Bathroom Remodeling Tips – Find Out If Have a Low Level, Mid-Level, or Complete Tear-Out Project?

The idea of a bathroom remodel first conjures up images of the spa-like retreat of your dreams… followed by the reality of a DIY nightmare. It can go either way if you’re not adequately prepared. At this point, take into consideration your remodel timeline and what is feasible for you and your family. Read on as we walk through the steps of a bathroom remodeling project.

How Far Do You Want to Go?

For starters ask yourself, “Is this something we want to go through, and to what extent are we willing to go”?

  • Low Level Changes – Low-level changes or basic surface alterations should be considered if you like the general layout and size of the bathroom and the existing structure within is sound. Think “cover, not replace.” You still get your updated look with less hassle and cost.
  • Mid-Level Remodel – Mid-level remodels are more difficult and involve a change to the existing layout. This remodel includes surface alterations, as well as, changing the room layout even though the structural elements are okay as-is.
  • Complete Tear-Out/Remodel – If the structural elements are aged and in need of replacement/repair, you may have to consider a complete gut/remodel of the bathroom. This is the most difficult and time-intensive, but a beautiful, new bathroom without the right “bones” would be a waste of time and money.

Things to Consider When Renovating Your Bathroom…

Financing Your Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom remodeling can be expensive with costs ranging from $15,000 to $18,000 for a basic remodel. Add into that those other special design elements you desire and you can see how quickly costs can add up. A bathroom may be the smallest room in your home, but the cost to remodel can be extensive due to the amount of sub-contractors (i.e. plumbers, electricians) you will need for the various elements involved – cabinetry, lighting, tiling, etc. How to fund your bathroom renovation is another major consideration. A home equity loan is a common method of financing. Talk to your banking institution to learn more and find out if this is the best option for you.

Remodel Bathroom Yourself Or Hire a Contractor?

Now is the time to take a good, hard look at the project at-hand and make the choice to do it yourself or hire a pro. If you are motivated and are thinking along the lines of basic, surface alterations, you may be able to remodel the bathroom yourself. However, installing toilets and building a new shower/tub combo, may not be up your alley. Assess which projects you can feasibly do yourself and which are best left to the professionals. If you do intend to hire a contractor, be sure they are properly licensed. Keep in mind this license does not insure quality workmanship. It just means they have fulfilled the basic minimum requirements of the licensing agency.

You May Need Permits

Apply for permits EARLY. Electrical, building, and other permits may be required in your county/city/state jurisdictions. Lack of permits could put a hold on the project.

Changing the Layout

When remodeling a bathroom, remember that you’re not just dealing with the visible elements, but the underlying structure of plumbing and electrical systems as well. Carefully consider any layout changes, such as moving a sink to another wall or adding a shower where a closet used to be, as this will add to your remodel costs very quickly.

Drywall, Joists, and Other Structural Elements

During a remodel there is a good chance you may have to replace some drywall as bathrooms tend to collect moisture and over time the drywall can become damaged/weakened. When replacing drywall in a bathroom, be sure to use special moisture-resistant drywall commonly referred to as “green board”. In showers and baths you’ll need moisture-proof “backer board.” If you find that the wall studs and joists are bad/damaged, they will most likely need to be completely replaced.

Shower/Tub Repair, Refinish, or Replace

For many people, a new tub, shower or combo may be the motivating factor for the bathroom remodel. It is possible to repair, at very little cost, those few cracks showing on an acrylic or fiberglass tub/shower. If surface stains and discolorations are visible, you may need to take it a step further by doing a complete tub refinishing to repair the damage.

If the problems are significant and go beyond repair and refinishing, maybe think about installing a bathtub liner. If you need to go all the way, you can install a pre-fabricated acrylic or fiberglass shower/tub combo. These require no on-site building. Just be sure to measure beforehand so the unit will fit through your doorways. Another option is to build a tiled shower. Consider all your options before starting the project.

Bathroom Flooring

One of the final things to consider when doing a bathroom remodel is the flooring. Carefully weigh all of your bathroom flooring options when doing your remodel. Moisture is present in all bathrooms so avoid any type of flooring (i.e. hardwood) that does not tolerate moisture well. Ceramic tile, laminate and other types of engineered flooring are all good options to explore.

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W.Stephens Cabinetry and Design provides planning and design services for the entire home including kitchens, bathrooms, wet bars, butler pantries, libraries, home theaters, and closets. Our designers follow a project from conception to completion, assisting clients in not only space-planning and design but also guiding clients through each step of the project.

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  2. Design – We carefully design the space, keeping your desires as the foundation of our creativity.
  3. Feedback / Design Approval – Working with you, using your feedback to get final Design approval.
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