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Bathroom Remodeling Tips


Be Prepared for Inconvenience

If and when you start a bathroom remodeling project, don’t forget that you likely won’t be able to use all or some features of your bathroom for significant periods of time. Be patient, as you and your family may have to utilize your home’s other bathrooms or find alternative bathrooms outside the home if you only have one bathroom.

Prevent Water Damage

On a daily basis, your home’s bathroom or bathrooms see the most water use, putting it and its underlying features at greater risk for water damage. When remodeling the bathroom, prevent structural damage and mold problems by making sure it’s waterproof. This can mean making sure your contractor uses tile-backing waterproof drywall (also known as green board) where possible, completely seals the floor and shower surround and applies sufficient waterproof caulk around tubs, shower pans and shower fixtures. Because grout is porous, make sure the contractor seals that, too.

Warm Your Feet

If your bathroom remodel includes removing the old floor and installing a new one, use the opportunity to think about installing a radiant heating flooring system. Not only will it keep your feet warm and cozy, it can also be a great feature to distinguish your home from others if and when you decide to sell it.

Think About Cleaning

If your bathroom renovation includes installing brand-new tiles, take the time to consider each choice’s maintenance needs and long-term durability. Often used for showers, natural stone and travertine can actually be quite fragile and require special cleaning products. Other materials, such as porcelain tile, may be more durable and easier to clean.

Make It Timeless

While it may be tempting to remodel your bathroom to the latest trend or cutting-edge design, if you’re remodeling for resale, try to stick with more traditional or mainstream design and material choices. A bathroom design that’s quickly dated can hurt, not help, your home’s resale appeal.

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Before You Remodel


Budget

Taking the time to sit down and come up with a budget is an essential step of any home renovation project. Decide on the amount you are willing to spend on your bathroom remodel and then subtract the cost of labor from it. The remaining amount is the money you have to spend on the fun stuff: tiles, fixtures, and other extras.

Time

Even a small bathroom remodel can take much more time than expected. It is important to have a solid estimate on the time it will take to complete the project. Talk to your contractor to see about how long their work will take. Factor in intermediate steps such as ordering and purchasing tiles, fixtures, and other extras. Time planning is especially important for those that only have one bathroom in their house. You need to know how long you will be without a shower or a toilet.

Full Gut

“Full gut” is a term used by professionals for completely redoing a bathroom. If you are planning on a major upgrade, this is often a more effective route to take than leaving a few fixtures intact. A full gut will leave you with zero problems in your bathroom and increase the resale value of your home tremendously.

Design/Functionality

Design and functionality go hand in hand during a bathroom remodel. It is necessary to plan with both in mind. Many people choose a single design item they love and then base the rest of the bathroom around it. Another plan of attack is to pick a design style and then select other elements that fit with this style. Take the time to make sure that everything that fits your design style is also functional. Even if you aren’t planning on selling anytime soon, it is important to consider resale potential when remodeling your bathroom.

Measurements

One of the most important factors to consider during a bathroom remodel is measurements. The size of your bathroom, the location of existing plumbing pipes and electrical wiring, and the dimensions of bathroom fixtures will greatly dictate what you can do with your renovation. Make sure to thoroughly measure your bathroom and fixtures and keep these measurements handy. Creating a scale model with graph paper is also helpful. You don’t want to attempt to shop without these measurements handy as that is a recipe for purchasing an item that just won’t fit.

Top to Bottom

A “top to bottom” approach to remodeling is recommended by almost all building professionals. Starting with ceilings first, walls second, and floors third will prevent damage and mistakes. It will also reduce cleanup time.

Contractor

Remodeling a bathroom is a complex and tedious job. Unless you are only making minor upgrades or have prior remodeling experience, it is often a far smarter decision to hire a contractor rather than DIY it. There are numerous advantages to hiring a contractor. Chief among them is saving yourself from a load of misery and wasted time. It is easy to use our website to find a list of contractors with experience in bathroom remodeling in your local area.

Plumbing

Naturally, plumbing is one of the most important aspects of remodeling your bathroom. Without it, well, you wouldn’t have a functioning bathroom, would you? Make sure to place particular emphasis on getting all of your fixtures up and running in prime condition. The shower, bathtub, toilet, sink, faucets, and showerheads should all be taken into account.

Walls & Flooring

The walls and flooring of your bathroom are one of the easiest areas to update in a remodeling. You can use pretty much any material as long as it is waterproof. There is both natural waterproofing and waterproofing from a finish. Of course, budget and style preference will play into what type of walls and flooring you install, but common choices include ceramic, marble, and granite tiles. These are widely considered to be the most durable and handsome. Cement, sheet vinyl, and vinyl tiles are all other great choices for flooring. These are affordable options that look much better than they used to. It is also important to make sure that the flooring you choose is both durable and slip-resistant.

Ventilation

Ventilation is a crucial, yet surprisingly overlooked, factor when it comes to remodeling your bathroom. Installing it is also a somewhat tricky task that needs serious planning. You need a good fan and you need to install it in the right position. Beyond this, you also need to make sure that the electrical wiring is on point. Poor bathroom ventilation will create a damp, moldy environment that is harmful to your health. A properly ventilated bathroom also prevents decay of wood finish, trim, and fixtures.

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Hiring a Contractor


Ask for Referrals

Word of mouth-hands down, is the best way to find a qualified professional to tackle the job. Ask relatives, friends and neighbors whom they've had good experiences with. And ask what made it a positive experience, how the contractor handled problems and whether he or she would use the same contractor again.

Credentials

With recommendations in hand, do some preliminary research, whether it's with a phone call or a visit to the contractor's website. Find out whether he or she holds all the required licenses from state and local municipalities, along with designations from any professional associations such as the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the National Association of Homebuilders. Look for contractors who have invested in course work and passed rigorous tests to earn particular certifications. Be aware, however, that not all certifications are created equal. Do some homework and find out the requirements.

Interview

Narrow down the list of contenders and set up meetings. Try to keep it to three contractors, because things can get confusing beyond that. How a contractor answers questions is extremely important, but communication goes both ways. Candidates should ask plenty of questions, too. Lastly, interview at least three contractors.

References

Ask to see some of the contractors' projects. If you approve of them, request references and call contractors' former customers to check up on them. Ask how the contractors did at executing the projects. Were they on time and on budget? Were the customers pleased with the outcome? Was there anything that could have been done differently?

Remember that when you're hiring a remodeler, you are buying a service and not a product. Quality of service will determine the quality of the finished project. Here are some things you'll want to explore and questions you'll want to ask when interviewing a remodeler.

Get It In Writing

After selecting a contractor, take a look at the documents he or she has prepared. Do they look professional? Scrutinize the contract. Does it seem fair and balanced? And make sure the legal agreement includes the following: 1) A bid price and payment schedule. 2) Specifics about the scope of work. 3) The site plan. 4) A sequential schedule of primary construction tasks. 5) A change-order clause. 6) A written procedural list for close-out. 7) An express limited warranty. 8) A clause about dispute resolution. 9) A waiver of lien, which would prevent subcontractors and suppliers from putting a lien on a house should their invoices go unpaid by the contractor.

Licenses/Complaints/Litigation History

General contractors and most subcontractors should be licensed, although the procedure varies by state and municipality. Check the disciplinary boards, Better Business Bureau and local court records for problems. Ask the contractor for a copy of his license and copies of the licenses of the major subcontractors who will work on the job.

10% Down Payment

You don’t want a contractor to use your money to finish someone else’s job. Christian says he will occasionally ask for up to 30 percent if expensive materials are needed immediately. The contract should include a payment schedule and triggers for progress payments.

Ground Rules

Discuss what hours the contractor can work at your home, what kind of notice you’ll get, what bathroom the workers will use and what will be cleaned up at the end of every workday.

Insurance Coverage

Know what is covered by your homeowners insurance and what is covered by your contractor’s business insurance. Get a copy of the company’s insurance policy.

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