In thinking about remodeling a bathroom it's not a bad idea to have some sense of the basic cost of fixtures before you begin. A porcelain on steel tub of standard size (referred to as a 5-foot tub) runs about $115, plus spigots and faucets, which cost about $70. If you don't mind fiberglass, you can save the cost of tiling around the tub (about $450 materials and labor) and buy a tub with its own fiberglass walls for about $460.
The disadvantage of a fiberglass tub is that it scratches easily. The advantage is that it doesn't weigh as much and when you're trying to squeeze in a tub on a second floor, just the logistics of getting a heavy procelain tub up the stairs can be a problem. Filled with water, that same tub may simply carry too much weight for the support provided.
A bathroom sink can cost as little as $35, but the faucets -- a standard Delta set, for example -- cost about the same as the sink. Vanities come in all sizes and materials and can cost as little as $70, complete with built-in sink.
Shower stalls come in metal for about $150 complete, fiberglass for about $200 and plastic for about $175.
Toilets cost as little as $75, but can run into the hundreds for "one-piece" models. If you like your fixtures but find them worn, try having theem reglazed.
Porcelite Enterprises, a local firm specializing in reglazing, charges about $190 to reglaze a standard white tub and $95 for a sink, inside and outside. For an antique tub, inside only, the cost is $195. An antique pedestal sink runs $95 inside only, and $145 for the whole sink. For the addition of color on most fixtures, figure about $20 more.
If you want to add color to new fixtures in a bathroom, the cost of reglazing runs an additional 12 to 25 percent, depending on the vendor and make. Labor to install all these fixtures generally costs about $28 an hour; however, most plumbing contractors preefer to provide a fixed price for the job after evaluating the potential installation problems. You may be able to make arrangements to purchase these fixtures at plumber's prices as opposed to list.
There are several junkyards and shops carrying "architectural artifacts" including toilets, sinks, radiators and tubs. Newspaper classified advertisements also have a section devoted to building materials which can be a good source of slightly used plumbing fixtures. Sometimes the right plumbing fixture can be a matter of finders keepers. For example, one of the city's moree elegant period bathrooms put together by a local preservationist uses a sink found dumped in a Mount Pleasant alley.