If the time has finally come, and you are ready to take on a bathroom remodel, you have a big project ahead of you with the potential to make a big impact on your home. The key to success in any home remodeling project is starting with a good plan. There are many potential problems that can arise, but the effects can be minimized if you are prepared ahead of time, so we’ve put together this set of tips to help you through this important phase of the project.
1. Identify Needs and Wants
The first thing you need to do is determine what you use the bathroom for, and what functions it must serve. Obviously any bathroom needs a functioning toilet and sink, but what about a tub? Shower? Storage? Often the master bathroom needs to allow two people to get ready for work at the same time, so two sinks are necessary, whereas it may not be necessary in a guest bathroom.
An important aspect of determining your needs is whether you will stay in your home or sell it. If you plan to live there for many years and aging in place is important to you, then be sure to include universal design in your list of needs. Features that support aging in place can be beautiful and blend seamlessly into the rest of your bathroom remodel.
In addition to the things you need from the bathroom remodel, there are probably a lot more things you would like to have but could do without. Heated toilet seats and towel warmers sound pretty luxurious, but not so many people want to pay for them when the tradeoff would be something much more practical in the budget. Laying out everything you must have, then all the things that you’d like to have but could do without makes it easier to figure out where to draw the line when it’s time to make final decisions.
The style of the new bathroom is a big part of what you want. It should go with the style of the house, but does not have to be like the original design if you want something new.
2. Determine Your Budget
Figuring out how much you can spend could be the first or second thing you do, but it has to be done early on in the process to help you avoid wasting time and ending up disappointed because you got your heart set on something you simply couldn’t afford. There are more affordable alternatives to most design elements, though, so unless the budget is extremely tight, it shouldn’t be your primary guide.
In addition to the amount of money you can commit, the overall value of your home should be considered in setting a budget. If selling your home is possibly in the cards in the next few years, it’s also a good idea to talk to a real estate agent or remodeling contractor to find out what home buyers in your area are looking for, and any features that are considered deal-breakers for many buyers.
It is important to have a contingency budget in case something comes up that needs to be dealt with. At least ten to fifteen percent of the budget should be held in reserve, if you don’t have access to additional funds. In a bathroom remodel, the most likely contingency is finding water damage behind or under something that gets exposed during demolition. Click here to find out how much a bathroom remodel really costs.
3. Decide on the Scope of the Bathroom Remodel
Before you can work on details, you need to decide to what extent you will be remodeling. If you are doing a major remodel, it’s best to gut the bathroom and start from scratch because the bathroom has so many possible hidden problems. Water damage is the most likely, and it can be in the walls, floor, window frames or ceiling. Corroded or improperly vented plumbing and materials that aren’t waterproof are also common issues. By removing all features and fixtures, it becomes much easier to find and repair any of these problems.
If a complete redo isn’t in the budget, it is still important to have a general contractor inspect the bathroom and identify any problem areas. You don’t want to install new tile or cabinets only to have to rip them out a year later to repair underlying damage.
If cost is a concern, try to stay with the same basic layout. Moving plumbing and electrical connections are big expenses, so if you can just upgrade the tub, toilet and sink, but keep them where the existing ones are, you will have much lower overall costs.
4. Hire a Remodeling Contractor
Do-it-yourself remodeling is all the rage on TV these days, and building your own deck can be a terrific project and increase your sense of pride in your home—but we don’t recommend DIY remodeling in the bathroom. A small mistake can lead to big trouble in the future when it comes to anything related to water. A major plumbing failure can ruin carpeting and baseboards very quickly, but a small leak behind a wall can not only damage the building materials, but foster mold growth, which can lead to illness before you even know it’s there.
Tubs and shower enclosures are big and can be damaged, or damage your walls, if not handled by experienced installers.
When choosing the best remodel contractor, make sure to find out if they are licensed, insured, and experienced with the kind of work you want done. Confirm that they will take care of all necessary permits so you don’t have to invest a lot of time tracking down local regulations and filing paperwork.
5. Choose Your Design Elements
Your remodeling contractor can help you make decisions about what kind of fixtures, cabinets, flooring and tiles you should get, based on your preferences and budget. This is another area where experience is very valuable. You may find a design you love in a magazine, but discover that it is based around expensive imported stone that is way beyond your budget. An experienced remodeler will be able to help you find a similar material at a much lower cost.
At TWD, we’ve found that it is often difficult for customers to decide what they want without being able to see it in person, so we have a design showroom with vignettes set up to let you see the latest materials, colors and styles. You might be surprised how much a cabinet color can change the feel of a room, and what a big effect simple hardware, such as drawer pulls and door handles, has on the appearance of a room.
Be sure to communicate your priorities, and things you’d like if possible, to your remodeling contractor from the beginning, and be clear about your budget. That way they can help you make the most appropriate selections to assure that you end up with a bathroom remodel that you are happy with and can afford.
If you have further questions about planning a bathroom remodel, or want to know what’s trending in Peoria right now, give us a call at 623-544-1211. Our certified design professionals can answer your questions and assist with your remodeling plans.