Top 20 Remodeling Tips and Wisdom

Learn tips on how to remodel a bathroom like an expert!

Top 20 Bathroom Remodeling Tips by Bill Wegner

Valuable bathroom remodeling and refurbishing useful tips, time and money-saving ideas.

  1. Cost Of A Bathroom Remodel. Bathroom remodels, like kitchen remodels, can become expensive in a hurry. It’s not one item that drives up the cost, it’s the sum of all the different parts of the work that can add up fast.
  2. Building Codes. Be aware of building code requirements in your area when making changes to the layout of a bath. A toilet space typically must be 30″ wide minimum, and there are other code requirements to consider.
  3. Save cost on vanity tops. Go directly to granite fabricators to find remnants of slabs left over from other projects, usually at discount prices.
  4. Plumbing Fixture Selection. There are a LOT more options for fixtures and finishes than you will find at a home store. A quality supplier will be able to show you designer plumbing and lighting fixtures, custom shower doors, floating vanities.
  5. Plumbing Rough-Ins. The best plumbers install vanity drain rough-ins exactly centered on the sink and up as high as possible to keep the area under a vanity open for storage.
  6. Set Tubs In Concrete. Always use concrete underneath when you set tubs and shower bases to avoid squeaks and creaks.
  7. Steam Shower Precaution. When installing a steam shower, add a moisture barrier behind the tile.
  8. “Quiet” Bath Fans. Consider replacing your builder grade bath fan with a new “quiet” fan, but be aware that many quiet fans require a larger vent duct.
  9. Medicine Cabinets. Recessed medicine cabinets can be installed in most baths, but you may need to make wall framing modifications.
  10. Tile Designs. A tile showroom will have designers to help you design your tile layout to include deco bands or accent tiles, and may suggest placing some of the tile “on point” (diagonally).
  11. Installing Tile. ALWAYS use an approved backer board behind tile in wet areas.
  12. Subfloor And Backer Board. Never install tile directly on a wood subfloor. Use an approved underlayment of the proper thickness so that the new floors are level with the adjacent flooring.
  13. Tile Shower Pans. Tile shower floors are tricky to install correctly, especially the drain and pan liner. Many inexperienced installers are still doing them wrong, and a leak under the tile shower floor is VERY difficult to fix. One key item is that the weep holes in drain must not be plugged. Another is that poured pan liners should ALWAYS be tested part way through the installation process.
  14. Grout Line Width. Large tiles and thin grout lines are often preferred by designers. A word of caution, both make for a more difficult installation to keep the tiles flat and flush with each other.
  15. Grout and Caulking. When grouting tile, never use grout for the inside wall corners or where dissimilar surfaces meet. The best professionals use a color and texture matched tile caulking compound for these areas that would otherwise crack later.
  16. Termination Trim. A metal “Schluter” trim along the edge of tile and at a doorway gives a very professional look.
  17. Wall Backer For Bath Accessories. Install wood backer inside walls at locations of towel bars, paper holders and safety grab bars.
  18. Fitting Faucets and Sinks. Some vanity faucets need more space behind the sink than others and may not fit between a thick back splash and a larger sink. Always have your faucet and sink on hand when your top supplier comes out to measure.
  19. Full Overlay Drawer Fronts. Vanities with drawers are becoming popular, but the drawers may not open fully if the vanity is against the wall next to a door. Drawers may hit the door trim. Use a filler strip to move the vanity away from the wall and clear the door trim.
  20. Prime New Walls Before Grouting. Always apply paint primer to raw drywall texture before grouting tile, otherwise your sponge may wipe the texture right off the wall.

These are all extremely useful tips of wisdom garnered from over 30 years of remodeling and refurbishing experience!

For complete home renovation consulting advice contact Bill Wegner at 303-552-1603.