Frugal Win #1 DIY Bathroom Re-Fit

This first frugal win is a really obvious one that I’m surprised more people don’t do. And one that has easily saved us thousands of pounds! DIY. I have a few examples of this, but the biggest one, in terms of savings was when I refitted our bathroom, floor to ceiling, plumbing and all, completely by myself simply by taking advantage of the plethora of free information, tutorials and ‘how to’ videos available on YouTube.

We were somewhat forced to refit the bathroom in our house only a year or so into moving in. After returning from a family holiday to discover the shower had leaked in the wall, through the floor and the downstairs ceiling causing quite a lot of damage! Here’s a picture I took of the damage after removing the tiles to expose the leaking plumbing above the bath.

The shower unit used to be next to the window behind a screen. You can see the moisture that has been seeping into the walls for months!

This all happened long before I’d discovered Choose FI and started my journey towards early retirement. But I had always been capable with tools and mindful of unnecessary expenditure. Plus, we’d just got back from a holiday and had £0 in the way of savings.

We had two choices: borrow money to pay someone to re-fit our bathroom, or borrow less money and try to do it myself. The first option was going to cost us somewhere in the region of £3-5K. After a little investigation a la internet and YouTube, I was able to find all the materials I needed (tiles, shower units, bath tub, taps etc) for under £1K and all the how-to videos for every skill I needed to complete the bathroom myself: tiling, plumbing, radiator installation, etc. The clear benefit with option 2 being, I don’t need to pay myself labour. The only sacrifice was having to use two weeks of holiday from work in order to complete the task.

Frugal Hack Stack!

I’ve mentioned in a previous post about how I love combining, or ‘stacking’ various methods of saving money together to get the maximum saving/benefit! For this frugal win I was able to take advantage of my company benefits, which got me discount at Wickes & B&Q (plumbing & tiling materials). I also had B&Q discount vouchers for £10 or £20 off when I spent £50 or £100 (which you could re-use due to a convenient flaw in their system!). AND I paid with our rewards credit card and then paid this off with the loan we had to get to pay for the bathroom (because we weren’t financially savvy and had no savings at the time). That’s a triple frugal hack stack!

Here’s some images of the before, during and after:

The damp, damaged plaster next to the shower
The idiots that originally installed the bathroom essentially bodged the whole thing together! They used expanding foam around all the shower unit plumbing which soaked up the water from the leak like a sponge, as you can see in the video. This was seeping into the walls for what must have been a loooong time!
Removing the tiles to expose the cause!
Starting to remove the blown plaster from the wall
Removing the bath and more of the blown plaster. It had reach around the corner and up to the wondow!
Removing the tiles from the floor and cleaning up!
New plaster, fresh paint and preparing the walls for tiling!
Newly tiled floor. Now for grouting!
Not bad for my first time, eh?!
Tub in-place, tiles going up on the wall and a brand new vanity unit on the back wall!
Finishing up the tiles in the shower
Installing the toilet
The end result!

Again, I had zero experience with tiling or plumbing prior to starting this job. But with the help of YouTube I was able to achieve this! If I can rip-out and re-fit an entire bathroom from top to bottom, I know you have what it takes to complete that job that needs doing in your house that’s been on your mind, that you’ve considered getting a quote for and letting someone else do. Don’t get me wrong, if it’s dangerous or something that requires certification, like a boiler installation, get a professional in! But if its decorating a bedroom, installing a new toilet, some tiling in the kitchen, these are all things you can do with a little thought and time. And it’ll save you £hundreds! If not, thousands! Like my handy work here. This would have cost be around £3-5K. Instead, it cost me a touch under £1000 in parts and materials!

So, go on! i challenge you to take on that job in your house and see how much you can save yourself. Tweet or message me your pictures and let me see your handy-work!

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Published by Finance&Lifestyle

A Dad from the UK documenting his journey to financial freedom. Sharing my lifestyle and finance hacks so more people can find financial independence, retire early and take back control of their future.

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