bath remodel with bathtub

Upgrading a Bathroom with White Carrara in Washington

A Case Study

The client, Sylvia, inquired over the website about updating her bathtub with stone, and replacing the floor. She had a limited budget but wanted a new look for her old-fashioned bathroom. She wanted our opinion on what type of stone would go well with her layout.

Initial consultation

In response to the inquiry, we scheduled an ocular visit two days after. The bathroom was ensuite with the master bedroom, and included a full size bathtub with the standard edging. The fixtures were also old-style. The existing floor was composed of 6″ x 6″ ceramic tiles matching the walls, but some were cracked, showed signs of seepage, and badly needed regrouting. The vanity had been recently updated, and it was a very hip circular design. However, the modern style did not go well with the utilitarian look of the bathtub, toilet, floor, and walls. There was also an exposed radiator grill painted white directly across from the bathtub. The space was rather narrow, but not excessively so. There is some storage space in the vanity.

The consultation was about the type of stone for the tub top surround and floor. We suggested marble to offset the utilitarian look of the bathroom, and to complement the dark wood vanity with its white top. Marble has subtle veining that blends in very well with the stark contrasts in the existing bathroom, and we could go either light or dark, depending on what the client prefers. We took the initial measurements for the top surround and floor for an estimate.
We asked her to come down to the showroom to get some ideas and pick the slab and tiles for her upgrade. She agreed to come down the next day.

Showroom visit

The client came to visit our showroom as soon as we opened, and our showroom staff had been prepped on her needs. They walked her through the different stones available, including engineered and granite varieties. She immediately appreciated what we meant about the subtle veining of the marble when she saw it side by side with other stones.
She was drawn to the white carrara, which is one of our most popular marbles. Our staffer made suggestions on the floor pattern, showing her samples of floor tiles with thin, dark-colored borders. The client liked it, and chose charcoal gray tiles as the accent tile to go with the dark wood of the vanity.

She also looked over the fixtures we had available that would work well with the white carrara. Our staffer made useful suggestions, but Sylvia finally decided to keep her existing ones and simply have them re-polished. She did choose to add two safety bars, one to hold bath towels, and other as a grab bar.

She declined to include side panels for the tub, and asked for shaker-type paneling to encase the tub instead. Se also requested a regrouting of her existing ceramic walls. Based on her choices, we provided her with an initial estimate based on our initial measurements.

Closing the deal

Sylvia signified her agreement with the initial estimate there and then, and gave a deposit to reserve the stones she had chosen. She asked us to send over the fabricator as soon as possible to finalize the measurements and create the template.

Template making

We sent the fabricator and estimator the next day to Sylvia’s home. The fabricator made templates of the top surround and the estimator made a final measurement of the floor, marking the spots where the radiator would need some special attention. The estimator provided the client with a final cost and time estimate, which he put at 10 days. and she signed the agreement. She scheduled the work to begin on Monday of the following week.

Prep work

We requested Sylvia to remove any breakables from the master bedroom and covering the bed and furniture with dust sheets over the weekend. We sent over the demolition crew to take out the old flooring and prepare the surface for the new marble tiles. It took two days, including preparing the work area in the backyard and hanging plastic sheets to keep the dust and debris from penetrating into the master bedroom. The demolition crew took out the debris to make way for the tiling crew.
Preparing the surface and installing the floor tiles took two days, including drying and grouting time. The tiling crew also installed the new safety bars, re-grouted the wall tiles, and polished the existing fixtures.

An additional day was set aside to let the sealing set before the construction crew came in to make the wooden supports and install the side panels on the tub. The fabricator came on the day 7 to install the top surrounds as the construction crew was cleaning up.


The fabricator dry-fitted the cut slab with the help of the construction crew. It was a delicate process, as most problems occur when transporting a slab with such a large cutout. The slab was delivered with no mishap, and Sylvia was very happy with the way it looked. The fabricator glued the cut slab in, polished, and did a double seal. The fabricator advised Sylvia not to use it for 24 hours to let the seal set.

The crew dismantled the work area and cleaned up the bathroom before pulling out, taking the debris with them. The whole job was finished ahead of time at 8 days. Sylvia gave the check for the remaining balance to our fabricator with a promise to provide feedback in a few days.

Wrap up

The project was a complex one, because the crew had to work around the radiator, and the top surround was so delicate. However, we were able to deliver the stone and services to the client’s satisfaction, completed it in budget and ahead of time. Sylvia gave a glowing testimony and we all came out winners on this project.

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