Bathroom Remodeling

Bathroom remodeling is one of the most popular home improvement trends – consistently ranking in the top 10 reviewed categories for Angie’s List.

For hall bathrooms frequented by children and guests, renovations may be focused on making the most of a cramped space. Ideas include changing just a mirror into a mirror-faced cabinet or changing a pedestal sink to a vanity with cabinet space. However, a master bathroom offers more space and a private setting perfect for the spa model.

Many high-ranking remodelers provided the following tips for making your master bath into a dream spa:

  1. Install a luxury shower with multiple shower heads or a rain-style ceiling 
  2. Install a frameless glass shower door for a clean, modern look 
  3. Use granite throughout the bathroom – vanity and shower, namely 
  4. Use timeless fixtures and colors instead of trendy alternatives 
  5. Incorporate universal design by replacing low toilets with taller, easier-to-use ones

The first step in bathroom remodeling is to be realistic about your budget. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association in 2013, the average cost of bathroom remodeling has been $18,538 – cheaper than in 2012.

Before you meet with a contractor, you should:

  1. Check websites and home magazines for design ideas 
  2. Research materials and pieces in showrooms and retail stores 
  3. Talk to neighbors, friends, and family about their projects and outcomes 
  4. Check contractor reviews on trusted websites 
  5. Get multiple contractor bids 
  6. Ask for and check references for each potential contractor 
  7. Obtain at least three written estimates from different contractors with details about the renovations, project time, and materials to be used 
  8. Make sure you can reach the contractor as needed

Providing contractors with an idea of what you want based on showrooms, magazines, retail store displays, and websites will help them to give you the most accurate estimate breakdown. 

Be sure to ask the references provided by the contractor the following questions in order to ensure the best outcome for you and your home:

  1. Did the contractor meet expectations? 
  2. Were there any delays or miscommunications? 
  3. If so, how were they resolved? 
  4. How did the contractor handle request changes?

Also remember that bathroom remodeling often involves electricians and plumbers as well – two highly regulated professions.

As far as payment goes, 10 percent is reasonable for expected down payment. Do not every pay more than one-third of the total estimated project cost as a down payment and do not ever make any payments in cash. As always, keep a record/documentation of your payments and ask for receipts. Remodeling in general, but especially in bathrooms, often reveals hidden problems. While this is most likely not a scam, you can have a second opinion come in to look at the problem before agreeing to increase project cost and allow the contractor to fix the discovered issue. As a safety net, budget for 10 to 20% of your project cost as additional cost in the case of needed repair. That is, if you budget for a $20,000 renovation, set aside $22,000-$24,000 in case a problem is found.

Be prepared for the inconvenience ahead of time in order to minimize stress. If you’re remodeling the master bathroom, what will be your morning routine during the project time? Where will you get ready? Where will you store unused materials for the time being? What hours does the crew plan to work? If you’re prepared and able to stay out of their way, they should be finished—barring any unexpected problems—in the time they originally allotted.