Here are 28 pro tips to help you get the most satisfaction out of your bathroom remodel.
When to Go Big
- Since the bathroom isn’t the showpiece of your home, it can be tempting to have bathroom remodeling contractors stick to the most basic models and low prices when planning a renovation. One splurge in the bathroom can make a huge difference, though, and turn your bathroom into a room you really enjoy. Consider how much difference a beautiful countertop or luxurious shower could make, even when the rest of the fixtures are pretty moderate.
- Toilets are pretty simple devices, and they aren’t expensive. That doesn’t mean you should go with the cheapest model, however. After all, what’s worse than a malfunctioning toilet? It’s well worth the small additional investment to get a model that rates highly for water efficiency and effective function.
- If you have the room, a vanity provides a lot of out-of-sight storage. Consider what you want to store in the bathroom and choose drawers or cabinets accordingly.
- A heated bathroom floor is not a necessity for most of us in Peoria, but if it’s the dread of chilly tiles that keep you from getting out of bed in the morning, your bathroom remodel contractors can install a heating mat that is only under the bathroom, so you don’t have to re-do the entire house. Pro Tip: It takes a while for a floor to heat up, so have them install a programmable timer so you can set it to be all warmed up when your alarm goes off in the morning.
- You have three main types of countertops available. Laminate are the least expensive, and have the shortest lives. They are available in a wide variety of styles and any color you want.
- Resin-based are a mid-range solution that is especially good if you have odd shapes to contend with. They are often constructed in one solid piece that includes the sink. While not quite as beautiful as natural stone, they can be a great compromise for the price difference.
- Natural stone countertops are the most beautiful and can last for decades. They have a high-end look and feel that anyone can appreciate, but that comes with a price both in the initial cost and in the maintenance required to keep them looking good. They have to be sealed, unless you can spring for quartz, and porous stone types are vulnerable to staining if spills aren’t cleaned up right away.
Master Your Measurements
- Before you begin choosing the elements that will be included in your new bathroom, measure the existing layout carefully, so you know what you have to work with. If you are working with a bathroom remodel contractor, they will take care of this for you, which saves you a lot of time. By having an expert involved from the start, you won’t waste time planning around fixtures that won’t fit, and an experienced contractor can provide options that you may not have thought of.
- If you choose to install one of the basins that sit above the counter, take the depth of the basin into consideration when planning your counter height. Sitting a deep bowl atop a standard-height counter might make it too high for your comfort.
- Some things are flexible, like the heights of towel bars and medicine cabinets. If you have special needs or are either very tall or short, discuss options with your bathroom remodel contractor so you have a bathroom that fits you.
- Planning your design so that the toilet isn’t in direct line of sight from the door makes for a much more appealing overall effect.
3 Ways to Minimize Moisture Problems
- Make sure the bathroom has an exhaust fan that vents to the outdoors (older homes often ran the vent into the attic!)
- Add a window for additional ventilation
- Use high quality caulk that includes a mildewcide. Better brands will be good for five years or more.
Changing Out the Tub May Be Most Practical
- Consider whether you actually use the tub. Most families with small children do, but adults tend to shower instead. You may be able to replace the tub with a spa-like shower to have more of what you want without increasing the cost. By installing the shower where the tub is currently, you avoid the additional costs of re-routing plumbing that you would have if you added a shower and replaced the tub.
- If you DO use the tub, but have a small bathroom, there are some very elegant, small tubs available now, so your bathroom remodeling contractor can include one in your renovation design.
What Not to Change
The point of remodeling should be to update the appearance and function of your bathroom, but some changes yield a high return while others may cost a lot, and don’t have as much impact. These tips are meant to help you get the most for your money.
- Keep the same basic layout. Moving the toilet, tub or sink will require major plumbing work, and possibly electrical work as well. These not only require hiring licensed professionals in their respective fields, but also tearing into and reconstructing walls. If you remove a bathtub and put a new one in its place, the cost will be much lower than if you install the new one in a different part of the room.
- As a note on the wiring—if you have an older home with 15-amp wiring, it is important to upgrade to 20-amp wiring on a dedicated circuit for the bathroom to keep up with all the electric appliances we use in the bathroom these days.
- Vintage tiles are worth keeping. As long as the tile is in good condition, it is probably best to keep it in place. The installation probably included wire lath and several layers of concrete, which is difficult (and expensive) to remove.
- Design for non-slip flooring by choosing textured surfaces. These can be subtle matte finishes, or porcelain with sand in the glaze to give it some grip.
- For a stone floor that is easy to care for, select glazed tiles or porcelain. Avoid porous stones like limestone, because you will have to seal and reseal them to stop them from absorbing moisture and discoloring. (Note: this holds true of countertops too. Porous stone like limestone and marble have to be sealed regularly, and spills must be cleaned up quickly.)
- When you purchase tile, measure a piece of actual tile, rather than going by the box measurement to be sure the stated size doesn’t include grout space or too much rounding from metric measurements.
Layer the Lighting
- Getting ready for the day requires good light, but that doesn’t mean your bathroom has to put you under the spotlight every time you wander in during the night. The trick is to include separate ambient and task lighting. On top of that, your design can include decorative lighting to add to whatever style you choose.
Working With Small Spaces
- Corner sinks are clever ways to make the most of a small space. You can still have cabinet storage under the sink, while leaving the most possible space for maneuvering around.
- If you don’t need the under sink storage, a pedestal sink takes up less space and creates a slim line which works well in a small bathroom.
- If you are installing a half bath, make sure you have at least 12 square feet, and preferably more. Your bathroom remodel contractor can tell you what the local codes are, but the minimum allowable space isn’t always comfortable.
More Useful Tips
- A built-in niche in the shower provides a place to put your soaps and shampoo without having a rack hanging off the shower.
- Planning ahead for aging in place saves money in the long run because the necessary bracing for aging in place can be installed so that when handrails are needed they just have to be attached. (You can’t just stick a weight-bearing rail on a wall and expect it to hold up; it has to be attached properly to studs.)
TWD has been a bathroom remodeling contractor in Peoria for 20 years. If you would like to find out about the latest innovations in bathroom remodeling, and what the best investments are, give us a call at 623-544-1211. We have certified design professionals available to discuss your remodeling plans and share more pro tips to assure you end up with bathroom remodeling that meets all your needs and looks amazing.