Have you noticed some wear-and-tear in your bathroom? A chip in the sink? Stains in the bottom of the tub? A leaky faucet? Or just outdated fixtures and decor? It’s time for a bathroom renovation, and here are some timely, essential tips:
It’s time for an update
Before you start stripping the wallpaper or taking a sledgehammer to the walls, there are a few things to do before remodeling starts. It’s critical to establish a bathroom renovation plan that includes a design, budget and realistic timeline. The more detailed the plan, the better chance of meeting your goals. Remember though, even the most structured plans may encounter delays and complications. Build in extra time for those little hiccups.
These tips will help organize your project and keep your budget on track:
Create a Bathroom Renovation Design
This is where everything starts. What is your vision for the room? Are you looking for a few minor updates or are you committed a full-scale renovation?
- Do your research—concepts and ideas are everywhere you look. Online searches will produce a limitless number of designs. Check home and garden sites, Pinterest idea boards, and manufacturer’s websites for trending products and designs. Visit your local home improvement centers for vignette layouts that may fit your bathroom plans.
- Create a wish list—record every item an idea you’d like to consider for your project. While it will likely be longer than is practical, you can always narrow down your selections to incorporate the best options for your room and budget.
- Consider these ideas:
- Upgrade your vanity with a vintage furniture piece. An antique dresser works perfectly in place of a standard vanity. Cut out the back to fit plumbing, seal the drawers for a decorative look, and set a vessel sink on top.
- If you use a standard vanity, add a granite countertop to create a wow factor. You can add an upgraded product without breaking the bank.
- Open shelving works well in small bathrooms to open up the room and make it look larger. Roll towels for decorative storage and use covered baskets and a few drawers for other bath products and toiletries.
- Use a blend of lighting —sconces at the vanity, dimmable lighting for relaxing in the bath, and brighter fixtures for applying makeup or shaving.
- Add a bright paint colour to one wall to create a new look. Add a coordinating tile to bring the entire look together.
- Don’t forget to add some ventilation to the room. As a high-moisture area, mold and mildew growth can be a real problem. At minimum, replace your vent fan for quiet ventilation. The best idea is to incorporate a window into the plan. Check out replacement window problems and solutions to keep your space well ventilated and effective year-round.
Establish a Budget
Your budget will dictate whether you attempt to do the work yourself or hire a professional contractor. Although you may save labour costs with a DIY-project, you could end up spending more in material costs, incorrect installation, undesired finished product, or lengthy delays in getting the project done.
- Determine what needs to be done—revised layout, new fixtures, aesthetic updates? Consider leaving plumbing fixtures in the same location to save thousands of dollars.
- Reuse or recycle fixtures/refinish or install liner over tub
- Can you do the work or do you need to hire a Winnipeg contractors?
- Really assess your skill level and determine what you realistically can do.
- Consider doing demo and prep work yourself. This can be a significant cost savings.
- Ask for contractor referrals from friends, family co-workers, and neighbours who have had work done recently.
- Can you buy the materials yourself – online or discount stores?
- How long are you going to live in the house? Consider the return on investment for an extensive bathroom remodelling job.
While you may be tempted to shortcut the process by not getting the proper work permits, waterproofing, plumbing and electrical work must be completed by a licensed professional. Adhering to local building codes will ensure you’re doing the project legally, meeting standard specifications, and keeping your job-site safe.
If you have an older home, you may encounter asbestos (a cancer-causing sheeting) that must be removed by a specialist, or lead paint that can also pose a health risk (especially for children in the home.)
Make Temporary Washroom Accommodations
Once you start renovation work, life will be disrupted for a few weeks. It’s a good idea to double the timeframe you or your contractor planned to account for any delays due to unforeseen issues like rotten sub-flooring or material delays.
If you’re going to be living in the house while work is being done, you may need to alter your bathroom routine to accommodate worker schedules or transfer everything to another bathroom in the house. Extended reno work may require a hotel stay.
Make Sure You’re Protected
Construction zones are dangerous areas and when they’re in your home, you’ll need to be especially careful to protect children and pets from harm. In addition:
- Protect your personal belongings (remove bathroom items, medicines, toiletries, linens, appliances, etc.)
- If hiring a contractor, make sure someone is in the house while workers are there.
- Protect the rest of the house from drywall dust, exposure to asbestos and mold, contractor traffic.
Plan Enough Time When Ordering Materials
If you need to order materials for your bathroom renovation project, make sure you allow plenty of time to get them delivered. Whether you order from a local home improvement store or an online retailer, be sure to order extra tiles and paint. You don’t want to worry about matching colours and patterns in addition to delaying your project.
- You can expect long delivery dates for exotic or imported materials.
- Obtaining a replacement window in the proper size may require a long lead time.
- Unique and recycled products like an antique vanity/dresser or reclaimed wood may take some time to locate.
- Consider ordering new handles and pulls for your existing vanity online. There’s a large variety and they may be less expensive. Make sure to match the hole pattern as they come in different widths.
- If you’re doing the work yourself, don’t forget to purchase the prep materials like underlayment, joint compound, nails, adhesives, nails, etc.
When ordering materials and supplies for your bathroom renonovation, it’s a good idea to set up a staging place for everything. It should be a clean, dry area that’s out of the way but with easy access. Check boxes upon arrival to check for damage or incorrect orders. Keep receipts in one place in case of future returns. Keep a tally of dollars spent to keep your budget on target. It’ll be best not to store building materials in the room you’ll be renovating. Consider one of these places instead:
- Another part of the house
- Rental storage pod
Once your renovation work has begun, it’s important to keep ahead of the clean-up or you’ll be dragging dirt and debris throughout the house.
- Close off the bathroom when doing demo work, drywall sanding or tile cutting.
- Cover carpeting and other flooring in traffic areas to and from the bathroom. This will protect the existing surfaces and help clean-up to go quickly.
- Rent a dumpster to dispose of tear-out materials as your trash pick-up may not accept everything.
Updating your bathroom can be time-consuming and expensive, but it can also be exciting and fun. Take the time to design your project, establish a budget, and set a realistic timeline, and you’ll be rewarded with an amazing new room that will be the envy of your friends and family for years to come, and will add value to your home for when it comes time to sell.
Guest Post by Serge Bojinski
Editor of RenoHood.com, blogger and home improvement enthusiast. Healthy life style advocate who lives by the motto: “Attitude determines the altitude of life.” Dreamer and doer. You can connect with him on Twitter @SBojinski
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