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Is a DIY Bathroom Remodel a Good Idea?

Renovating a bathroom is one of the most complex home remodeling projects; only a kitchen takes more effort. Creating a space that functions well and meets your needs in a small footprint can be a design challenge. You’ll need to find and coordinate skilled tradespeople to handle the plumbing, electrical, and tile work in a tight space and on a tight schedule. It’s essential to finish the remodel as quickly as possible so the bathroom is back in service. Remodeling is full of surprises that can decimate your budget and your time frame. There are several good reasons that even DIY enthusiasts choose to hire a contractor for their bathroom renovation. Your contractor can:

  • Spot potential problems before tear-outShower, Before
  • Provide an accurate budget
  • Advise you on the best layout and materials
  • Provide highly skilled tradespeople
  • Handle building permits and regulations
  • Schedule trades for the most efficient process
  • Complete the renovation more quickly than you can

Designing Your New Bathroom

Whether you’re replacing surfaces and fixtures, or gutting everything for a new layout, good advice from an experienced contractor is invaluable. You’ll have a wish list for your new bathroom, and your contractor can help you determine what can be accomplished within your budget. Tile, stone, and fixtures like bathtubs are long-lasting, so you can expect to live with them for many years – these are big decisions. With the right advice, you can select products that provide the style, value, and longevity you’re looking for.

Before you shop, meet with your design/build team to discuss exactly what your remodel goals are. Do you need more space to add a soaking tub? Are you planning to age in place? 

Do you want to add in-floor heating? What are the budget constraints? Place the new plumbing fixtures close to the bathroom’s existing plumbing to keep the budget in check. Your contractor will guide you through the decision-making process and make sure your plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems are set up correctly.

Design ideas that look wonderful in pictures may not be practical for your family. For example, an open, farmhouse-style vanity may not have enough storage; a home with small children may really need a bathtub instead of a walk-in shower. Adjusting the layout even a few inches can make a huge difference in how the space looks and functions, so be open to input from your contractor. You’ll have an expert team on hand who can offer creative solutions you may not be aware of.

Bathroom Renovation Steps

Remodeling a bathroom is a multi-step process that begins long before the old bathroom is ripped out. Once you have an idea of the layout and types of finishes you’d like to use, it’s time to find the right contractor. Hire your contractor as early in the process as possible. You’ll secure a spot on their calendar, and avoid making mistakes that can cost a lot of time and money. The contractor handles permits, schedules subcontractors, orders materials, and coordinates delivery – essentially taking all of the stressful work away from you! You can relax, enjoy the design and selection process, and watch the magic unfold. Here are the steps you can expect:

  • Determine the extent of your bathroom remodel
  • Develop a floor plan
  • Agree on your bathroom remodeling budget
  • Apply for building permits
  • Order all materials and fixtures
  • Demolish the bathroom
  • Repair or replace subfloor and wallboard
  • Add or improve plumbing and electrical systems
  • Install the shower or bathtub
  • Paint the bathroom
  • Install the bathroom flooring
  • Install the toilet
  • Install the bathroom fan
  • Install the counter, cabinet, and sink
  • Install wall tile or wainscoting

Avoid A Remodeling Disaster

Every renovation project has its surprises, but they don’t have to be disasters. You may find water damage behind an old shower, or rotten sub-flooring. We advise our clients to have 15-20% above the renovation price set aside for these contingencies; with a talented crew on hand, your contractor can resolve them quickly and keep the project moving forward.

The mechanical systems in a bathroom are subject to strict regulations; but professionals deal with them every day and understand the local building codes. Outdated wiring and plumbing that need to be replaced can take a bite out of your budget. However, if your systems must be gutted it’s much easier to change the layout. The contractor can uncover issues like this at the start of the project, so you can make vital design decisions at the beginning.

Design/Build Experts Make Renovation Faster

Renovating a bathroom can take months, but much of the work is in the planning and product selection. The time-frame depends on the complexity of the project, availability of specialized trades, and any product delays. Finalize your product selections well in advance; the contractor will make sure everything is on hand before tearing out the old bathroom.

Once the tear-out is started, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to complete construction. Your contractor is an experienced project manager with a team of qualified trades at the ready. This is a huge advantage over the DIY renovator who needs to find and hire tradespeople (and often must wait for them to have time). Working with a contractor can dramatically shorten the time you’ll be without use of the bathroom, and provide the fastest overall construction schedule.

Choose the Design/Build team at VanderBeken Remodel, and we’ll be with you every step of the way. We take care of the details, so you can enjoy the process of designing your dream bathroom. Start by downloading our free Costs & Considerations Guide and get Snohomish County remodeling costs, plus a bath planning worksheet for inspiration.