Bathroom Remodeling Step by Step |

Bathroom Remodeling Step by Step

Real estate and remodeling industry professionals cite a bathroom remodel as one of the top five improvement projects that offers the best return on investment.In its annual Cost vs. Value Report, Remodeling Magazine, an industry trade journal, reports that consumers can recoup, on average, 90 percent of their bathroom remodeling investment. And they can enjoy the benefits of a beautiful new bathroom and improve their odds of attracting a buyer when it comes time to sell.The trend for spacious, more luxurious bathrooms is as intense today as it was when it began nearly two decades ago. Steeping jetted tubs, stand-alone roomy showers, generous vanities with twin lavatories and fancy fittings and fixtures are the rage.Not everyone has the space or the pocketbook to undertake a project on such a grand scale. For many, the idea of replacing old or outdated colors and finishes is more than enough motivation to take the plunge.As licensed remodeling contractors for over two decades, we offer you our six steps of bathroom remodeling. They are things to consider that will make your undertaking less chaotic and give you the best bang for your bathroom-remodeling buck, whether you are doing the work yourself or hiring a pro.First is planning. Don’t be in a hurry. If you’re like most people, you want your new bathroom finished yesterday. However, haste not only makes waste, it can turn your project (and home) into a nightmare. Thus, the single most important step in remodeling a bathroom is the planning process.Begin by making a list of all of the things that you would like to change about your bathroom. We call this the wish list. Prioritize the items on the list to reflect what you must have, what would be nice to have, and what you can do without. This differentiation will become important when it comes time for final budgeting.A fundamental and necessary part of the planning process is to establish an approximate budget. Bathroom remodeling projects can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. As with step one, this step is especially important if you will be working with a design professional. In order for the design professional to be of best service to you, he or she will need to have a budget within which to design. Making your wish list and budget come together can be a tall order.A scale plan should be created that reflects the bathroom as is. You can do this yourself with a pencil and graph paper, use computerized design software or hire a designer or design-build contractor to create the design for you. The pros will usually create the existing floor plan and then create a remodel plan based on your prioritized wish list and budget. Often more than one plan or design solution is created as a means of offering choices and exploring costs. Frequently, specific ideas of multiple designs are integrated into one final design.The second step is for product selection. One of the most exciting yet time-consuming aspects of the bathroom remodel planning process is shopping for materials and finishes. Tubs, faucets, lavatories, mirrors, medicine cabinets, vanities, countertops, flooring, tub or shower wall finish, paint color and toilets are a sampling of the finishes that must be selected for most bathroom remodeling projects.We suggest that you make all of your finish selections before beginning your project. Anything less could derail your project with delays and cost overruns. Product selection can be quite complex at times. Be sure to note the brand, model, color or finish along with any accessories needed for installation.One potential pitfall that should be noted is product availability. Nothing can be more frustrating than making all of your selections only to find out that the imported Italian tile that you chose for your shower walls is 12 weeks on back order. Make certain that all of the products that you have selected are in stock and readily available or be prepared to postpone your project.The third step is for price. If you are working with a design professional, your favorite design solution and finishes can now be used to create a preliminary plan along with a finish schedule and scope of work that can, in turn, be used to generate cost estimates. One of the biggest mistakes that many consumers make is not using one uniform set of plans and finishes that can be used to obtain apples-for-apples estimates. This can make the job of comparing bids confusing and virtually impossible.Step No. 4 is for permits. If you will be doing the work yourself, take your plan to the local building department to make sure that all local codes have been adhered to — electrical, plumbing, ventilation, etc. And don’t forget the building permit. Contrary to popular belief, a building permit is not like sending an engraved invitation to the tax collector. On the contrary, it ensures that the work conforms to health and safety codes. That’s good for you, your family, your neighborhood and your community.Moreover, works of improvement done without a permit must often be torn out when it comes time to sell. That can be an especially big pill to swallow.The fifth step is for protection. Be sure to protect the trail from the bathroom to the exterior door that will be used for egress. Plastic tarps on finished flooring, drop cloths on furniture and other finishes throughout the home and cardboard panels taped down low on hallway walls can prevent lots of damage and cost overruns. Take great care in protecting existing finishes in the bathroom that will remain or be reused, such as a tub or vanity.And the final step is for production. Now you can grab your goggles and sledge hammer.If you’ll be hiring a pro, be sure to have everything in writing, using a bilateral contract that includes the total sum, a payment schedule, start and finish dates, insurance information and how changes are to be handled.Planning, products, price, permits, protection and production. They’re the ABCs of bathroom remodeling and when followed to the letter they spell success.—For more home improvement tips and information visit our Web site at

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