As remodels go, bathrooms are known in the biz for being notoriously difficult and costly. Don’t be fooled – bathroom renovations are no small undertaking. Yet that doesn’t mean they can’t be relatively stress-free, provided you follow our fool-proof how-to guide. Keep reading to discover the exact steps you need to take to remodel your bathroom.
How to Remodel Your Bathroom
As with any remodeling project, planning is key!
First, consider the scope of your bathroom remodel. Will you be expanding or rearranging the space? Or are you simply wanting to update what you already have?
Given the intricacies of plumbing, the former option will require more time and budget. As Danny Bittiker of Bittiker Architecture notes, keeping fixtures in their current locations saves a lot of money because there is no need to re-do the plumbing that serves the sink, toilet or shower. “Once a location moves, then the existing drywall needs to come off to access water supply and drainage, resulting in a more expensive build.”
Next up, functionality. Aesthetics are all very well and good, but how do you want to use the space? And what essential features would you like to include?
“A lot of homeowners are renovating their master bathrooms, removing the tub/shower combo and updating to a large walk-in, tiled shower,” shares designer Jenny Gericke. “One thing to note, however, is to make sure another bathroom in the house still has a tub/shower combination. This is important for resale value, especially when your target market is young parents with kids.”
In considering aesthetics, remember to keep in mind practicality. When it comes to tiles for instance, homeowners are often not aware of the best finishes for their bathrooms. “They might select a polished tile because it looks nice, not realizing that it will be too slippery for a wet area,” explains Gericke. Additionally, designer Jennifer Jean Morris encourages homeowners to really think about the work you want to put into cleaning grout or tending to and resealing stone.
2. Consider Budget
After consulting with the design experts, one thing they all agree on is to be aware of costs before you remodel your bathroom. According to Helena Brana from BRANA Designs, without knowing the budget there can be a lot of misunderstanding of what surfaces, brands and sanitary fittings can be recommended correctly.
In Brana’s experience, a bathroom with one bath, two sinks, glass shower, and surfaces like acrylic would be around US$150 per square foot. Add in luxury materials like marble, and the cost could rise to US$500 per square foot.
“Make sure you’re accounting for the fees associated with permitting, design, engineering, development fees, utility fees, inspections, construction overages, relocation expenses, and furnishings,” adds Bittiker. “People often throw a cost per square foot number at projects that doesn’t reflect any true cost.”
“Materials like marble can be purchased for US$2-3 per square foot,” reveals David Charette of interior design firm BRITTO CHARETTE. “Utilize marble only for the floors and wet walls; the rest can be painted which will help with costs. Tiling an entire bathroom will be much more expensive.”
3. Consult a Designer
Look, we get it, you want to save on costs wherever possible. But trust us, it’ll work out cheaper in the long run if you decide to invest in a designer to help you remodel your bathroom early on in the process.
“Designers can help homeowners with deciding the best layout for their bathroom, as well as consider things like what will resell in the future, or what a homeowner might need for aging in a place,” maintains Gericke.
“I have seen many bathrooms where the homeowner began the demolition thinking they could DIY the renovation. They often consult a designer too late in the project and end up paying for costly mistakes. So even if a homeowner wants to do the work themselves, check your design, material selections and layout with professionals before starting work. They can see what may go wrong and advise you of changes before you get in over your head.”
4. Hire Licensed Professionals
Maybe you think this step goes without saying, but you’d be surprised at how many people are willing to forgo a licensed professional in an effort to save a few bucks.
Needless to say, this is a huge mistake! “It’s tempting to take the word of a cheaper architect/engineer/contractor, but it’s important to make sure they’re well reputed,” stresses Bittiker. “Design and engineering fees represent a low cost relative to overall project budgets, so investing in a talented group of consultants won’t move the needle much on your whole project budget. With an experienced team behind you, you can often avoid lots of problems, which ultimately saves money.”
Indeed, Morris recalls an incident where a contractor on her build put the wrong drywall behind the tiles. The wall ended up expanding with moisture, causing the tiles to pop off. In this case, her clients had opted for the contractor with the lowest bid. Yikes!
As recommended by designer Lanna Ali-Hassan from Beyond the Box Interiors, involve everyone (all needed professionals) early in the process. “This way, all trades are on the same page and can work together to ensure a successful project.”
Have you attempted to remodel your bathroom before? What are your top tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments below!
For more like this, check out our guide to remodeling your kitchen!