The Essential Bathroom Renovation Checklist

Starting off your bathroom renovation on the right foot helps to avoid costly mistakes, rush decisions and scheduling delays. Read through this handy checklist and find out how to plan your bathroom remodeling project.

1 – Make a Budget

Begin in the best place by having a look at what you can afford and what your dream bathroom will likely cost. Preliminary budgets help to identify gaps between reality and imagination, but they also serve to hammer out priorities and allow your family to decide exactly what type of bathroom renovation is required.

Use a simple spreadsheet to record your estimated budget, including costs for materials, labor and all of the incidentals that come along with home improvement projects. Cross things off the list when your costs go above the projected spending limit and feel free to add items and features where possible.

2 – Get Ready for the Disturbance

Think about how long this project will take. Do you have another bathroom to use during that time period? Can you handle having contractors in and out of your home over the course of a week or more?

The time required depends on the scope of work and the competence of your contractor (or you, in case you are undertaking the renovation yourself). Demolition and construction projects obviously take longer than simple redecorating tasks, and a small powder room can be renovated in a fraction of the time it takes to rebuild a large three-piece bath. Consider the length of time required for your renovation and plan your life accordingly.

3 – Assess the Condition of Your Bathroom

As noted above, you may need to upgrade electrical or plumbing elements during your bathroom remodel in order to meet current building codes. Assess the condition of your bathroom by examining the wiring and plumbing. Are you using older style switches and non-GFCI outlets? Can you find PVC pipes, connectors and valves? Upgrade now to meet code and provide better durability.

Inspect the room for mold and mildew growth as well. Any drywall, window or door framing, furniture and built-in pieces with visible mold or mildew need to be completely removed. Framing, flooring and ceiling tiles may also have mold growth. A quick inspection now allows you to anticipate potential problems, but be aware that many issues hide behind the existing walls, flooring and ceiling.

4 – Focus on Function

Consider function as your highest priority during the design phase. Will this new bathroom be used by the entire family, guests or just a few members? Will it also be used as a dressing room or for other functions (such as laundry, etc.)? Think about who will use the room and what they will use it for, and then design for those functions.

Beauty and appearance are important, but function trumps everything. A poorly designed bathroom can look as good as a well designed space, but it lacks value and detracts from your quality of daily living.

5 – Measure and Record

Take some preliminary measurements of your space and record them in a handy location. Room dimensions, including the length and width of the room, ceiling height and window locations, help to provide measurements for drywall, framing, and flooring.

Remember to record the measurements for existing tub and showers, as well as the vanity size and length of lighting strips or fixtures. These figures help to assess costs accurately and allow you to choose plumbing fixtures and features that work for the space.