How to Do all the Necessary Preparations Before Making a Bathroom


Considering the variety of bathrooms, it should come as no surprise that there are countless approaches to renovating them. To help guide you, I’ve come up with a strategy for what projects you might undertake if you had various budgets to spend, including $350, $1,000, $5,000, and, finally, no limit whatsoever. Let’s begin on the low end of the spectrum.

Go to any home center and you’ll find a huge number of products that you can use to give your bathroom a low-cost makeover. In one weekend you can literally change the way everything looks. Let’s start with a gallon of paint and some primer. If you have $50 and a few hours, you can make a huge cosmetic difference in the room. First, wash the walls, then prime them and next coat them with paint containing an eggshell satin finish for easier cleaning. Now comes the hardware. Shop for a new faucet. A good-quality, single-lever faucet, made with solid brass construction inside, will cost from $50 to $100. Installing this is actually a do-it-yourself job, which should spare you the plumber’s fee. A new showerhead might run anywhere from $60 to $100, and is just as easy to install. I like the new spa-style of shower-head, which is about 6 inches in diameter and has a curve in it that actually raises the height of the showerhead. While you’re pushing the shopping cart, pick up a new shower curtain and new shower rings, which will probably run you another $50. If you want, you can also add new towel bars, towel rings, and toilet-paper holder, for probably $50. That’s it; you’ve just remade the bathroom for $350 or under. Although this wouldn’t change the underlying structure of a bathroom, it would spice things up. And it’s the perfect cost-effective approach if you live in an apartment or rental home.

How to Do all the Necessary Preparations Before Making a Bathroom  Bathroom Drawing

Now, if you’re in the $1,000 range, you’ll do everything I just mentioned as well as some other more intensive projects. For starters, you can add a new integrated sink and countertop for the vanity, which will probably cost about $100. A new toilet will most likely be in order, for another $150, and you may even be able to put down some simple 4-by-4-inch ceramic tiles on the floor. This would probably cost another $200. You would be able to add a new medicine cabinet for another $100, and would probably have enough left over to spring for a new light fixture. You could install some of these things yourself, but even with help from a plumber and an electrician, or even a tile setter, the labor costs would not exceed a few hundred dollars. The result would be that every surface would have a fresh new look.

Beyond this, you can accomplish a rather extensive renovation for under $5,000, and literally transform every surface in the bathroom. To do this, you would include everything I mentioned in the $1,000 renovation. Then you would tackle the final surfaces that I did not mention: the bathtub or shower stall. For about $100, you could buy new faucets to freshen things up. But, more important, you can actually have a high-quality acrylic surround set in place over an existing tub or shower. I will go into this process in more detail, but the result is a tub and shower that look like new for the bargain cost of about $2,500. While you’re at it, you’ll want to add a new exhaust fan to help clear away moisture, and you may want a shower door rather than a shower curtain. You can also replace the entire vanity cabinet rather than just the countertop. This would totally revamp an existing bathroom without the expense and angst of a gut rehab.

Let’s prepare now for the ultimate bathroom. Although this falls into the ‘”over $5,000″ category, in reality there is no limit to how much this can cost, whether it is $10,000, $15,000, or even $50,000 and more. By definition, projects of this scope involve a gut renovation. In addition, they also frequently involve moving the plumbing and electrical fixtures to new locations, rather than leaving them where they were in the old bathroom. An architect or experienced contractor is crucial to the success of a project this big, because there are too many possibilities for costly mistakes. Also, if you’re going to start moving the plumbing and electrical wiring around, you will need an expert to be involved in order to get whatever building permits you may need, as well as to secure approvals from co-op or condo boards if the renovations involve an apartment. Most cities and towns require you to submit something called a riser diagram for the plumbing, which details where the waste and vent lines will go, something I will describe in greater detail as follow. As a dividend for the municipality, this also gives them a chance to raise your tax assessment based on the new bathroom, but there is little you can do about this. A new bathroom will increase the value of your home, both for better and for worse.

How to Do all the Necessary Preparations Before Making a Bathroom  making Bathroom 5

Once the basic plumbing, wiring, and structural renovations are made, the new bathroom is ready to go. With an empty space, you’ll be free to choose any type of tub, shower, tiles, sinks, and vanity cabinets. Add to this the lighting, ventilation, and painting, and the minimum cost, from my experience, will be somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000. It’s at this point that many homeowners become scared, and even ponder the wisdom of returning to the outhouse. In most cases, the bathroom is just as expensive as the kitchen, even though it is so much smaller. That is because the work of so many different trades is represented, even if served up in tinier portions. The good news is that if you renovate a bathroom and do it well, it will probably last a generation, with some occasional cosmetic fine-tuning along the way.

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Related posts:

  1. How to Renovate a Bathroom
  2. How to Decide What You Want in a Bathroom
  3. How to Install a Sink or Vanity
  4. How to Assess Existing Bathroom Systems
  5. How to Install Vanity Base Cabinets and Bathroom

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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