Design Tips to Know Before Remodeling Your Bathroom
Even a small bathroom can require costly materials for a complete overhaul. But this project doesn't have to break the bank. We recently remodeled a bathroom for about $2600, plus what we paid a plumber to move some water lines. Here's what we learned that could help you with your renovations.
Have Everything On Hand First
Big items like the vanity top and special-order tile can take several weeks to arrive. So be patient: Before you take a hammer or Sawzall to you bathroom, make sure everything you're going to need— including the vanity, plumbing fixtures, any new lighting, the tub, and tile—is on hand. You might get frustrated waiting around for parts to arrive, but it's better than tearing up your fixtures and having an unusable bathroom until the components arrive. Plus, when your new products are on hand, you'll know if you need to do extra work, such as moving the plumbing lines for the sink location or running new cable for your lights, before you rip up and then patch the walls.
Consider All Your Options
Home centers have a limited selection of vanities and tops in the store, and special orders can take four to six weeks for delivery, so take a look at other sources. Local independent suppliers who specialize in natural stone have a wide selection of tops in a range of colors and sizes. They can also custom-cut tops to fit unusual spaces and shapes. You may be surprised at how affordable the tops can be.
Plan for Shower Storage
You'll want in-shower storage for your shampoo, soap, razor, and body wash. But hey, you're not in college anymore. Don't settle for cheap plastic units that hang from the showerhead or attach to rods that run from your tub to the ceiling; they look ugly and can ruin your attractive new design. A better option is ceramic tile shelving that's installed in the corner of the shower. The shelves start at about $10 at home centers and tile stores.
Rip Up the Underlayment
Removing old flooring tile or vinyl can be time-consuming, difficult, and still leave behind stubborn pieces that refuse to come off. A faster, simpler way is to rip up the underlayment along with the floor covering. Cutting the underlayment into small sections makes removal easier. Set the circular saw blade just deep enough to cut through the thin plywood underlayment without cutting into the underlying subfloor.
You'll have to install a new underlayment, but 1/4-inch plywood or cementboard is cheap and lets you start with a clean surface. Starting from scratch also lets you get rid of underlayment that may be water damaged, which is common around the toilet.
Use Accent Tiles
Mosaic or glass tile is expensive (mine cost $5 per 12-inch-square sheet). But you don't need a lot of it to add some pizzazz to the bathroom. I only used a dozen sheets, yet it made a big impact. Using the special tiles as a border or sporadically in the tile pattern gives the design a punch of color and character. However, if you want to use panels on entire walls rather than portions, the easy and cost effective option is to use Faux Panels.