When it comes to home remodels, the bathroom is one of the rooms that frequently receives attention. But before you start the process, you must take the time to prepare for all that a bathroom remodel entails.
5 Tips for a Smooth Bathroom Remodel
Whether your desire is to upgrade your home so that you can maximize your own personal enjoyment, or you need to perform some TLC to put your property in a position to list it competitively on the MLS, a bathroom remodel can go a long way towards improving your home.
According to Zillow data, a bathroom remodel yields one of the beefiest returns of any home remodel project (in terms of increasing resale value). For minor cosmetic upgrades and improvements, you’ll see approximately $1.71 increase in value for every $1 you spend. And for most major remodels, you’ll do no worse than break even.
The key to a successful bathroom remodel is to pay attention to the details. And that means doing the following:
- Create Some Cushion in the Budget
You can dot all of your I’s and cross all of your T’s, but even the most perfect plans can come to a screeching halt when hidden surprises emerge. (Structural damage behind walls and outdated electrical are two of the biggest concerns.) This is why it’s always smart to build a 10 to 15 percent cushion into your initial budget.
“Involving your contractor early in the process also helps set a realistic budget,” home expert Dan DiClerico writes. “While they can’t see through walls, they might be able to do a pre-inspection of the house to spot potential problem areas. A spongy bathroom floor, for example, is a sure sign of water damage.”
If you’re anticipating spending $5,000 on your remodel, you should realistically plan to spend $5,500 to $5,750. And if you can only afford to spend $5,000, you should plan to spend no more than $4,350. (This will give you a 10 to 15 percent cushion before you reach the $5,000 max limit.)
- Find the Right Supplies
You can save a lot of money on your bathroom remodel by knowing where to shop for the right items. While big-box retailers certainly have some accessible options, you’ll find that they’re limited in diversity and finishes. (You’ll also pay a premium.) Instead, you’re better off using a bathroom remodel supplier that you can go to to find a variety of discounted options (including vanities, baths, toilets, mirrors, showerheads, etc.).
- Choose a Good Contractor
You can have the perfect plan in your head, but it all comes down to execution. And if you want to execute well, you need a reliable and skilled contractor on your team.
A good contractor will listen to your requests and then help you formulate a realistic game plan that fits your budget and makes the most sense. They should have good communication and be licensed/insured. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to act as the “general contractor” and keep everyone on task and up to speed.
“Think of renovations like surgery: to avoid getting the wrong knee replaced, make sure—then make sure again, then again, then one final time—that the proper knee (or bathroom) is marked and agreed upon,” home remodel expert Annie Quigley writes.
Never assume the contractor is on the same page. Take the lead, spell out the details, and follow up over and over again. If you feel like you’re micromanaging, you’re probably doing a good job.
- Pull Permits
While every jurisdiction has different building codes, you’ll find that almost any bathroom remodel involving electrical or plumbing renovations requires building permits. (If you’re only changing cosmetic elements, a permit is not required.) Make sure you follow the correct procedures to avoid getting fined for a failure to adhere to building codes.
- Close Off the Work Area
The final tip is to close off the work area – literally and figuratively.
Literally closing off the work area looks like following the proper procedures to keep dust and debris limited to the bathroom work area. (A failure to do so could make a mess of your entire home.) Figuratively closing off the work area looks like limiting your work to the bathroom, to avoid project scope creep. (It’s easy for a bathroom remodel to turn into a bedroom remodel, etc.)
Adding it All Up
Every bathroom remodel is going to look different. However, you’d do well to follow the tips and strategies outlined in this article before proceeding. In doing so, you’ll put yourself in a position to maximize both the value and enjoyment of your investment.