Chances are you’ll only remodel your bathroom once. Follow these tips to make sure your project is a success and not a source of frustration and regret.
1) Address concealed problems
Minor repairs like repainting walls or re-grouting your tile may spruce things up immediately but cracked tile or plaster likely means deeper problems are present. Compromised framing, leaking plumbing, and incorrect wiring can cause damage slowly or a sudden catastrophe can occur. Taking the opportunity to correct and upgrade wiring, drains, waterlines and the heating and exhaust systems will also be well worth it.
2) Update your layout
Bathroom design concepts have been studied and redeveloped extensively over the last 50 years. Older homes often have bathrooms that weren’t designed with the user’s comfort in mind, and many no longer conform to today’s lifestyles, let alone building and plumbing codes. Take the time to have your bathroom designed to maximize it’s usefulness and comfort for everyone who may use it.
3) Include as much storage as you can
There are numerous options for bathroom storage today. Built-in cabinets in walls, vanities, medicine cabinets and linen closets are great options. Including a tiled niche with multiple shelves in a shower or near a free-standing tub can provide storage without taking up space. These features can add storage capacity and visual appeal.
4) Include functional features
Added conveniences may cost a little more at the front end, but you’ll appreciate them for years to come. Receptacles in vanities allow you to charge and store your toothbrushes and electric razors out of sight while reducing the risk of electrocution. Hand shower fixtures make bathing kids and shaving easier, and they’re useful when cleaning the shower. Electric towel warmers not only provide comfort, but they dry your towels after use so they stay fresher longer. In-floor heat can help reduce foot and joint pain. These aren’t “luxury” items, they serve very practical purposes.
5) Use good-quality materials, especially where it counts
Most people aren’t dreaming of high-quality waterproofing, solid-brass plumbing fittings and vanity cabinets with mortise-and-tenon joinery. They’re thinking about the gorgeous shower, the elegant free-standing bathtub, the new light fixtures, the warm floors. Don’t skimp on the stuff you can’t see or feel. That will ensure your bathroom will last as long as possible without needing excessive repairs.
6) Don’t DIY
There are some home projects that some people can do without professional training and experience. Bathroom remodeling isn’t one of them. In the vast majority of cases, a diy project LOOKS like a diy project. It performs like a diy project. And while it may cost less initially, you pay for it in time spent learning and re-doing things, buying tools and equipment, repairing poor work later, and often you get too far in and realize you have to hire a pro anyway.
7) Take time to make decisions
Being excited and eager to get started with the project is very normal, but it can cause problems. Complex rooms like bathrooms require a lot of planning to ensure there are enough materials when needed, workers can complete their work efficiently, things are installed correctly, and you don’t have regrets about missing an important option or detail. Make as many of the decisions as you can before starting the project. Preferably all of them. Hiring a designer or working with a design-build firm can make the process much easier and faster.
8) Hire a qualified professional
How do you know if the person you’ve contacted is qualified? They’ll have their business in order, to start with. They’ll be licensed, bonded, and insured for the work they perform. In today’s digital world, they’ll have a professional-looking website. They won’t try to avoid obtaining permits, and they won’t ask you to permit the project yourself. They’ll provide a written, detailed estimate and contract that is specific. They’ll pursue education and training that affect the work they’re offering to perform (and while there are some hidden gems, Youtube university doesn’t count!). With very few exceptions, a qualified professional won’t ask you to purchase your own materials (this causes a lot of liability problems). And of course, they’ll be able to provide references for you to contact.
9) Consider your home’s plumbing and electrical systems
A shower with multiple shower heads and body sprayers can be really enjoyable, but you’ll need plenty of water and especially hot water. It may be that you’ll have to install 3/4” waterlines to the bathroom since in many homes, bathrooms only have 1/2” water lines in them. Showers with multiple heads and large bathtubs can also use a lot of hot water so having a large main water heater or a supplemental hot water supply may be necessary. Adding features like whirlpool baths, in-floor heat and heated towel bars can require several dedicated circuits, so make sure your electrical service is adequate.
10) Don’t just consider it an investment
We all want to make smart choices when improving our homes. Some people put off improvements because they think they may move, or they design their project primarily for whoever may move in next. While these are important things to think about, never complete a project solely as an investment unless you have fixed plans for selling or moving that will not change. A thoughtfully designed, professionally built bathroom will enhance your life for as long as you live there, and will appeal to many people if you do sell.
Here at Simply Beautiful Remodeling, we’ve remodeled 100s of bathrooms. We’ve seen what happens when people don’t head the advice above. That’s why we guide our customers through the process and help them make choices that benefit them longterm. Our goal is to provide a well-designed and executed project without ongoing maintenance and repair issues.