1. USE QUALITY PRODUCTS
No matter how good the craftsman, if they don’t have quality materials to work with, it’s impossible to construct a functioning, durable, and eye pleasing bathroom. Products for your bathroom should be well constructed, designed properly, suitable for the intended use, and all work well together. Make sure styles and finishes match. Case in point, a client complained his shower base was making a slushing sound. After removal it was discovered not to be constructed of solid material, but containing a solid core of cork. Not suitable for a shower base, and obviously manufactured to save money.
2. BUILD A STRONG STRUCTURE
In some instances it’s acceptable to leave up old drywall in a bathroom and trust what’s behind the walls, but usually not in older homes. Some common elements that need to be addressed are older plumbing drains and supply lines, electrical, HVAC, wood structure, and insulation. It’s super important to insure everything is to code and working well.
3. CREATE ADEQUATE FIXTURE SPACING
Your new bathroom should always take into account the 27 guidelines set by the NKBA, which have been historically reviewed since the 1920’s. From the toilet paper holder to the space between the walls and the toilet, everything should be planned out. It’s always a good idea to have a 3D rendering and floor plan done to visually see what the space will look like. General rule is to allow space and avoid too many items or those that are too big.
4. PROTECT FROM WATER DAMAGE
Do as much as you can to prevent water damage. This includes proper tile backer boards, humitek drywall, and waterproofing membranes such as Schluter Ditra and Kerdi. Proper caulking and inspection of plumbing are also vital to ensuring your new bathroom is protected.
5. INSTALL VENTILATION
If you think skipping the installation of your fan is a good idea to save on costs think again. Ignoring proper ventilation can cause moisture problems and damage materials including creating mold issues. Make sure you install a quality fan and it is vented properly through the roof or exterior wall.
6. CREATE AMPLE LIGHTING
Your bathroom should include, where possible, sconce/vanity lighting, main pot lights on a dimmer, and shower light. There should also be a GFCI by the vanity and a fan on a timer. Any other elements such as a heated floor, additional outlets, or towel warmers are nice but not essential.
7. BUDGET ACCORDINGLY
The budget for your bathroom should be in keeping with the value of your house. However, keep in mind there are minimums required to build a bathroom. Also understand that luxury bathrooms are expensive and time consuming, so allocate the proper amount to get the job done right.
8. USE THE RIGHT TRADES
To ensure you get things done right don’t use a jack of all trades contractor. Each contractor should be specialized in their own trade with the exception of the renovator on the project. Specialized trades are the most experienced in their field and can get the finest details taken care of. Never attempt to do a bathroom on your own.
9. DON’T RUSH YOUR PROJECT
Rushing a project is a sure fire way to create problems. Mistakes and accidents happen and that isn’t good. Instead, slow down and make sure your project is safe and well done.
10. DESIGN IT RIGHT
Make sure the elements, styles, and design of your bathroom are planned out from the beginning. It’s much more difficult to correct design flaws during renovations. The best piece of advice is to keep it simple.