What to Know Before Your Bathroom Remodel

If you’ve ever seen a remodeling show on HGTV, you may have been inspired to remodel your home. It looks so easy, so fast and so manageable. The reality is, no surprise, a little more complex. We decided to remodel our master and guest bathrooms some time ago. We hoped to begin the project as soon as school started in September. We wanted to be done before the holidays so that we could entertain our family for Christmas. Sounds completely doable, right?

We met with our designer and contractor weeks before the start date and we got into their project queue. Contractors may have several projects going on at any given time. This means that your project will likely not begin immediately. In some ways, this is good, because it gives you leeway to research and select all the products for your project.

The Planning Phase

Unless you are an amazingly handy DIY type, you will need to work with a contractor and possibly a designer. Research the style and look you would like to achieve in your remodel. Create “Boards” on Pinterest and discuss your aesthetic and your budget with your contractor/designer. Your contractor will create a work timeline that considers the availability of their crew and the delivery date of your products such as tile, fixtures, bathtub, the vanity, and anything else that you will need for your bathroom.

Moving Out

Before you demolish your old bathroom, you will need to move out. Empty all the drawers and cupboards and sort through the contents. This is a great time to toss old makeup and lotions long unused. Use labeled, clear plastic bins to contain and store your bathroom items. The clear bins will help you find what you need to get ready in the morning.  This will reduce some of the stress associated with any home remodel. If you are sharing a bath with other members of the family, move things around so that you can store your essential items in a drawer or cupboard and not on the counter where they might get in the way.

Bathroom Remodel, Day One

Demolition is exciting. Lots of action and big impact on the space. It is also very loud, very dusty, and invasive to your home. Expect huge heavy duty trash bags of debris being carried through your house for hours. My old soaking tub took two strong men and a lot of balancing and careful maneuvering down the stairs. Once demo is complete, the plumbers and electricians will do the “rough in” work, installing all the bits that go inside the walls.

The Beauty of Design Help

The plumbers and electricians will need on-site all your chosen plumbing fixtures such as shower systems, tub fillers, and lighting fixtures. Having a designer who understands your aesthetic is invaluable for this part. They can winnow down the hundreds of available product options to a handful for you to consider. They will order all the products, take delivery, and take care of returns or exchanges.

Your Spouse

Some spouses like taking part in the remodel process, others don’t want to have anything to do with it. Some spouses may say they do not want to be involved and it later turns out they have strong opinions about some of the selections. It can be challenging. In our house, we have had some strained discussions, but compromises were made and solutions have been worked out.

The Slowdown

Back on the worksite, the process may slow down a bit. There may be a few days where nothing happens. Then the tiling work will begin. In our master bath, the tile work was expected to take at least two weeks. We know to expect a loud tile saw, an air compressor and workers coming in and out frequently as they set the appropriate pieces. This is very detailed work!

The project will pick up again as the bathtub and vanity are installed. There may be down time while custom counter tops and glass enclosures are measured and then fabricated. In the meantime, drywall repair and painting will be completed. Then, lighting and plumbing fixtures will be installed.

Almost, But Not Quite There

It may seem like the project is in the “almost finished” stage for a while. Your bathroom may be functional but not 100% complete. You may have a long list of small things that need to adjusted, fixed, or installed. This last part may be frustrating as it may take the subcontractors (who may be working on another job now) some time to squeeze in an hour for a small fix on your project. It may help to keep a running list of outstanding work.

What you Can’t See on HGTV

In a half-an-hour long TV show you can’t see the following: You may lose the ability to park in your garage for the duration of the project. Your garage may be taken over by tile, lumber, a bathtub, sinks, a toilet, or debris. You may have a dumpster in your driveway. Workers may arrive at your home at 8 am sharp, meaning you may need to be ready for visitors at 8 am. The plumbers may turn off the water of periods of time. Your home may be drafty with all the comings and goings. If your bathroom is connected to your master bedroom, your bedroom oasis may turn into a scene from E.T. the movie, as a plastic wall with a zipper entry may separate your bedroom from the construction zone. Did I mention that construction is smelly? Just remember that these inconveniences are temporary.

The End

In the end, when all is said and done, you will love your new bathroom just like those smiling couples on HGTV. For us, well, it’s January and we have finished one bathroom. We took a hiatus over the holidays and we are beginning the master bathroom now. I am certain that all the dust and noise will be worth it. Happy remodeling!


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