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Learn Exactly How To Plan For A Bathroom Remodeling Project
Exclusively created for homeowners in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia.
Planning or thinking about remodeling your bathroom this year? Do you live in the Washington DC metropolitan area? If so, we’ve got some great tips and information for you to consider, specific to DC MD VA, including design ideas, requirements and inspiration.
Before we get started however, we’d like to thank you for visiting our website. We’ve worked really hard in putting together this ultimate guide for bathroom remodeling for local homeowners. We are 21 Century Services – a leading remodeling and home improvement company located in Falls Church Virginia. We’ll share more information about us later.
Let’s dive in.
This is the “million dollar question” right? Everyone wants to know this. Sorry, but I’m afraid we may have the same answer you’ve heard before; it depends.
The reasons of course are obvious. It depends on the size of your bathroom, the time frame, material selection, budget, style, permits, existing conditions, structure, design, special needs etc. This is the main reason we provide our clients with the free option of an estimate.
If you’re interested in our free in-home estimate, simply fill out the form above (or below) and we’ll schedule one of our bathroom experts to come out. We do this because it’s extremely important for us to understand exactly what you’re looking for, and to understand your expectations in terms of time frame, budget, design etc.
We never want to set the wrong expectation with any remodeling or renovation project with our clients. Our goal is to always be transparent in everything we do. If you are seriously considering to remodel a bathroom, schedule a free visit.
The essence here is to first realize there is no “set price”. It will depend on your specific needs. Second, is to get a few estimates for your specific remodeling project which will help you get an average. This is your best starting point.
This is by far one of the hardest aspects of remodeling a bathroom (in my opinion). It feels a lot like buying a car; you want and need the new car, but the buying process is definitely NOT something you look forward to, am I right?
Picking and choosing your floor tile, cabinets, mirror, paint color, shower glass door etc, is the fun part. The hard part is having to research and interview different remodeling companies and bathroom contractors in DC, Maryland and Virginia. It’s necessary without a doubt, but difficult, time consuming and even uncertain.
So what are some of the things you can do to find the right bathroom remodeling company? And what are some of the things you should consider in order to choose a good contractor? Here’s a short, BUT powerful list to help you get started:
Well you’re definitely in the right place! Reading this page is the first thing we recommend when planning a bathroom remodeling. Whether you are in the initial or decision-making stage, this page will provide great insight.
Having said that, here’s one thing we strongly suggest you do; make a list. Not just any list, we’ll explain exactly what kind of list you’ll need. Keep in mind this is a simple and powerful exercise, BUT MOST homeowners will never, ever do this!
To save yourself from the statistic above, I recommend you start this list right now, go! And believe me, in the end, you will be soooo glad you did. Heck, you may even come back here and thank me in the comments! 🙂
Take your phone, tablet, computer, or even a sheet of paper and make a list (more in a second) and don’t ever lose it, this will become your “master plan”.
Start the list by writing down all the things that you don’t like about your current bathroom. WAIT, STOP! Forgot to mention to also get your spouse (if there is one) and children involved in the process, do not neglect this step! Trust me.
Let’s continue. What is it that turns you (or your spouse) off about the current state of your bathroom? Often times, homeowners come to realize (by going through this exercise), that they don’t really need a complete bathroom overhaul. Maybe they just need a little painting, new shower tile, better lighting, more modern decorations, or simply a new vanity countertop, sink or cabinet.
On the other hand, if you realize that you dislike the toilet, the shower, the current bathtub, the floor tile, sink and cabinet, then yeah. This may be a sign that you need to rebuild or redesign your bathroom, on paper first! Don’t go crazy tearing stuff apart just yet. Write everything down on your master plan.
Writing all this stuff down is going to force you to think through the remodeling process. It is going to help you with your future estimates and cost, it will help you have a more specific and detailed conversation with contractors, and it will ultimately help you determine a more precise budget.
This is the next step on your master plan list. At the top, determine and write down what you and your spouse/family are willing (and can) spend comfortably? Go! Write the number at the top (use LARGE numbers). You want to “respect” this number and guard not to exceed it. This number now becomes your target.
Yes, please allow some flexibility in the budget! Account for unexpected situations, such as change orders, as these are a normal part of any construction project. In other words, if you can only afford to spend $9,000 on a complete bathroom remodeling project, then you may want to bring this down to $7,500 which allows for unforeseen items, and work from there. A built-in cushion.
Now you can discipline yourself to write every cost down. Write down how much you’re able to spend on the toilet, floor tile, shower tile, bathtub, counter, cabinet, and even decorations. Break everything down as much as possible and your time allows. Trust me, when you go shopping for selections, this will make it a hundreds easier to do so, without wasting much time.
Keep in mind this exercise will naturally require several attempts, changes and modifications. Not sure whether you should build a custom shower base floor with mosaic tile or use a shower pan? Look at your budget. Not sure whether you should go with an all-in-one sink vanity top or purchase a complete custom cabinet, counter and sink separately? Always refer back to your budget.
Don’t make the mistake of just “winging it”. Don’t improvise with costs. Allocate and assign budgets to the all the main components and materials that will eventually become your new bathroom. You’ll love yourself for this.
It depends, but we always recommend to check with your city or county first. It really depends on the kind of work you’re having done and the standards your city, county or state have put in place (set) for that particular scope of work (i.e. building/construction).
Most of our Washington DC metropolitan and surrounding areas are considered cities and mostly urban areas. These types of areas typically require permits. For instance and for the most part, the Washington County, D.C. itself, Fairfax County Virginia and Montgomery County Maryland, all require building permits if you’re moving or modifying plumbing lines, rewiring (electrical), moving load bearing or retaining walls, or adding windows or exterior doors.
Peace of mind. Even if you’re not making any significant modifications, you may still want to check (or have inspected) to make sure everything is still up to code. Standards, regulations and therefore codes, are constantly changing to meet new demands. In other words, it wouldn’t hurt and you’ll be on the safe side. If you live in a city located in Montgomery County, such as Rockville, Potomac, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Kensington, Travilah, Chevy Chase, Cabin John, Aspen Hill, Olney, Gaithersburg etc, this may be a helpful list of an instance in which you may or may not require a building permit.
Construction permits are always a good idea, for many reasons. Unfortunately we can’t go into every aspect and detail of permits on this particular page, but here are a few things you should keep in mind.
Permits are there for a reason. Although a bathroom remodeling project may not “seem” (to you at least) like something that should require a building permit, sometimes it does. The rules, standards, procedures and regulations – as mentioned above – are there to protect not only you and your family, but also the rest of us (public). It is the only way to assess and confirm uniformity and the quality of the construction taking place.
The rules, levels of requirements and types of permits for new construction, renovations or remodeling, can vary significantly from one city or county to the next. More so from state to state.
Again, please always check, to be on the safe side.
This one is not very difficult. The internet has literally given us endless websites to search, find and explore, for bathroom ideas and inspiration. Too many to list here of course, but let’s look at some of the most popular places online and offline to get your creative juices flowing.
When viewing bath photos on any of the websites above, I personally recommend using a tablet such as an iPad or a laptop. Try not to use your cell phone as the screen is smaller and it’s harder to appreciate the overall level of details without having to zoom in and out! That will distract you.
These sites have awesome quality photos, so take advantage and use a larger viewing screen. One important tip I must mention, is please “save” the photos you like and “label” them in some sort of importance scale that makes sense to you. This process should be straightforward, but let me know in the comments if you need help.
Although we’re still putting together a specific bathroom design gallery, you are welcome to look around our website for additional inspiration on many different home improvement projects that we’ve done.
Alternatively, you can search Google, Facebook, or ask friends and family for their photos and experience. Lastly, don’t forget about those “home magazines” that somehow seem to show up in our mailboxes every month!
We have dozens, maybe hundreds of combined bathroom retail locations you can visit in Washington D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia. Home Depot and Lowes for instance tend to have more kitchen displays rather than baths, if any. Same with the Ikea in College Park MD, which also seems to have more kitchen renovation displays.
But places like The Tile Shop in Rockville Maryland, has many beautiful bathrooms built right on the shopping floor. I’ve seen those myself. An awesome place to get ideas, and not to mention they have beautiful combinations of ceramic tiles.
Another place is Floor & Decor either in Gaithersburg MD or Alexandria VA. Although their bathroom displays are not as great (personally been there several times), they serve the purpose of inspiration and ideas. They also have a huge tile selection for shower walls, shower floors and backsplash guard, which you can look at while there.
Let’s go back to your budget, what do you have allocated for shower items? I’m serious about this. Did you decide on a custom shower or prefabricated shower?
I keep referring back to your budget because I want to ingrain the importance of this in your mind.
Needless to say, if your budget is more on the conservative side (say this is for a rental property), then you may want to consider prefabricated showers. You can find many at your local Home Depot or Lowes, maybe even your local Walmart.
If your budget allows (assuming you’ve done some rough calculations on materials and labor), and can afford a custom shower, you have more options available. Here of course we recommend having this conversation (along with your spouse) directly with your potential contractor.
Do you want to change the layout? Perhaps remove a wall and have a corner glass shower? Types of wall and floor tile? Do you want the comfort of a walk-in shower rather than a step-up shower curve? Or do you want to go from a bathtub to a walk-in shower? Want to add a jacuzzi perhaps? …What will all this take?
This is subjective, obviously, right? If you only want to give your bathroom a new look and feel, I think simply replacing the countertop and giving it a fresh coat of paint, will do it!
These days the cost of granite and quartz are very similar. Of course this is entirely dependent on the color family, group, rarity and a few other factors.
Quartz is a man-made material – engineered stone – as it is sometimes called. It is often a bit higher in pricing compared to natural stone (granite or marble). But it’s much better at combating stains (more stain-resistant). Less porous due to its manufacturing nature and less likely to chip on the edges as it tends to be a bit stronger. Marble and granite offer a beautiful selection of natural colors and patterns.
So this decision really depends on your personal taste. My suggestion is, if you are considering stone as your vanity top surface, to go visit a few local granite fabricators. Most have a large enough inventory of stones that you can see and help you decide which material catches your fancy (as they say).
I feel like I keep saying this, but it does come down to two things: your budget and taste, but my goal on this page, is to help you think through the entire bathroom remodeling project as a whole. So let’s continue with bathroom cabinet styles.
Maybe consider a floating cabinet that is attached (mounted) to the wall. A frameless cabinet may cost a bit less than a more traditional framed cabinet, but provides a more european/modern style. This look would match well with a clean and more consistent quartz countertop surface and undermount sink.
Consider a traditional framed style cabinet. The biggest difference between the framed and frameless, are the gaps between doors and drawers (also a bit less room inside a framed cabinet). A frameless eliminates these gaps, bringing doors and drawers closer together for a more clean (thus modern) look.
An inset style cabinet may also do the trick here. These however tend to be more expensive, because it costs more to produce. Essentially, a higher level of manufacturing precision is required for building these types of cabinets, but they look really nice.
As far as quality goes for any of these types, should be about the same, so long as the materials used and the construction process of the cabinet itself, are also of good quality.
Something to consider right? If you’re bathroom cabinet is in good shape and you’re not planning on taking it apart or moving it, may be worth saving. Simply refacing, repainting or simply replacing the knobs (i.e. a classic, modern, or traditional knob) can give your cabinet a completely new look and feel.
They certainly don’t make cabinetry like they used to! Today, most cabinetry is mass produced, sometimes at the small expense of (and affecting) quality of parts, pieces, or structure. If you have an old bathroom cabinet, it may be worth just refacing. It was probably built with really strong wood and higher quality craftsmanship (maybe 20+ years). Just something to consider.
There are three main items to consider here: your budget, your taste and use level. The options for bathroom tile are literally endless today. They come in all kinds of colors, sizes, patterns, quality and pricing. Way too many to list on this – already extremely long – page.
It’s plain hard work! Yes. I’ve spoken to literally hundreds of tile customers, and most said the same thing; “there are so many tile options out there, it’s overwhelming”. There is no easy way to select tile, you must put in the work. Here’s what we recommend.
Start with the low hanging fruit. Go out and visit a few local retail stores, preferably close to home. Go directly to the tile sections in these locations, don’t get distracted by other items.
Pay close attention to the things that catch your eye. Are you attracted to glass tile? Subway? Large formats? Wood-look tile? Darker or lighter shades? Patterned or plain? You get idea of this exercise.
Another idea is to start with the “photos” we discussed above. Look back at the ones you saved and labeled. What kind of tile do those bathrooms have? Not sure? Bring your tablet or phone to the tile store and ask.
Don’t forget to jot down pricing for the tile options you liked. Are they in line with your allocated budget? Write down the cost per square foot, per box (carton), are they sold by the piece? Are they on “sale” because they’ve been discontinued? Etc.
Finally there’s quality. A large part of lasting tile has to do with the actual installation performed. You can have a lower quality tile installed properly, measured by industry standards, and it can last 20 years.
At the same time, you can have very expensive, “higher quality”, tile installed incorrectly, and you can end up with leaks, cracked tiles or even worse, falling tiles! Do your due diligence. Question your tile installer’s skills, practice and experience, don’t be shy here.
Spend a little time understanding what makes a good quality tile installation, especially in the shower, where it’s more prone to water damage. If the shower or bathroom is getting a lot of use – say in a rental property – you want to make sure the installation is very well done to allow for heavy use.
There’s nothing wrong with a little positive jealousy. Be proud of your new bathroom! Show it off to family, friends and neighbors. Why not? You worked this hard to make it happen.
We hope this guide has provided some useful insights when planning for your next bathroom remodeling project. Remember, if you live in the Washington DC metro area and would like to schedule a free estimate, simply fill out this quick form or give us a call, we’re here to help.
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We also serve many cities and areas out in Maryland including Montgomery County. Here’s a list of a few cities we currently renovate bathrooms in; Potomac, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, Rockville, Gaithersburg, North Potomac, North Bethesda, Travilah and Fort Washington.
We’re not limited to working in these cities if it makes sense for us to come out. We suggest you call our office for a free bathroom remodel consultation to determine how we can help.
Lastly, of course our bathroom remodeling experts offer full residential service to the Washington DC Metro area. This includes parts of our capital such as Palisades, Foxhall Crescent, Friendship Heights, Tenleytown, Georgetown, Capitol Hill, Brightwood etc.
Your bathroom is a place where you can escape from the daily stresses of life. 21 Century Services will help you remodel the bathroom of your dreams. We can help you design and remodel a bathroom that will exceed your expectations. Our designers will work with you to create a space that is functionally pleasing as well as look great. Our goal is to exceed your expectations and deliver top products, service, and craftsmanship.
We proudly serve the Washington DC Metro area, including Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Herndon, Manassas, Ashburn, Sterling, Springfield, and Falls Church in Virginia; Gaithersburg, Rockville, and Bethesda in Maryland.