Bathrooms go by many names and serve many purposes. My kids call their bathroom their "splash playground". My wife calls it her "private retreat." I call it "where I get ready for work in the morning." Whatever your name or purpose for your bathroom, there are questions to ask as you contemplate your bathroom renovations.
What do I want my bathroom to look like?
What is your style? What do you want your bathroom to feel like when you walk into it? Do you want it to feel sophisticated? Soft? Elegant? What don't you like about your bathroom? There are many styles and faces that your bathroom can take. From Asian, contemporary, country, eclectic, modern, romantic, transitional, traditional, or a mixture of any of the aforementioned. Take inspiration from magazines or seek professional help. A great designer can help make putting everything together easier. Selecting finishes can be a chore and consulting a design professional may make things go smoother and help put the larger picture in perspective. Picking things out for bathrooms can be more difficult than designing a kitchen. Cabinets, faucets, countertops, tubs, accessories (like paper holders and towel bars), tile, accents, shower fixtures, shower doors, paint colors, mirrors, and storage solutions are just some decisions that you need to make in designing a bathroom. A great designer can also help you solve the problems you may not like about your bathroom. For example, if you think your bathroom is "too small," a great designer can help show you some solutions in expanding your bathroom. If expanding to another room or building an addition is not an option, reconfiguring the current floor plan may provide the easiest solution. Sometimes, something as simple as offering better storage solutions in your bathroom, designing the tile to go in a different pattern, or changing lighting can help your bathroom appear larger.
What features do I want in my bathroom?
What features do you want in your bathroom renovation? "I have a flexible rule of thumb," says Everett Collier, president of the National Association of Remodeling Industry. "If a person is going to stay in a home for five years or less then the improvements should be viewed as improvements on investment. If you're going to be there for a longer period of time, you want to look at what's going to make you and your family the most comfortable." Many people are getting rid of one of the many tubs in their home and transforming it into a shower. Some people want a supplementary hand held with their shower head. Others want multiple shower heads or shower jets. Some want heated floors or heated towel bars in their bathroom. Some want whirlpool tubs with mood lighting, champagne bubbles or aroma-therapy. Many people who have family members that are getting older are swapping their old tubs for "walk-in" tubs. Some want an accent wall of trendy glass tile or glass vessel bowl sinks. Some want their vanity to look like a piece of furniture. We have had customers that have had flat screen televisions and surround sound installed in their bathrooms. Do you want a "Green" bathroom? Sometimes, just knowing what the options are is half the battle. Consult a bath remodeling specialist to help you see what options are available.
What do I want to spend on my bathroom remodel?
Make sure you set a realistic budget. Not only on what you can afford but also what you can get for what you can afford. According to Remodeling magazine's 2018 Cost vs Value Report, a mid-range bathroom remodel is approximately $20,011, higher or lower depending on where you live (and how you define mid-range) while the national average cost for an upscale bathroom remodel is roughly $61,662. Changing a vanity cabinet may cost as low as $2,500 while changing the wall and floor tile can cost as low as $4-$5,000. The more you change in your bathroom, the more it will cost. If you’re moving the location of your tub, adding a sink, or adding on to your bathroom - it may cost more. I know it sounds like common sense, but higher end finishes that last longer cost more than cheaply built materials. Be wary of what you can buy online or in big box stores. It may look the same, but the cheaper items may not be built with the same materials or may not carry the same manufacturer warranties as what you can get from bathroom specialty stores. Many people only remodel their bathroom once or twice so sometimes picking better finishes that last longer may save you in the long term. Make sure that you have a cushion on your budget is. In any major remodel, there may be unforeseen expenses after tear out. Don't forget to add for labor which could be anywhere from a third to half of the total expense. If you are over budget, prioritize your wants and needs are. The positive thing is that according to Remodeling magazine’s same report, a mid-range bathroom remodel will recoup at least 72% of the cost at re-sale while a major remodel will recoup 59% of its cost at re-sale. At the very least, you’re not flushing your money down the toilet. As you set your budget, get estimates on the scope of work that you want to get done from a bathroom remodeling specialist or contractor.
How do I find a contractor / designer / bath specialist to do the work and help with planning and how long will it take?
Research, planning, details and time. As you search for a bathroom contractor, check their references. Do they back up their work? Sometimes, the work completed may have a defect in it that does not become apparent until months after the work was completed. An established contractor at an established location can guarantee that you can easily get in touch with the contractor if you need to. Are they reliable? There are many contractors that claim they can do work that they have never done before. Most times, reputable contractors may not have the lowest price but will save you time, stress, and money in long run. Do you like your contractor, designer, or bathroom specialist? Trust your intuition. Do they seem knowledgeable? Even something as simple as knowing the difference between a porcelain tile and ceramic tile or a pressure balanced diverter or a thermostatic one is something important to know that your contractor or bathroom specialist knows. A bathroom remodel can last from days to weeks. Make sure you are patient, as unforeseen circumstances may delay the project. Proper planning and details can help speed up the process. Do you know how high to hang your towel bar and paper holders? Do you know the position of your corner shelves or corner dishes? Even small details can hold up the project as most homeowners cannot be available everyday of a two or three week remodel. As you start your remodel, map out a schedule with your contractor but be flexible with the time line (especially for more extensive remodels) as things progress.
If you live in the tri-county area and liked this article or would like professional advice on your bathroom or any other remodeling project, please contact Southern Maryland Kitchen, Bath, Floors & Design at 301-866-0337. You can also schedule a FREE design consultation, measurement, and estimate with one of our experienced design consultants online at www.SoMDKitchenBathFloors.com. Feel free to visit our showroom in the Wildewood Shopping Center in California at anytime, and make sure to subscribe to our remodeling blog! See what we can do for you!
Be sure to check out our previous blog post, 3 Remodeling Resolutions to Usher in a Successful and Happy 2018!