep up the great work, your house is going to look fantastic!

chacha September 16, 2009 at 12:24 PM  

Well, he gave you rockbottom rates on some of the stuff like demo and drywall and such, and plumbing ($25 an hour?!), but his tiling rates are kind of high (home depot charges like $3.50 a sf for install). And yeah, that mortar and grout bites you in the butt - I've gone through probably 10+ bags of mortar already on my floor, and maybe 8 or 9 bags of grout.

Oh, and under budget ever? No. That's because I rarely ever make a make a real budget. Bad, I know. I'm a ballpark estimate (like roud to the nearly thousand-ish). But the my whole kitchen renovation was well under 15K (including 5K soapstone counters and brand new cabinets). Had a come up with real estimates there I probably would have come in very close.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog September 16, 2009 at 12:38 PM  

I can't wait to see the result either!! It should be any day (or week) now.

Funny thing is that the only portion I feel was 100% worth the cost was in the tile. The guy who did the job was really nice and did a great job doing a few special things like creating a shelf and matching existing tile. I actually plan on recommending him to people in the future.

chacha September 16, 2009 at 12:58 PM  

Well, if it's good work, then it's probably worth it! I though it was the same guy doing everything, which, usually, those guys that are jack-of-all trades are not necessarily fabulous at everything just decent (how can you be really good at everything home improvement). So, for a tile/stone pro, it's not a crazy price.

By the way, after I wrote my comment here I was like "I wonder what it really cost me for my kitchen." Suffice to say it's over 15K. DOH!! After I wrote "well under". But that includes even hauling fees which bit me ($466 - those 1800-Got-Junk ppl are not cheap) and blinds, new tools, etc. I came up with $16900.

Still ain't bad for a complete gutting down to the studs, changing the sink location, shortening windows up, adding a pass-through, etc, etc.

Julie-Ann September 16, 2009 at 1:17 PM  

Hi - I'm new to your blog and as another single, woman homeowner I can appreciate what you are writing about.

There is a handyman here we call Do It Best Dave. He was recommended to me 4 years ago by several other single women homeowners. He is awesome. I will be selling my home next spring and had a ton of stuff I needed to get done before I put it on the market, so I called Dave. He does great work, is honest, is on time, cleans up well and will give me advise ("don't bother spray painting the light fixture to match - how la dee dah do you want to be? It is matches just fine the way it is." And, he was right). When he came over to get paid he said he would knock $400 off the price (within $100 of original estimate) if I paid him cash.

He is honest with his customers, but once in a while does jobs "under the table" to help with tax issues.

My house is over 120 years old and I have done everthing to it - new windows, HVAC, roof, bathroom, kitchen - you name it. It has been a labor of love, but after 11+ years I'm pretty over it!

priscilla September 16, 2009 at 6:34 PM  

ok, i'm digging your blog! i'm hoping that our kitchen and bathroom renovations stay within budget, but i'm doubting it. we just found a bit of rotted subfloor in the bathroom, which might turn into a money pit. can't wait to see your after pics of the bathroom!

alanna rose September 16, 2009 at 7:54 PM  

We had a roofing job arrive under estimate! We wanted a skylight replaced, and to have a custom one made was about $2000 (for a tiny 3 x2 skylight). We went to Lowes and had a stock size ordered for about $300. It was an inch too long, but my husband was planning on replacing the skylight interior anyway (changing it from plywood to drywall), so when he replaced it he made it fit the new skylight. And we came in under budget :)

Jessica from We Took The Bait September 16, 2009 at 8:26 PM  

We did sort of a mid-range renovation of our nasty 70's kitchen a couple of winters ago. Essentially we got rid of everything hideous/and or dangerous - drop ceilings with busted fans and fried wiring, built in bench tables, wood paneling, filthy wallpaper. We had recessed lighting and Pergo floors installed, some new drywall for the walls and ceiling, and a doorway to our utility room built. I say it was mid-range because we still need to replace the counters, backsplash, cabinets, and fridge, but at least it was a *start*.

A friend of a friend of my Dad's did the work for us, and went about $700 over budget. This wouldn't have been a huge deal if a) we had an extra $700 to give b) if he hadn't also taken three times as long as he said he would and c) we hadn't already agreed to pay more than we wanted to in the first place.

It's frustrating, I know. Hang in there and focus on the prize of a chic bathroom that doesn't scream 1980, like mine does!

thereddeer September 16, 2009 at 8:28 PM  

Man that stinks, sorry that it went over budget.

When we did our bathroom reno - the tradesman gave us a quote and it was exactly how much we ended up paying him - that being said though because we didn't do anything ourselves we spent way more than we had too - but it was easy at least ;)

Jeannine @ Small and Chic September 17, 2009 at 10:27 AM  

My bathroom renovation was under budget...but that's because there was a week of no work and a light didn't get moved. I was lucky that the guy is a friend of my boyfriend's. He already gave me an amazing estimate (for demo, tile, and plumbing) and he wound up having to install waterproof backing (hadn't be done by the builder) and fixing a crack in the floor.

I'm babbling, but in the end, the job took twice as long, I got a few things I didn't expect, didn't get some things I did expect, and the cost was about $200 less than I expected.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog September 17, 2009 at 10:40 AM  

Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories! It makes me feel so much better to hear about people being in the same boat.

Oh, and Alanna Rose wins the prize for person I'm most jealous of... $1700 under budget?!

Janean September 17, 2009 at 6:12 PM  

This week we went under budget on a well house redo that we est. at $250, but cost $125. We always add 20-40% more $$ and figure 1/3 of the total time MORE than we guess. This is after we THINK we've thought of everything.

Jacci September 17, 2009 at 9:43 PM  

Woah - sorry :[ Well, at least your tub and tile look nice, right? Really, very pretty :)

Thanks for dropping by my blog! It was fun to see a new face. Hope to hear from you again. I'd love to know when your bath is done so I can see the after shots. Everyone loves a good after shot!

Take care,

Dianna September 18, 2009 at 9:20 AM  

It's all the unexpected surprises that blow a budget.

Materials are easy to price and budget, labor is $$, so diy demolition and anything else you can do on your own.

The Red Monster September 18, 2009 at 9:31 AM  

I love that tile. It's definitely worth it to pay for good work when it comes to tile. We're giving ourselves a ballpark budget for the entire house of $10,000 to bring it up to the level we want it. But I think it's only possible this way because we do so much of the work ourselves. I completely understand the garbage can in the kitchen thing. We have so much dust our cat is turning gray.

Leigh September 24, 2009 at 1:43 PM  

our basement finishing came in under budget!! We only encountered 1 problem (water in the basement after a heavy rainstorm so we had a pump sump installed). Our contractor was amazing and aimed to come under budget... returning items not used in the project etc. I've never redone a bathroom though....

Amanda October 14, 2009 at 5:31 PM  

Thanks for posting on my blog! I noticed your new shower tile, and I wanted to let you know that I used the exact same subway tiles in mine!(In fact I just set the last tile today- grout soon.) Your thriftiness is refreshing and I can definitely relate. Check back on my blog soon to see my version of the subway tiles :-)

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