Bathroom remodels — even those that include replacing the toilet and faucet — can often be done by DIYers, thanks to manufacturers making products that are easy to install.
However, the time to call in a pro is before you’re tempted to go behind the walls. Your overall system must be calibrated to the needs of new fixtures — adequate hot water, adequate venting, adequate floor support. Filling up a cast iron tub on a second floor could cause a real letdown, for instance...right onto the first floor.
If poor ventilation is turning your bathroom into a breeding ground for mold and mildew, you’ll want to call in an HVAC pro for a consultation. While most baths can be adequately vented with a ceiling fan, an option that’s more powerful and quieter might be a remote fan. This professionally installed system uses ducts to draw air from the bath ceiling to an exhaust fan located somewhere else in the house, like the attic, where both steam and stink can be swiftly carried outside.
As always, the trickier the space, the more likely that a professional designer or architect will add value to your remodel. Design services make sense at two ends of the bathroom remodeling spectrum: remodeling a very large bathroom or trying to fit everything into a small one. Designers with specialized expertise can also be invaluable in planning a bathroom remodel to accommodate someone with special needs. You can also use AARP’s bathroom safety checklist to help create a space that works for all ages and abilities.
Expanding a bathroom
We know you have your eye on the kids’ rooms for taking over and expanding the bath when they stretch their wings and fly from the nest. Is it a good investment? We would say yes because it means your child can’t boomerang back after college...and also because larger bathrooms and multiple bathrooms are major selling features in today’s new homes. The easiest place to put in a second bathroom is above, below or next to the first bathroom.
One idea we’d think twice about, however, is knocking out a closet to make room for a larger bath. That’s because ample storage trumps just about everything else when it comes time to sell your home. A good compromise might be adding a half bath with an adequate grooming area to accommodate guests, without encouraging long-term settling in of the boomerang kid.
Setting your budget
The “average” bathroom facelift remodel can run from less than $1,000 to $5,000, depending on your replacement plans for flooring, faucets and fixtures. Complex bathroom remodels, such as replacing a tub with a shower system or expanding the footprint start north of $10,000, most often in the $15,000 to $20,000 range.
A design plan can run anywhere from several hundred to more than $1,000, but may be money very well spent. Pro designers can help you avoid hiccups in your plan and keep your Port-a-Potty time to a minimum while the bath project is being done.
Nowadays, many aspects of a bathroom remodel can be tackled by DIYers, but there are still instances in which it’s wise to enlist the help of professionals. By considering the value that an expert can bring to your project –in some cases even saving you money – you’ll be in a better position to weigh whether it makes sense to allocate part of your budget to hiring one.