wanted: your bath remodel opinions

Hi. we’re rehabbing our Mom’s house now that she has passed. Looking for opinions. Cost/Profit is not an issue (everything is profit) but sisters want to maximize returns. I’m more concerned with getting it sold quickly to cut ongoing maint and taxes.

Built in 1950’s and is in a “mid range” part of a “low end” town.

Bath #A has “rose” almost orange tile. There is no shower, so the tile only goes up ~4 ft.

Question #1: we’re considering adding a shower to this bath. In addition to the plumbing, it will also require tile work (no access to the wall from the rear). Is it worth the extra ~$700 to have a second shower?

If we elect to not add the shower, we still have to deal with that awful pink/orange tile.

Sis #1 says “leave it, why spend the money.”

sis #2 says “patch the holes, extend the height of the tile and miracle bath over it.” I think this is a waste of money when the same cost gets a completely new tile job.

sis #3 says “put in an acrylic surround. no mold. easier to clean” While cheaper, it also looks cheaper.

Mark (me) says: if we have new carpet/paint/floors/everything else, then prospective buyers will only remember “the nice house with the orange tile.” It will immediately shrink the buyer pool because people won’t have money, time, or interest in doing it themselves.

Question #2: what would YOU do?

Bath #B has almost the same problem: pink and gray tile. Differences are that this bath already has a shower and it also has tile on 3 walls. One wall has a 2 x 2 hole where a heater was installed.

I say we remove ALL the tile and just start over. This is about a $1,000 decision.

Sis #1 wants to remove all the wall tile to the tub line, and have the tile guy put on a new edge and miracle bath the shower. Probably a $600 fix.

Sis #2 wants have the tile guy patch the hole and miracle bath the tile on all 3 walls. Cost is about the same a a whole new tile job.

Sis #3 wants to salvage tile from wall “A” to use the patch the hole in wall “B” and leave the pink and gray tile. Probably a $200 fix.

Question #3: what would YOU do?

I think that with a completely remodeled house, leaving ugly tile will only hurt the value and/or time on the market. It’s not a lot of cash in the big scheme of things.

Thanks for your thoughts.


In my area there are only two kinds of properties selling right now: bargain basement priced houses and “perfect” houses. If you want a decent price I’d totally rehab both baths, kitchen, and much of the rest of the house. Otherwise, price it for a quick sale.

I agree with jmd_forest about the types of houses selling. However “perfect” doesn’t mean high end. It just means that nothing has to be done to the property and it is a good value for the size / neighborhood.

If it were me, I would forget the tile all together. Sheetrock the walls and go with a medium grade fiberglass tub (or shower) surround.


Someone (fdjake?) has posted before about having ugly-colored tile color-coated by the ceramic bathtub people. I haven’t tried that myself. He said it was very inexpensive and looked great.

You can add a shower to the tub externally, by a conversion fixture. It does not have to go in the wall. I would have the tile done above the bathtub, most families would reject a bathroom with no shower.

The pink/grey tile…why not do some staging that would make it look better. I dealt with a pink/grey bathroom by putting in lots of thick, higher-end charcoal colored towels and rugs. It masculinized that space and everyone liked it. Try the cheap fix first.

The orange/pink tile…maybe mitigate it with white tiles above the tub, and again the luxurious towels and rugs that dampen down that color. Staging can be amazing, also use mirrors, that reflect something other than the negative. In other words, cover some tile with mirrors.


Take a look at any properties in the immediate area that may also be on the market. Also take a look at recent sales. This will let you know what any particular condition or look of a property in the immediate area has sold for and you then you can decide how much rehabbing you will need to do in order to get the price you want out of the property.

Real estate mantra used to be location, location, location. Now, you also have to remember “sales is about a price war and a beauty contest”. My girl Nancy Emerman coined that phrase.

All the best,

DO NOT rip out that tile!!!

What you have there is called a MUD JOB…Back in the day, tile was set into about 2 inches of basically CONCRETE. I’ll bet there isn’t a single tile cracked in that bathroom.

Here’s what you do…

I use a company that specializes in REGLAZING tile and old cast iron bath tubs. They use an acid wash first, then a primer, and finally a catalyzed top coat of epoxy.

I pay $400 for a normal sized bathroom. That includes the 4 walls and the tub.

The key to this is taking out the toilet and pedestal sink or vanity BEFORE they come to paint. They can patch any holes on the old tile left by the vanity or pedestal sink. Once they’ve finished (it’s a one day job) I replace the toilet with a new white one, and buy one of those vanities from Home Depot or Lowes with the porcelain sink that hang over the front of the vanity in a bowl like manner. The nice thing about them is the sink is part of the counter top. They seems to be very popular now. You can buy the entire vanity with sink for $250.

I have the walls and tub painted white (the reglazing guys love it if they can spray everything white) You can add COLOR to the bathroom later with paint on the remaining non tiled walls. Add some nice towel rods and some quality towels for staging and that bathroom will be a show stopper. All for less than $1000.

Here’s some examples.


What’s wrong with the keeping the old tile as your new backer board? Is it warped? Scuff the old tile with steel wool and mastic that glossy white 19 cent/8"x8" tile on top of the old tile and then grout with delorean gray or some other gray colour. The end result looks like a million bucks. I have been doing it to my rentals for years.