Bathroom remodeling is among the most common home remodels and unfortunately, many do-it-yourselfers learn that it’s far more complex that it would seem in most cases. Beneath the surface, bathroom remodeling requires hiring contractors for all but the most mundane jobs. Many homeowners who decide to go it alone end up spending up to 50% more on materials (not to mention time) and in many cases, end up with a sub par job. As with all remodels, determine what you THINK you want, meet with a contractor and get an estimate on the job. Ask them for their recommendations and to provide an itemized estimate that you can adjust for your budget as needed.
Basic remodeling doesn’t have to be expensive in the bathroom. Giving the space a bright new look can be done by focusing on a few key areas such as tile, paint and lighting. Also, your bathroom doesn’t need to follow conventional styles. Being comfortable ought to be most of your consideration. Whatever your design preferences, make sure to pick fixtures and materials that are top quality. Look at a selection of tile, tubs lights and fixtures to find the ones you like and fit your personal need. Get what you want. because buying something cheaper that is “almost right”, you won’t ever truly enjoy it.
Talk to your contractor about previous works and ask for some design references as well. In addition to hundreds of online options, photos of past work will spur the imagination and help you come up with the right look. As you develop the look you want, make sure that all the elements work well with one another. For instance having a modern, raised glass sink and retro lighting may clash and look unfinished. As you find elements you like, keep photos of them and compare them to other items you think you’d like to include in your new bathroom.
Here are some basic tips to keep in mind when contemplating your bathroom remodel.
- Easy Care Floor - Go for porcelain or glazed tiles, and avoid porous natural stone tiles like limestone. Unless sealed vigilantly, they’ll absorb drips and spills and become stained over time.
- Non Slip Floor - Choose tiles with textured surfaces, matte finishes, or sand-containing glazes. Another option: small tiles with lots of grout lines, which offer better “grip” than large tiles.
- Caulking - Go for an acrylic or hybrid formula you can remove without the use of harsh chemicals so that replacement is easier. And make sure it contains a mildewcide that offers protection for five years or longer.
- Spacing - Theoretically, you can fit a sink and toilet into an 11-square-foot spot and still meet national building codes. But for comfort’s sake, look for an area that’s 3 to 4 feet wide and 6 to 8 feet long. Check local codes for additional requirement.
- Electrical - The 15-amp wiring in your prewar house’s bathroom has likely been abused by years of high-power hair drying. So don’t just swap in GFCI outlets. Replace the wiring too, with a dedicated 20-amp circuit and plenty of outlets for all the appliances you use, from electric razors and toothbrushes to hair-straightening irons.
- Create a cubby hole - Unlike clunky over-the-showerhead organizers, a recessed cubby in a tub or shower surround gives shampoo and soap a permanent home and doesn’t take up stall space. If you have kids, add an extra cubby around knee height so that they can suds up on their own.
- Toilets - Don’t settle for a wimpy flusher. Maximum Performance testing (MaP) gauges a toilet’s ability to get the job done with just one push of the handle. Look for a loo with a MaP score of 500 or higher; this group includes many WaterSense-rated toilets, high-efficiency models that use as little as half of the 1.6-gallon-per-flush legal limit
- Get the right sink for you - Every sink style has its trade-offs. Go for the one that best suits your needs.
- Pedestal sink’s slim silhouette is a favorite in diminutive powder rooms and small-scale baths, but offers zero hidden storage and negligible deck space.
- A raised bowl sink sits above the counter, so you’ll have more room for drawers and storage space below it. But the work surface has less usable space and is tougher to keep clean.
- Vanity sink takes up the most room and offers the most utility. An average 30-inch vanity has nearly 15 cubic feet of storage (minus the sink bowl and pipes) and about 10 inches of countertop on each side. You’ll need sufficient clearance to open cabinet doors or pull out drawers.
- Stone -Natural beauty in every slab; allows for undermount sink; polished granite is highly stain and scratch resistant. Must be sealed regularly; porous types, such as marble and limestone, will stain and etch if spilled toiletries and cleaners aren’t wiped up fast; honed
- Resin - Whether a straight resin (solid surface) or one made with marble dust (cultured marble), these can be formed as a single, seamless piece, often including the sink; comes in a wide variety of colors; needs no sealing. They can lack the upscale feel and beauty of natural stone.
- Laminates - Affordable; available in prefab slabs at home centers; stain and scratch resistant; huge variety of colors, finishes, and textures. Con is that they can delaminate over time; the look can be downscale; can’t accommodate undermount sinks.
Lighting - Flank the mirror with fixtures placed at eye level (around 66 inches), ideally spaced 36 to 40 inches apart. Try to see fixtures in action before you buy to make sure the amount and quality of light is sufficient. If there’s no room for side sconces, install a long fixture on the wall above the mirror. Don’t rely on a recessed ceiling fixture (think Dracula face). Water Heater - Adding a soaker tub or multi-head shower? You may need a bigger water heater. Tank-style heaters are labeled with a first hour rating (FHR), a measure of how much hot water it produces in an hour. To help determine your FHR, use the list below to calculate your family’s hot-water consumption in the bath each morning. Visit the U.S. Department of Energy for more info on FHR.
- Showering: 12 gallons per person
- Bathing: 9 gallons a person
- Shampooing hair: 4 gallons a person
Grab Bars & Handles - Handheld showers and easy-to-grip lever faucets suit people of all abilities and can be put in any time. But plan permanent features early on. Grab bars should be secured to blocking between wall studs and placed 33 to 36 inches off the floor. Other things to consider: a barrier-free shower, a wider doorway, and a lower sink height. Wallpaper - Avoid it. It just won’t stand up to humidity. Consider wainscoting as a nontile wall covering instead. Fans - Splurge on an ultraquiet unit that won’t wake up your mate during night trips. Make sure it has enough power for back-to-back showers, and put it on a timer so that you can let it run for 20 minutes to banish steam after you’re done.
The bathroom is one of the key selling features of your home and also a place where your entire family should feel comfortable. When remodeling, make sure you plan accordingly and get a quality finished product.