We’ve been in the process of remodeling one of our bathrooms, and while most of it has been done by professionals there have been a few simpler things that we have done ourselves. We have found, after some trial and error, that in order to make things easier and avoid costly mistakes, many of the tougher jobs (like moving plumbing) should be left to the professionals. Knowing that my husband and I are not very handy when it comes to construction, we hired a contractor to add on to the room, as well as an electrician to move some wires around and add new fixtures. We were able to remove an old chimney ourselves, and we will most likely install a new vanity and linen cabinet ourselves.
Knowing when to DIY abathroom remodel
Thinking of taking on a bathroom remodel? Avoid a renovation disaster; Sears Home Services offers the following advice when thinking about doing a remodel yourself.
DIY renovations are not for the faint of heart. “Almost everything in the bathroom has a mechanical rough-in to it, and there are plumbing, space, and ventilation issues to consider,” says Maria Stapperfenne, president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Whether you use a professional or are making relatively straightforward DIY tweaks, like replacing a toilet or changing out a vanity for one that’s the same size, it’s good to know what lies ahead.
Money Matters “Most people don’t budget enough money for their project,” says Joe Maykut, director of product management at Sears Home Improvement. “The bathroom is second only to the kitchen in costs for renovation.” And it’s not just the drool-worthy products and finishes like a marble counter that adds dollars. Be prepared for unforeseen work. “Water can infiltrate behind walls in a shower and tub area for years, causing damage not seen from the finished sides of the walls,” Maykut warns.
Make a Plan The bathroom has to be functional, so upfront planning is crucial. Here are some things to consider.
- Accessibility and safety: Consider vanity and toilet heights and the space around a toilet. This is especially important if there’s a user in a wheelchair. Choose slip-resistant flooring — something textured for traction. A zero-threshold shower will help to avoid tripping hazards. If there are to be handholds or grab bars, you may need blocking in the walls. (Although there are new products that have special anchoring systems so no blocking is necessary.)
- Space: The double sink you covet might not fit. “In a traditional vanity configuration, you don’t want to go under 5 feet,” Stapperfenne says. There are some integrated double sinks, but they “tend to be contemporary in design” and may not fit your décor.
- Easy maintenance: White grout will show traffic patterns. Stapperfenne suggests pewter or medium grey grout. While a marble counter is de rigueur, it also is soft and requires sealing to prevent it from staining.
Installation Issues Think it’s easy to swap one fixture for another? Think again. Changing the toilet means seating it properly on the wax ring so you don’t get leaks. Installing a shower means pitching the drain pan or floor correctly. For a sink, the drains have to be properly oriented to prevent the backup of sewer gases. Want multiple body sprays in the shower? You’ll need a thicker supply line to deliver the necessary water volume, and you’ll have to correctly size your drain for the water’s evacuation. For a truly successful full bathroom renovation, know when to call a professional. “It’s really too detailed a space to do yourself,” Stapperfenne says. “It can be overwhelming.”
Have you taken on a DIY project lately? Do you have any advice to give when thinking about remodeling on your own?
Article originally published at Sears Home Services Blog.