Renovating your bathroom can be an overwhelming task when you’re goal is a high quality remodel. Here is your ultimate bathroom remodel checklist for reference.
Bathrooms and kitchens continue to lead the way when it comes to home improvement projects. 25% of homeowners will remodel their bathroom in the next year, spending anywhere from $2,500-25,000 in the process. By the way, if you live in Washington D.C., surrounding Maryland and Northern Virginia, we wrote a detailed planning guide on bathroom remodeling for DC, MD and VA.
Why such a wide gap?
For starters, it depends on what went into the remodel, the quality of fixtures installed, and if it was a complete DIY or if a contractor got involved.
If you’re thinking about increasing the value of your home for as much as 66%, our bathroom remodel checklist has 12 things that you need to focus on to keep your remodel running smooth and on budget.
What’s the Difference Between a Remodel and a Renovation?
Before we get started, let’s talk about the difference between a bathroom remodel and a bathroom renovation. Thanks to HGTV, these words get confused a lot with homeowners.
When it comes to a renovation, think of it as a restoration. You’re restoring a bathroom to a better state than the one it’s currently in.
Renovations can be subtle, like replacing fixtures or be more drastic like redoing your shower enclosure. It may seem like a new shower is a remodel but you’re not changing the structure of the shower, only the finish.
That’s what a remodel is. It’s changing the form, appearance, or structure of something.
Think of a remodel like clay. Remember when you were young and shaped a boat then decided to re-form or remodel it into a plane? Same concept.
Your 12-Step Bathroom Remodel Checklist
When you think about having your dream bathroom, is it the master bath or the main bathroom? Does it have a clawfoot tub or a multi-head shower? Have you considered LED lighting?
Getting the ultimate bath takes ultimate planning. There are dozens of details that go into making your bathroom luxury to your life and value to your home.
1. Know How Much You Have to Spend
Planning is the most important part of a remodel and it starts at the beginning. You’ll first have to plan for how much you can spend. You should also figure out your timeline.
On average, a complete bathroom remodel takes about 4-1/2 weeks. That’s on paper, with a contractor doing most of the work. In reality, it could be double that amount.
A lot of things can go wrong during the demolition process or your remodeling permits could get held up for some reason.
2. Design a Layout
One of the main reasons people remodel their bathroom is lack of space. In older homes, bathrooms weren’t designed for luxury, they were for practical use.
You don’t need an architectural degree to sketch out a new layout. That’s for a contractor or professional to do. If you plan on going all-in by yourself, design programs at home improvement stores will give you a hand in this department.
Make sure you account for things like the clearance in front of a toilet and how deep your cabinets should be.
If you’re incorporating part of a closet or nook into your new bathroom, make sure you understand everything that entails. You don’t want to affect the structure of your house to gain three more feet. This is where hiring a contractor or designer becomes a necessity.
3. Start Your Budget
Like your timeline, your budget won’t be spot on. If you pad your budget and prepare for overages you’ll be fine. This means researching the figures for your budget is pretty important.
You’ll want to price out as much as you can down to the tiniest detail. At this stage of the planning process, your budget will be fluid.
It’s good to get ideas for fixtures, cabinets, tile, etc. during this stage. Give yourself a few options, in case you start getting close to your budget and have to make some changes. It also helps to have a Plan B in case the tile or sink you like gets discontinued.
4. Figure out What’s DIY and What’s Not
Remodeling a bath can be challenging but with proper research and hard work, you can do it! But there are some things that may be above your skillset. Anytime you’re moving pipes or rewiring, you’ll want to consider using a contractor.
A professional in these fields will be able to pull permits and make sure you pass inspection (if one’s needed) when it’s over. There are a lot of rules with plumbing and electricity as well as safety precautions. These prevent someone from getting hurt or the safety of your house getting compromised.
When hiring professionals to do the job or part of it, make sure they’re licensed and insured. Check all references and read user reviews. Call the Better Business Bureau and get their rating.
Ask them about their experience and how many hours per day they’ll be at your home. Find out if they work weekends or holidays. Finally, get it all in writing.
Things like painting, laying tiles, installing a toilet, etc. can be DIY projects as long as you know what you’re doing.
5. Cutting Corners will Cost You
DIYers cut corners in a lot of ways that aren’t advisable. If you’re buying the cheapest faucet you can find, it won’t last very long. The same is true for shoddy workmanship from an unlicensed handyman or contractor.
At the same token, you don’t have to buy everything top of the line either. But if you know a manufacturer is a little pricey but has top-notch quality, it might be worth it. This is where your budget comes back in.
Review everything so far and see where you’re at. Make adjustments as needed. For example, if you wound up getting your tile on sale and saved 20% from what you budgeted, you can apply the 20% elsewhere or put it in the incidentals column as a safeguard.
6. Details Matter
Design details, like paint colors, tile, and grout colors matter. But so do things like ventilation and accessibility.
If your bathroom doesn’t have a window or fan, but you’re adding a shower to it, that’s going to pose issues down the line. Mold and mildew flourish in warm, humid environments like a shower enclosure. You may want to look over your budget and decide if you can add a fan system at the very least.
If you’re doing most of the remodel yourself, make sure you use the right caulk and PVC putty. It may sound nit-picky but if you use the wrong kind, you’ll be paying for it sooner rather than later.
7. Finishes and Fixtures
If your remodel leans more toward a renovation, you may be able to spruce up a few details already in place. For instance, if you got a new sink and cabinets a few years ago and they’re still in great shape, save yourself a couple of thousands of dollars by replacing the faucet.
If you can change out your shower doors or lighting fixtures and save time and money, go for it. The key is that you’re happy and get your desired ROI in the end.
If you’re planning on upgrading anything electrical, make sure the proper permits get pulled. If it’s beyond switches or lighting, consider hiring a handyman to handle this part.
8. Choosing the Best Toilet
We’ve come a long way in technology when we start discussing how to choose the best toilet for your bathroom. There are four main types: gravity-feed, pressure-assisted, double-cyclone, and waterless.
If you never thought of what type of toilet and what the difference is, all toilets will have an energy efficiency rating. A bathroom contractor or a specialist at a home improvement store can help you determine which type is the most efficient for your usage.
9. Shower, Tub, or Both?
Deciding between a shower and tub comes down to space, cost, and practicality. If you have room for a jacuzzi tub but no one in your household takes baths, is it worth the money?
The flipside is if half your family takes bath and you install a shower stall, you may save a few bucks but you’ll have some unhappy family members.
Figure out what looks best, will get the most use, and add the most to the aesthetic then weigh out your options.
10. Don’t Forget the Lighting
Lighting in a bathroom is so obvious it gets overlooked. Make sure you’ve included this in your budget and in your details. There are a lot of different types of lighting to choose from these days.
What kind of lighting and fixtures you use comes down to what kind you prefer.
11. Cabinets, sinks, and Mirrors
This area, more than any other, will come down to taste. This is a personalized decision that only you and your spouse can decide.
Keep in mind that some of these installations may be special order, which means they won’t be at your front doorstep overnight. Make sure what you choose is good quality, made from sturdy materials.
Like the cabinets above, this all comes down to what you like and works best. Ceramic or porcelain tile is popular for bathroom floors. Porcelain is denser and less porous and has better water-resistance than ceramic tile.
Weigh out the pros and cons of each flooring option, including how easy they are to install yourself.
Make It a Little Easier
Having a bathroom remodel checklist to work off of will streamline your budget and your process. Missing one detail or skimping on quality materials won’t only lower the value of your home but it could cost you money in the end.
While DIY projects can give you a sense of accomplishment, they can also get away from you. At 21st Century Services, we take the frustrations of finding a specialized handyman out of your hands.
Whether you’re looking for help with a total bathroom remodel or only a part of it, we’ll help you find the right one for you.
Contact us today and let us help get your bathroom remodel started.