Eight Steps to your New Bath Room

While decorating shows on TV are fun and inspirational, the real life process of creating a new bath - whether it’s a master bath or powder room - takes longer and involves many more “behind the scene” steps than first meets the eye.

  1. Assess your needs
  2. What are your main objectives? Your priorities will drive all further decisions on budget, style, products and more. So give this step some time and talk it through with your family.

  3. Establish a budget range
  4. Determine how much you can realistically invest in your new bath and how you plan to pay for it. Shop around to get an idea of product prices and remember that installation can be about 20 percent of the budget. What does a bathroom cost? You ultimately decide by the scope of your project, the products you select and the services you’d like (Of course, labor rates in your area have some bearing on it too.)

    On a cost-per-foot basis, a bath can be one of the most expensive rooms to remodel. That’s due in part to the complexities of plumbing and to the need for multiple contractors to work sequentially in a small space.

    However, with a wide variety of quality products available, there’s a bath for almost any budget, ranging from the very attractive to the super deluxe.

    To share a few examples: a master suite with all the amenities and luxurious materials in a major metro area could read $100,000. However, a lovely yet modest makeover in a smaller town might be achieved for less than $10,000.

    Tips for setting your budget

    • Keep your priorities front and center. A designer faucet for several thousand dollars or one that’s about $100? A $100 sink or one that’s $3,500? A $4 polished brass knob or a $98 crystal model? What’s important to you?
    • Cabinetry and hardware typically account for about 16% of your investment, and fixtures are about 15%
    • Remember that installation generally runs approximately 20% of the budget.
    • When it comes to resale, check with real estate professionals to find out specifically for your neighborhood what the return would be for a new or additional bathroom. National statistics can give you a general idea, but what matters most is your neighborhood.
    • Find out how much more quickly your home would sell with a new or additional bathroom
    • Discuss your budget with a pro. They work in a variety of price ranges, and can tell you up front whether they’re the right fit for your project.
    • A professional can also help you get the most value for your investment.

    Ways to save

    Set priorities so you know where to allocate your dollars. Don’t move plumbing or walls unless it will greatly improve the space. Avoid changing your mind once products are ordered and installation begins. Have a clear set of specifications before comparison shopping. Be sure to compare exactly the same products, not just similar ones. The price for the same model of faucet, for example, will vary by finish. Granite prices vary by grade.

    Some friendly advice

    Get a written estimate with detailed specifications of all products and services. Be sure that you understand the payment schedule. Is there a design fee? A retainer? What payments are due, and when?

    Never pay 100% up front.

    Be sure at the end of the job there are no contractor liens. Set aside some money for contingencies, perhaps 10% to 20% of your project

  5. Find a professional
  6. Interview several members to find someone who understands the scope of your project. Whether you’re creating a master bath sanctuary or a stunning powder room to wow your guests, on a dollar-per-square-foot basis, a bath can be one of the most expensive rooms to remodel. Today, there are more options than ever in the fast-changing and technologically advanced world of bath products. And when it comes to finessing a design, even a few inches can make or break the success of your new bath. Details count, and there’s a lot to know, from decorative finishes to the technicalities of plumbing.

  7. Finalize room layout and design
  8. Your professional may have several ideas on how you can best use your space, each with different budget implications. Make notes on how you use your space, where the current roadblocks are, and what you wish worked better.

  9. Decide on a look
  10. Define your style by collecting pictures, visiting showrooms and home shows, and making notes of individual elements you like.

  11. Choose products
  12. You’ll have a seemingly endless list of product decisions to make. Your experienced professional can help you sort out what’s truly the best for your needs.

  13. Plan for the installation
  14. Consider who will be responsible for finding and supervising the electricians, plumbers, tile contractors, carpenters, cabinet installers and all the other trades involved with a new bath.

  15. Kick back and enjoy for years to come!
  16. Keep all receipts, contracts, warranties and product information. Understand the proper care and maintenance of all new products, then relax and enjoy your dream come true.