Here is a budget friendly bathroom remodel. First, we started with a dingy, mildewy, stained fiberglass bathtub.
The caulk was stained from mildew, and the sheetrock in front of the tub was rotten from years of water damage. So we tore it out to the studs (framing). Then, we furred out the walls with strips of wood we ripped on the table saw in order to plumb and straighten the wall. We did this because we used hardibacker instead of the traditional mortar float. With a mortar float, the mortar evens out any waves in the wall and levels it out. After we shimmed the wall, we set the tub and hooked up the waste and overflow. Then we installed the new valve assembly. Once that was done, then we installed the vapor barrier, which in this case we used a standard tar paper over lapped. Once the moisture barrier was put up, we installed the hardibacker per manufacturers specs and taped the seams with the proper mesh tape and mortared the seams.
After all that, we installed the tile and grouted per standard building practices. We finally sealed the grout, painted the bathroom and re installed the trim. What was left was a beautiful, budget friendly bathroom, which cost the owners only $3000 labor and material for a tile bath tub and floor.