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-   -   Hiring a contractor for remodel, should they demo to the studs? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f80/hiring-contractor-remodel-should-they-demo-studs-169689/)

drew2000 01-21-2013 07:35 AM

Hiring a contractor for remodel, should they demo to the studs?
 
Hey All,
I realize this is "DIY" Chat room, and this is a question about hiring a contractor. However, this is one of the best resources for home projects, so I figured I would ask here and hope to find some help.

My wife and I are interviewing contractors to handle a master bath remodel in our town home (approximately 110 sq ft bathroom, townhouse was built in 1993). We are not changing the footprint, but are installing a shower where a tub used to be. The project will involve a new vanity, sinks, shower, flooring, lighting, etc. We have not asked for any extensive fancy stuff (top of the line cabinets, tile, etc.).

We have met with several quality contractors via Angieslist, each estimating a hefty $22-25,000 for the job. I have asked each contractor if this price includes a "down to the studs" gut and rebuild of the dry wall.

Each contractor has said "we only go down to the studs if we have to."

I have read several articles that state that a quality bathroom remodel should include going all the way back to the studs and rebuilding out the dry wall. Our drywall is kind of ratty and the seams are in bad shape.

My question: Are these contractors trying to get away with less work by not doing a full demo? (Keep in mind the price range and relatively small bathroom size).

For this much money, should I keep looking for a contractor who is eager to gut the whole thing? :(

Thank you!!!

Andrew

joecaption 01-21-2013 10:22 AM

Your the boss tell them that's the way you want it done.
No one here can see just how bad it really is or what it would take to clean it up to get ready for new paint.
What may look bad to you may look like job a skim coat or two of mud and some sanding to them.
Angies list is a joke, make sure to get some referances and follow up on them with a phone call.
Check the BBB web site for complaints, do not take there word for it that they have a licence or insurance, check it out.
VA has a state web site where you can check to see if there licenced and if there's any open complants againt them.
http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/

drew2000 01-21-2013 11:10 AM

joecaption,
Thanks for your input.

Why do you think Angie's list is a joke? I know a lot of people hate it, but I have found some truly excellent contractors through them. It is much better than going through the Yellow Pages. I realize there are some flaws, such as contractors posting self-reviews.

Overall though, I have hired some great companies through Angies List.

Andrew

md2lgyk 01-21-2013 11:22 AM

$25K for a simple bathroom remodel?? That's highway robbery. Why not try doing it yourself? Might cost you $1,000 and you'd learn some DIY skills.

oh'mike 01-21-2013 11:34 AM

Joe make some good points---for that kind of money you certainly might expect a full gut---

I prefer stripping a room unless the place is--less than 10 to 15 years old

The insulation and mechanical are all known to be good and not in need of updating--

I find it easier to rework the mechanical--properly insulate---add lights and exhaust fans and add blocking for hand grips when the place is pealed to the studs.

There are many times that a full gut is not needed ---if the mechanical is going to remain largely unchanged---the bath/shower is the only major change---and the existing drywall is sound and can be made fresh with a skim coat and patching.

Along with Angies list--ask for references from friends who have had similar work done that meets your level of quality.

Angies list is inconsistent--in smaller markets the results seem to be better than in larger urban areas----many of the best contractors don't want to be plagued by calls from tire kickers and bargain hunters--so they avoid the high cost of joining Angies list---

gregzoll 01-21-2013 11:35 AM

Save as much money, by doing the demo work yourself. Leave the bare studs for the crew to take from there. If any electrical, make sure that they are licensed & bonded to do electrical work.

gregzoll 01-21-2013 11:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drew2000 (Post 1098565)
joecaption,
Thanks for your input.

Why do you think Angie's list is a joke? I know a lot of people hate it, but I have found some truly excellent contractors through them. It is much better than going through the Yellow Pages. I realize there are some flaws, such as contractors posting self-reviews.

Overall though, I have hired some great companies through Angies List.

Andrew

It is along the lines of why lawyers, plumbers, contractors, auto shops take out the largest advert in the phone book & paper. Just because they have money, does not make them good.

I always use word of mouth and never have trusted Angie's list for anything. Too much bad has been reported of people that use their service as a catch to reel in customers, but most do not stand behind the work they do, and a lot are just out to grab as much money they can, but not do a good job.

gregzoll 01-21-2013 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by md2lgyk (Post 1098574)
$25K for a simple bathroom remodel?? That's highway robbery. Why not try doing it yourself? Might cost you $1,000 and you'd learn some DIY skills.

Our remodel was actually around $3,000.00 doing it ourself. $1,000 if all you are doing is replacing the toilet, laying tile, and replacing the vanity on the cheap maybe.

oh'mike 01-21-2013 11:43 AM

Oh, If only I could remodel a bath for $1000 in materials----How I wish I could do that-----

joecaption 01-21-2013 02:00 PM

Has to be something being left out if it's going to cost that much for that small a bathroom.

I've done some with all new walls ceilings and floors, cast iron tub, added an exhost vent, new wiring, and plumbing, toilet and vanity for less then that.

oh'mike 01-21-2013 02:12 PM

We don't have all the facts----condo ? could be conjoined plumbing--14th floor--who knows---I could not even bid on one because the managers brother got all the work---or permits /access/parking and elevator would not be forthcoming---lousy work at twice the price--

Welcome to Illinois

NewHomeDIYGuy 01-22-2013 12:20 PM

As others said, gutting down to the studs may or may not be necessary. Removing and replacing drywall just for the sake of replacing it or making it look nicer may be completely unnecessary. Putting a skim coat on the existing drywall is likely sufficient and you'd never know the difference.

Regarding cost... many on this forum aren't familiar w/ the DC area. Centreville is a suburb of DC = high cost of living. Still though, $20k+ definitely sounds steep. Many contractors that are good charge out the *ss, and finding reasonable ones isn't easy. I'm speaking from experience.

Best of luck finding a reasonable contractor. I'm redoing all the bathrooms myself and saving a pretty penny.

As Gregzoll said, if you're buying decent/nice quality materials and DIYing, you can expect ~$3k+ for materials for a full bath redo. Just for rough numbers, tile $700+, thinset/durock 3-400, vanity, top, mirror, etc and easy 600+, toilet toto drake $250, shower doors $300+, fixtures 300, bath fan, etc. etc..

BC Plumber 01-23-2013 10:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by md2lgyk (Post 1098574)
$25K for a simple bathroom remodel?? That's highway robbery. Why not try doing it yourself? Might cost you $1,000 and you'd learn some DIY skills.

$1000 is a pretty skimpy bathroom.

They're going from a tub to shower. If its a custom shower their cost would be 500~ for waterproofing material, 400~ for a nice fixture, 300~ for tile, there's more than your budget blown and we havent even talked about disposing the old bathtub or a single coat of paint!

22k-25k sounds like a lot of money, and it is, but if you MAKE SURE you have a good and honest contractor with a licensed plumber/electrician. Get any PERMITS required! If the contractor says you don't need any, call the city yourself and confirm!

Really you don't have to go down to the studs, but if youre putting in a bathroom that valuable, definately take it down to the studs. Put it the contract. You can even do it yourself, demo is easy even for the most inexperienced person, as long as you're not moving walls, structure, etc.

CoconutPete 01-23-2013 10:46 AM

There's more to it than just "gut it to the studs" ........ the previous owner of my house was sold on "we'll gut it down to the studs" when she had the bathroom remodeled.

Yes the "contractor" she hired certainly gutted the bathroom to the studs, but he left the old lead plumbing in place and tied the electrical into an old circuit instead of running a dedicated one. I would gladly swap old drywall for having to do all that myself after the fact.

paintdrying 01-23-2013 03:20 PM

This is better advice than you will read in most diy magazines. You said the magic word " townhouse". I would go down to the studs. I would start completely from scratch. I would never want to go back in after the remodel. I would want everything completely square, I would sound proof the place. I would also have everything just as I wanted it. Having said all that I would be doing all the work myself. This would cost you a fortune to have done. The answer then is how much do you want to spend on this project? Angie's list is a terrible place to be looking. It seems to me the best guys here in Cleveland have a phone number, no ads, no website, ect. They are booked up for many months. Good luck


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