DIY Do’s & Don’ts For Your Bathroom Remodel
According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University homeowners spends about 30 percent of their cash on maintaining a home.
This means that many homeowners are considering the do-it-yourself approach to save money and add equity at the same time. But being a homeowner means finding a balance between what you can do and what you really need an expert to handle.
According to 2013 Houzz and Home Survey bathrooms (along with kitchens) will capture the largest share of the remodeling activity this year. So if you are planning a bathroom remodel, and thinking of tackling some of the work yourself, we have some dos and don’ts of the DIY process.
Make a Plan
Start by looking over the layout. Better Homes and Gardens suggests this is the first step in any remodel. It will give you an idea of what direction you want the transformation to go. It is a waste of both time and money to do anything until you figure out your end game. Do you just want a facelift or are you looking to recreate the room? Modern baths focus on space and privacy. Can you reposition the toilet so it is out of the line of sight, for example?
There is no reason you have to do everything at once, but you do need to answer some basic layout questions and figure out a budget up front. Otherwise, small DIY projects will just get in the way of the bigger picture. Free home design apps like Sweet Home 3D offer a visual tool to help with your planning.
Go for a Chic Look
If you are happy with the basic layout of the bath, then simple tasks to improve the decor don’t require a professional contractor. Projects such as painting the walls or removing old wallpaper are weekend jobs. You can order prefinished hardwood flooring and install it in a day with some basic carpentry tools. Even something as simple as stenciling can add chic to the space.
Consider modernizing small elements such as mirrors, light fixtures and cabinet hardware. Replacing these items takes just an hour and a screwdriver. Adding a few pieces of furniture is both functional and practical. Upcycling an old dresser, for example, opens up counter and closet space. Remove the top drawers to create open storage, then cut them in half to use as wall shelves that hold towels or scented candles.
Some projects are more difficult to decide if you can do them, or if you need professional help. The bathroom remodeling contractors at TenList explain that smaller jobs, even if they involve plumbing, are not as chancy. Upgrading the sink fixtures or the showerhead are straightforward tasks, though, installing a new bathtub or shower are trickier.
The Don’ts in DIY Bathroom Remodels
The infrastructure of a bathroom is more convoluted than you might realize. Any remodel that involves changing the fixture layout or major upgrades is something that requires a contractor or plumber. For example, a steam shower might seem like just a fancy version of what you currently have, but This Old House explains that the system uses a steam generator to heat cold water. That means both plumbing and electrical work during the installation.
The devil is in the details when it comes to complex remodeling. You might be able to install a whirlpool bath on your own, but you could damage the space if the pipes cannot handle the water load. For jobs that require demolition, replumbing, rewiring or that just exceed your comfort zone, call in a contractor to do the job right the first time.