A new bathroom can bring luxury and convenience into a household that often struggles with cramped spaces, old fixtures and dated finishes. But a full renovation can also be a significant investment in time and money. A well-designed project, however, can yield years of enjoyment and add substantial value to your home.
A full-scale bathroom remodel includes a gut renovation as well as structural changes to the footprint and altering the ceiling or roof, for example. These types of projects require a permit, and can be difficult and costly to complete without professional help.
Cosmetic changes like painting, replacing cabinet hardware and installing new flooring don’t usually require a permit. More extensive remodeling, including removing and installing a new vanity, moving the location of the sink or toilet, relocating plumbing pipes and relocating electrical outlets, will likely need a permit. Check with your local building department to learn what your specific city requires.
To keep a bathroom renovation within budget, it’s important to create a plan and stick with it. It’s also a good idea to put aside or dedicate a percentage of the total cost of the project for contingencies. That way, if any unexpected issues arise, you won’t be forced to cut corners elsewhere in the project or borrow money to cover the costs.
The biggest costs in a bathroom remodel are materials and labor. To keep expenses down, shop around to find the best deals on products and contractors. Obtain quotes from several different companies and compare the quality of their work to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
Before demolition begins, protect surfaces and furnishings you wish to remain in place by covering them with tarps or plastic. This will prevent debris and dust from settling on furniture, fixtures, cabinets and other areas you want to remain intact.
Depending on your scope of renovation, you may need to order and install custom-made components to achieve the look you’re after. Custom cabinetry, for instance, can add thousands of dollars to your total remodeling expense. To minimize these costs, opt for a standard size cabinet where possible.
Once the drywall is installed, it’s typically a good idea to paint the space. Select a high-quality interior paint with a semigloss or gloss finish that will hold up to moisture. It’s also a good idea at this stage to apply a waterproof vapor barrier in damp areas, such as behind the tub or shower enclosure.
It’s also a good idea to paint the space before installing any fixtures or putting in floor tile, says Soto. It reduces the risk of splatter from construction work marring newly-applied paint or tile and makes cleaning up easier afterward.