Bathroom Renovation Checklist

6 Months Out – Vision on a Mission 


Inspire your creative juices and let them overflow by starting a vision board, collage or scrapbook made up of magazine photos, images online and catalogue pages. Don’t tech it for granted how accessible social media is – embrace it to help research ideas! Use Pinterest to collect images from the Web and categorize them into boards. Revisit them once a day to check in on how you still feel about the look and begin a process of diligent editing to narrow down your choices. Houzz is a smartphone app that does a similar thing, allowing you to crate ideabooks using their over 4 million high resolution images for all rooms of the home. They offer product suggestions, styling tips and contacts for local contractors who you can allow to browse your ideabook so they know exactly what you’re going for. The Homestyler app allows you to snap a picture of your room to edit it and add different colors and décor items into your virtual space.

The next step is to put yourself in the driver’s seat by giving each potential new item a test run. Visit a showroom and turn the tap, lay in the bathtub and walk on the tiles. Try before you buy!

Also start sketching and asking friends about contractor recommendations. Consider the layout by asking yourself questions about built-in storage, location of sinks and bathtub and whether you’re merely going for a touch-up or complete remodel as the plumbing work that goes with moving the toilet will be most costly. Don’t forget to factor in ventilation to prevent decay of wooden fixtures and saturation of building insulation!

3 Months Out – Money, Money,  Money

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According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the average person will spend about $11,000 renovating a bathroom. Figure out how much you can spend first, and factor about two thirds of that towards labor – though it’ll vary depending on the scale of your upgrade. Even if your remaining budget for fixtures and tiles seems low, research affordable replica styles for a copycat bathroom without the glossy magazine price tags. Often a $10 per square foot tile looks and feels like those that are $100 per square foot – so do the research!

Renovation Budget Tracker is a money-saving app that allows you to create custom categories and keep a running tally of how much is spent. If you’re budgeting for options that make environmental cents, look out for low flow toilets that uses less water and save you money in water bills; low-VOC or no-VOC paints; vanities made from sustainably harvested wood and recycled glass tile surface countertops.

Now, before any demolition, is a good time to bring in a licensed contractor. Ask for a few opinions and make sure they give you the tradie tick of approval based on all your ideas and sketches. Review quotes, check references thoroughly, and sign contracts. Agree to a start date, create a timeline of when materials are needed by, and estimate when the project will be complete (typically they’re six-week projects).

Don’t let all your hard work go down the drain just because your building may be older. Work with your contractor to look for structural deficiencies in the floor framing, not properly vented plumbing, old corroded plumbing and non-waterproof tile shower/tub surrounds.

Pipe up on all money issues to make sure there are no surprises with your contractor. It’s standard to pay a third up front, a third halfway through the project and the final instalment upon completion to your satisfaction.

Finally, start thinking about alternative bathroom plans especially if that room is the only one you have.

2 Months Out – Buy-Buy Planning

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This is it! Start making your purchases for tiles and fixtures now to account for potential delays and back order. From custom vanities to simple makeovers of door handles and drawer pulls – make sure everything is ordered in advance.

Depending on your budget and style, ceramic, marble, and granite tiles make handsome and highly durable flooring and wall surfaces for baths. Other flooring additional options include cement (painted or stained), sheet vinyl or vinyl tiles which are inexpensive and look better than used to. Keep durability and slip-resistance in mind.

Bathroom brightness isn’t something to take lightly as it can be a safety hazard. Maximize natural light where possible and we recommend 4 watts of incandescent light in for every square foot.

1 Month Out – On the Bath to Success 

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Get your bathroom blank-canvas ready so your contractor can jump in and work their magic. This means clearing out bathroom cabinets and closets and setting up your temporary grooming space elsewhere.

With most of the tedious planning over, it’s time to shop the small stuff and dive into fun easier aspects of towel bars, towel hooks, toilet paper holder, soap dish, towels and a shower curtain.

Once the contractor starts work, contractor contact is important and check in each day, asking: what they plan to do for the day, what was achieved that day and what hiccups may have come up. Establish home entry and exit rules as well as standards of where to old and supplies are kept.

Final Days – Toi-let your Hair Down

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Be flexible and try not to get frustrated. Nothing will go 110% to plan.

From demolishing sheetrock to simple repainting, start at the top and work your way down. So fix up your ceilings first, then walls, then floors. Clean up after each “section” is complete to minimize the fuss at end.

Then? Celebrate in whatever way suits you and let your big achievement sink in.

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