Sunday, November 05, 2006

Tile Costs: Gulp!

So, I’m still in bathroom planning mode, and it’s not pretty. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a tight-wad. I’ll walk a mile to save a buck, and I actually do stoop down in parking lots to pick up pennies. I’m obsessed with getting a good deal, and I will almost always sacrifice my wants and desires if I can get almost what I want at a substantial savings.

I’m trying not to be this way with the downstairs bathroom. I’ve only completed two rooms in the house so far, the upstairs bathroom and the kitchen. The house supplied me with a lot of what I needed for those rooms so even though I spent thousands of dollars, I was able to do those rooms for a lot less than I normally would have, given the amount of work that went in to them.

I want to try not to be so cheap when it comes to the downstairs bathroom, but it goes against my nature, so it’s going to be tough. This room is a blank slate so I won’t be solely driven by restoration. With the other bathroom I still had most of it, so I put it back the way it was the best I could. Honestly, the whole bathroom was done for about a $1000 and it’s still my favorite room in the house.

I did improvise some with the kitchen, but again, I had a lot the “parts” already. Granted, everything was beat-up, covered in paint, or laying in piles waiting to be nailed together, but it didn’t cost anything. Even given everything I had to work with, if you include every last piece of wire, sheet of sandpaper, appliances, lighting, etc, etc, etc., I still spent less than $10,000 on the kitchen. Considering the room was an empty shell, that is dirt cheap for a ground-up remodel of a kitchen. Hell, a quarter of the money was spent on the antique cast iron kitchen stove.

Now I come to the bathroom. I want to do something really nice, but it’s going to be tough to pry open the wallet. Case in point: The Tile. Oy! Tile ain’t cheap. I spoke about the floor tile the other day. If you don’t include shipping, mortar, grout, or backer board, it’s around $600 for the floor tile. I figure $1000 when all is said and done.

Today I was looking at wall tile. Crack! {That was the sound of my head splitting open}. What I want to do is subway tile 3 feet up on most walls, and then floor to ceiling subway tile around the bath tub. Here’s what I’m looking at. This all came from the one and only source I’ve look at, Again, this is just the cost of the tile. Maybe add 20% to include other costs for things like mortar, grout, and backer board. That’s a guess, and even the costs listed below are rough estimates.

3X6 Field Tile = $1600

2.5X6 Cap = $380

5X6 Base Molding = $730

Total = $2710
Plus 20% = $3252

The room has 9-foot ceilings so I was considering doing the field tile 48-inches up the wall. I think that would look nicer. The cost above is for 36-inches up. If I went 48-inches up that would add roughly another $200 to the cost. So basically, if you include the cost of the floor tile, and if I went 48-inches up, I’m looking at about $4500 in tile and supplies. That is just for the floor and half the walls in the room. I still have to add all the costs of wiring, plumbing, lighting, cabinets, walls above the tile, ceiling, and a zillion other little things that I can’t think of right now.

In some respects it is a question of money, but in other respects – at least in my warped mind – it is a question of the cost of this room relative to the costs of the other two rooms I’ve done. The cost to do this room alone could easily balloon to nearly the cost of the kitchen if I’m not careful. Can I justify that? Will my tight-wad tendencies impose themselves on my wants and desires for the downstairs bathroom? Will my head explode if I continue to think about this? I can’t say at this point.

Stay tuned.


StuccoHouse said...

I hear ya on this one. But, my dad always gave me the advice, if it is something you will use every day for more than 5 years buy the best you can afford and get exactly what you want. I got physically sick when I was paying for my front door handle and had a pretty big migraine going when I found out how much my dining room light would cost. But, I tell ya not a day goes by where I don't smile in satisfaction at them. I say, get exactly what you deserve it after all of your hard work on the other rooms :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, that tile is pricy. Here in Morocco tile is everywhere and you can buy beautiful hand made tile for relatively cheaply. Very often people do their bathrooms in tadelakt, a beautiful wall treatment that is done by applying crushed limestone, rubbing with black soap and then rubbing with rocks. It produces that most beautiful sheen and is a very high end look.

Well good luck on your tile choices. I'll look forward to seeing the finished product.

Anonymous said...

You might try Designs in Tile, in Mt Shasta Ca. They make reproduction tile and have end runs and close out specials. Also if you want to make the treck over the mountian you would save on the shipping.

Anonymous said...

If there are no bedrooms downstairs are people really want to bathe & shower in that room? Why don't you forget the tub & use beadboard on the walls.

Anonymous said...

i do believe in spending money on a good bed, on shoes, and a good bathroom. it gets more important as you grow older. make it nice. you've done brilliantly saving money on the kitchen. spend it on the tile. doooooooooooo iiiiiiiiiiiit!!!! your 60 year old heinie will thank you -- or your real estate agent will, cause this bathroom will make his/her commission for him her.

Anonymous said...

DO IT!!!

One bit of advice from our bathroom remodel - make sure you can return any tile you don't use and then get WAY more than you think you need.

Nothing is worse than running out of tile in the middle of a tile job. At one point we drove over a hundred miles in one day going to three different Lowe's to get the tile we ran out of.

Greg said...

S & Purejuice,

Yes, of course you're both right. I should do it and I most likely will. It’s just……$4,500!?!? That’s a lot of scratch.


I can't help but wonder if labor costs are involved when it comes to the difference in cost between tile in the US and tile in Morocco. Maybe we could work out an arrangement where you could mail me one tile a day or so. Even with postage I'd probably save money.


I'm intrigued about Designs in Tile but their site seems to be down right. I'll check back later.

As for the question of whether I need two full baths. Well, it's a big house and it really needs two full baths. Besides, I have the tub already.

John said...

I feel your pain. The only way we ended up saving money on ours was waiting around until we found something we liked on the clearance rack at Lowe's.

If you can afford the tiles you like, buy them. We compromised on stuff in the last house we had and it sucks. Remember, you'll have to look at it every day until you part ways or die.

Besides, on a real estate appraisal, you typically dollar for dollar on kitchens and baths. Consider it an "investment."

Allison said...

I think I disagree with most of the comments. I would have loved to have tile from for my kitchen backsplash, but I just couldn't justify paying 2-3 times the price for a product only marginally different. I think if you have a finite amount of money to spend on your home, some things just aren't going to be perfect - but that's okay. Also, I don't really think you are increasing the value of your house with the expensive tile over the more economical tile - in order to increase the value, the appraiser or potential buyer would have to recognize you used pricey historically accurate tile, and what are the odds of that?