Giving your bathroom a makeover doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars or weeks of intensive labor. Updating finishes, from the tub surface and tile color to cabinet hardware or the toilet, can retrofit an outdated bathroom to modern tastes for hundreds instead of thousands of dollars.
Remodeling your bathroom can be overwhelming, but it can also be one of the best returns on investment. You can get up to 85 percent return on the investment.
Or, you could opt to do some simple upgrades like changing that pink tile or blue tile to a more neutral color or update the handles on your cabinets to make the bathroom more modern.
Angie Hicks says, “When replacing a bathtub, it might only cost $300 to buy a new one, but what people don’t realize is the cost of taking out the old tub and installing the new one can add significant costs to that $300. An alternative is refinishing your bathtub, and that entire project can be done for about $500.”
Contractor Paul Dickerson agrees, “Refinishing is really a nice alternative because bathtubs as well as tile over the years get scoured, stained, and tile becomes porous. So refinishing creates a barrier so that the water can’t get behind the tile. It also puts a coating on the tub to make it look pretty much brand new. It’s a very shiny, durable surface. It’s a nice alternative to replacing everything.”
When it comes to shower tile and grout, contractor Chris Uhland also adds, “It just gives the bathroom a new look. It almost looks like they installed new tile by having their grout refurbished. Cost-wise it’s a lot cheaper than tearing it out. The average cost for doing bathroom work is anywhere from $120 to $350, depending on the size of the shower and the amount of work.”
Angie's List spoke with homeowner Catherine Young about her tile floors and she said, “When I moved here, the stone tile was grouted in a gray and over the years without realizing it the gray started getting darker so I became more desperate and I tried more products. After years of trying to get that grout cleaned I realized it wasn’t going to happen. The choices were either put new floors in or try to find somebody who knew about re-grouting, sealing that type of thing.”
Catherine continued by saying, “Now the grout is back to a lovely shade of gray and it’s sealed so I don’t’ have to worry about it. And it was very inexpensive, for something that has a dramatically changed how it looked. When I walked in the house I can’t tell you the difference. I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten and when I walked in here it was beautiful, it was just day and night.”
Our professionals offered some advice on taking care of surfaces to keep them looking as new as possible. The secret? Do not to use abrasives. Even a Softscrub has a mild abrasive in it. Over time that will scratch the surface and it will get stains and dull.
Also, it is best to use neutral cleaners when cleaning your shower. The harsher chemicals like bleach or Scrubbing Bubbles tend to eat at the grout and deteriorate it more quickly.
Angie’s List tips: 4 Simple bathroom updates
- Give grout a new look: Homeowners don’t have to rip out their bathroom shower tile or tile floors to make it look new again. If your tile is in good shape you can hire a company to re-grout, clean, seal, or stain grout to make it look like it did the day it was installed. Costs are determined by the amount of work, but generally range from $100 to $400. If your tiles are in good shape, but you are not fond of the color – you can reglaze them. A trick to test if your tile is good or needs to be repaired/replaced: knock on the tile, it if rattles or if you find cracks, call a professional before water gets behind the tiles, which can cause further damage.
- Bathtub refinishing/reglazing: Over time, the bathtub begins to show signs of wear – stains, scratches or a dull finish. Refinishing an existing bathtub can achieve the look of a brand-new tub and consumes much less time and money than replacing one. Bathtub refinishing is an option that can return a bathtub or shower enclosure to like-new appearance for about $500. However, homeowners need to maintain the tub with proper cleaners. Steer clear of beach or abrasive cleaners, and avoid dripping faucets and leaving down wet rubber bath mats – which could wear down the finish over time. This project also requires proper ventilation – ask which methods the company uses as well as what type of materials/chemicals/coatings they will use before you sign a contract and begin work.
- Faucets & other bathroom fixtures: Updating your sink’s hardware or other bathroom fixtures such as the tub handles, control knobs or shower head are a great way to give your bathroom a newer look without spending a lot of money on a total remodel. There are a number of finishes available for sink faucet fixtures and other bathroom fixtures, including chrome, brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, and steel. Styles and finish should be chosen