The High Price of Cheap Materials in Bathroom Renovation Projects

Bathroom renovation projects require a significant investment for materials and labor to do the job right.  Unfortunately, many bathroom reno experts try to line their pockets with more profits by short-changing their customers with shoddy materials.  However, the use of cheap materials may well lower the overall cost of a renovation project but the customer ultimately pays the price down the road.  Here is a short list of just a few of the “dirty tricks” used by contractors to increase their profits but will ultimately cost homeowners big down the road.

Here’s How Contractors Ruin Bathroom Renovation Projects with Cheap Materials


  1. Cheap Adhesives/Glues to Install Tiles: To properly apply the bathroom tiles, a glue must be selected that is suited both to the substrate (floor or surface the tiles are being applied) and the tiles themselves.  But if cheap adhesives are used to save a buck or two, your bathroom renovation won’t look good for long and you’ll end up with lifting/drummy tiles in as little as one year or less.
  2. Low Quality Tiles:

Sadly, there are loads of inferior quality tiles flooding into this country that are indeed cheap initially but you’ll pay a steep price down the road.  Just a few of the hidden costs of using cheap tiles for bathroom renovation projects include:

  • Hazing Caused by Manufacturing Defect
  • Rings in the Tiles Due to Manufacturing Defect
  • Excessive Staining Due to Inferior Materials
  • Removal of Wax Coatings Used to “Protect” Tiles in Shipping
  • Slight Size Variations that Require Additional Time to Install

So basically, any money saved by buying cheap tiles for bathroom renovation projects will be devoured by additional installation time or even more expensive repairs in the future.

  1. Shoddy Waterproofing

Most bathroom renovation projects include the installation of a new shower.  To ensure the shower doesn’t leak, contractors or tilers are supposed to waterproof prior to installing the shower tiles.  Sadly and to save time and cut corners, most tilers will just slop a bit of cheap liquid membrane on the shower before installing the tiles.  At first, the homeowner will believe they have a properly waterproofed shower—that is until it begins leaking within a year or two.

  1. No Grout Additive

Technically speaking, a grout additive is not required to complete a bathroom renovation project.  However, without this special additive, your grout will dry out and even attract dirt and filth much faster leaving your newly renovated bathroom looking shoddy years before it’s time.  But with the grout additive, you can reduce cleaning time by up to 90% and keep your new bathroom looking beautiful for years after the renovation is complete.

What You Save Today Could Cost You Dearly in the Future

Look, we totally understand that you want to get the best deal on your bathroom renovation project.  But when you receive quotes for your renovation that are 20% or lower than most competitors, a warning bell should go off in your mind.  Because more often than not, that “great deal” is only possible because the tiler or contractor is using shoddy materials and taking shortcuts.  Even worse, you won’t even realise your new bathroom renovation was completed with shoddy materials until it’s too late and it costs $1,000’s to repair the damage.

How to Avoid Getting Scammed and Ensure Bathroom Renovation Projects Are Completed with the Best Materials


Unfortunately, you probably aren’t a contractor or tiler so how exactly can the average homeowner protect themselves against unscrupulous contractors that use inferior materials to complete  bathroom renovation projects?  Well, here are a few tips that should help you avoid getting scammed and make sure your renovation is completed using the highest quality materials:

  1. Get Multiple Quotes and Be Skeptical of Any That Are 20% Lower than the Average Quote

Since bathroom renovation projects can be quite expensive, don’t feel bad about asking for quotes from 3-4 contractors before making a decision.  Legitimate tilers and bath renovation experts should have quotes that are within 10% of one another because they are using similar materials and not taking shortcuts.  But for quotes that are 20% or lower than the average, the odds are quite high that they plan to use inferior materials to complete your job for the price quoted.

  1. Demand a Complete List of Materials to Be Used On All Bathroom Renovation Projects

If a contractor is unwilling or unable to provide you with a complete list of materials they plan to use on your project, walk away.  If they do provide a list of materials, just use a simple Google search of those materials and look on forums to see if there are any complaints or issues listed regarding their use.  You can also compare prices for similar materials to see where the materials on your list fall on the price spectrum.  It’s a safe bet that if the materials are at the low end of the pricing spectrum, then they are probably low quality and will lead to problems down the road.

  1. Check with Contractor About Guarantees

Your new bathroom should look like new for years after being completed with minimal cleaning and maintenance.  More importantly, you shouldn’t have to worry about a leaking shower, lifting/drummy tiles, and blistering or peeling.  Therefore, check with the contractor to see if they guarantee their work and will actually put it in writing—if not, select another contractor who will stand behind their work.

Concluding Thoughts

The use of cheap, inferior materials is one of the quickest and easiest ways for contractors to “low ball” bathroom renovation projects and provide quotes that are 20% or lower than the “real price” of doing the job right.  Unfortunately, the average homeowner will never even know that their renovation project was completed with inferior materials—until the consequences start showing in the form of leaking showers, lifting tiles, and cracked grout.  By then, the few dollars you saved will be a mere fraction of what it costs to fix the job properly.  But if you follow the simple tips above, you can make sure that your contractor is using the right materials for any future bathroom renovation projects so that they look great for years to come with minimal cleaning or maintenance.