Bathroom remodeling is one of today’s most popular home upgrades. One in 10 households remodel their bathrooms or kitchens each year, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association. One reason bathroom remodeling is so popular is that it can yield a significant return on investment. The average bathroom remodeling cost ran to $11,364 in 2016, the NKBA’s data shows. Of those, half of homeowners invested $10,000 to $29,999 in their upgrade, and a third of homeowners paid $30,000 or more. The average return on investment for this expenditure is 80 percent, making it worthwhile for many homeowners.
Because remodeling your bathroom does involve such a significant investment, it’s vital to take a strategic, step-by-step approach to your project. Here are six key steps for a complete bathroom remodel:
Start with Demolition
If you plan to do a complete bathroom remodel, as opposed to a more limited makeover project, the first step is demolishing your old bathroom. This includes removing your toilet, covering up your tub and removing the tile, removing insulation from walls, and removing any items you plan to replace, such as cabinets, mirrors, and tiles.
If any of this or the other steps listed below are beyond your comfort zone, don’t hesitate to get help from an experienced home renovator or a professional. It’s better to spend more to do it right than to risk ruining your bathroom.
Install Your New Bathtub and Shower
The next step is installing your new bathtub and shower. You should select a tub shape that fits your planned overall room decor. Tubs generally come in rectangular, square, and pentangle shapes. Your tub will set the stage for the layout of the rest of your bathroom, so measure carefully.
When it comes to showerheads, you can cut your water usage by as much as 40 percent by choosing an energy-efficient low-flow showerhead. Some of today’s smart showerheads are now connected to the Internet, with built-in capabilities such as the ability to monitor water usage or to play music while showering. Make sure your drains align with your new tub, and if there are any signs of rotting or water damage on your tub’s subfloor, be sure to replace it.
Make Room for Fixture and Feature Upgrades
Next, you’ll need to make adjustments to make room for new cabinets and vanities. This step includes making sure your power outlets and ground floor circuit interrupters are positioned to align with your new bathroom upgrades.
You may also need to adjust your plumbing if your new sink requires pipework modifications. However, you can save about $5,000 by working with your existing plumbing, designer Justin Riordan told HGTV, so go this route if possible.
Replace Your Flooring
Replacing your flooring is the next step. Before you start, check your subfloor to make sure it’s not loose, in which case it needs to be replaced. Another important preliminary is to create a vertical reference by using mason’s chalk lines that run perpendicular from whichever wall has the longest continuous lines. This will help keep your tiles straight, avoiding the need to redo crooked tiling. Also, remove any adhesive residue from previous tiling jobs, and sand any uneven spots.
When it’s time to start laying new tile, make sure your adhesive is waterproof, and don’t use too much of it. Lay grout in small sections so that it doesn’t dry before you have time to lay your tiles. Be sure to seal the space between the bottom tile rows in your tub and shower.
Redo Your Walls
The next step is hanging new drywall, which can take some time as you custom-fit it around your new layout. Use drywall mud and tape to deal with seams and gaps. For the wall of your shower and tub, use cement board coated with waterproofing membrane instead of drywall. You can also re-tile your tub and shower at this point and start repainting your bathroom.
Add Finishing Touches
You can now move on to finishing up your bathroom. Install any new lights you want to add. Install your new sink and faucet, mirror, cabinets, and shower and tub trim.
Install your new toilet. As with showerheads, you can save money by using energy-efficient low flow toilets. Finally, you can add trim around your mirrors and the rest of your new bathroom.
Follow these steps to give your bathroom a complete makeover. If this entire process seems too large of an undertaking, consider remodeling your bathroom in stages. Whether you redo your whole bathroom at once or one stage at a time, taking a smart, step-by-step approach will make your remodeling project easier, save you money, and produce a new bathroom that will boost the value of your home.