A Bath to Fit Any Budget

By: Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford in completed major bathroom expansion remodel.

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Bathroom renovation is one of the most popular projects with homeowners, but not everyone has the same needs or budget. Renovating your bathroom can be as simple and inexpensive as a fresh coat of paint and new hardware, or as complicated and costly as knocking out walls and replacing fixtures.

Types of Bathroom Renovation

There are three basic types of bathroom renovation:

  • Cosmetic Upgrade: New paint, wallpaper, hardware, faucets, or mirrors. Cost: inexpensive to moderate.
  • Renovation: Gut existing bathroom and replace fixtures, cabinets, countertops, and flooring. Cost: moderate to expensive.
  • Expansion: Renovate existing bathroom while adding additional space by taking in an adjoining room or closet. Cost: expensive to very expensive.

Small Bathroom Renovation


The walls and fixtures in this small bath were removed so remodeling work could start from scratch. After new drywall had been installed, the walls were covered with ¼” bead board paneling and painted white to brighten up the room.


The floor was covered with diagonally laid tile and a mirror installed along one wall. Working with large mirrors is best left to the pros, since they are heavy and can be dangerous if broken.

Design Tip

Laying tile on a diagonal, using light colors, and adding a large mirror can maximize the feeling of space in a small bathroom.

Larger Bathroom Renovation

As this all pink bath illustrates, styles come and go.


While it’s fine to make a bold statement or try out the latest trend when remodeling your bathroom, it’s a good idea to choose white fixtures and countertops since they never go out of style. That way if tastes change or you decide to sell your home, it’s less costly to update.


Bathroom Expansion

The size of master baths has grown in recent years. While it’s easy to incorporate a spacious bath into the layout of a new house, older homes often require the removal or rearrangement of interior walls, which can be both difficult and expensive.

Bathroom Amenities and Considerations

Walk-in Shower

With the growing popularity of showers today, many homeowners choose not to include a traditional tub in the master bath, opting for a walk-in shower instead. The creation of a custom tiled shower starts with a flexible waterproof membrane on the floor which is extended several inches up the walls to prevent leaking.

The walls are then covered with cement backer board followed by a thick bed of mortar on the floor to allow water to flow to the drain. Tile is then applied to the walls and floor.

The joints are grouted and the excess sponged off.

Cultured Marble

For the look and feel of stone on a limited budget, consider cultured marble. Composed of marble dust and polyester resin, the mixture is poured into a waxed form and allowed to harden. Cultured marble can be molded into panels for showers and walls, as well as more complex shapes like countertops and sinks. Trim molding is also available to give edges and corners a finished look. While durable, cultured marble can chip and develop burn marks from hot curling irons.

Pocket Doors

Since they eliminate the floor space needed for the swing of a traditional door, pocket doors are an effective way to save space in a small bath.

Sink Height

When installing a new vanity, consider raising the height of the sink to 36”. This is a much more comfortable height for most people than lower sinks and allows more room in the vanity for storage.

Window Seat:

Since bathrooms often also serve as dressing rooms, a window seat along one wall can be a great addition. Not only does it provide a place for clothes and to sit while dressing, but it contains additional storage space inside as well.

Toilet Top Cabinet

A 10” to 12” deep cabinet mounted above the toilet is another good way to increase storage in a bathroom.

Other Tips From This Episode

Tub Caulking Tips

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Tub Caulking Tips

When caulking around a tub, start by lining both sides of the joint with masking tape. After applying a bead of caulk, run the rounded edge of an expired plastic gift card along the joint to wipe off any excess caulking. Carefully remove the tape before the caulking hardens.

Watts Instant Hot Water Recirculating System

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Watts Hot Water Recirculating System

If you’re tired of watching water go down the drain while waiting for it to heat up, the Watts Instant Hot Water Recirculating System may be just what you need. The pump attaches to the hot water line at the water heater to circulate hot water throughout the home. A programmable timer can be set to turn the pump on only during the hours when hot water is typically used. The kit comes with everything you need and can be installed in under two hours. The Watts Recirculating Pump is available from The Home Depot for around $200.00.

Low-Flow Faucet Aerator

Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
Low-Flow Faucet Aerator

One way to save water is to install low-flow aerators on kitchen and bathroom faucets. They can be installed in minutes by screwing them into the end of faucets. While most aerators limit water to three gallons per minute, low-flow models are available for around $5 that can reduce the flow to as little as one GPM. This can reduce faucet water usage by almost 60%. Aerators can save energy as well, since they use less hot water.

Power tools used on Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford® are provided by Ryobi.



Please Leave a Comment

5 Comments on “A Bath to Fit Any Budget”

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  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    December 29th, 2008 at 8:49 am

    To buy a DVD of this episode, click on the “Purchase this episode on DVD” icon at the top of this page.

  • Dennis Richardson Says:
    December 28th, 2008 at 8:01 am

    How can I get a copy (dvd) of this segment? I watch it on Dec 28 @ 9:30 in the Virgin Islands (STT). Great job…. Thanks

  • Anthony A. Biron Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 5:57 am

    Can you tell me how to install a new bathtub?
    I have a stall shower now & want to install a whirlpool tub/shower.The tub I have to install is a whirlpool tub , and just needs to be pluged in .
    But I am not sure how to plumb the tub in .
    I will appreciate any and all help you can offer me .
    thank you

  • Anne Says:
    October 5th, 2008 at 6:08 am

    My shower is about 33″x56″. I would like to have it made over into a handicap shower. One side wall 28″x 8′ made of glass block the other walls tiled. What would be a basic ballpark price for a job like this?

  • Greg Says:
    October 2nd, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    With regards to low flow aerators there are actually aerators that restrict water as low as .5 gallons per minute here is a link to examples http://www.faucetaerators.com/faucet-aerators-c-21.html, you can’t buy them here but can get them at the hardware store. I have actually heard a company is coming out with a .33 gallon per minute aerators.

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