It doesn’t matter whether you have a big home or a small home. Your bathroom is one of the rooms you should invest in as many luxurious fixtures and amenities as you can.
Why A Bathroom is Worth Going Big
The bathroom can be a haven, a place where you take long soaks in the tub at the end of tiring days at work. Reason enough why a bathroom remodels is one of the best things you can do for you and your home.
On top of that, bathroom remodeling gives you an 80% to 90% return on investment should you ever decide to sell your home. Whether it’s a partial upgrade or a complete overhaul, a bathroom remodel is one worthwhile project you should seriously consider investing in.
Deciding on the Scope of Your Bathroom Remodeling Project
The minute you start on your bathroom remodeling project, it can result in either one of two things: you’ll have that gleaming, tiled paradise of a bathroom you’ve always wanted to have or you’ll end up having a half-assembled mess of old and new bathroom fixtures. To prevent the second scenario, you should decide on the scope of your bathroom remodeling project before you start anything.
Based on your budget, the span of time you have, and the size of your bathroom and its current state, you have several options for remodeling your bathroom:
- Option 1. Do a surface-level bathroom remodeling. This is an option when your bathroom fixtures, the knobs on the faucets and such, are still in good condition but your bathtub and/or your shower stall is looking a little shabby. When that’s the case, a surface-level bathroom remodeling can give you the feel of a whole new bathroom, without the price tag. It’s a great project to take on if you don’t have the budget for a complete overhaul just yet. The rule of thumb to follow here is, “Cover, don’t replace.” Replacement adds to the time and costs of a remodel because you’re paying to have what’s there already removed. Covering uses the structure of what’s already there and simply gives it a new face. Some of the not-so-pricey items you need to invest in when doing a surface-level bathroom remodeling include prefabricated shower units, bathtub or shower liners, bathtub refinishing, and easy-to-install wainscoting.
- Option 2. Change the layout of your bathroom. Similar to how you sometimes rearrange the placement of the furniture in your living room, kitchen, or bedroom to give it a new feel, you can rearrange the plumbing fixtures in your bathroom. This project is a bit more difficult to take on than a surface-level remodel. Bathroom fixtures such as the sink, shower stall, bathtub, and cabinets are not easily moved, and will require the services of a licensed plumber, a carpenter, and possibly an electrician. However, once the professionals are done, you can save a little money by rearranging things like towel racks and bars, shelves, trash cans, and miscellaneous bath accessories yourself. There will be a bigger change to the overall look of your bathroom once you’re finished.
- Option 3. Be American – Make your bathroom bigger. If you’re feeling patriotic, and have the space to spare, you can extend the area of your toilet and bath. It’s as American as apple pie. If you only have a shower stall, you can tear down a non-load-bearing wall and give yourself a proper bathtub. If you already have a bathtub, punch out some closet space from the next room, and give yourself a whirlpool tub. Whatever size bathroom you’ve got, there are always options for going bigger. (A sauna maybe…?)
- Option 4. A complete bathroom overhaul. If nothing else is going to do it for you, there’s always the final option of a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom. Tear everything out, right down to the bear studs, and completely redo the space. Of the bathroom remodeling projects we’ve discussed, this is potentially the most tedious, the most expensive, and the most disruptive to you and your family. However, if done properly, you can create a perfect place for you to escape your every day, and add thousands of dollars to the value of your home.
Factors to Consider When Remodeling Your Bathroom
After you’ve determined the size and scope of the bathroom remodeling project you’re going to take on, there are several things you’re going to need to contend with before work can even begin:
- Your remodeling budget Life is full of the unexpected. That’s why most people have an emergency fund. Too often people look at the money sitting in their emergency fund and decide to include it in their remodeling budget. This is a mistake. Remodeling projects are a favorite for Murphy ‘s Law. If you decide to invest your emergency fund in your remodeling project, you all but guarantee something will go wrong in the middle of the project that’ll drain that fund and leave you with a half re-finished bathroom. If you don’t have the funds for a complete bathroom remodel in your account right now, settle for something less ambitious that you can afford and still improve the look of your bathroom. You don’t want to have to stop the contractor from coming to your house when the project’s only halfway done because you no longer have the funds to pay for labor.
- Designing to YOUR dream bathroom This has more to do with design than anything else, but it is the foundation on which the rest of your decisions will depend. To help yourself through this process, go through the following mental exercise. Close your eyes. Picture your dream house: the lawn, the fence, the windows, the door. In your mind’s eye, walk through the door, up the stairs, through the master bedroom, and into your perfect bathroom. Now, this is your dream house. Your idea of a perfect bathroom is completely up to you. For you, a great bathroom may be simple; a bathroom with gleaming, all-white surfaces, and brass for all the fixtures. On the other hand, it could be something chicer, like your own personal spa. The point is, the idea for this perfect bathroom is yours, and yours alone. Everyone else involved in the project from this point forward should be focused on giving you your vision, not theirs. Whatever scope of the project you’ve chosen to undertake, the end should be as close to your dream as it can be.
- The materials to be used The choice of materials for your bathroom remodeling project will be driven by your budget and the remodeled look you want your bathroom to have. You can choose the color, design, and type of materials used for the bathroom’s countertops, faucets, flooring, shower, sink, and other parts. Whether you’re hiring a contractor or doing the bathroom remodeling yourself, you have the final say as homeowner on the materials to be used for the project, but a lot will be dictated by your budget. Even though you may want travertine marble, be prepared to compromise. Porcelain tiles can look pretty good when you’re staring at your bottom line.
A Final Word About Bathroom Remodeling
All in all, the success of a bathroom remodeling project boils down to planning. As long as you know what your budget limitations are and the scope of the remodeling project, there’s no reason you can’t have that tiled, cool, gleaming haven of a bathroom you’ve always wanted.
Michael Orehowsky was all but born to be a plumber. His father, Mike Sr., began his career as a professionally licensed plumber in 1986, when Mike was four years old. Growing up, Mike learned from his father the keys to running a successful plumbing company in Northern Virginia: Take care of your customers, and be true to your word.