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Old 03-04-2009, 11:11 PM   #1
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Advice, please


I have begun demo on a bathroom. I have little experience with home improvement, but I'm willing to learn more, and I have basic knowlege (very very basic). It is 1/2 bath and I want to add a shower.

The room is about 4.5'x6' (guessing, I don't remember measurements).

Is there anyone willing to advise me as to what projects are worth doing myself and which are just not worth it for the headache?
I will pay a plumber to get the lines in....after that, is it better to pay someone else to do it if I have no experience, such as installing a shower and laying tile?

About me:
Single mother of 4 kids.
Semi-helpful husband (moved out over a year ago, but we get along ok and the condo is half his, so I can get help if I have a plan...he just doesn't want to be thinking too much about it)
Smart, handy, willing to learn, creative, strong, don't mind getting dirty or suffer minor cuts and scrapes.
Painting experience
some experience with small power tools.
I have time to spend on the project now; I work evenings only, so my weekdays are semi-open as long as I work around the kids
I have 13 year old boy and 10 year old girl who can help a little
I have a few friends who can serve as extra pair of hands.
I have friend/acquaintance who is a contractor and will hook me up with his guys who are not getting enough hours and I can pay them directly, no contract with his company (just a favor he's doing for me)
Same friend will tell me where to find tile with the best service and good prices to help me with the layout and offer ideas and solutions.
Money is a huge factor in this.

Same friend suggests going with their suppliers for fixtures etc, either his or whatever plumber I use...to avoid possible problems which might arise (and lead to longer install time,=more $$$labor) if I were to go out and buy my own and ask them to install (faucets, drains, etc.), or try to do myself with maybe incompatible parts. Any thoughts on this?

As for tile, I'm prepared for it to take me a long time, but specifically are there certain things I would not foresee hanging me up? Maybe I could do part, but not all of the tile....I haven't asked yet, but my brother-in-law has been a professional tile setter in the past, and he could probably help me (its his brother's home)...but they just bought a condo too, and he's super busy...I wouldn't ask him to do it FOR me, but perhaps if I knew what to ask for....

Thanks in advance. Any help and advice is very much appreciated.

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Old 03-05-2009, 07:27 PM   #2
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Advice, please


Welcome to DIY! Count on your project taking twice as much money as you hope and five times longer to complete than you expect.

It sounds pessimistic - but, I think I'll get some back up on it.

Can you live without your bathroom? For how long?

- Go to the local library and start reading about DIY. There are LOTS of books about this sort of thing. The better educated you are - the better your project will turn out, regardless of who does it.

The best 8 minute job starts with 15 minutes of thinking.

Good Luck!

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Old 03-05-2009, 11:24 PM   #3
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Advice, please


Think ahead, always have a rough idea of what the completed project is supposed to look like.

Don't be afraid to ask questions you think are dumb. There are no dumb questions, but dumb mistakes abound! There are plenty of people on this site who will give excellent advice.

Browsing the aisles of the home-improvement stores will give you a much better handle on what products are available. A lot of times, you'll see some little item on a shelf, think nothing about it, then in the middle of a project you'll remember it.

While I'm on the subject of home-improvement stores, the vast majority of salespeople are, well, lets just say....not entirely competent.

I've been a commercial/industrial electrician (considerable residential as well) for about 19 years. I can't think of how many times I've heard the in-store 'experts' give advice that is not only completely wrong, but sometimes downright dangerous.

So much for the rant; welcome to the world of DIY construction. There's no feeling anywhere like looking at a finished (or stages of finished) project, and being able to say 'I did it myself'. It doesn't matter if you're replacing a light fixture, remodeling a bathroom, or building a whole house, the sense of accomplishment just can't be beat!

Rob
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Old 03-10-2009, 12:02 PM   #4
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Advice, please


Random thoughts from another newbie.

Have you checked into required permits?

If it's going to be a tight fit don't forget to plan for how things will open. Will you be able to open the bathroom door, the shower door and the vanity door without bumping something? If you are forsaking the vanity for a pedestal sink your plumber will need to know.

I tiled my bathroom last summer. First tile job for me. With a book from the library and a lot of help from here it went very smoothly.

Edited to add: Ditto what Rob said about home-improvement stores' salespeople. They are hourly help paid a retail wage, not experts. You never really know if you've found a knowledgeable one or not.

Last edited by Blondesense; 03-10-2009 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:47 AM   #5
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Advice, please


Quote:
Originally Posted by micromind View Post
Think ahead, always have a rough idea of what the completed project is supposed to look like.

Don't be afraid to ask questions you think are dumb. There are no dumb questions, but dumb mistakes abound! There are plenty of people on this site who will give excellent advice.

Browsing the aisles of the home-improvement stores will give you a much better handle on what products are available. A lot of times, you'll see some little item on a shelf, think nothing about it, then in the middle of a project you'll remember it.

While I'm on the subject of home-improvement stores, the vast majority of salespeople are, well, lets just say....not entirely competent.

I've been a commercial/industrial electrician (considerable residential as well) for about 19 years. I can't think of how many times I've heard the in-store 'experts' give advice that is not only completely wrong, but sometimes downright dangerous.

So much for the rant; welcome to the world of DIY construction. There's no feeling anywhere like looking at a finished (or stages of finished) project, and being able to say 'I did it myself'. It doesn't matter if you're replacing a light fixture, remodeling a bathroom, or building a whole house, the sense of accomplishment just can't be beat!

Rob
ditto on this one!

whenever you want to do something try to do your homework first and if worst comes to worst, you may ask the experts about it!

--Milwaukee Condoman

Last edited by greatwish; 03-25-2009 at 06:50 AM. Reason: add info
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