Ok, you have made the decision: Your bathroom is in need of a face lift! The next question is “Where Do I Start”? This very simple question creates the basis for your project.
This article provides a “road map” to help you make sure your bathroom remodel is a success. By careful planning, you will save money, time and (more importantly) grief and frustration. The following issues should be determined before hiring a contractor. This way (if you are getting multiple estimates) you will have “apples for apples” estimates as each contractor will know exactly what they are bidding on.
There are numerous decisions to be made when remodeling your bathroom. These decisions will not only determine the cost of the project, but will have direct a impact on the success (or failure) of the final product. It is crucial that you spend sufficient time addressing theses issues prior to commencing work. As with any home renovation, the key is in the planning.
One of the best ways to begin planning is to draw up a simple floor plan of the bathroom space, including the size of each wall. From here, you can begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Here are some basic questions you need to ask yourself:
o What is your proposed budget? If you can answer this question first, the material selection process will be much easier. Case in point: Tile (material only) is priced anywhere from $1.50 to $30.00 per square foot! Considering an average tub enclosure is around 80 sq.ft., just the price difference in tile selection can change the cost of the project by thousands of dollars.
o Are you keeping the same configuration of the bathroom as the existing layout? When moving walls or changing the layout requires framing, electrical, plumbing and drywall work. Replacing existing components (without relocation) is the most cost effective way to remodel your bathroom.
o Tub or Shower: Are you replacing the tub? Or are you converting the tub into a shower? When converting a tub into a shower, additional costs incurred will be in re-locating the plumbing drain, shower valve, building and sealing the shower pan among other things.
o Shower or Tub Enclosure: Do you want a tile or fiberglass enclosure? If it is a shower; do you want a fiberglass shower pan or tile. Prefab fiberglass units are (of course) more cost effective than tile however tile is much more aesthetically appealing.
o Tile Selection: Stone, tile (ceramic or porcelain), marble? Same tile for floor and enclosure? Any decorative tile additions? Shampoo nooks? Shower seat? Material and color choices are almost as infinite as the price points.
o Floor Covering: Using same material as tub/shower enclosure? Wood or tile base board? Wood base is more cost effective, however tile has a much classier look.
o Wall Covering: Paint, wallpaper, tile or a combination?
o Vanity Cabinet: Type of wood? Painted or stained? Low profile (31 1/2″ height) or regular (34 1/2″ height)? Master baths usually have the 34 1/2″ height while hallway or secondary bathrooms typically use the low profile cabinets.
o Vanity Top: Granite, tile, prefab unit?
o Sink: Surface mount or undermount?
o Toilet: Round or elongated? White or special color? Prices change dramatically for “designer” toilets and even the color choice can change the cost for the fixture.
o Lighting: Wall mount or recessed lighting? Re-locating lighting (requiring electrical and drywall work)? Installing or replacing exhaust fan? Keeping fixtures in the same location will (of course) save you money.
o Shower or Tub Door: Same configuration as existing (sliding or hinged)? Again, choices of doors “run the gamut” with regard to pricing.
o Replacing a Window? Retrofit or standard replacement (standard window replacement involves stucco/siding and drywall repair)?
o Bathroom Door: Replacing the existing bathroom door? Same style? Paint or stained? Hollow core or solid core? Pre-hung or replace door use existing door jamb?
o Hardware: Style and finishes for shower door, vanity cabinet knobs, sink faucet, towel bars? Pricing for fixtures changes dramatically when it comes to design and material choices.
Below are some basic space guidelines provided by the National Kitchen and Bath Association:
o 15″ (38 cm) or more of clearance space from the centerline of lavatory bowl to a wall or similar obstruction.
o 30″ (76 cm) or more of clearance space between the centerlines of double-bowl lavatories.
o At least 30″ x 48″ (76 cm x 122 cm) of clear floor space in front of the lavatory.
Toilet / Bidet
o 16″ (41 cm) from the centerline of a water closet or bidet to a wall or similar obstruction, or fixture adjacent to it.
o At least 48″ x 48″ (122 cm x 122 cm) of clear floor space in front of the water closet or bidet.
Bathtub / Shower
o Shower size large enough to comfortably use, at least 34″ x 34″ (86.36 cm x 86.36 cm).
o Tub size large enough to comfortably use.
o At least 60″ x 30″ (152 cm x 76 cm) of clear floor space in front of shower/tub.
o The bathroom entrance door swings so that it does not interfere with people in front of fixtures.
o Fixtures located so that more than two people can use the space comfortably.
o Water closet and bidet in separate compartments or shielded from entrance view.
o Non-slip flooring used throughout the space.
o Ground-fault circuit interrupter electrical receptacles used.
o Electrical switches placed away from tub or shower.
o Grab-bars at shower/tub entrance and inside enclosure.
o Tub and/or shower easy to enter and exit.
o No steps at the tub or shower.
o Safety glazing on glass used for shower doors.
o Shower door swings into bathroom, not into shower enclosure.
o Bench/seat included in shower enclosure.
o Pressure balanced water control valves used in shower.
o Temperature regulating water control valves used in shower.
o Adequate counter or shelf space around lavatory.
o Adequate storage for grooming equipment, toiletries, linens, etc., 15″ – 48″ (38 cm – 122 cm) above the floor.
o Towel bars /rings located within reach of fixtures.
o Bathroom linen and paper product storage space provided.
o Storage space for shampoo and such in the shower/tub area, between 15″ to 48″ (38 cm – 122 cm) above the floor.
Mechanical System Requirements
o An efficient ventilation system is part of the plan.
o Bathroom heating system will keep the space comfortably warm.
o Task lighting provided at every functional area.
In closing, remodeling your bathroom is an exciting endeavor and one (with proper planning) which can provide you and your family with years of enjoyment; not to mention improving the value and re-sale potential of your home.