This is a document with frequently asked questions about our bathroom remodeling process. Here we try to answer our most frequently asked questions relating to bathroom remodeling. The topics covered in this FAQ include:

What is involved in a bathroom remodel?

A bathroom remodel involves replacing one or more existing fixtures, appliances, surfaces, and finishes in a room to give it a new look. It can range from fairly simple projects that update an older bathroom with new tile or a new vanity to complex multi-fixture jobs like a complete gut job of the whole room. In any case, there are a few basic steps you can expect in most bathroom remodels:

The full process of replacing all fixtures and finishes requires some knowledge of plumbing, cabinetry, and electrical work. Also, regulations from your local building department may require the services of a licensed contractor. You should consult with your builder or architect first to learn more about these details.

Is there anything I need to do before a bathroom remodel?

You should choose the fixtures you want well in advance of your remodel. If the styles or colors are not available, it may be necessary to delay your remodeling until they are back in stock. Also, decide whether you want to do a complete gut job and remove all existing fixtures and finishes before the remodel begins.

Removing everything will save time on the remodel, but it will also require more storage space. Your contractor should be able to provide guidance on this important question.

How long will the bathroom remodel take?

Most residential bathrooms are completed within 7-12 days after all work order approvals have been obtained from your local building department and subcontractors are available for site meetings.

What is included in a bathroom remodel?

Expect to replace your existing toilet, sink(s), cabinets, floor covering and fixtures.  Most bathrooms are being remodeled with tile or stone floors and wet walls today rather than sheet vinyl.

What is the most expensive type of bathroom?

This is difficult to answer because most bathroom remodeling costs are.

personalized to client needs and preferences.  For example, a master bath may be more costly than a small half-bath in an apartment complex. Bathrooms on the water’s edge in Florida or Hawaii will certainly be more expensive than a bedroom bath on the second floor of a Manhattan apartment.

One thing to keep in mind is that bath remodeling costs can vary considerably depending on the number of rooms you are having renovated. For example, adding a master suite or a handicapped accessible bathroom may significantly increase your price range and cost of construction.

How much will my design/renovation budget be?

Each situation is different and it is impossible to provide a specific answer without knowing exactly what kind of changes the homeowner has in mind. Certainly, adding a whirlpool tub or replacing an old pedestal sink will drive up costs substantially.

How many bathrooms can I have done at once?

You may want to consider having all of the renovations completed at one time. Often a homeowner finds it difficult to find time to do multiple projects and most professionals agree that it is best to complete all the renovations at once. This will ensure that your home looks like one project, not several different ones.

Can I have just an update instead of a remodel?

A less expensive option would be an “update” instead of a complete remodel. This might include replacing the bathtub with a shower and updating flooring, counters, or lighting.

What should I do if one bathroom is suitable and another is out-of-date?

You can have two bathrooms updated at different times by choosing either an update for the outdated bathroom or a total renovation/remodel for the more suitable bathroom.

What is the most expensive part of a bathroom remodel?

In a remodel, plumbing and electrical fixtures are usually the most expensive items.  Bathroom renovations can cost as much as $8-15k depending on the size of the room and how many fixtures need to be replaced.

What type of materials should I select for my new bathroom?

Today’s trend is to use tile or stone floors with wet walls.  Cabinets can be purchased in a variety of wood finishes and colors, but the most popular materials are maple and cherry rather than oak.

What is the best way to select bathroom fixtures?

This will depend on the home builder (contractor). Many builders leave this choice up to the purchaser since it is a matter of preference.

What are the most important things in a bathroom?

The main purpose of a bathroom is for the comfort and convenience of its users, so those factors should be considered first when planning renovations.  If added space becomes available due to other renovations (i.e., kitchen), then additional amenities can often be incorporated into the design.

What are the most popular bathroom sink styles?

The most common style is a pedestal sink which has become very popular due to their clean lines and classic look. The second most popular sink style is one that is recessed into the countertop, but there are many shapes and sizes of vessel sinks available for those who are looking for something a little different.

What are the most popular bathroom shower styles?

The most common is a tub/shower combination followed by a walk-in shower and traditional bathtub. However, there is an increasing demand for standalone showers due to the space they save in smaller bathrooms and their ease of use with today’s elderly population.

Does a walk-in shower add value to a bathroom?

A bathroom with a walk-in shower will add more value to your home than one with a tub/shower combo. In fact, many people are choosing to remodel their bathrooms to accommodate standalone showers when building new homes or for reasons of greater ease and convenience while bathing.

What is the best width and length for a walk-in shower?

Anything less than 30″ wide is not recommended, as it’s difficult to get in and out of. A 36″ wide shower is usually a good width for most people. As far as length goes – the standard size is 5 feet, but anything from 3 to 6 feet long would be fine if you have the room.

What is the best type of seat for a walk-in shower?

There are several types available, but most people prefer the traditional built-in bench because it is easier to clean and doesn’t use valuable floor space.

How do I know what accessories to choose?

It’s easiest if you have your contractor add the fixtures during the rough-in stage, but if you can’t wait until then – measure your current shower head and faucet handles. They are likely to be standardized as ½” IPS (iron pipe size). If they aren’t, most home centers will have a conversion kit.

Do I need to worry about insulation?

Waterproof insulation behind the shower’s waterproofing membrane is essential to avoid a cold, damp shower in the winter.

How do I keep the wall surface from getting too wet?

Too much moisture can damage your tiles and grout, causing them to clean away or change color. The best solution is to choose well-designed tiles with good drainage. For areas that need extra protection, you can use a drainage mat.

What’s the best way to waterproof tiles?

Start by installing rigid insulation behind the wall, install plastic vapor barrier over the insulation and then attach ½-inch sheet rock to it. If you are worried about moisture from water splashing up from the shower pan or tub, add a layer of plastic over the tile wall before you install it.

What is the best material for grouting?

Grout joints should be less than 1/8-inch wide and no more than halfway through the thickness of your tiles. Sealing them and keeping them from collecting debris like hair, lint and soap are important to their long life too.

Can I install new tiles over existing tiles?

For best results, remove the old ones. If you can’t reach a particular tile easily or it’s too hard to take down, cover it with plastic sheeting and secure it so mold won’t grow behind it. Trowel on adhesive (mastic) onto the wall where your new tiles go.

What is a stall shower?

A stall shower has side walls and a door, with an open bottom that is flush with the rest of the floor. The other most common type of shower—the walk-in shower—is sometimes called a “curtainless” or “open” shower.

Is it better to have a tub or shower for resale value?

Tubs bring resale value down, showers up.

Does not having a tub in the master bath hurt resale value?

No, not at all. If you do want to put in a tub and the home does not already have one, consider putting in a free standing walk-in tub rather than replacing it with a standard shower – you’ll get more for your money that way.

What is the best flooring for bathrooms?

Ceramic tile is almost always an excellent choice for floors in bathrooms and other wet areas. The grout lines can be sealed with a sealant that will help prevent mold growth and water damage. Marble is another good flooring option for bathrooms. If the marble is treated, it can be used outdoors as well. With a polished surface and nice sheen, it requires less maintenance than other stone types. Stone slabs or pavers will last basically forever but are not always very comfortable on bare feet (because of their jagged edges).

What can you do with a poorly placed bathtub?

Many factors go into determining the best bathroom layout, including the dimensions of the room and whether you want to install a shower in addition to your tub or vice versa. You may be able to make it work by repositioning your toilet, refinishing the tub or by choosing a different floor plan.

Can you put a shower in a room with no window?

A basement bathroom with no outside walls is an option. You will need to install adequate lighting and ventilation or choose steam fixtures that can also function as exhaust fans.

What is best to put on bathroom walls?

You can install wallpaper, but it’s not easy to change later. Paint and vinyl-coated wallpaper are less difficult to remove if you decide to sell your home in a few years.

How do you create more storage in a bathroom?

Install cabinets and shelving. Use your walls, the ceiling, or a corner of the room for storage if you can’t add a cabinet. A fabric shower basket hung from hooks is another idea and it provides an easy way to remove excess clutter while adding décor at the same time.

Is there anything I should avoid when remodeling a bathroom?

Don’t try to do everything at once. It’s better to have a bathroom that works well rather than doing something you may regret later. For example, if the plumbing and wiring cannot handle an extra shower head, don’t add it until they are upgraded.