Any DIYer's? Thinking of redoing the bathroom, starting with tile.

We received an estimate of just under $3,000 to retile our bathtub area. DH thinks that is a project he can do himself. With the kids gone, we can use their bathroom, so we don’t have to be in a hurry. Ive been reading about this on the Internet, and we have our work cut out. He’s a decent handy man type, so I’m sure he will like the challenge.

I’m just wondeting how much money we will really save. Any tips or suggestions if you’ve done this? We need a project after the holidays…the winter weekends can be long.

Is this floor tile? How much space? I’ve done a couple small bathrooms and it’s not that hard. A small space is a little easier because there isn’t enough tile for your eye to pick up on a pattern that isn’t quite even.

If H has any competence with hand tools it should be doable. Cutting them can be a little tricky, but a Harbor Freight wet saw should take care of it. The other consideration is how the existing tile is installed so removal can be a little difficult. And wear safety glasses.

Thanks…we are starting with the tiles on the walls of the bathtub area. It’s good to hear it won’t be too bad.

Get a tile cutting saw as suggested above. I’m sure youtube is a good source of free how too videos.

And while you are at it, may I recommend epoxy grout? You might curse yourself while grouting, but you will thank yourself later because it does not need sealing and is impermeable.

I did the back splash in our kitchen in tile. It wasn’t hard. My DH cut the few that needed cutting. He didn’t have a wet saw and used his regular one, but with some other blade (circular saw). These were NOT porcelain tiles though. Porcelain breaks and is harder to cut. The edges had a few tiny chips so not completely smooth, but with grout it didn’t matter, doesn’t show.

I second using epoxy grout. And liberal use of the little plastic + thingies to keep the lines straight.

Measure measure measure, and pick where the “weird” shapes will go. There are always weird shapes because no wall or corner is completely straight.

If you can sew, you can do this.

I don’t know how much $$ we saved, but saved time finding someone to come in for a small job which is the biggest challenge. We had solid quartz counter top put in and they didn’t do tile.

Saved time - that’s what motivates us to do this kind of stuff ourselves. You would have to find the person, then let them into the house to do an estimate, then take time off work to let them into the house and sit there while they are doing this stuff…

Our first tub surround was a disaster, but we’ve learned a lot since then. More important that the tile is what’s underneath it. I suggest checking out Schluter’s products, such as their Kerdi membrane:

We recently paid a tiler $400 to install new tile around the tub (tile now goes all the way to the ceiling). He bought the tile with his contractor discount for a price better than anything I could have gotten. Dh is pretty handy with tools, but he didn’t have the time to do this. Money well spent.

THAT was a mighty helpful link, Silpat. We’ve been trying to figure this out as well.

When I did my tile, this is almost exactly how I did it. I cut it with a blade for concrete mounted in my miter saw because I am a real cheapskate. It’s not for the faint of heart - very loud, threw sparks everywhere, lots of smoke. Not the type of thing I recommend across the internet, but would share with my neighbor.

The most important part about retiling around a bathtub or shower is waterproofing. Here are a couple of suggestion:

Cut a piece of plywood to fit perfectly over the bathtub and set it down before you start any demolition. This protects the tub and provides an area to stand on while doing the new tile.

If you are thinking about replacing the valves and fixtures, now is the time to do it. It is impossible to change the fixtures at a future date because there is a conspiracy that the valves are different for new fixtures. My recommendation is to change to a newer valve and new fixtures if you are pulling out the tile. Changing the valves for new fixtures requires copper soldering/plumbing expertise (not just sticking on the fixtures to existing pipe)

Demolition of the old tile is going to gouge/ruin any waterproofing structure that is behind the tiles. If your bathroom is really old, it will have very thick cement plaster over chicken wire. It is heavy and hard to rip out. You need to plan how you are going to dispose of all this heavy debris.

If it is a really old house, you need to remove all of the substructure behind the tiles to make sure you do not have any mold in your walls/wood studs.

Make sure you have a plan on new waterproofing structure behind the bathtub surround. Especially important that you seal (with bath silicone) the bottom of the tile to the bathtub. For a DIY, this can be pretty messy and look very amateurish.

Do you want a niche for products? That may require changing studs to get a nice large niche and some higher than average skills for cutting in the tile and making sure the niche is waterproofed.

My recommendation is that you can do the demolition yourself. Then you should have a plumber come in and put in the new valves for your new fixtures. Then, if at all possible, have a tile guy come in and do the waterproofing/new backer board structure. Or review products/installation carefully on the internet. Installing the new tile and grout is the final step and you can probably do that yourselves. EPOXY GROUT!

My only piece of advice: if you plan the project out carefully, you can rent a wet saw from Home Depot for a day and cut everything you need, rather than buying one. That’s what I did when I tiled a floor.

We discovered that at our store, the rental rate was .5 purchase price… So do some comparison shopping! For us it was a no-brainer: (i) multiple tiling projects in the future and (ii) plenty of storage space in the garage.

I’m keeping tabs on this thread. We had a major reno to our master bath this summer. As part of the prep for that project, we had a new tub (a 4 piece fiberglass tub) installed in the main bathroom (the old was leaking, so we had it replaced before we had to “move into” the main bath).

Now that the master bath is complete, I want to finish up the main bath. The estimate to finish it came in higher than I expected and we are seriously toying with the idea of finishing it ourselves (and contracting what we need help with) rather than using a GC. It would entail replacing a vinyl floor with tile, replacing the vanity/mirror/lighting and toilet, and perhaps scraping the textured ceilings and skimcoating/painting them. No structural changes like we did in the master, but just a bunch of updates.

Are we crazy? We’re pretty handy, not afraid of a challenge, but don’t want to bite off more than we can chew. As another poster mentioned…no kids at home means we’re not in a rush.

Make sure you have nice flat surfaces, then RedGard waterproofing sealer over whatever boards you end up using. You really do not want water getting into the wall space.

Hey, I suggest the College Confidential of the tile world - John Bridge tile forum. Lots of great advice and information from the pros!

Wow…this is all just fantastic advice! Personally I like the demo part DIY, then hire a plumber and someone to do the banker. Try to time ourselves. I’m copying and pasting all suggestions to give to DH…thanks so much.

Take a look at some of the larger tile options, then there are less cuts and less to line up than a zillion little tiles.

Labor is expensive, so you can save quite a bit by doing it yourself. FWIW, you can find some cool design ideas from

Coralbrook covered it well. The key is waterproofing, the rest is cosmetic.

With time and patience and planning, it’s not hard to do a good job. I completely gutted and rebuilt my bathroom, hiring a plumber and doing the rest of the work myself. My mother tiled her bathroom floor and kitchen backsplash.

Like @TooRealistic said, is a spectacular resource. Everything you could ever want to know about tiling, and the “friendliest DIY forum on the internet.”

Lots of ideas in the Alumni Photo Album:

And not to be missed is the Pic of the WORST tile job? thread: