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Planning Your Bathroom Remodel

There are many reasons for remodeling a bathroom. Sometimes the changes are merely cosmetic, other times they are born of necessity. Whatever your motives may be for a making a change, it’s important to plan ahead.

First Steps

The first order of business is determining the size of the bathroom you wish to remodel.  You’ll also want to identify who will be using the bathroom and what special needs, if any, they may have.  And finally, but by no means of lesser importance, what is your budget for the project?

Although they are small, bathrooms contain an intricate network of plumbing and electrical connections. If you’re moving fixtures around, you may need to call on a contractor for help. Also, be aware that permits are required for electrical, plumbing and construction work. Applying for them early can keep your project from stalling.

If you’re knowledgeable and have the time, you may choose to save money and do it yourself. Hiring a contractor gets pricey quickly, but there is the advantage that you and your family won’t spend weeks or months dodging buckets until you’re able to complete the project.

What Will it Cost?

Just to give you some idea of what you are about to undertake, on average it costs about $150 per square foot to redesign a bathroom. If down the road you decide to sell your home, the return on your investment for a major remodel is substantial.

So, are you doing a refresh or a major remodel? Here are some things to consider.

Just a Touch-Up

It may be that all your bathroom needs is a little refresh. This includes things like painting, refinishing the bathtub, changing out light fixtures or window treatments, putting in a new vanity/sink/countertop or updating your fixtures and hardware. Sometimes just making these kinds of cosmetic changes can make all the difference and give your bathroom the facelift it needs. If you go this route, you could spend anywhere from $200 to $5,000.

Bathroom Remodeling of the Lesser Kind

If you’re not ready to start from scratch but you feel the need for drastic changes, you may be looking at a minor bathroom remodel. This level goes beyond cosmetic changes to replacing the bathtub/shower or installing a whirlpool, replacing and moving fixtures, adding or changing out a vanity/cabinets, replacing the floor or adding walls. This type of remodel is likely to run you from $5,000 to $15,000.

Tear it All Down

Major remodels involve major layout and structural changes that require the services of a professional plumber and electrician. Maybe you’d like to add a skylight to your bathroom. Or change the doorway to accommodate a wheelchair. Moving a bathtub or changing its configuration is also part of a major remodel. You’ll want to plan carefully for a major bathroom remodel, because it will likely set you back $15,000 or more.

Planning Your New Bathroom

Given the limited amount of space involved, using a bathroom planner to map out your new bathroom is a great idea. To get started, keep in mind the “who” and “how” of the room’s users.

If you’re remodeling to make your bathroom more accessible to an aging parent, for example, you will want to familiarize yourself with the fixtures and features that will work best with that person’s limitations. Consider investing in a universal design, which employs wider doorways, walk-in tubs and taller toilets. As well as making life easier for your favorite senior, a universal design adds to the value of your home when it’s time to sell.

A master bathroom can soak up a lot of your time and effort when you’re planning to remodel. You may decide to upgrade to include dual sinks or add a whirlpool. On the other hand, upgrading a child’s bathroom probably won’t require more than cosmetic changes.

Using existing plumbing connections will save you a lot of planning (and cash). On the other hand, if you need to change the type of tub you have or move it to the other side of the bathroom, you’ll definitely need a planner.  

Under, Over and Around

If flooring is on your list of re-do’s, consider a color that goes well with the walls and the tile textures you currently have (or their replacements).  You’ll need to select two types of tile for your walls, one for the main room and the other for the shower portion. The two tile styles should play well together and, most importantly, withstand lots of moisture. The best tiles are made of porcelain, which is ideal for resisting moisture, soap stains and odors, as well as bacteria.

Changing Out Fixtures

When choosing new fixtures, you can either decide to match them using the same pattern from one manufacturer or you can get a little creative by mixing and matching complementary styles. Remember, you’re working with a small space, however, and keep it simple – don’t introduce too many different metals or finishes. And be sure to keep your cabinet hardware in mind to create a cohesive look for your new space.

Lights On

While often considered a finishing touch, lighting is an integral part of your bathroom remodel. You have four types of lighting to consider: ambient, task, accent and decorative. The right usage of each style makes for a bathroom space that is both well lit and visually pleasing.  Using a combination of natural and artificial light is the best way to go. A skylight or window gives a natural glow to your bathroom. For larger bathrooms, fixtures should ideally provide 75 to 100 watts of light.

Where to Put it All

How are you set for storage? Is there a linen closet nearby, or do you need more space under your vanity or an extra built-in shelf (or two)?

Functional add-ons

Make sure your new space is properly vented. Built-in fans help remove the excess moisture and keep your bathroom dry and floors slip-free.

Check your hot water tank, too. Make sure your new plan allows for an adequate hot water supply.

 Bathroom remodeling can be both exciting and exhausting. But if you keep your final goals in mind, you’ll reap the benefits of your new bathroom for many years to come.

 

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