Step by Step Guide to a Bathroom Remodel - Everything You Need to Know Before You Begin

Step by Step Guide to a Bathroom Remodel - Everything You Need to Know Before You Begin

Bathroom Remodeling
Additions and Remodels
By Mateos Glen Hayes April 28, 2021

From the master bathroom to the powder room, the bathroom is one of the most important parts of any house. It would be hard to imagine a modern home without more than one bathroom. But while it may be something we take for granted, the idea of a bespoke water closet tailored to our personality was not too long ago a luxury afforded for only the wealthiest homeowners. 

This, however, is no longer the case. In recent years, bathroom remodel projects have skyrocketed in popularity. Bathroom remodeling has become a go-to method for many to spruce up their home and increase its value. Nowadays, many plucky homeowners hope to infuse their staid utilitarian bathrooms with some modern sophistication. If you’re reading this you are probably one of those homeowners, and you might be wondering: “what is the average cost for bathroom remodel? How do I choose the best bathroom floor and decor? How long does a bathroom renovation take?” 

Bathroom Remodel Before and After

Bathroom Remodel Before and After

To answer these and other questions, we’ve put together a guide on how to remodel a bathroom. 

How Much Does a Bathroom Remodel Cost? 

Modern Bathroom Remodels

Modern Bathroom Remodels

The average cost for a bathroom remodel is an important planning consideration. Bathroom remodel costs are, on average, between $10,000 and $15,000 for a master bathroom. Small bathrooms and half bathrooms are cheaper to remodel, ranging from $1,500 to $15,000. However, as with any project that involves dealing with plumbing and installing new fixtures, the projected costs of your project can change wildly based on a bunch of factors. 

If you use only the most expensive materials, your full bathroom remodel costs could easily soar upwards of $30,000. There are a lot of ways to keep costs at a more manageable level. One key method which we covered in our Bathroom Remodelling Dos and Don’ts piece is planning. By having a general plan that projects your expenses, you will be able to keep costs under control. 

Bathroom Remodel Costs

Bathroom Remodel Costs

It is also important that you find the best remodeling contractor for your project. A bad remodeling job will add extra expense down the road. It is therefore important to check that you end up hiring a licensed contractor. It is also important to make sure that the two of you see eye to eye when it comes to your bathroom remodeling vision so that there are few or no misunderstandings.

What You Need Before You Get Started

Before your remodeling pro gets to work tearing out your aging bathroom fixtures, it’s a good idea to buy the new stuff first. Some of the parts of your new bathroom may have to be custom made, and this could add unexpected delays to your project. It’s also important to note that most contractors won’t start work until all the needed materials are in place. For these reasons, ordering materials ahead of time will help keep your project on track. 

As a general rule, you’ll want to order most of your materials at least a month before starting your renovation. 

Consulting With An Interior Designer Can Save You Down the Line

Consulting With An Interior Designer Can Save You Down the Line

When it comes to ordering early, a bathroom vanity should be at the top of the list. Vanities take a long time to procure because specific popular models often go out of stock, causing shipping delays. For instance, if you chose to have a sleek wall-mounted vanity custom-made, this will also require a waiting period. Alternatively, a contractor or interior designer can help you select the best bathroom vanity for your room. If you plan to order a bathtub or some shower glass doors, these should also be ordered ahead of time, as they can also take a while to be in stock and get delivered.

It is a good idea to take your time when looking for new faucets, so you can make sure that you choose parts of matching color and style. For this reason, it is a good idea to order these early as well, so that your project doesn’t stall because of a mismatching or missing faucet. Likewise picking and ordering your trim, tiles, and backsplash ahead of time will save you any unwanted headaches. Avoid having everything the same color so your remodeled water closet isn’t stuck with a “washed” look that you’ll quickly grow tired of. 

Things to Avoid In a Bathroom Remodel

Things to Avoid In a Bathroom Remodel

Finally, replacement lighting, bathroom floor and decor, and toilets usually aren’t in as short supply and so don’t have to be ordered as far in advance. Just be sure to check on all the latest technological advancements. LED lighting has become much cheaper in the past fifteen years, there are many playful patterns in bathroom tiles, and there are even smart toilets on the market. In other words, taking time to do some research is a great idea. 

Step by Step Guide 

The Stages of a Bathroom Remodel

The Stages of a Bathroom Remodel

  1. Design and Planning (1-4 weeks). The timeframe of the planning stage depends a lot on how big your bathroom is and how difficult of a project you want to be done. You will need to discuss your vision for your new master bathroom with the contractor, and work with him to translate that vision into a viable design. Assuming that you are planning a full master bathroom remodel, your contractor should be able to help you choose your materials and produce a design in a matter of weeks. This stage also depends on how long it takes for you to research, choose, and obtain the supplies you need. It is normal for this stage to take more time than construction since it’s better to measure twice and cut once. Of course, remodeling and therefore planning small or half bathrooms may take less time than larger master bathrooms.

  2. Ordering Materials (1-2 months). Once you’ve worked with your contractor to nail down which fixtures and supplies you want to go in your new bathroom, it’s time to order them. Be sure to order your supplies as soon as possible, and plan for it to take at least a month for everything to arrive. 

  3. Out With The Old (around 1 week). If you want to speed up your bathroom remodeling project you can start demolition while you’re waiting for your supplies to arrive. Only do this if you have access to another bathroom in the meantime. For a small bathroom, demolition may only take two days for your contractor (or yourself) to complete. 

  4. Plumbing Rough-Ins (2-5 days). Now the process of installation and fitting your new bathroom begins. This can be a long process as many preliminary jobs must be completed before fixtures can be installed. First, a plumber will need to install new piping and drains (which is referred to as “roughing-in”).

  5. Electrics (1 day). To accommodate new appliances, electric receptacles, and lighting fixtures, an electrician needs to do some wiring work.

  6. Insulation (around 4 days). With the electrics and plumbing done, your remodeling contractor can get started on putting in insulation to protect your piping and wiring from the elements. Once this is done, drywall can be installed and mudding (where a drywall compound is applied to the drywall) completed.

  7. Installation (6-10 days). Now your chosen materials can be put in. Wall-mounted tiles and shower tiles are installed first in about two to three days. Next, your bathroom vanity and wall-mounted cabinets are fitted in. Afterward, your bathroom floor and decor should be put in. Bathroom fixtures such as your sink, faucets, and toilet are added last.

  8. Finishing (3 days). At this point, construction should be around 95% complete. However, a “teething period” is needed to detect potential glitches and resolve them. You’ll have to go through the project with the contractor and look into any potential issues or concerns. Also, some final small tasks will have to be completed such as washing the floors, installing new lighting, hanging mirrors, and putting in ventilation fans.   
Bathroom Remodel Finishing Touches

Bathroom Remodel Finishing Touches

Bonus Tips

Do You Need a Permit? The short answer is: it’s complicated. You will need a permit from your municipal government for a bathroom remodeling project if you intend to change the configuration of your plumbing and/or add electrical circuits or wiring. This also means that your project must conform to the building codes set by your local government. You may not need a permit if all you’re doing is changing out some fixtures. An advantage to hiring a licensed contractor is that they will be the one responsible for pulling the required permits. 

When Is It Better to Hire a Contractor? While most people can sketch a renovation design, select and order supplies, and demolish their small bathroom, you should leave the installation to the professionals, especially if you have doubts about your technical ability. Plumbing and wiring require the skill of a technician, as do insulation and the installation of bathroom fixtures. Thus, using professionals for installation is well worth it because it ensures that your bathroom renovation will be successful.    

Small Bathroom Remodel Ideas

When it comes to small bathroom remodel ideas, there are a lot of fun little things you can do. The most popular small bathroom remodel fix is to make a small powder room feel bigger; you can replace a swinging bathroom door with a pocket door, install a wall-to-wall mirror, improve your bathroom’s lighting, install artwork, and spruce up your powder room wallpaper with chic neutral colors, just to name a few.

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes