Our Bathroom Makeover for Under $500.00

Thinking about a new bathroom makeover? Here is how we did it for under $500.00.

We would do the following:

  1. Refinish the vanity cabinet;
  2. Put new hardware on the vanity cabinet;
  3. Install a new sink faucet;
  4. Put up new fixtures (a towel bar and toilet paper bar);
  5. Paint the walls and trim;
  6. Install new light fixtures. and
  7. Put down new flooring.

THIS IS WHAT WE DID TO START OUR BATHROOM MAKEOVER

the vanity cabinet.

We looked at some cabinets at the big orange box and found a really nice four foot dark stained cabinet. My wife said the color was espresso. The cost was just under $550. If we bought that vanity cabinet, we would be $50 over budget before we did anything else for this bathroom makeover.

Of course, we decided to try to achieve that color ourselves.
It was a Sunday afternoon and we spoke with a man in the paint department. My wife brought him one of the drawers from the $550 four foot dark stained cabinet in the back of the store so she could show him the color we were looking for. His suggestion was to strip the wood on the vanity cabinet and use a gel stain to achieve this color.

I agreed that staining the vanity cabinet was the way to go. Another plus of staining was stain goes on smoother than paint with no runs. So we chose the darkest stain they had and looked the closest to our sample.

HERE IS WHAT I DID TO PUT ON THE STAIN FOR OUR BATHROOM MAKEOVER

  • I took the cabinet doors and drawers outside and stripper was applied to them. (Whatever the original coating was, it is not about to come off. I should have skipped the stripping process as it was a waste of time.)
  • So, I then sanded everything with 120 grit sandpaper.
  • I next applied some Prep-Sol. (This is a solution that will remove any and all wax, oil, silicone or anything that will keep paint from sticking. It is usually found in automobile paint supply stores. )
  • Then, I wiped the surface with a tack rag to catch anything remaining on the wood. Since all of the finish was not removed, the stain did not absorb into the wood leaving a very blotchie finish.

So the next day, I went back to our big orange box for more options for our bathroom makeover.

It was a Monday and a more experienced man, which I knew, was on duty in the paint department. I went and picked up the sample drawer from the back of the store again to show it to this man in the paint department.

This time the man in the paint department and I decided that I should paint the vanity cabinet in light of what happened the day before with the stain. He showed me that I should use Zinsser B-I-N Primer and Behr Interior K & B Sateen Lustre Enamel paint.

The color turned out to be exactly what my wife wanted for our bathroom makeover.

NOTE: If you are going to do a bathroom makeover and if you know someone who is knowledgeable, always “pick his/her brain” excuse the expression. It is always helpful to know who is and who is not knowledgeable in the store to help you. Most of the better personnel have the knowledge before they go to work at the big box stores.

HERE IS WHAT I DID TO FINISH THE CABINET FOR OUR BATHROOM MAKEOVER

  • I applied the B-I-N Primer to ensure the paint would stick.
  • I let the primer dry. (I use throw away brushes with this material as it requires ammonia or denatured alcohol for clean up.) The painted surface was now a light blue/gray.
  • I sanded once again very lightly with a 220 grit sandpaper.
  • I applied the Behr kitchen and bath latex paint with a good quality brush and was careful of runs.GOOD TIP: Paint the rear of the doors, as well as the front inside edge of the cabinet for a professional appearance.
  • I mounted the new hardware on the drawers and doors.

The vanity cabinet is finished.

INSTALLING THE FAUCET IS THE NEXT STEP IN OUR BATHROOM MAKEOVER

The faucet we installed for our bathroom makeover was second-hand even though it had never been used. It was out of a new house. The people who bought the house just didn’t like the style of the faucet.

The faucet came complete with all necessary hardware. It is a Kohler faucet and if we had purchased it, it would have cost $89.00. (We will add in the $89.00 to our total remodel costs.)

I checked the faucet for leaks and mounted it in the sink. The sink and sink base were complete.

THE NEXT STEP IN OUR BATHROOM MAKEOVER
IS PAINTING THE WALLS

We are now in full swing of our bathroom makeover. The original walls were covered with wallpaper in a floral and vine design. Utilizing past experience, I was not going to attempt to remove old wallpaper if at all possible. Porter Paints makes a product called Blankit. This is a thick primer specifically made for this type of application.

  • First, if there are any bad seams, nail holes, etc., patch them.
  • I like to remove any accessories before painting to make sure all surfaces get covered. For example, mirrors, towel bars, light switches and outlet covers.
  • If any wallpaper is loose, use contact cement to reapply the wallpaper. Spread it out on both surfaces, let dry and press into place.NOTE: Contractors, when building new homes, will sometimes apply the wallpaper directly to the drywall. They do not use sizing or primer to seal the wall. It saves money and time and you as the homeowner may never know it until you are trying to remove the wallpaper.

    GOOD TIP: Do not attempt to remove wallpaper with a tool that scores the wallpaper to allow you easy removal. I did this once and guess what? The wallpaper did come off easily, but so did the paper on the drywall revealing the plaster underneath. We had to re-plaster the entire wall before we could paint it.

  • After the primer (Blankit) has dried, apply the final coat of paint. (We like to use semi-gloss in bathrooms and kitchens. Flat paint just does not seem to hold up to the moisture in these rooms. Also, use semi-gloss on the wood trim such as baseboards and door frames.)

LIGHT FIXTURES, TOWEL BARS, TOILET PAPER HOLDER

We made a second family trip for our bathroom makeover to the big orange box for light fixtures, towel bars and a toilet paper holder. The old ones were gold. They were still functional, just out-of-date. This time, we are putting in chrome stainless.

All that remains in our bathroom makeover now is to change the vinyl on the floor. I prefer the thick free floating type that fits under the shoe molding. The most difficult part is removing the toilet.

REMOVING THE TOLIET: Remember to turn off the water and the supply line to the toilet first. It is the knob near the floor behind the toilet. It has only two bolts. You will also have to buy and install a new wax ring to seal the toilet to the floor when you put it back.

If the old floor is not glued down, it can be used as a template to cut the new floor. Since the floor in our room is only 6 ft X 5 ft, the floor will be an easy cut.

HERE IS THE BREAKDOWN ON COST FOR THIS BATHROOM MAKEOVER

Vanity
One (1) quart of shellac based primer $10.45
One (1) quart of latex Interior Sateen Lustre Enamel $13.98
Four (4) handles and four (4) hinges in brushed nickel $17.80
Kohler faucet $89.00
   Total for the vanity cabinet refinish $131.23
Wall Paint
One (1) gallon of primer, Blankit from Porter Paints $24.13
One (1) gallon semi gloss for walls $23.47
One (1) gallon semi gloss for trim $23.47
   Total for paint for walls $ 71.07
Costs for two (2) light fixtures (one for the ceiling and one over the vanity), towel bar and toilet paper holder $106.00
Flooring and wax ring to put toilet back in place $57.00
     Total cost to update this bathroom $365.30

WELL UNDER OUR $500.00 BUDGET

This leaves $134.70 for shower curtain, rugs and wall decorations.

 

Dave Altman
 

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