TOP TEN ITEMS TO CONSIDER BEFORE REMODELING A BATHROOM
Remolding projects have many moving parts and its easy to miss something important when you are in the middle of a project. So before you begin, consider the items on our top ten list. We will go through ten of the most important items to consider before such an undertaking. By the time you finish reading this post, we will have hopefully covered issues you hadn’t yet thought about, as well as reinforce the ones you had. The first half of our list has to deal with the project itself and setting yourself up for a successful remodel. The second half of our list addresses the bathroom fixtures and design. Enjoy!
1. REMODEL OR FACELIFT
Asking yourself what your needs, wants, and goals are with your bathroom project is something you should address before anything else. Let’s briefly discuss the difference between a facelift and a gut job. A facelift on your existing bathroom would generally be modernizing a combo of the following: painting the room, updating the fixtures, replacing the floors and perhaps the tub surround. This gives your bathroom a new life but doesn’t address the layout or major bathroom changes. A facelift commonly will leave major elements in their place, walls, tub, etc.
This may be the solution your looking for and can completely change the feel of your bathroom without ripping out walls and changing anything major.
However, if you require a major change with the layout of the bathroom or desire to move the plumbing and electrical around, then you may want to consider a complete remodel. Gutting your current bathroom is common with a complete remodel and comes with its own set of challenges that a facelift may not. Throughout the next 9 steps, you may start with one of these in mind but realize that a change in thought is in order. Read on to help you decided which is the best solution for you.
2. PROFESSIONAL VS DIY
Many of us like to play weekend warrior but, a complete renovation project may be more than we can handle on our honey-do-list. The decision to hire a pro or take it on yourself depends largely on your desires for the project, your abilities, and maybe the most important of all…time. Let us begin by confronting the most difficult of the three to reason with, Desire. Remolding projects can challenge even the most determined DIYers amongst us and contractors alike. The first thing to ask yourself is, do you have the desire to do this project yourself?
If your answer is YES, great! We certainly understand the desire to get your hands dirty and put some sweat equity into your home. Before you start renting dumpsters and ripping out walls thou, make sure you have covered all your bases and your motivation has the potential to carry you through the entire project. Some remolding projects bring challenges that can suck the excitement right out of you and any family members within close proximity. Have an open conversation with all parties involved about what your plans will be if your project presents more than you can handle. Your Plan B and knowing when to execute it should be apart of your project planning. We wish you the best of luck in your DIY adventure and now lets briefly discuss what bringing on a contractor looks like.
Of course, a simple NO to the desire question means you can move right to choosing a contractor. A good start for your search is to reach out to friends and family to see if they have a referral you can explore. It’s always a good idea to interview at least three contractors to get a good feel for each of their approaches and personalities. Once you have had the chance to speak a contractor that you believe you may enjoy working with, complete your due diligence by checking the contractor’s licenses, reviews, references, and insurances before signing any contract. For more detailed information about this process see our blog on What Makes A Good Home Remodeler?
3. COST OF THE REMODEL
Depending on the quality of fixtures used and whether you hire a professional or tackle it yourself, the cost of a bathroom remodel can vary drastically. The best thing to do is decide on a budgeting number you are comfortable with upfront and allot about ten percent of that cost for unknowns. The nature of a remodel is that you, or your contractor, will be working on a bathroom that someone else previously installed. Unfortunately, you may have no idea if these items were installed correctly the first time around or are up to current industry standards. A best practice to protect your budget from the unknown is to prepare to be surprised by an element of your remodel and setting aside a portion of your budget for these potential surprises.
4. PROJECT TIMELINE
The timeline of any project can be affected by many different aspects of the work itself or the circumstances surrounding the project. The important thing is to consider those events that can affect your desired timeline and how you might deal with those. For instance, are you going to occupy the home while the project is being completed and if so do you have another bathroom to use? Occupying the portion of your home where the project is taking place can cause significant delays in your morning routine and the length of the project itself.
Another example may be an upcoming major life event, planned or unplanned. This can also put a ton of pressure on your project timeline. Are you scheduling the project with a hard deadline, like right before the birth of a child? Not meeting this deadline IS possible, and considering this possibility and having a contingency in place can go a long way in your project is completed successfully.
Then there is, of course, the actual aspects of the project that can cause delays like material deliveries, project surprises that can require more time/budget to fix, weather, etc. Prepare yourself mentally for the challenges a project can bring and you will be better off if or when something needs to be addressed that wasn’t included in your original timeline.
The particular topic of how and how often your bathroom is used should be one of your primary considerations when considering a bathroom remodel. Is this bathroom going to be your primary bathroom for all family members? Is this an on-suite designed for you and your partner? How about the primary guest bathroom or a first-floor visitors powder room? Perhaps is a combo of two or more from the above examples? All of these different use-types may, and perhaps should incorporate different elements into this room we call the bathroom. Go through the use scenarios your room is most likely to accommodate and decide which physical elements your remodeled bathroom requires. Once you have chewed on this for a bit, picked the elements your bathroom will have, then proceed to layout & design.
Now that you have a good idea of how your bathroom will be used and what elements will go into it, you can switch gears to designing a layout. Some spaces lend themselves to multiple functional possibilities while others only have one layout that really makes functional sense. Which one you are presented with is for you to discover but they are generally fairly obvious due to the size of the room. Keep in mind that if you are dealing with a small space, occasionally it is possible to steal square footage from an adjacent room to meet your desired bathroom goals. This room should have a flow that mimics one’s unique needs for space and it isn’t always just a bathroom. This can include laundry or any number of other home-related tasks that can or need to be incorporated into the design. What you add in terms of physical elements, should not take away from the functionality of the space. You should be able to take a shower without getting your toilet wet, for instance. Standard sizes exist for vanities, toilets, and showers which should get you started with what is possible to be placed into your bathroom. However, custom sizes can be made but are generally harder on the budget. At the end of this phase of the project, your goal is to have a design that works for your needs and follows basic accepted principles for a bathroom.
The design phase can be both the most fun and most mentally taxing stage of your remolding journey. The enjoyable part of this phase is that you get to put some of your personality into the new space. The mentally taxing part is that you are gonna live with that personality for years to come. When planning out the design of your bathroom, search the net and start looking at bathrooms similar in size to your own and how others have done their layout from the rugs to the hand towels. Take screenshots of bathroom styles you appreciate and that compliment the overall feel of your home. Order as many samples as you can get your hands on and test run colors and materials. Some materials look great in a photo or video but have a much different look in your space when paired with your lighting and color scheme. Live with those samples for a few days and see if they grow on you or lose their luster. Narrow it down to a few choices and then hold on to those to present to your designer, contractor or friend for a second set of eyes and suggestions.
An important topic for most of our homes is the concept of space utilization and this demands a serious amount of thought when it comes to your bathroom. The bathroom has to house an extensive array of grooming gadgets, handheld appliances, towels and towel warmers, extra toilet tissue, toothbrushes, cotton swabs, cleaning supplies and the list goes on. Before you put too much effort into the aesthetics of your room, be sure to understand how much storage your bathroom requires. Remember that functionality trump aesthetics when designing any space and this concept is true of your bathroom as well.
Ventilation is something that homeowners may take for granted during the design of their bathroom because it is an out of sight out a mind type need. That is until you take a shower or use the lavatory, then the need becomes glaringly obvious to one’s senses. Having an exhaust fan or natural ventilation, depending on where you are in the world, is a key component to any properly functioning bathroom. Moisture and odors are introduced into this space through occupant use and over time can cause mold and other environmental issues within the bathroom. Overlooking or taking this step for granted is a mistake. Consider it as seriously, if not a little more serious, than the other items listed in our top ten list.
Lighting is a crucial step in any design but it is particularly important in a bathroom. The job lighting performs in this room is vast and these different tasks need to be addressed in the design of your space. First, let us mention that lighting source does not refer to a fixture alone but may incorporate natural lighting or a combo of the two to meet your lighting needs. Second, consider the various tasks that are performed in this room and how each one may require a different level of light. Some examples may include the overall light in the room, mirror lighting, lighting in the shower, task lighting for makeup or shaving, etc. Next, the type of light is also important to consider and whether it will be warm lighting, cool lighting or a combo. This is usually determined by the type of light bulbs your fixtures require. Lastly, they all need to work seamlessly together to deliver the right light at the right time for the right need, without you or your guest consciously noticing a drastic difference.
Bathroom remodels can be an exciting time for a homeowner and we hope this list helps you get through your project successfully. These topics are merely an introduction to begin considering each element that goes into a remodeling project such as this one. Please let us know what you think of this article and how it has helped you with your project. Lastly, research your topic thoroughly and take your time to make the best decision for your situation. If you are looking for a remodeler in Montgomery County or Bucks County Pennsylvania, you can seek help for such projects from Additions by B&H located in Chalfont. They are BBB accredited since 2014, and the company enjoys an A+ rating. Additionally, B&H has passed the screening process and is approved by HomeAdvisor for their high-quality of service over the past five-plus years. Additions by B&H has been completing home improvement projects for the last 38 years and is well established in the local community. Their online reviews speak for themselves and we encourage you to review them. Good luck with your next project! Additions By B&H