The first step in any remodeling project is also the least enjoyable – determining the cost. It’s a
good idea to sit down and consider, not only what fixtures you want to replace, but what other
aesthetic upgrades you want to incorporate into your remodel. If you will be happy just to repaint
the walls and replace the faucet, that’s going to be a much lower cost project than tearing out a
bathtub and converting it into a shower stall.
Another thing to consider, beyond the aesthetics, is the likelihood of repair work that your
bathroom will need. It can be hard to guess how much work the plumbing might need, unless
there are obvious signs that it is not working properly, and the amount of water damage
concealed behind the tiles around the shower won’t be easily seen until the tiles are removed.
Once you’ve got an idea of the work you want done, and the work your bathroom will need
done, it’s a good idea to call around and get some estimates from various remodeling
companies. (At this stage especially, you will really only need or want an estimate, rather than a
proposal - see why here.) That will give you an idea of if your own calculations are in the right
ballpark, as well as who you might want to hire when you’re ready to start.
Water damage/weighing your options
While we love the look and flexibility of tile, there are a few downsides. Namely, keeping the
grout between them clean, the fact that they can chip and crack, and the ability of water to get
behind them and start causing problems we can’t see. There are tools to test for the likelihood
of water behind the tiles, however, and we’re happy to come and help you determine if you
might have a problem.
This is also why we are big fans of panels for your shower areas instead of tiles - which we
discuss in more detail here. It will reduce the chance for water to get into your walls almost
entirely, so you won’t have to worry about hidden mold again in the future.
Once you have a basic cost estimate in mind, it’s time to decide how to manage the money. If
you’re lucky, the amount will be low and you can pay for it from savings, but if that isn’t the case,
then there are plenty of financing options– through your bank, or through the contractor you’ve
decided to work with. We would be happy to discuss your options with you if you think you might
contract with us!
DIY vs Contractor
The largest part of any remodel expense is going to be labor, which means it’s tempting to
consider taking on your bathroom remodel on your own. This is a path that’s always well worth
considering! It gives you the most flexibility in terms of timing, options, and costs, as well as the
biggest savings. There is definitely something satisfying about sitting back in a bathtub you’ve
picked out and looking at a newly refinished bathroom around you, knowing that every part of
the upgrade was done by your own hands.
And certainly if most of the work you want done is cosmetic, like a fresh coat of paint on the
walls and some new shelves, then it doesn’t make sense to hire a professional. Most people
can even handle, with a bit of care and time to learn, how to install a new toilet or light fixture
over the sink.
Hiring a contractor is really only something you should consider for larger, more involved
Consider these three things
We break down in more detail the difference between DIY and hiring a contractor here.
But the main thing to consider when you’re making up your mind about which path to take is,
how much needs to get done, and how experienced are you at the type of projects involved?
Will you know how to handle something going wrong? (This is why a project manager is so
helpful – they know how to handle any unexpected issue that might arise!
Anyone can repaint a room, but not everyone can identify the source of a leak and know how to
fix it so that it will be sealed up for years to come. If a new fan is wanted, will you know how to
wire the electric safely to it? And removing a bathtub and converting it to a shower stall, or vice
versa, is a much more complicated task than just removing and replacing a faucet. And laying
new tile, if that’s the route you choose to go, is a task that requires far more skill and training
than one might expect if it’s going to look good when finished.
If you’re lucky, you already know how to do all of these things and have professional training, or
are close to someone who does. But many people aren’t that lucky.
Project time frame
Remodeling one room might not seem like a big deal, especially if you’ve given other rooms in
your home a facelift already, but the bathroom is a deceptively complicated space to work on.
While the small size makes it seem like a small project, it has more moving parts than most
other rooms in your house. Which means you might schedule yourself for a long weekend
project, and then end up finding more and more that needs doing until you’re still working away
at a half-finished and non-functional bathroom for months. A professional will be able to look at
your project and give you a time estimate, and even if that goes over, it won’t be by more than a
day or two, while you sit back and just wait for them to finish up.
Additionally, if you’ve ever been to the home improvement store you’ve seen the wide selection
of almost every item on sale. You might be tempted to go with the cheapest one to keep costs
low, but frequently these items are cheap for a reason and you’ll find yourself running into
problems down the road. On the other hand, the most expensive version may not be worth the
extra cost. Hiring a professional is a great way to ensure that the materials used on your project
are the best products available, due to long experience.
Third Generation Restoration is a home remodeling company that is proud to serve our
neighbors in the greater Cincinnati area. If you’re thinking about remodeling your bathroom and
you’re finding some questions that this guide isn’t able to answer, give us a call and we’ll be
happy to help you plan out your remodeling project. It’s important to us that our clients are
satisfied with the work we do for them, and we’ll be with you every step of the way, ensuring you
get to build memories in a home you can love, through this generation and beyond. Give us a