You’ve watched enough home improvement shows on TV to know that every remodel has surprises. Just when they think the budget and timeline really are doable, that’s when the mold is discovered or the faulty electrical rears its ugly head.
Your bathroom remodel will come with its own set of troubles. Some you have no control over, some come simply because you change your mind. Planning for hiccups is smart, but even smarter is to anticipate some of the issues you might run into—both those you can control and those you can’t. Here are some you should have on your radar.
What Lies Beneath
What’s under that floor tile you’re planning on replacing? What’s behind the wall? Mold is always something you should be concerned about in the bathroom, but if your home is older, also be prepared for some interesting old-house issues. You’ll encounter some out-of-date building codes and practices that can cause plenty of trouble.
For example, tile used to be applied to a “wet bed”. That means that cement was put down and the tiles were laid into it. On the wall, there might also be wire lath added to the layers of cement to add stability. These tiles are extremely difficult and expensive to remove. Some people opt to keep the tile and do updates elsewhere in the bathroom.
Think through the traffic patterns in your bathroom before you make even minor changes. When you sacrifice functionality to make things pretty, you sometimes have to deal with the consequences every day for the rest of your life.
Take these examples. Changing your sliding door to a hinged one is definitely a great update, but will you have enough room to let that door swing open without running into the vanity? Did you make room for your towel rack right outside the shower door or will you have to cross the room to towel off? Is toilet placement in a private spot or will the throne be the central feature of the room?
Love your weekly soak in the bathtub? Can’t do without your lengthy hot shower every morning? You might want to consider rethinking your plumbing.
You might want to increase the size of the pipes coming into the shower or tub, which will give you better water flow and pressure for a luxurious spa experience. Or if you are looking to cut back on your water-using habits, go with a standard size pipe and water-saving shower head.
You’d think that if you start with the bones of the room, everything else would fall into place. However, leaving the details until later can cost you extra time and money.
You may love that pedestal sink, but maybe you didn’t realize that all that exposed plumbing would be so apparent. Or perhaps you decide that the electrical outlet right next to the sink ruins the whole aesthetic. When you think about the finished room, you’ll be able to identify both aesthetic issues and functional issues and remedy them when the time is right, rather than after the fact.
It Takes Two
Planning a bathroom for two to share goes beyond installing double vanities. There are lots of ways to make a shared bathroom pleasant and functional for you and your significant other.
Do you want one large master bathroom with side by side vanities? Or do you want two smaller bathrooms with more privacy? Should the closets be accessible from the bathroom? Have you planned enough storage? Read more about concepts for couples’ bathrooms here.
The last thing you want when you crawl out of bed is to step on the cold bathroom floor. Even worse, is when you jump into your early morning shower and shiver until things warm up. You can eliminate this unpleasantness with some timely planning.
When you have the walls stripped down to the studs, put a little extra insulation in the spots that have traditionally been cold, especially the shower. Before the tile goes down on the bathroom floor, consider in-floor heating—you’ll never have cold toes again!
Be careful when you pick your flooring surfaces. If you end up with different thicknesses going from the bathroom to the bedroom, you’ll have to have door thresholds to manage the transition. If you opt for heated floors or a zero-threshold shower, this might raise your bathroom floors as well.
There are several ways to make this transition work. A molding made of stone or wood usually handles this with grace. A flat piece of marble or tile laid on an angle looks nice and keeps things running smoothly. A rug can also help ease the difference after your bathroom is complete.
Speaking of thresholds, your shower threshold is something to consider from the very start. A no-threshold shower is a popular choice and may be necessary if you are going for accessible design.
There are sub flooring changes that need to be made for this kind of set up. The floor of the shower must slope for proper drainage and that presents some issues for remodels. Either the floor of the shower must be lowered or the floor of the bathroom must be raised. Talk with your contractor to get the details.
A Little Privacy
Privacy is nice in the bathroom. It may be one of the only places you can go to be alone. Separating the toilet from the rest of the bathroom is the best way to achieve privacy.
Toilet rooms are the ideal option here. If you have the space, wall off and area and add a door. Or, if you don’t have the space, put the toilet the far corner and place a privacy wall. Frosted glass and shower curtains in the shower also do the trick.
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