Renovating a Bathroom

If you’re thinking about renovating a bathroom, the hard truth is that you’re actually not going to be able to do everything yourself – unless you’re a professional plumber or electrician, that is. A bathroom is one of the priciest and trickiest rooms in your home to renovate, and it has to be done with care and precision.

The Do-It-Yourself Parts

Fortunately, there’s still a pile of jobs you can do on your own, before calling in a professional for the more dangerous work:

    - remove old fixtures from the ceiling and walls
    - choose new fixtures and have them ready to go
    - fix any leaks from the roof or window
    - wall repair work, such as:
    o gutting old walls
    o removing any walls you plan to replace or rebuild (make sure they’re not a part of the room’s structural support!)
    o insulate new walls and install the vapor barrier
    - determine your color and decorative scheme ahead of time, if this affects the structural appearance of the room
    - remove and install smaller fittings like towel hooks and railings
    - do all your own painting once the drywall is up and the electrical/plumbing are complete

If you have experience with laying your own floor, that’s also an area you can choose to do yourself. Most bathroom floors have tiling of some variety, and it’s not too difficult to install correctly if you’re well informed before taking on the project.

Getting Started

Before you even begin renovating a bathroom, you’ll need to check the building codes in your area to ensure you can even do what you have in mind. You may need to draw up a plan for the room and submit it before starting work on anything, so be sure to get this done well in advance. Then, once you have the go-ahead for the project, visualize and design your bathroom renovation concept.

Before you call in an expert, choose and order all your fixtures, fittings, and major bathroom components. The last thing you need is to delay having a working bathroom any longer than necessary – right?

While it’s dangerous to attempt home plumbing or electrical work without certification, some states or regions may not even allow you to attempt it without getting a hefty fine imposed, should you be caught. Take the safe route: if it’s work you’re not trained to do and it has the potential to hurt you, leave it to the professionals.

The “Call-an-Expert” Parts

Call a plumber in to install any new tubs, bathtubs or showers, or a toilet. While plumbing may not seem as dangerous as to try installing on your own as the electrical, the truth is that one simple forgotten waterproofing or sealant along a pipe can have serious consequences down the road.

A plumber will also repair any existing leaks you may have in your bathroom pipes, and will be able to ensure your drainage system has proper venting.

For obvious reasons, you can’t do electrical work on your own without certification. A qualified electrician will install your light fixtures for you and repair or upgrade wiring where needed. Electrical work has to be up to code, and if the bathroom you’re renovating is in a house thirty or more years old, it’s possible that the outlets still need to be given ground fault circuit interrupters for your own safety.

If you’re adding a new installation to the bathroom that uses a lot of energy, such as a Jacuzzi or whirlpool tub, you’re going to need an increased flow of energy to that room to prevent the existing wiring from overloads. An electrician will also help out with ventilation issues, making sure your existing plans are actually feasible.