Bathroom Remodel Do's & Don'ts - Tips from Industry Experts

Bathroom Remodel Do's & Don'ts - Tips from Industry Experts

Bathroom Remodeling
By Ani Mouradian April 29, 2021

The throne room has always been the most important room in the house. You might argue that the living room or bedroom is more significant — they definitely require more furniture and more extensive designing than a bathroom remodel. But just imagine not having a bathroom in the house for one second. 

Now, having established that our bathrooms deserve our attention, it’s important to note that it’s not only for their functionality. A bathroom — more specifically, a remodeled and new bathroom — is also one of the key drivers of a home’s value. According to HGTV, a bathroom remodel is one of the most rewarding investments you can make, bringing in between 60% - 100% of the renovation cost at resale a lot of the time.

Besides being a sound investment the restroom has most importantly evolved to be more of just that — a place to rest, unwind, take a deep breath away from the chaos, and escape in your own personal spa at home — if you make the right moves. With help from Owen Dashner, owner of Red Ladder Property Solutions, we’ve put together a list of what those moves are to guide you in your bathroom makeover adventure.

DON’T

Let’s start with some common mistakes — things to avoid for a successful remodel. As a home investor with 15 years of experience in buying, upgrading, and selling homes, Owen advises not to:

Proceed Without a Design Plan 

You can always expect a dash of the unexpected, a hiccup, a hidden pipe you didn’t know was there, even when you do have a plan. If you decide to make decisions as you go, moving from one part of the room to another without a plan, it’s going to be more likely you’ll run into a problem and be more costly. The plan is for the logistics just as much as the design. “Even if everything is not high-end, you at least want to make sure the materials match or complement each other. You don't want a mismatched bathroom that looks like it was thrown together in a thrift shop.” This is especially true because a bathroom has two priorities: for everything to work right and bring you joy.

Skimp On the Shower and Vanity

The shower and vanity play lead roles in setting the style and character of your bathroom. Therefore, they also affect the overall impression your home leaves as well. ‘Everyone knows you get your best bang for buck return on investment from kitchens and bathrooms. Showers and vanities are the focal points of bathrooms. There are also some really stylish vanities being sold that are budget-friendly, yet add some sizzle.’ Going for a more interesting tile, whether with colors, textures, or patterns, isn’t going to up the cost too much from resorting to plain ones and will make a big difference. Don’t avoid getting creative in the bathroom.

Bathroom Fixtures Are the Guest of Honor In a Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom Fixtures Are the Guest of Honor In a Bathroom Remodel

Move Fixtures Unless You Absolutely Must

Unless you’re in the mood to splurge and not only on the pretty items. The location of your sink, shower, or tub is predetermined by pipage. “Moving plumbing fixtures (especially toilets and showers) can be very expensive. Try to work around the existing layout that you already have.” So, unless changing the location of your throne to have a garden view is a high priority, it’s not worth the added expense of re-piping. 

Things to Avoid in a Bathroom Remodel

Things to Avoid in a Bathroom Remodel

Overlook Storage

This is especially important if you’re working with a small bathroom, where, you may think, you don’t have enough room for storage. But that’s also where you want less clutter, which will make the room look smaller and put a pin in the whole “resting” concept. Personal hygiene comes with a lot of products, which requires room to store them. ‘Make sure you have adequate bathroom cabinets and closet space for towels, toiletries, beauty products to keep your entire family happy. There is nothing worse than having a small pedestal sink with 1000 items teetering on the edge because of the lack of a medicine cabinet or closet to store things in.’ Even a half bathroom or powder room reserved for guests needs discreet storage so as not to take away from the aesthetic of the room.

Things Not to Forget During Your Bathroom Remodel

Things Not to Forget During Your Bathroom Remodel

DO

Your Homework and Set a Budget

All the contractors in the room will agree that the first and perhaps most important piece of advice is to have as clear a renovation budget set from the start as possible. Often, an unrealistic budget that does not reflect labor or all the necessary materials, or a lack of budget altogether, creates a roadblock between contractor and client. This wastes precious time and time is money. Most of said clients, in turn, have a hard time figuring out their budget. 

It helps to do some research beforehand. Aaron Painter, CEO of Classic Construction, recommends homeowners to use the following approach;What do materials cost? Are there specific materials to avoid in a room that has a lot of moisture? Do you have all the required tools and skills? Often, you can find resources in construction and home handyman magazines and websites, as well as detailed how-tos on YouTube. Do your homework!’

Naturally, you’ll look to see how much money you have and are willing to spend on your bathroom renovations. But to help draft a realistic budget, make sure to also envision everything you want to change, determine their costs, and see if it matches what you’re willing to spend. If it doesn’t, split that list of spruces into “must-haves” and “would be nice to have”. The rest should be a bit brutal but self-explanatory. 

Set a Timeline

Determine how long you are willing to be in renovations. Owen describes how, ‘Too often bathroom remodels seem like they'll be simple only for the homeowner to realize he doesn't have the budget, the skillset, or even the time to complete everything after demolition has started. Half-finished projects tend to linger as homeowners get used to the mess and put off finishing. Set a realistic goal for having it complete, and call in help if you are stuck.’ 

Know When to Give in and Call  Professional

A DIY bathroom remodel is a dangerous search engine road to travel on. Owen confirms that ‘If you're handy, you might be able to handle smaller tasks, such as installing new fixtures, painting, or even some light carpentry. Bigger remodels might require moving plumbing, repairing or replacing outdated or broken piping, and even electrical work - which can be incredibly dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.’ 

There are more benefits to hiring a licensed and bonded contractor than the safety and reliable execution of your to-do list. Many contractors have contacts in the industry and might be able to find materials for a better price. Another plus for your wallet is that it will take much less time for a professional to do that job than for you to do it. If that’s not enough, ‘The other benefit to hiring a professional is they know best practices in terms of bathroom layouts and usability and can tailor your idea to a practical design that fits your specific needs.’ 

Choose the Right Materials

In the case of the throne room, the most important protocol in material selection is to make sure your floors are waterproof. Above that, Owen suggests to ‘Avoid carpet (obviously), hardwood flooring and laminate. Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) has become extremely popular because it is waterproof, easy to install, and comes in a wide variety of colors and styles.’ Tile continues to be a standard and trendy choice, but you would do well to take the time to figure out what kind of grout you want to accompany your tile. By choosing bathroom tile in medium tones, darker grout colors, larger tiles (less grout), and thinner grout lines you can avoid the pain of cleaning all those crevices where mold and mildew love to live. You can also consider porcelain tiles instead of ceramic tiles for their greater durability.

Other Considerations to Factor Into Your Bathroom Remodel Checklist

How much does a bathroom remodel cost?

Countertops, flooring, sinks, toilet, shower, a tub — how much will it all add up to and how much can you get away with spending? Don’t be discouraged but also, don’t get too excited. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the average cost of labor alone for a two-week bathroom remodel comes to $6,600. The minimum cost of the basic materials is about $4,000. So, it’s hard to do a bathroom remodel for less than $10,000. In fact, a typical bathroom remodel in the United States costs $16,000. 

How much it costs you can vary a lot or a little from that average depending on whether you’re looking to save or splurge. 

How long does a bathroom remodel take?

Generally, a bathroom remodel takes at least two weeks, unless you’re only painting, changing your washbasin, or lighting without touching plumbing or electrical.

Written by
Ani Mouradian

Written by Ani Mouradian

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