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Tips for Renovating Your Bathroom: Avoid Spending Traps

News | 21st Sep 2012

Expertly-remodeled bathrooms can look great. But too many homeowners spend much more on the project than they have to. Let’s get right to some advice to avoid spending traps that can blow up your budget:

Take Your Time

Poor planning is the most common reason why renovation projects go over budget. It’s hard not to rush into remodeling, but patience is prudence. It’s advised that you spend anywhere from several weeks to several months planning your project.

Visit showrooms, consult with experts, and do research for ideas on the right designs, styles, and fixtures. Avoid anything that means moving major plumbing lines. For example, if you’re thinking of moving the toilet, you’ll most likely spend thousands on relocating the drain line. In fact, resisting the urge to relocate the toilet, shower, and sink will save you a small fortune.

Use Skilled Labor

DIY projects can save you a boatful of money, but if you’re not a professional, you may end up doubling your costs by taking on a job at which you’re not an expert. However, if you do insist on doing some DIY, focus on the front and back ends of the project, such as tearing out the old bathtub or doing the finish painting.

For the more difficult installations, you want to leave it to the professional tradesmen – plumbers, tile setters, cabinet installers, electricians, etc. However, do your due diligence and check out anyone you’re considering have do work. Ask reliable people for recommendations. Confirm that the person you choose is licensed and insured. Read the contract carefully, too, and remember that making a decision based mostly on cost is not always the best.

Don’t Skimp on Crucial Materials

Too many homeowners make the mistake of going cheap on the items that will be used the most. Purchase faucets with lifetime warranties. Tile is unavoidably exposed to high traffic, so although there is excellent quality on many $5-per-square-foot options, avoid cut-rate tiles.

Keep in Mind Universal Design

It’s hard to see past today, especially when you’re young and/or in excellent health. However, you never know what’s going to happen to you or loved ones.

Admittedly, there is a stigma that such a look evokes institutional life. But designs have improved to the point that they have a mainstream look. For example, large showers provide easy access, especially with built-in seating. “Comfort seating” toilets have become as popular as those with conventional heights. Grab bars can match towel racks and other accessories.

And even if you don’t incorporate much or even any of the universal design, you could have a contractor put in the structural framework for ease of remodeling later.

Water Use

Though many standard bathroom fixtures are water-efficient, choose WaterSense models that are definitely more water-efficient. Avoid trendy bathroom choices such as shower towers because not only will they use more water, you’ll spend more money with all the energy they use up.

Avoid Buying Online

That is, avoid buying online if you’ve not vetted them in person. Researching online is great for seeing the vast array of the latest products and design ideas. However, as what you see online isn’t what you always get, inspect them in person. Visit a showroom or design center so you can consult with an expert.


A closet in which to store towels and other linens can save you unwanted hassles. Even an armoire or basic chest will work. Regardless, a storage place for linens is a near-must. Additionally, a sturdy medicine cabinet is great for keeping various health-care and first-aid essentials.

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