6 Common Bathroom Remodeling Mistakes and How You Can Avoid Them
By Tim Koehler
1. Not Setting A Budget:
You should never start a bathroom remodeling project without a written budget in place. If you are not familiar with material and labor costs you may be in for a surprise.
A contractor can give you a firm price to the penny with the exception of unexpected conditions which would include; rotted framing, insect infestation, mold, etc. Check out Hiring a Contractor for more information.
If you are doing it yourself, you should make a list of everything you will need and a current price for each product. Include the costs of any subcontractors. Get bids – don’t guess! Don’t forget miscellaneous materials like sheet rock, finishing compound, plywood, lumber, nails, screws, caulking, paint, etc. They add up fast.
You should always include a little wiggle room in your bathroom remodeling budget for unforeseen expenses. Also, you may want to upgrade some materials as you shop. Fifteen percent should do the trick unless you decide to go crazy.
2. Lacking The Skills For The Project
Don’t over estimate your abilities. The TV shows make it look easier than it is. They show bits and pieces of the installation, not the whole process. TV shows have an expert on the job to guide the homeowner if they get stuck.
If you are handy and have successfully completed remodeling projects before, you should be okay. Unless you are proficient at plumbing and electrical, leave that to the pros. Sheet rock finishing is another tricky job.
3. Starting Before You Have The Materials Chosen
You should have all of your materials purchased and inspected for damage before you begin the work. Some materials require longer lead times and should be ordered well in advance. Not having your materials ready when you are will cause delays and frustration.
One of the most fun parts of bathroom remodeling is to select materials that suit your personal style. If you choose your materials as you go you will be limited to the selections the Home Improvement stores keep in stock.
If you are using a contractor ask him (or her) to have all materials delivered and inspected before they begin any work.
4. Not Having Sub-Contractors Scheduled
Any work that you are going to have sub-contracted should be lined up well in advance. Sub-contractors are typically not available on short notice. It is critical that you get firm prices from subcontractors to stay within your budget.
Typically, contractors see bathroom work as a small job and not as interesting as a larger job. This makes it important that you stay in contact with them and confirm their schedules frequently. You don’t want to wait for days for them to finish a job before they fit you in.
5. Not Allowing For Unforeseen Conditions
Unforeseen things will pop up. That is a given when it comes to remodeling. Rusted, deteriorated plumbing pipes, insect infestation, rotted subfloors or joists, and out of date wiring are just a few of the unexpected surprises that will cause delays and more money. Usually, these cannot be discovered until the work begins. Most building/remodeling codes require you to bring everything you touch up to code which will require more time.
When estimating your bathroom remodeling project, allow a few extra days for unanticipated conditions as well as additional room in the budget. The older the house, the more likely you’ll uncover additional work you hadn’t counted on.
6. Not Allowing Enough Time For the Project
As I mentioned before, TV shows make it look like a breeze. They never wait on materials, subcontractors or inspections and they can remodel a complete bathroom in a weekend. The reality is that it takes much more time especially if you are doing it yourself.
If you are hiring a contractor, he/she should be able to give you a reasonable estimate of the time it will take to complete the work. A contractor who specializes in bathroom remodeling should have no trouble giving you an accurate time estimate. If the contractor will not commit to a time frame, find another contractor.
If you are doing the work yourself, estimating the amount of time it will take is difficult. There are many variables in bathroom remodeling; skill level, subcontractors, material availability, municipal inspections, and the time you have available. Break each task down into small pieces and give a time value to each piece. Estimate conservatively how long you think it will take to complete that piece. Add another 25% and you may be close.
Keep in mind evening and weekend work tends to make the project drag on especially if this is your only bathroom.