By GLEN PELOSO | It is rare that anyone will offer you a fifty to sixty percent return on an investment that also improves your life, even before you cash out! Bathroom renovations are that investment and indeed are one of the most renovated rooms in the house.
As I often state, the success of any renovation is in the planning. Before you start to fall in love with tubs and shower heads, plan out the foot print of the room to function best for your family’s needs. Place the most important elements on the plan and work the storage elements around that. Do you want just a shower? Do you require a bath tub? Is there enough room for both? Consider how often you bath vs. shower and devote an appropriate amount of space to the most used element.
With those elements placed, now you can plan the storage. Devote the storage to the things you use daily to get ready. People often believe that you need storage for a stack of towels. Reality is that we generally use 4 towels total; two in the laundry and two in use. Eliminate towel storage in tight spaces. I find that drawers in the vanity work best for my clients. Accessing makeup or shaving needs is easiest with a full extension drawer. This will eliminate the need to get on the floor to get to the back of your cabinet.
Next step is the selection of the plumbing and finishes. Have a budget and stick to it. Small increases on several products will certainly add up and leave you way over your original budget. Because no designer or contractor can see behind the walls reserve a ten percent contingency for the unanticipated. With things like tubs and vanities, make sure they will fit through doors by taking careful measurement prior to buying. Once you have made your selections, remember that installation costs need to be budgeted. Knowing exactly what product you’re using will help you get accurate labour quotes. Get a few contractors to provide quotes in writing, for comparison, and include references. Call the references to find out about quality and workmanship as well as the process. If the work was good but the job was three months behind, that may be a clue. Once you sign a contract, anticipate a deposit on the work of about 25 percent. Get a schedule of interim payments for the process but never pay in full until the work is completed satisfactorily.
Once work begins, anticipate mess and inconvenience. I have never been to a clean renovation. That is the nature of the job. There is also the inconvenience of losing a bathroom and having to adjust your timing to get ready. If you only have one bathroom, you may have to move out so anticipate that cost as well. Remember that you are doing this to make your life better.
Trust me when I say we understand the process — we’re going through it, as we put together a feature space for the National Home Show — but that is our job. Come and visit us and we can share stories or offer some guidance. March 14 to 23. www.nationalhomeshow.com
Bathroom Reno Tips
• Plan, plan and then plan some more.
• Check out your contractor and check references
• Select timeless finishes and be trendy with paint and accessories
• Reserve ten to fifteen percent of the budget for the “oh crap” list.
• Prepare for some mess!