First things first
The first thing you must consider before you begin remodeling your bathroom is your goal. One of the best ways to increase the value of your home is by remodeling your bathroom. This was at the back of my mind when I decided to plunge into my own bathroom project. At the forefront, was a desire to create a haven in my home that had a spa-feel to it.
Many middle-aged people who have grown children struggle with the empty nest syndrome. It can be quite difficult to adjust to such a big change. Filling the void that was consumed by the daily requirements of caring for kids was very challenging and lonely for me.
So I decided to focus on the thing that had been neglected for countless years – me. Instead of focusing on the negative, I decided to pour my energy into something that would not only make me feel better, but would be worthwhile in the long run for myself and my family!
Anytime you start working on something as major as remodeling a bathroom, the task can be overwhelming. There are numerous things to consider. I discovered that it is crucial to do as much research as possible before settling on any changes. You also have to be patient with yourself and allow some room for you to change your mind a few times before you begin. Not only will this prevent additional costs for changes, it will also prevent unnecessary delays.
The journey to my new bathroom took longer than I and anticipated. I reference it as a journey because there were highs and lows, detours, blocked roads and even a few accidents. Through this website, I hope to provide some of advice to others who plan to embark on a similar mission as I did.
Determine your needs
It’s important to assess the function of your bathroom. Besides the obvious, ask yourself what you want to use your bathroom for. Who is going to share the bathroom? If you are going to share the bathroom, consider the input of the people whom you will be sharing your bathroom with. Is your goal just to replace a sink or toilet, or are you planning a complete overhaul of your bathroom?
How much time do you have to invest?
As I mentioned above, planning to remodel you bathroom requires a lot of planning. If you don’t have much time to invest in doing all the necessary planning and research, I suggest you consider hiring an interior designer who can provide you with sound advice, and can suggest ideas and different ways that you can achieve the look you want while maximizing on the space you have.
If you’re working with a tight space and would like some ideas on how to work with it, you should look at the innovative bathroom design ideas used in many downtown Toronto Condos. With limited room, and high costs per square foot, these buildings employ excellent designers to create best use of the space they have.
Interior designers usually have contractors that they have working relationships with and may be able to recommend a reputable contractor to you.
If you have a small bathroom or are only considering the replacement of one or two amenities, an interior designer will probably not be of much benefit to you.
Settling on a budget is something that determines how much remodeling you can realistically get done. If you have a limited budget, I would suggest considering the upgrade of a few key features in your bathroom. You don’t want to drive yourself off the deep end in debt just so you can have a great looking bathroom. Remember the costs quickly add up, so make sure you have some wiggle room in your budget.
Make sure you are upfront with your contractor about your budget. Most contractors are willing to work with your budget if they know you are serious about hiring them. If they know what kind of budget you are working with, they may be able to find ways to stick to your budget without compromising the integrity of their work.
So how long will it take?
I wish I could give you a standard answer for this question, but it varies based on several factors. First, the amount of remodeling to your bathroom will play a huge part in determining how much time it will take to complete the project. Some features, like tubs and showers, require drying time before the next phase can be implemented.
One thing you also want to remember is that it also takes time to tear down the bathroom. Sometimes during this process, your contractor may discover construction problems that were not apparent before the work started. Try to be patient if this does happen.
Remember that unless your contractor built your home, he cannot always tell if the work done before was done right. If it wasn’t, he will have to make some adjustments and provisions that may cause a delay in the completion of your bathroom.
Keep in mind that at the end of the day, you want the job done right, not quickly!
So taking all this into consideration, I would suggest that completely remodeling your bathroom can take anywhere from 3-8 weeks. This time frame doesn’t include the initial planning.
Finding a contractor
This is one of the toughest tasks. Not because there is a shortage of contractors, but because there is a shortage of good contractors whom you can trust to get the job done right without ripping you off! If you can get a great recommendation from someone who has had remodeling work done to their home, you’ve struck gold. There are many people who have had terrible experiences by choosing a contractor they found on the yellow pages. Not that there aren’t any good contractors listed in the yellow pages, but hiring someone without any real evidence of how well they do their job is risky.
If you find yourself in the position of having to flip through the yellow pages for a contractor, here are a few things to be mindful of:
- Look for names of companies you recognize.
- If searching online, look for reviews or complaints listed under the company’s name.
- Find out how long they have been in business.
- Look to see if the company has adequate licensing.
- Ask for references from the company.
- Find out what kind of insurance they have. Make sure it’s current or else you will be held responsible for any injuries that occur during the project.
- Get estimates from several contractors before settling on one.
- Will they be using any subcontractors? If so, find out about licensing and insurance the subcontractors have.
Once you are satisfied with your findings, the next stage will be to negotiate the down payment. Avoid paying a large sum of money upfront. If possible, break down the bathroom project into stages, with payment following the completion of each stage. Again, this will depend on how extensive the remodeling of your bathroom is. If you expect the project to be completed in a couple for weeks, then this approach may not be the best for you.
Before you hand over any money to your contractor, make sure you get a written contract. Take some time to read it carefully to make sure you understand it fully. The contract should include the following details:
- The details of the company like, company name, address, phone number and license number.
- An estimate of the start date and completion date.
- A clear layout of the contractors responsibilities including, permits, supplies, cleanup etc.
- Information on warranties provided.
- Payment schedule.
- Conditions that would result in breach of contract.
If you’re satisfied with all the conditions in the contract, sign it and make sure you retain a copy for your records.
Here are a few things that may indicate that you have a scammer on your hands:
- If they come across a pushy or seem too eager to get a response from you
- If your contractor only accepts cash or asks for the entire payment upfront
- Tells you to get the required permits on your own
- If the company is not listed as a business in your local phone directory
- Wants you to sign a blank document before filling the content in
Accommodating the workers
Remodeling your bathroom is such a personal project. As tempting as it may be, try as much as possible to stay out of the way of your contractors once they begin to work. There is always danger involved when doing any kind of remodeling or construction work.
Leave the house during the day if it is at all possible. You don’t want to be a distraction. Your presence around the construction area may prove to be a safety concern and may slow down the progress. Besides, your contractor doesn’t need you to micromanage every single thing they are doing. Only check on the work at the end of the day.
If you have pets, make sure they aren’t in the way either. Remember you want to provide your contractor with the best working environment as possible. Being polite and considerate can go a long way when you need them to go the extra mile for you.
Now that I’ve mentioned some of the things to consider before beginning the actual remodeling your bathroom, you can now move on to the fun part…shopping, shopping, shopping!