A remodeled or new bath is not just an indulgence- it’s a smart idea! It’s a great way to spruce up your home and your attitude- once you’re done, you’ll have a more functional room that will provide daily comfort and potentially increase the value of your home.

With all the options and items to consider, it’s easy to quickly become overwhelmed. Planning is the key for successful results and for getting the most for your investment. Also, be realistic; anticipate chaos and changes during the remodeling process-be flexible and don’t freak out!

1. Planning

Planning involves having a thorough understanding of your likes, dislikes and ultimate goals. Begin by thinking what you would like to change or what you need to change or best stated- how far do you want to go within the ranges described below? Consider what renovations or remodeling projects would increase the value of your home. Make a list of the things you need to do, then make a list of the things you want to do- this will help prioritize projects.

2. Surface Alterations

You like the general layout, size and the structure supporting the bathroom (joists, walls, etc.) are sound. A common saying is, “Cover, not replace”. It’s a good place to start and getting a feel for future projects!

3. Changing the Layout

This is more difficult since you are incorporating surface alterations, keeping the functional structural elements, but are moving these items to suit your needs. This gets trickier since you’re dealing with the underlying structures- plumbing and electrical. Be sure to consider this option carefully and consult with experts about moving these structures.

4. The Complete Remodel

This is the most difficult, time consuming and expensive – a complete remodel averages 20-25 days. This option is usually considered when years of accumulated moisture have rotted away the joists and wall studs, the structural elements, and/or the bathroom flooring.

New Walls, Joists, and Other Structural Elements
From the moisture that accumulates over the years, chances are you may need to replace the special moisture-resistant drywall commonly called “green board”. in the very wet areas like showers and baths you’ll be using moisture-proof backer board. Sometimes this may be all that is needed, but more often the moisture accrued calls for replacing wall studs and joists.

Shower and Tub Repair, Refinishing, or Replacement
The shower, tub, or shower/tub combination is the heart of the bathroom. For many people, this may be the entire reason for the bathroom remodel. If the worst thing is a few cracks, it is possible to self-repair your acrylic or fiberglass shower/tub for very little money. For many homeowners, though, the surface might be stained and discolored, so tub refinishing would be in order.

Bathroom Flooring
Moisture is to blame here, again. Special attention to the type of flooring required is crucial- for example, hardwood flooring is not the best option since it’s unable to tolerate moisture well. Ceramic tiles, laminate floorings and engineered floorings are favorites and should be considered.

5. Budget

Remodeling your bath can be expensive- costs can range from $5,000 to $30,000 depending on the amount of work and change you want to implement. The average cost for a small bath full remodel can run up to $8,000 in expenses, if you’re hiring a contractor. This may seem like a lot at first, but in the end hiring an expert does save a lot time and frustration. Keeping the average cost in mind, the average return on your investment is estimated at 80% (Remodeling Online Survey by Hanley Wood, 2008)!

In short:

  • Do the homework; estimate all costs as closely as possible to create an accurate design and construction budget to work within. Be sure to get estimates from professionals. Determine how much you can spend, finance and then save 20% for emergencies.
  • Understand all the required permits and their costs- i.e. Electrical, plumbing, HVAC, structural permits, etc.
  • Consider “DIY” tasks, BUT contract for unfamiliar tasks!

And last, don’t forget to have fun with your project!