For years now, your bathroom has been serving its purpose. Sure, it’s equipped to meet all of your basic needs. However, you eventually tire of having your bathroom just be practical and begin to wish it were beautiful too. Whether it’s aesthetics or functionality that’s causing you to seek out a bathroom remodel, it’s important that you have the planning process under control.
Effective planning is the key to a successful remodel, and while it’s no easy feat, there is a way to breakdown the process. Starting from the most basic considerations to the most time-consuming, here are five steps to planning your bathroom remodel (and ensuring results that will shower you in glee – pun intended).
1. Determine your budget & timeline
The average cost of a bathroom remodel is between $8,000 and $10,000. This accounts for almost entirely new fixtures (toilet, sink, bathtub, tiling, etc.). However, it does not include the price of labor, which can easily run your tab up to $15,000. Given these guidelines, it’s important to take into account which features of the bathroom you’ll want updated. If you’re seeking a complete remodel, some saving is likely in order.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends dividing up your bathroom remodeling budget in the following manner:
- 20% for Labor
- 16% for Cabinetry & Hardware
- 15% for Fixtures
- 14% for Faucets & Plumbing
- 9% for Flooring
- 7% for Countertops
- 5% for Lighting & Ventilation
- 5% for Walls & Ceilings
- 4% for Doors & Windows
- 4% for Design Fees
- 1% for Misc. (furnishings, accessories, damage control, etc.)
You may be considering taking on the remodel yourself, in which case you would certainly save money. However, note that it’s important to establish a timeline also. A bathroom remodel can be a lengthy process, so you will want to find out how long it could take and develop a backup plan should those facilities be out of commission for a while. The DIY timeline tends to be significantly longer than if you hire a group of trustworthy contractors, in which case the remodel time should average between 4-5 weeks.
2. Decide what updates are needed
Once you have your budget and timeline set, you’ll want to decide on what updates you would like. Many homeowners make new tile a mandatory update in a bathroom remodel, as grout can become particularly unsightly in the presence of mildew and moisture.
You might want to consider some technological updates, such as a bidet toilet seat or a tankless water heater. Despite the cost of purchasing/installing these items, they are likely to save you money on your water bill long term. Given the payoff, it’s reasonable to add them to your list. New shower/bathtub backsplash can also significantly alter and improve the look of the room, providing a flash of unexpected color.
3. Look for inspiration
You know exactly what you want to replace, now how do you decide what to replace it with? Begin researching the most cost-effective options for your price range. While big names like Lowes, Home Depot, and Ikea offer brand name fixtures and professional consultations, you can always use your own design savvy to go shopping for wholesale products.
Many wholesale retailers sell the same brand names at a lower price, and can still be installed by a professional contractor. Some current bathroom trends right now include: freestanding bathtubs, light and bright décor, and Edison lighting fixtures. Finding some nice bathroom accessories to compliment your bathroom’s new look will also be an important consideration when placing the finishing touches.
4. Start shopping
If you are planning to purchase the items yourself, there are a number of wholesale bathroom product retailers that can offer quality products at low prices. However, if you wish to be assisted by a professional at your local department store, check out their website and bookmark the items you wish to purchase.
It can be helpful to see them in person and make sure they meet your expectations, so be sure to ask one of their employees/professionals to steer you toward the product. Feel free to put together an idea book before you peruse the showroom. This will help you ensure the salesmen can at least point you in the direction of similar products in case the one you wanted is unavailable or out of stock.
You can even consider secondhand stores for some of the items on your wish list, such as smaller bathroom accessories, vanities, mirrors/cabinets, and more.
5. Find the right contractor
The final, and perhaps most challenging, step is to find the right contractor(s). You will likely need the following professionals: demolition team, plumber, electrician, tile layer, and carpenter. You may be able to hire a project manager that already has a compiled team of these professionals, but if you’re relying on your own savvy, you can make good use of an online directory.
Websites like Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, and others allow you to read reviews others have left on various professionals in your area. Finding a trustworthy professional is crucial, as poor timeliness and reliability can become frequent issues that you want to avoid.
A bathroom remodel can be a tedious process, with unexpected considerations and issues that can arise at any time. In addition to the overall aesthetics, you will need to consider allocating adequate storage space and ensuring no plumbing ends up exposed.
Old tiles can also be difficult to remove, particularly if they’ve been cemented into a wet bed. Removing such tiles could end up costing you extra. Be prepared also for issues located underneath the tiles (such as mold buildup, leaks, etc.). In older bathrooms, these problems often come to light during the remodeling process.
Nonetheless, a bathroom remodel is an excellent way to boost your home’s interior appeal while also increasing its value. With the right team, the right timeline, and the right budget, the bathroom of your dreams could come to fruition in no time. Simply compose a checklist and ensure that you are knowledgeable about the work that goes into such a feat.
Ellie Batchiyska is a writer for Plumber’s Stock, a leading online retailer for plumbing/HVAC supplies and parts.