DIY Bathroom Remodel Step-By-Step Guide

Here is a short list of how to DIY bathroom remodel when you decide it is time to remodel your bathroom.

The first thing you should do is get an idea of how you want to utilize the space. Take a step back and look at all the other ways you can rearrange things.

What colors do you want to choose, what materials are you thinking about, etc. A great way to organize this would be on Pinterest.

The social media platform allows you to make virtual boards and pin whatever you like to the boards. Multiple boards can be set up to allow you to easily organize the pictures and ideas.

DIY Bathroom Remodel List

After you have a collection of pictures, now you will need to find materials for your DIY project. This can be started by going on Craigslist or to the local flea market.

But before you do that, roam around your house and see if you have any old furniture that you can re-purpose.

Remember to assess your skill level before you start this project. Do you have the time and stress tolerance to do this task? If the answer is yes, then continue.


It’s best to start with a clean canvas when planning your DIY bathroom remodel so you can build your dream bathroom. The cost of this is not too expensive cause you will just be using inexpensive tools and materials.

The tools needed for this job include a plunger, vacuum, utility blade, safety goggles, reciprocating saw, dust mask, hammer, pliers, sponge, work gloves, putty knife and drop cloths.

Some of the materials needed are tape, plywood and garbage bags.


Depending on if you want to keep the toilet or if you are re-purposing another one will depend on how you take it apart. If you plan on disposing of it, you can break it up into parts and remove it.

Important: But before you do anything, you will need to remove the toilet water and turn off the water in your house.

The removal of the water can be done by a pump or manually. This is important cause you don’t want toilet water to end up on the floor (would create extra work for yourself).

Disconnect the water supply and flush the toilet until there is no water left. Using a plunger to push the water down the toilet. Using a wet/dry vacuum to remove all the excesses water from the bowl and tank.

Now it’s time to remove the toilet. Take a hammer and smacking the toilet base. This is done by the base, where the bolts are located. Once it’s starting to become lose, it will be able to wiggle off.

Make sure nothing falls into the waste hole as it can end up clogging it and be impossible to take anything out of the hole.

Don’t forget to remove any porcelain pieces that are left behind. The next step would be to remove the bolts and wax ring. The wax ring will remain soft so remove it will pliers. If there is wax on the surface, take your putty knife to clean it.

Once the surface is clean and the toilet is removed, cover the hole with plastic bags as this will prevent gasses from entering the house.


Most people choose not to replace the bathtub as part of their DIY bathroom remodel because it can be costly. Rather, they end up changing the tiles that are placed above the bathtub.

The first thing you would want to do is put a piece of tape over the drain hole. This will protect it from getting anything in it. The next step would be to put a sturdy piece of wood on the bathtub to cover it.

Apply tape to the wood edges so nothing gets into the bathtub.

The tile will need to be removed all the way down to the studs. This is because the plaster needs to be removed and redone before plumbing of the shower.

Cement board, which is similar to drywall, will need to be replaced. The reason why drywall is not used is because it is not water resistant.

Shower Pipe

The shower pipe will need to be removed as it can get in your way. If you have a soap dish on your wall, it can easily be taken off by hitting it lightly with a hammer.

The next thing you want to do is bust a hole in the wall between the halls (make sure you do not hit any studs).

Take extra precautions when you are near the shower riser and edges. This can cause you problems as you can damage and break into the ceiling or wall outside the tub.


Taking out the insulation is a quick task and shouldn’t take you too long. Before you start, make sure you are wearing safety goggles, gloves, and a dust mask.

If a wall is needing to be removed, do not use a hammer to do the job. By using a reciprocating saw, make a straight cut across the top and push the pieces out. This will save you from damaging the ceiling.


Cabinets can be easily removed by simply using a crowbar. Make sure the area is wiped down and the water is disconnected from the sink.

The sink can be removed by taking a crowbar and lifting it upwards. This is the same motion used to remove the backsplash near the sink and counters.

Once the sink is removed, the cabinets can be removed by loosening the screws. The cabinets are probably needing to be replaced, so don’t worry about damaging them.

For easy removal, it is recommended that you take the reciprocating saw and cut the cabinets. This way it can be removed in pieces, rather than one big piece.


The next step of the DIY bathroom remodel would be the tilework. These steps are similar when it comes to applying tiles to the floor and/or to the walls.

The first thing you are going to want to do is to take exact measurements of the floor. Taking a fairly precise measurement is important as it ensures that you won’t be short of your needed tile and supplies after your trip to the hardware store.

Having the right amount the first time means you won’t have to worry about the risk of ending up with subtle mismatches in your tile from different production lots.

The next step is the underlayment.

Underlayment is a thin layer of cement board, which will give you a nice smooth and level surface to which you can apply your bathroom tile.

In this step, you will need to cut panels of cement board to cover your bathroom floor. For this, you will need a circular saw for the big pieces and a jigsaw to cut pieces to fit around the toilet and fixtures.

The underlayment can be attached to the sub-floor using backboard screws with a drill fitted with a driver bit. Screws should be around 6 inches apart and should rest flat on the floor.

Edge tile should be laid first if you’re using a contrasting trim. After that lay the inside tile in a way which makes use of whole tiles.

You should make use of tile spacers here in order to ensure that the tiles are evenly sized and spaced. This should all be done to use as few cut-to-size tiles as possible. After that, you can cut the necessary tiles to size.

Once you are pleased with the layout,  it is time to lay down a thin set mortar. Remove a few tiles at a time and apply a thin layer of mortar with a notched trowel.

Make sure you use spacers to hold position and place tiles back on the mortar. Once the mortar is applied and tiles are put back down, sit back and relax for 24 hours while the mortar dries.

Now that the mortar is dry, it is time to remove the spacers and add the grout.

To do this, mix the grout and use a grout float. Apply the grout to the spaces between the tiles. You can use a damp sponge to gently wipe away excess grout. This will make your tiles smooth and even.

Make sure you remove all of the excess grout from the cracks and the top of the tiles, as grout can be hard to remove once it has dried.

You should be able to walk on the freshly grouted tiles 24 hours after grout application. Finally, spray grout sealer over the grout to reduce staining and protect the integrity of the grout.

Fixture Replacement

Before you start ripping stuff off the walls, it is important to have a plan first. You want your DIY bathroom remodel to go smoothly and a little planning goes a long way.

The plan should include what needs to replace and when.

For instance, the most common thing to get replaced is the mirror. This should be one of the first things you  replace. If the mirror has been glued on, make sure you use a 5-in-1 tool and run it along the edges.

If the washroom has been painted since the installation of the mirror, run a flat pry bar along the edges to loosen up the mirror/paint.

By running the pry bar, it should make the mirror loose enough to pull it off. Make sure you do not apply too much pressure as you can crack the mirror.

If a bracket holds the mirror in place, make sure you remove the brackets and the glue.


The next thing in your DIY bathroom remodel after the mirror is replaced is to remove the lights and vanity. This is done by doing the  following:

  • Turn off water supply
  • Disconnect valves from the supply line
  • Remove the drain stopper connection
  • Disconnect drain pipes

Remove the baseboards so the hold cabinets are easily accessible. The P-trap should be removed so the cabinets can be disassembled.

Make sure you remove the shut-off valves when you are doing this. This will allow the pops to slip through the holes.

Afterward, remove the screws and the cabinet. The base of the cabinet can easily be taken away from the wall.


If lights are needing to be replaced, remove the light fixture. This is done by turning off the power at the breaker box. This is because you do not want to accidentally electrocute yourself.

The decorative covers for the lights need to come down first. This is done by removing the screws and removing the cover.

Cap off any wires with a crimp and remove the fixture bracket. Replace with any new light fixture you choose.


And there you have it. A quick and easy DIY Bathroom Remodel done with some planning and a bit of hard work.