DIY Bathroom Makeover

It all started with a slightly sunken, squishy spot on the floor near our bathtub. The Mister and I poked it a few times and figured the subfloor was starting to rot under the linoleum. I’m a pretty handy type of girl, so we assumed we would fix it ourselves.  Then came the “You know…” We’re going to have to take out the toilet to replace the flooring, and the one that’s in there clogs at least once a week. The cabinets really look like crap these days. The countertop is stained and has some water damage under the sink area.

And so the Great Bathroom Renovation of ’11 was born.

I didn’t decide to write this up as a DIY mini-series until after I had started ripping up floor, so I don’t have any good “Before” pictures, but this is what I found when I got the old linoleum out:

rotten subfloor
It's both scary AND nasty.


The area next to the bathtub had never been sealed properly, so any time my boys took a shower, water would splash out and run right under the floor. (They are teenagers, and I swear they have this mental block about closing the shower curtain properly. Every time they bathe, the whole room gets soaked. This is something for me to take into account.)


I will be doing all the work, with a little help for big stuff like moving toilets and installing the new subfloor. All my costs will be materials. I have shopped around, and I think I have come up with a pretty good estimate. To complete my list:

  • Replace subfloor
  • Lay in new linoleum
  • Replace toilet
  • Replace countertop
  • Repaint cabinets and walls
  • Possibly get new sink faucet and towel bars

I believe it will cost me around $350 and take three days. (It was $300 and 2 days, but I thought some more about the painting portion and gave myself a little more wiggle-room.) I start this week, and I will take lots of pictures and notes so I can write up the projects in a clear and concise manner just for you.

Like I said, I’m hoping this will take three days, but I plan to write about one or two pieces at a time, so my mini-series will take about a month. The upside of this is that by the time I’m done writing, I’ll have been living with my changes for a month, so I’ll be able to tell you if I made any mistakes. Each installment will have a running total for both time and money, so if my estimate is off, we’ll see how it happened.

I think a lot of you will be surprised at how doable this all is. I fully expect that it will be a huge pain in the ass, but technically what I’m doing isn’t that difficult. I hope this series will give you the confidence to tackle projects that you might have been keeping in the “I can’t do that” folder.

Wish me luck!

I'm gonna need it.

By [E]SaraB

Glass artisan by day, blogger by night (and sometimes vice versa). SaraB has three kids, three pets, one husband and a bizarre sense of humor. Her glass pendants can be found at if you're interested in checking it out.

19 replies on “DIY Bathroom Makeover”

This bathroom redo is a very good decision. I once had a squishy floor problem by my tub, but decided to ignore. Fast forward a couple of weeks, my fiance gets into the tub, and the tub goes through the floor. It was actually pretty funny, escpecially because it wasn’t me.

OK, I want to ask your opinion about colors. In the floor picture you can see a little of the *awesome* Harvest Gold tile that surrounds the bath tub. I really hate it. Really really. But replacing it is easily a two day job and Mr.B convinced me to put it of till another day (he didn’t have to do much convincing).

The question is, do I come up with a color palette that works with the gold and diminishes its harvesty impact, or do I make one that doesn’t look horrible with it and just keep the shower curtain closed all the time? I have been going back and forth about this for a week now and I can’t make up my mind.

I am so excited to read this. I am renting right now, with the ugliest bathroom ever, and I can’t wait to print all your articles off at the end, show them to my landlord, and say, “You have NO EXCUSES. I WILL PAY. I WILL DO IT MYSELF. LET ME CHANGE THIS ABOMINATION.”

We’ll see how that goes.

Yay! The toilet post should be next week. It is the most expensive part of the whole makeover because toilets cost anywhere from $138-$278 (I don’t know why all the ones I looked at ended in “8”) for normal, non-designer ones. However, I’m thinking it’ll be one of the easier parts of the job. The hardest part is that they are heavy and a pain to move around.

I searched the Home Depot website after reading your comment and found this:
They say it’s a toilet, I think it looks like a trash can, or possibly some sort of techno-alien from Doctor Who. It retails for just slightly over $4000 (and no, I did not add an extra zero by mistake.)

Or, if you want a bathroom that feels pretty, I found this option for the low low price of just $1700:

Cool! We don’t have a squishy floor, but we do have a peeling tub floor, a toilet that flushes properly none of the time, a busted medicine cabinet, and a (previous owner’s) piss-poor painting job that needs to be addressed; so I will be reading these posts with great interest!

If you are dealing with constantly clogging toilets, replacement might be what you need, but if it is a handle jiggling/constantly running/abbreviated flush issue you may just need to replace some of the guts in the tank. That’s usually something you can do for under $20 and less than 30 minutes.

Just clogging, all the parts work fine. It hasn’t been ‘right’ for a few years … we just bought a fancy plunger and leave it right beside the toilet; and Mr.Pear zaps it plunger with bleach on occasion. We know it needs to be replaced, but we are both very, very, very lazy people. ;)

Woah. How did you read my mind? I am now contemplating repairing my bathroom also! It isn’t used that often and I do not have teenage boys (thank you pixies) but I do need to remove and reinstall the toilet, check for water damage and various superficial things like new shower tiles and paint.

Please document how you removed the toilet and put in a new one? I really want to be able to do it myself – without calling my dad for help…

Also, you are awesome.

Leave a Reply