With so many options and possibilities to choose from, homeowners who have embarked on a bathroom renovation journey at one point often feel lost at sea. It’s important to know what stays and what has to go. Sometimes even seasoned renovators have to balance the pros and cons. A residential contractor may advise total destruction of the old bathrooms, but it’s ultimately your old bathroom’s design and layout that determines the extent. When it comes to floors and plumbing, showers, sinks, and surrounds, contractors and experts often have their rules of thumb, but don’t forget it’s you who’s calling the shots.
Re-decorating or re-designing
If you’re only giving your bathroom a facelift, your decisions will include adding colored wood trim, introducing a new commode, replacing the old vanity with a more back-friendly one, or replacing blinds with shutters. These updates don’t require re-plumbing and structural modifications, which, in return, call for new floor plans, wiring and lighting. While in the previous decades, the primary use for the bathroom was utilitarian, today, the emphasis is on luxury and relaxation which can be achieved only through a complete overhaul. In some cases, the tub and commode will remain, but the other fixtures and furniture will be replaced. It’s important to know, however, that in overhauls like these, one new element usually dictates adding of another. Another important rule is to go through the renovation with the same high standard. Otherwise, you’ll be pairing a JC Penny suit with Armani shoes.
Fate of the toilet
In a re-decorating scenario, a perfectly good toilet is something that can stay, but once it has to come up from the floor during the remodel, the best course is to replace it. An old toilet taken from its place needs to be rebuilt before it’s returned. However, the tank-to-bowl seals harden over the years and are likely to separate when the toilet is taken out. And the costs of a plumber rebuilding an old unit don’t fall any short of buying a new one. Another consideration concerning the toilet is what every experienced bathroom designer might tell you – put the new toilet where it won’t be the first thing you see when you open the door. The logic is simple – the bathroom door often gets left open, so the first thing a guest to your home will see is the toilet. So, if you’re aiming for a spa-like vibe in your new bathroom, consider hiding the throne behind a hutch like a cabinet wall.
Should tub stay or should tub go
If your tub is nicked, or someone has ‘expertly’ used abrasive cleaners to the point that now it can be everything but white at its best, refinishing or replacing is just a matter of finance. Refinishing a tub is not even a third of the total tub replacement cost which includes tearing up the door, as you can’t get the old one out otherwise. Another pro of refinishing is that you aren’t messing with the lead drain traps that are soldered into place and keeping the existing fixtures. Apart from financial concerns, refinishing is also recommended if it’s just that awful avocado green, rose gold or unsightly brown colour of the tub that’s bothering you. If the floors and wall coverings come down, refinishing, however, loses its economic appeal, and you might as well stretch out for a new bathtub and maybe add some new features to accompany it.
Less is floor
When it comes to floors and remodel, think twice before you decide to rip the old one up. If you like the material and texture of the old floor, and it’s in good condition, keep it. If the floor is in less than ideal shape, you can still restore it, especially if it’s a quality hardwood floor. Similarly, if it’s a tile floor, and only needs re-grouting, leave it be. However, if the tiles are damaged and you don’t have a box of extras sitting somewhere, it’s better to replace it altogether than to lose your nerve looking for the ones that match. With floors, it’s essential to watch your timing and not jump ahead of schedule. The fact that you saved some money on replacing the vinyl flooring yourself means little if you did it before the major remodel started. Not only are you limiting your floor plan options but also put the new floor at risk of being damaged.
Although contractors and renovation experts will have their ideas on how to do it, it’s the condition and layout of the existing bathroom that determines the scope of the remodel. Before you decide about the basics, make sure to answer the question – are you re-decorating or re-designing? The answer will help you decide what to keep and what not.
Bio: Cooper Klein is an entrepreneur with a degree in Marketing. He’s interested in real estate and home decor. In order to spend more time with his family, Cooper decided to take a break, and he’s currently working from home as a blogger for SmoothDecorator and several other sites.