Updated November 16, 2018
I’m supposed to be in the bathroom remodeling business. However, here’s the weird thing. I might have the smoothest hands in the remodeling business – although the ladies in my offices might disagree. How exactly does that happen? The reason is I’m motivated to learn about, write about, promote and sell DIY and professionally installed shower remodeling projects. When it comes to swinging a hammer or sweating in a shower valve (see I sound like a pro contractor now), installing shower surround panels etc., I’ll leave that to our team of (thankfully for our company) professional contractors. Ask my wife Rose about my ‘high level’ of home improvement motivation. She has to beg me for a few hours of time on the weekend to do stuff around the house.
DIY shower remodeling is not for me (although my wife will tell you I can blog and do laundry at the same time. She’s thankful for that).
However, I am fortunate to work with lots of people around the country designing shower systems. These people either need to get a project done themselves (but can’t find a qualified contractor in their town if their life depended on it), or just want to save the money (OK – I won’t call you a cheapskate here – oops – sorry I just did).
The problem becomes how do you motivate your spouse to take the plunge and get ‘er done. Let’s face it they would rather be golfing, playing cards, fishing or even take ballroom dancing lessons or yoga classes with you (OK – they’re not willing to go THAT far).
In this article my goal is to take a tongue and groove (‘er I mean tongue and cheek) look ….and a serious look also, at how to motivate your spouse, family member or friend to DIY your shower (or at least portions of it).
The reality today is it’s getting harder to find a contractor. Taking a hold of a project yourself may be the only way it’s going to get done. Let’s look at 5 ways to motivate someone (your spouse, significant ‘utter, friend, family member etc.) else to pull you through your shower remodeling project.
Idea #1 – Offer to Cook Them a Nice Meal
I’m Italian so I KNOW food is the #1 motivator to get someone to help you with a project. Although you probably shouldn’t look like this lady in curlers with a mean look on your face, cooking and getting help with a project go together perfectly.
In all seriousness though, appreciation of the help we get from others is SO needed. Whether we want to admit it or not, I don’t know 1 person in the world who feels they are ‘over-appreciated.” As a matter of fact, the word underappreciated is in the dictionary, the word overappreciated is not.
The ability to work with your hands and with power tools in this ‘technology first’ world we live in today should not be overlooked (OK – this is my strong opinion here).
With this being said, a lot of appreciation and even more pasta (or a good steak) is a key component to get help with your DIY shower remodeling project.
Idea #2 – Make them scrub the grout joints of your existing tile shower or try to clean the bottom of the fiberglass shower pan
Sometimes the biggest motivation to DIY your shower is getting rid of pain of doing something we hate (and don’t want to allocate our limited time to do). If cleaning grout joints is almost as much fun for you as a root canal and you’re the only ‘lucky contestant’ who has the ‘pleasure’ of doing it (sarcasm intended), no one else will be ‘inspired’ to dump the scrub brush for a grout free shower system.
So, take advantage of motivation idea #2 and do the following.
- Dress your spouse up in one of these fun white suits, bright gloves and give them your ‘favorite’ scrub brush and crazy cleaning concoction (which might include Borox, Clorox, baking soda, vinegar etc.).
- Send him or her into your old moldy tile shower. Their mission which they have no choice but to accept – clean the grout joints (note – before doing this make sure the life insurance payments are up to date).
- If they come out alive, show them links to decorative DIY shower wall panels or simple to install tongue and groove laminated wall panels which will eliminate this hassle once and for all.
Given that 60% of families today (according to Pew Research) have 2 income earners vs. only 25% in 1960 – who has the time (much less the desire) for this grout cleaning nonsense anyway?
(Note – if you want to learn more about shower and tub wall panels read 5 Things Nobody Tells You About Shower and Tub Wall Panels).
Idea #3 – Threaten to contract the job out to Pasquale Primodonna & Sons Remodeling
Crazy unscrupulous contractors are on the rise. Since no one is telling their sons and daughters to go into construction, you may get stuck hiring an arrogant contractor you wish you didn’t have to use.
I’m seeing a lot of desperate homeowners feeling forced to hire a contractor like (OK – this is a made up name by me) Pasquale Primodonna and Sons. When Pasquale comes out on the sales call he lets you know his 2 ‘near-genius’ sons will be on the job and will ‘take care of you.” What’s your impression and confidence in Paquale’s sons pictured below?
If you want to get your spouse motivated to DIY portions of your project threaten to hire Pasquale and his SOB’s (that would be Son Of the Bosses) to do the job.
As you know hiring a professional contractor is no simple task. They are in BIG demand. Some want large deposits up front (and you wonder if they’ll be motivated to start your job once they’ve got your money). Some won’t give you a firm start or completion date. Some operate their business from a dirty yellow legal pad with edges folded up (this is their ‘organization’ system) and their truck look like a trash bin from Wendy’s.
There are professional remodeling contractors (you’ll find them through organizations like National Association of the Remodeling Industry and sites like Houzz and Home Advisors) but be ready to wait a while and pay more than you expect.
If your budget is tight, look to DIY the simpler parts of a shower remodeling job and contract the technically complex tasks. Do your own tear out. Install the shower surround panels yourself. Leave plumbing and electrical work (things which can be a disaster if they aren’t done right) to licensed (and professional) contractors.
Don’t settle for the arrogant Pasquale Primodonna and Sons Remodeling under any circumstances.
If you want more tips on what do yourself and what items to contract out read Can’t Find a Contractor? Maybe it’s Time to DIY Your Bathroom Remodel.
Idea #4 – Buy a good quality easy to assemble shower system
How many ‘easy to assemble’ toys, particle board furniture, or shelving systems had frustrated to no end? So, what makes you think you’ll find an easy to install shower system? Worse yet, if you opt for a custom tile shower you’ll not only have a dusty, labor intensive shower installation, but you’ll have a time-consuming maintenance challenge you’ll have to deal with for as many years as you own the property (that’s a reverse ‘BOGO’ special -buy one problem and get another problem for free special).
How can you motivate your spouse to do a shower remodel when he/she knows it’s going to be a pain even before they start?
The key will be to find a good-looking, long-lasting, pre-cut and easy to install shower system. One which has installation instructions and videos you can actually understand. What you’ll find is not all shower surrounds are created equal. The standard sized fiberglass units are butt-ugly but are simple to install (but you know how impossible they are to clean). Some standard sized solid surface shower systems are nice, but they aren’t available in pre-cut custom sizes for your odd shaped shower. What can you do to motivate someone to tackle this shower surround project?
First do the research for them. In today’s market you’ll find easy to install PVC decorative shower wall panels which can be customized and are super-easy to cut – you can even cut them with a carpenter’s knife. How cool is that? In addition, you’ll find precut cultured stone shower wall panels. They are thick, durable and easier to cut than you’d think. Another thick and durable system you can use are 3/8″ thick waterproof shower panels with the tongue and groove installation system shown below.
Second, make sure to have on hand the installation instructions and DIY videos. Make it simple to see how it’s done.
Idea #5– Agree to not be as crabby…after you’ve got your sleek, stylish new shower
Nothing puts you in as good a mood as cleaning grout joints. It’s right up there with taking out the garbage yourself (after you’ve told your son 6 times to do it), cleaning up the hairballs your cat left behind, doing laundry or cleaning toilets (who can forget that one).
Deciding the right shower system for you (especially with today’s hectic lifestyle) must be about more than simply the initial beauty of a new shower. Yes – tile showers look fantastic when they are just completed, but you know what comes later. Grout maintenance. With tile grout comes the crabbiness which happens when you have to clean the shower.
Why not enjoy a dramatic spa shower – with the contemporary style you’ve always wanted – and chuck the maintenance? One way to do this is to use high gloss wall panels. They are sleek and contemporary – and magically have no grout. And as you know ‘they’ (whoever ‘they’ are) should say, “Happy spouse, easy to maintain house.”
Motivating your spouse to get started with a DIY shower remodeling project can be like rolling a giant boulder up a steep hill. You may have to pull out your full bag of tricks to ‘inspire’ the motivation to get this project off the ground.
To make this happen you may need to start with a dose of pain (telling your spouse to clean it themselves). Another approach would be to inject a dash of pleasure (a favorite meal never hurts). You may need to pull out a bit of fear (threaten to hire your town’s crazy contractor or let your spouse know you own the ‘crabby card’ and you know how to use it). All strategies are fair game to get to the finished line of a successfully installed DIY shower.
Don’t be afraid to pull out all the stops – just don’t throw me under the bus as the instigator of this process. I will have to plead the 5th! Good luck,
Note – if you want more reasons (or ammunition) on why you should (or shouldn’t) remodel your bathroom read 15 Reasons You Shouldn’t Remodeling Your Bathroom and 10 Reasons You Should.
How can I (or a member of my team) help you?
If you’re struggling with a bathroom or shower remodeling project I (and my team) would love to help. For assistance and factory-direct product supply of grout free shower wall panels, shower bases and glass enclosure systems nationwide contact Innovate Building Solutions at 877-668-5888. For a bathroom remodeling project in Northeast Ohio call Cleveland Design and Remodeling at 216-658-1270 or The Bath Doctor in Columbus at 614-252-3242.
If you want to connect with me and/or learn more about remodeling, but don’t want to put up with my wacky humor (I get it). Follow me on Twitter @Mike Foti, or my companies @InnovateBuild or @InnovateHomeOrg.
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