Behind kitchen renovations, remodeling your bathroom is the most common project among people who have either recently moved into a new home or just want to spruce things up. Before hiring a contractor, however, there are a number of things you first want to take into consideration. Take a trip to your local hardware store to check out the different types of faucets, showers, and tiles you want, and plan your budget accordingly. Decide whether you merely want to switch out surfaces and mirrors or if you want a full, ground-up renovation. If you opt for the latter, freshome.com recommends doing a “full gut” of your bathroom to uncover hidden problems like water damage and aging plumbing.
Once you get a good mental image of what you want your new bathroom to look like, you will want to begin the search for your contractor. Reference our previous blog on looking for the right contractor for an in-depth guide, but on a basic level, you want to find someone who has done solid prior work. Ask contractors for references and see their work for yourself if you can. Though you want to find a reasonable bid, there are a few additional things you can do yourself to free up your budget. HGTV suggests keeping the same floor plan if possible to cut costs without cheapening the final product, or limiting the places tile is used. However, limestone tile is not recommended, as it absorbs water instead of resisting it.
If you are going the “full gut” route, replacing all the circuitry is probably a smart idea too. Especially if your house is older, the existing wires have probably been worn down from use, so consider electricity a smart use of your renovation budget. Toilets also wear down over time, and even if you are not completely replacing your toilet, new handles and chains are a cheap expense. When thinking about your countertop, different materials come with their various pros and cons. Natural stone countertops like granite tend to expensive not just in the short-term, but in the long-term since it needs to be re-sealed regularly. The alternatives are not as glamorous, but if you need to cut costs, it’s an easy decision.
Be careful of cutting too many corners with your budget, though, especially for vital non-cosmetic details like plumbing and light fixtures that are worth the full expense. You want the job done right the first time. This Old House points out that if you plan on adding a multi-head shower or soaker tub, you may need to also change your water heater to accommodate needing to supply you more hot water. In addition, while this may seem like common sense at first, make sure your contractor knows to place all mirrors, handles, and shelves at a height that everyone in your household can reach, especially if they have not met everyone you live with.