Bathroom Remodel Tips And Tricks

Filtered Water Belongs In The Bathroom

Despite our supposedly robust economy, purchasing a home is still a huge and intimidating investment, which is why less expensive fixer-uppers seem to be perennially in style. But once purchased, that’s when the big work begins. Yup, we’re talking renovations. Thanks to complicated plumbing and heavy-duty flooring, most of us throw the most money into renovating our bathrooms and kitchens. No one wants to live in a former college student rental — unless they’re, well, a college student. So, we’re getting down to the basics for a few DIY tips and tricks — or, ahem, “hacks” as they say now — when redoing your bathroom, including a few less obvious considerations that many people don’t even think about.

Getting Started

First, decide your budget and know what items absolutely have to be replaced versus what you just want to replace. If the toilet in your fixer-upper doesn’t work, it obviously has to go, but if funds are a consideration, there are many ways to save without actually cutting corners. Typically, the items considered in a bath re-do are:

  • Bathtub/Shower/or a combination
  • Plumbing & Electrical
  • Toilet
  • Tile (depending on bathroom size)
  • Lighting
  • Furniture

Bathroom Remodel Lighting

If necessary, there are ways to save on each of these items, but the main place we encourage you not to skimp is on is plumbing and electrical, which we’ll get to in a bit. But first:

Imagine Your Space

If you opt not to get a design professional (which are very worth the money), it helps to sketch out the size of your bathroom on graph paper to track how much space each item (whether it’s being replaced or not) will take up. If your space is really small, it might even convince you to ditch the tub and stick with a stand-alone shower. But either way, you’ll get an important bird’s eye view so you’ll know if your new sink and toilet will fit before you spend a dime on installations.

Worth The Cash

Get a professional to handle redoing the plumbing and electrical. The biggest reason for this is that a lot of appliances and systems have built-in warranties that require that you get a professional to handle the situation on your behalf. So if you want to not accidentally void your warranty, this piece is a big deal.

Also, it’s best not to assume that everything can be a DIY job. Fewer disasters — particularly as it pertains to such technical and potentially painful tasks like plumbing and electrical — will also ultimately save you money down the road, and maybe even some pain (literally). You may not be the person for the job, and that’s ok.

More Money Savers

Certainly, not every item needs to be purchased new, either. Perhaps that ugly vanity can be upgraded with a new paint job and new hardware or replaced with an antique cabinet. Try buying a vintage or antique mirror for the vanity. Estate sales are full of them, and they look so much more interesting than the standard “builder grade” medicine cabinet mirrors — if it has a frame, even better!

If you buy a place with original details, consider saving that vintage tile. Another way to save is on the tiling. Keep it on the floor — use wood paneling or wainscoting instead of tile on the walls. It’s less expensive than tile, not to mention easier to keep clean. A bonus here is that you’ll not only save on tile, but also on the labor costs (or your own sweat) of installing it. Plus, wainscoting can add a touch of “rustic country” vibes if left bare, or a festive color splash if painted.

Save bathroom tile to save money.

If you’re lucky enough to get a house with one, keep the cast iron bathtub (they’re timeless and hard to come by now, anyway!) but splurge on some beautiful hardware. Instead, install a low-flow toilet that will pay for itself in the long run by saving on future water bills.

Upgrade the Unseen

One thing many new homeowners don’t spend much time considering in a bathroom remodel, though, is the quality of their water. Particularly if your home was built before the 1980s, it likely has lead pipes, which can corrode and leach into your water, given the right combination of chemical contaminants. Lead is actually bio-accumulative, too, which means that it doesn’t exit your body, so limit your family’s exposure. Additionally, elements like chlorine can turn to chloroform in your shower into steam. And if you’re a fan of long, relaxing baths, here’s something to make you think twice about that soak: you’re bathing your skin in chlorine or chloramines (a mix of chlorine and ammonia). Yikes.

One way to approach an old pipe problem is to replace them with copper, steel, or plastic piping, but there may be some pipes that are harder to reach and are cost prohibitive to replace as a result. In that case, Aquasana offers a shower filter that’ll remove 97 percent of the chlorine in municipal water. If you’d like more of a comprehensive approach, a whole home water filtration system offers a perfect compromise. It’ll not only filter water at every tap in your bathroom, but the rest of the house will also reap the benefits. More than “two birds, one stone,” think of it as “several rooms, one system.”

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