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The Great DIY vs Pro Debate In Bathroom Remodeling

Most people, even diehard DIYers, concede that remodeling a bathroom in a major way is not something to undertake on a whim. Bathroom remodeling needs the skills of several skilled workers with a working knowledge in plumbing, electrical work, and masonry. A bathroom usually means working in a confined space so that makes it even more difficult.

The main problem with bathroom remodeling for even the most seasoned DIYers is the unexpected issues usually uncovered by anyone delving into the walls and floors, especially when dealing with older bathrooms. Leaky pipes, compromised subfloors, and serious water damage are just a few potential situations. To add to the challenge, bathroom remodels usually need to go quickly, as an out of commission bathroom can present a major inconvenience for people living in the home, especially if there is only one bathroom.
Most people will not even consider the route, and instead look to remodeling companies or a set of contractors to do it. They can certainly do it faster and usually better than a DIYer.

The thing is, hiring pros to do a bathroom remodel represents a major financial investment. If you have a problem with raising the funds to pay for professional work, the DIY option might seem more attractive. However, you might want to think about that a little more if you have major funding problems. These are the basic points in the great DIY vs. pro debate in bathroom remodeling.

Financial cost

A few people like to take on home improvement jobs themselves to earn bragging rights or just for personal fulfillment. However, for most DIYers, the main reason for going this route with bathroom remodeling is to save money.

Hiring a pro to remodel even a small bathroom can cost about $20,000. The pro cost per square foot of a bathroom remodel starts from $250. This means that the cost for a 100-square-foot bathroom would be at least $25,000. For a DIYer, that cost can be as little as $75 per square foot, which comes out to about $7,000 for a 100-square-foot bathroom.
The bulk of the savings is from labor costs. Materials typically cost about the same for either scenario.

Time cost

The financial savings from DIY bathroom remodel only takes into account the money that does not go into the pockets of the pros. It does not take into account the cost of your time as the DIYer on the project. The cost might be more than you think.
Time is money, and you need to consider that when you decide to take on bathroom remodeling yourself. Calculate how much an hour of your time working is worth, then multiply that per hour rate by how many hours it will take you to complete the remodel. This is time away from work where you can earn more money. Instead, you are laboring away on a job that probably warrants a much lower per-hour rate than you can command.
Aside from your per-hour rate, you also have to consider how much longer it will take you to finish the project than if you hire pros to do it for you. You might find that you are potentially losing more money than you save.

You also need to think about other people in your home. The amount of time the bathroom is not operational might mean serious inconvenience to the people that need it to go to work, school, or simply be comfortable.

Generally, pros are able to carry out a complete bathroom remodel in a week, compared to a month or more by a DIYer. Aside from expertise, pros usually work in teams to do various jobs at the same time, so that makes them work faster. A DIYer typically must carry out the same work alone. Think about the difference three weeks without a bathroom or working shower can make to a person’s daily life.

Demolition cost

Demolition is often the first thing you need to do in a bathroom remodel, and pros usually add this to the remodeling budget. You can do this yourself if you want and save some money, although you do have to arrange to cart off the debris, which will be considerable. Depending on your resources, this can be a good way to flex your DIY muscles.


If you have carpentry skill, you might be able to shave off some more money from your budget by doing the rough-in yourself. This means putting up the frames and insulation for the walls, and perhaps installing the cabinets. Coordinate with the contractor to avoid delays, and make sure you do it properly as the proper layout of the bathroom depends on it. You do risk giving you contractor the opportunity to blame you for anything that might go wrong with the project, so make sure you cover your bases.


You can actually have some with this one. If you are putting in luxury vinyl planks instead of tiles for your floor, you can direct your contractor to leave it for last so you can do it yourself. Luxury vinyl planks snap together quite easily, so this is not going to be very hard to do. If you are putting in tiles, however, better leave it to the pros.

Plumbing and wiring

Unlike other aspects of bathroom remodeling that you can wing, working on plumbing and electrical require a license. If you do not have one, avoid getting in trouble with the law by letting the pros handle these.


You can save some money by DIYing some jobs in bathroom remodeling. However, it might not be worth the trouble. You might be better off letting a reliable remodeling company handle the whole project. You can usually get a better deal if you do that than parceling out the work to individual contractors. Fairfax Kitchen Bath guarantees you will love your new bathroom for life.

Fairfax Kitchen Bath services the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products.
We sell only top-quality products for all your bathroom remodeling needs, from natural and engineered stone slabs, cabinets, shelves, sinks, faucets tiles, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, and hardwood flooring. We carry only the top brands for these products, such as Schrock Cabinetry, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.

Contact us today to get free in-home design consultation and quote for your bathroom remodeling project.

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Sam Kazanci <br/><span id="position">Owner</span>
Sam Kazanci

Sam Kazanci is the owner of Fairfax Kitchen Bath Remodeling. He has experience to build and remodel the kitchen and baths with his team and the author of fkb blog: You can find Sam on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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