You bought a house and decided the bathroom isn’t what you really wanted or needed. You have lived with your bathroom for many years now and thinking about fixing it up and updating it. You have broken tiles or fixtures that have been bothering you for some time. Any of these would lead you to a decision that it’s time for a bathroom remodel.
Here are 10 important things to consider before you start demolishing your bathroom and going ahead with the remodeling.
1. Planning your bathroom remodeling
2. Design your space
3. Look at and feel the materials you will use
4. Pay attention to the structure
5. The cost of the bathroom remodel
6. Getting a contractor
7. How will it affect your schedule?
8. Don't forget the water
9. Lighting, ventilation and electrical
10. New technologies
Planning your bathroom remodeling
Planning is always the best way to start. Think about and write what led you to the decision to do a bathroom remodel and what you hope to accomplish by the end of it. Browse through the internet and look at those bathroom designs you see everywhere. Get a feel of what would work for you and what you would need.
You must have seen a lot of bathrooms showcased and must have a fair idea of what you would like to do with your existing bathroom. You could do the design yourself but you would also need to know how it would all blend in. If you are tech savvy and can draw your concepts on available drawing software, or one of those that can actually draw, go ahead and prepare a few concepts. Discuss it with the people that are going to share the bathroom with you or with your friends. Listen to their suggestions and see what you need to change.
Design your space
You now have a concept and it’s decided to push on. Consider hiring an Architect as they would know the specific requirements to get the project started and the building codes that need to be satisfied to get your project going. An experienced Architect will also guide you on what will work with your available space and suggest more ideas, especially if you happened to overlook some basic bathroom design features. If your design needs a larger space than what you have, the Architect can also suggest how you can cut in to another area of your home as efficiently as possible.
When we design for our bathroom remodel, we often take bits and pieces of other designs we have seen and used in other homes or even in hotels. Some of these ideas won’t necessarily work or blend with the entire design, not only for the bathroom, but for the whole home. Consider also the adjoining areas to the bathroom, be it a bedroom, hallway or living space and think about how your bathroom remodel fits into those, especially if you are planning a remodel for those areas as well in the future.
Get suggestions from your architect, and see how you feel about them. Remember, it’s you who would be using the bathroom for years to come and not the Architect, so if you’re not comfortable about anything, let your architect know and come up with another suitable option.
Look at and feel the materials you will use
We can easily buy materials online, but there’s no substitute for seeing an item in person and getting the feel of the material. It may look good in photos but that’s actually what the seller needs to do in order to sell. Look around at different stores and brands. Also, see what other options or substitutes you can find.
There are so many kinds of floor and wall finishes to choose from. Tiles come in so many kinds of materials, appearance and texture. And tiles are not the only finishes available that can be used for wet areas. Shop around and take your architects suggestion and see if it feels right for you.
Bathroom fixtures are also items that you have to pay attention to. Depending on your space and your design, tubs, shower enclosures and other fixtures vary in sizes and styles. Sit on the water closet, lay in the tub, mimic washing your face on the basin and see how you like their feel.
Pay attention to the structure
Whether you’re working with your existing available space or enlarging your bathroom space, you would need to consult an experienced Structural Engineer. Bathrooms in basements needs to be checked for any damage to waterproofing during demolition of existing and during construction of new bathroom. Ground and upper level bathrooms would also need the same checks in waterproofing and also its effect on your existing home’s structure, especially if you are extending and going through adjacent walls.
After the demolition, when everything is exposed, this is also a good time for the Structural Engineer to inspect the walls and floors that were revealed to check if anything was damaged during the demolition. You would also need these inspections documented for future use.
The cost of the bathroom remodel
Cost of the bathroom remodel should be one of the most important considerations. After the designs have been made, your Architect and Structural engineer should be able to provide you with an estimated cost and based on that, you can either trim it down or add up other items depending on your budget.
If you find you are going over budget, consider other material options first rather than taking an item out. There’s always something cheaper, maybe not the same quality or features, but choose something you can live with and something that might be easy to upgrade in the future.
Also, think about what you can plan for now that can be easily added in without demolishing anything, a good example would be storage cabinets, you can have the space prepared but not done and then it could be a weekend DIY project for you.
Getting a contractor
Find a contractor that you are comfortable with. Get at least two or three estimates and go through the same process as you would as if you’re building a new home. Keep in mind that a bathroom remodel is one of the most expensive renovations per square foot in a home. Vetting the contractor’s credentials is crucial to a successful remodeling project.
Lay out all your guidelines with the contractor like what time they can come in and work, cleaning up for the day and final clean, additional costs in labor per hour, etc.
How will it affect your schedule?
Bathroom remodel schedule will not greatly affect you if you are not staying there, but even if this is the case, see how you would fit inspections within your schedule. If you would be staying in your home through the remodeling, consider which other bathrooms you can use for that duration and also what facilities the workers will use.
You would have set the working schedule with your contractor from the start, so make sure they follow it. Consider also your privacy and security when preparing the schedule. Last but not the least, take into account your neighbors as demolition and construction will create noise and unusual activities may affect them.
Don’t forget the water
Bathroom design is all about the use of water and don’t forget to give this a priority. There’s a wide variety of faucets and shower fixtures from inexpensive ones to those that cost exorbitant amounts. Try to choose the best ones that would fit your budget considering the quality, material, flow or consumption rate, availability of repair parts and ease of replacement.
Check that your existing plumbing is adequate or needs replacement. Years of usage would most probably have left rust or clogs that you need to pay attention to.
Lighting, ventilation and electrical
Depending on how long ago your bathroom was constructed, it may not have adequate lighting or ventilation. Integrate these into your new design and building codes. Check also all the electrical rough-ins if they are adequate or need upgrading.
Lighting and ventilation also affect how your new bathroom will look and feel. Different finishes and textures on the items you are to install react differently to different light sources. Windows are also an item to consider here, how they let in sunlight, help in ventilation and affect the bathroom in cold or warm weather.
New technologies and materials
Your bathroom remodel will be something you have to live with for the next ten or more years. Consider taking into account new technologies in materials and bathrooms systems. A few samples are water saving water closets, shower heads and faucets, new materials for shower enclosures, more efficient hot water systems, floor heaters and solar water heaters.
Taking advantage of these new technologies and materials may be a bit more expensive as of now but may save you in the future on your utility bills and replacement costs.
How we can help
Bathroom remodeling is a painstaking task and is something you may have to do now or sometime in the future, we at Design Everest are more than capable to assist you with our teams of experienced engineers with a track record of 14+ years in the industry with excess of 4,000 completed projects.
*Note: The content published above was made in collaboration with members of Design Everest.