Bathroom renovations are challenging and expensive projects that can create more space in your shower and even make your home more energy-efficient. But with the many renovation ideas available, I bet you’re wondering what things to consider when renovating your bathroom? And that is because bathroom renovation is more than just replacing some fixtures in the bathroom, so after doing some thorough research, this is what I found out.
Many homeowners believe that bathroom renovation means deconstructing the entire bathroom, but it can also mean replacing a few items to help enhance its look. Renovating your bathroom is a tedious task that can do more than improve your home; it can also increase its resale value.
Unfortunately, there are numerous decisions to be made when renovating your bathroom, and this includes the types of fixtures and tiles to use. So in this article, we’ll give you all the things you might want to consider when renovating a bathroom in your home, including how to hire the right contractor, and which simple renovation ideas can improve your bathroom without burning a hole in your pocket.
10 Things to Consider When Renovating Your Bathroom
Here are 10 important considerations you’ll need to make when renovating your bathroom, including tips on how to make sure each decision is carefully and wisely made.
#1: Choose the Right Contractor for the Job
Remodeling your bathroom is one satisfying project that always gives you instant and personal results. Remodeling tasks like installing a new vanity with a countertop, repainting the bathroom, or adding a sparkling new bathtub can breathe new life into your shower. And one way to ensure this happens is by hiring the right contractor for the job.
So the first thing you should do is ask your family members and friends for referrals. You can even go online and look for experienced individuals who can handle the type of remodeling you plan on doing and then contact them. When hiring the right contractor, you should do the following:
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- Interview more than three contractors: talking to more than three contractors helps you get different ideas and even better rates. It also makes it easy for you to get an individual who can capture your vision and help you create a beautiful bathroom.
- Review their previous jobs: all contractors always have picture galleries of their previous jobs online and picture books. So you can review them, and if it’s a referral from a friend, you can see the contractor’s work and get more information about the experience.
- Get an estimate of the entire project in writing: When dealing with contractors, it is always a good idea to ask for a detailed written estimate. And that is because numbers can be misinterpreted or forgotten in a verbal agreement. (2)
- Create a schedule for the entire project: ensure the contractor clarifies when the job will start and the job’s overall duration.
- Clarify what types of renovations you want the contractor to do: it’s important to be specific so that there are no misunderstandings.
- Verify the contractors’ credentials and licenses: all contractors must be licensed, registered, and, most importantly, they must be insured.
- Find out how the contractor feels about reusing some of the materials in the house: this may be an excellent way to save some money and produce less waste. Some contractors won’t do this, but it is always worth asking.
- Check references: once you have seen some of the contractor’s previous projects, you can ask for references. Make sure you call some of the contractor’s previous clients and find out how they did the job. You could ask them if they completed the project on time and within the budget. (1)
Once you have done the above things, you can finally sit down and choose the right professional for the job. Make sure their previous renovation jobs are in line with your current project. And don’t sign any contract until everything checks out.
#2: Make the Right Plumbing Choices
Most residential buildings use 1.5 inches pipes for drains. Unfortunately, these pipes are prone to clogging thanks to the hair and gunk that goes down your drains. So make sure you replace your existing pipes with larger ones that are less likely to clog.
After all, the price difference is relatively small, but most importantly, make sure you purchase the correct type of pipe for your renovation project. Generally, there are five types of pipes used when renovating a bathroom, including galvanized, copper, ABS, PVC, and PEX. However, not all types are ideal for all situations, nor are they all up to your regions’ building codes. Here’s a breakdown of each one:
PEX (cross-linked polyethylene pipes) are affordable and quite popular because they don’t leach traces of corrosion or rust into the water. PEX is flexible and easy to install. Plus, they are the best option for piping both cold and hot water.
Waste and drain systems often employ PVC pipes. PVC pipes are ideal for systems with low pressure and low temperature.
Another option for vents is the pipes made from ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). (3) ABS works the same way as PVC pipes, but they are less popular. ABS pipes have higher impact strength than PVC, particularly at very low temperatures. (11)
Copper pipes have been in use for decades; therefore, you will find them around most bathtubs, showers, and sinks. Copper pipes are still quite popular thanks to the fact that they don’t affect the water quality. The only limitation with this pipe is that you will need a propane torch to seal the joints during the installation process.
Even though rarely used in new buildings, galvanized pipes were once quite popular. They were the best alternative decades ago when lead pipes were still in the market. But the only problem with galvanized pipes is that they tend to rust with time.
#3: Get the Lighting Right
When upgrading your bathroom, you should consider installing a layer of lights instead of just a single ceiling light. After all, an overhead bulb will cast a shadow on some parts of your body when grooming. But several bulbs, including some on vertical fixtures and wall-mounted options, can produce diffused light for applying your makeup and shaving.
The toilet and shower must also have some dedicated task lights like recessed canister lighting. Make sure you install dimmer switches so that you can easily adjust the mood in the bathroom when showering. Some of the best types of lighting for bathrooms include:
In smaller bathrooms with clear glass doors, a dedicated lighting fixture is not mandatory. But the best option is a recessed lighting fixture with glass lenses. This lighting can also work perfectly over a toilet or a freestanding tub. (4)
Vanity lighting is the best option that can help illuminate your face and head when grooming. But, try and avoid installing recessed lighting directly over the mirror as it will cast shadows on your face making it hard for you to shave or apply your makeup. Instead, you should install vertical sconces on both sides of the mirror.
But considering the positioning and size of some mirrors, installing sidelights can be impractical. So in some cases, you might have to install the lights directly on the mirrors, which can be a bit costly. (4)
Ambient lighting fixtures are fill-in lighting that can substitute natural light. A surface-mounted ceiling light typically supplies ambient lighting so that you can use a chandelier or pendant lamp. You can also install cove lighting behind the molding drop situated several inches below the ceiling. (14)
#4: Install a Window in Your Bathroom
While bathrooms with windows still surprise some individuals, they have become quite common among homeowners for a reason. Windows allow a natural source of warmth and light into the shower leaving an illusion of a larger shower. Windows also provide an escape route for moisture and odors.
And if done correctly, a window can be a great addition to your bathroom. But make sure you use frosted glass panels for extra privacy. Or you can install shutters or shades to cover the window in the bathroom. (15)
To be on the safe side, make sure that the wall has stone jambs to help keep the window watertight. You can also slope the sill downwards and away for proper drainage. The best types of windows that you can install in bathrooms are the tilt and turn windows.
These windows have plastic handles, so you will never have to worry about rusting, and the screen is on the outer part. The tilt-and-turn windows provide the needed privacy even when opened.
#5: Choose the Right Type of Tiles
When selecting the best type of tiles for your bathroom’s floor, you should consider how it performs when exposed to a lot of water. Water is everywhere in the shower; it is on the floor, ceiling, and walls. After all, moisture can damage the wrong type of floor.
Other than moisture, there are numerous factors you must put into consideration, like the ease of installation, cost, appearance, and durability. So here are some of the best tiles for bathrooms that you must consider:
Considered one of the world’s best bathroom tiles, Porcelain is cost-effective, stylish, and waterproof. Porcelain tile has a water absorption rate of about 0.5%. (6) Porcelain tiles are made using denser clay than other ceramic tiles.
And since there are numerous types of ceramic tiles, homeowners are spoilt for choice. You can even purchase porcelain tiles that look like stone or wood.
Thanks to their excellent look, vinyl has been a popular choice for bathrooms for years. There are numerous kinds of vinyl flooring, with the best option for children’s bathrooms being sheet vinyl flooring. Sheet vinyl flooring is available in large sizes; therefore, installing them can be pretty straightforward.
Another popular type of vinyl flooring is the Luxury vinyl plank flooring. This type of vinyl flooring comes with a length of approximately 48 inches and a width of about 5 inches.
Despite being quite costly, natural stone is an excellent choice for bathroom floors. There are very few moisture issues with limestone, granite, and marble, among other stone flooring materials. This material is durable, rugged, and very good-looking.
Natural stone can be pretty slippery and cold. Luckily, the coldness issue can be rectified by radiant heating. On the other hand, you can also control the slippery factor by installing natural stones and increase the stone texture.
Laminate flooring is a better option for bathrooms than hardwood floors. They are resin-impregnated paper on a wooden base. And its surface is an image of marble, slate, cherry, or oak, among other materials.
Laminate flooring can work perfectly in showers if you protect the wooden base from water. So make sure you use tight seams between the tiles that will prevent water from working its way downwards.
Engineered flooring features a plywood base that holds up against high moisture levels. Engineered floors are better than solid woods when exposed to high moisture conditions. So if you plan on having a wooden floor on your shower, you should go for engineered wood. (7)
When installing your bathroom floor, you should go for smaller tiles because they are way easier to slope than the larger ones. Larger tiles are more slippery than small ones since their grouts are further apart. Therefore, smaller tiles offer more traction than large ones.
#6: Remember to Fit Shower Sills
Just like shower fittings and lighting, shower sills are also an essential part of all the bathrooms. Shower sills prevent water from spilling on the surrounding surfaces, and this can protect your floors. And just like window sills, shower sills must be slopped correctly into your shower.
And when redesigning your shower curb, you should select solid materials like quartz or stone. And that is because tiles can allow water to seep through the grout lines to the framing. (5)
#7: Don’t Forget to Consider Drawer Storage
Instead of going for a vanity with doors, you should look for vanities with drawer storage. After all, drawers are easier to organize and access than most types of storage options. You can easily install drawer storage, and it can be large enough to accommodate more significant items.
#8: Bathtub or a Walk-in Shower?
Both bathtub and walk-in showers have their pros and cons; therefore, choosing between the two can be pretty challenging for some homeowners. And for some people removing the tub can seem like a great idea. So before making this decision, you should ask yourself the following questions:
Do You Plan on Selling the House in the Future?
Most realtors would advise you against removing a bathtub if you plan on selling it in the future. And that is because removing the bathtub will discourage some buyers from making an offer on your home. a home with no bathtub is not appealing to folks with children or expectant couples.
Who Will Use the Bathroom?
Another factor that can help you make a decision is who will be using the bathroom. Young folks with busy schedules prefer showers over bathtubs. (8) The elderly and people with disabilities prefer showers because getting in and out of them can be relatively easy compared to other types.
How Much Space Does Your Bathroom Have?
Average baths have an area of about 40 sq. ft. and tubs occupy an area of about 15 sq. ft. However, bathrooms are pretty busy, and having a cramped space can be very stressful. Therefore, a walk-in shower is ideal for people with a smaller bathroom.
#9: Floor-Mounted vs. Wall-Hung Toilets
Wall-hung toilets have grown in popularity in the last few years, and for a great reason. Compared to the floor-mounted ones, they take less space and are not as expensive as they used to be in the past. Wall-mounted toilets are sleek and installed at the right height.
And the fact that it doesn’t touch the floor means that it’s easy to keep your bathroom clean. With the wall-mounted ones, the water tank and the plumbing are hidden behind the wall. So you will need a professional if you ever think of replacing it with a floor-mounted one in the future. (9)
If you’re planning to install a toilet on a spot where an old sink was, here’s a step-by-step guide I wrote on putting a toilet where a sink was that might help.
#10: Choose the Right Grout for Your Bathroom
The grout can make or break your newly remodeled bathroom. It might be a small and afterthought thing to most people, but it plays a massive role in remodeling your bathroom. A grout can seal out water and dirt and even compensate for the slight difference between tiles.
So before choosing the best grout for your tiles, you should ask yourself the following question:
- Do you want the grout to blend with your floor or stand out?
- Will the grout be in reasonably dry or high splash zones?
- Will dirty grout affect your bathroom’s décor?
Fortunately, there are two types of grouts in the market (synthetic and cementitious grout) with numerous variations in pigment, grain size, and material. So the best option for high-water zones is synthetic grout, while you can use the cementitious in other places. The best type of synthetic grout for bathrooms is synthetic polymeric mold-resistant grout. (10)
The synthetic polymeric mold-resistant grout helps preserve your floor’s overall look for a very long time. The grout color also matters a lot when picking the correct type of grout for your floor.
What Is the Average Cost of Renovating a Bathroom?
The average cost of remodeling a bathroom is about $10,768, with many folks spending between $6,136 and $15,401. The cost of updating the essentials in a small-to-medium-sized bathroom is between $3,500 and $7,000. On huge bathrooms, you can spend more than $25,000. (12)
Can I Renovate My Own Bathroom?
You can remodel your shower if you have the necessary experience. You can tackle the surface-level fixes, which can be pretty straightforward, leaving the electrical and plumbing jobs to professionals. But when doing a complete remodel, it’s always a great idea to work with an experienced professional.
Can You Reduce Your Remodeling Budget to Below $5,000?
When renovating the bathroom, about 50% of your budget goes to labor. So, you can find a great professional and work with them to lower the labor costs and still get great results. The most crucial money-saving skills are your negotiation skills and knowledge. (13)
Depending on the upgrades, the cost of renovating your bathroom can vary between $10,768 and $25,000. And despite your renovation ideas, you need to hire the right contractor ready to work within your budget and stick to his/her schedule. Make sure you do your homework before hiring a contractor. And it is always best to ensure they have done projects similar to yours in the past.