Jumping into a bathroom renovation is an exciting DIY task that can leave you with a brand new room in the house. There are a huge number of reasons as to why you should start on a bathroom reno. The old, carpeted bathroom floors need to go. Installing new fixtures can save on the monthly water bill. It also can just look and feel nice to have an up-to-date bathroom in the house.
While I strongly encourage bathroom renos, there are also a lot of things that you need to be on the lookout for. It’s easy to mess something up and end up paying more in the long run. This can lead to a bathroom that’s out of order for a long while. Doing a reno means doing it right.
To do it all right, here is a list of what not to do during a bathroom reno.
DON’T Jump In Without a Plan
The demo portion of the reno can be the most exciting, as well as the easiest part. You may decide you want to do a bathroom reno and jump straight in by ripping out the old toilet. Now you are here without a toilet in a bathroom you have no idea what you’re going to do with.
An organized plan, including schematics, a budget, and a timeline, is important to get the reno done right.
Start off with a general plan of what you see is wrong with the current bathroom. This will let you focus on what you want to change. If it’s everything, then great! You know you want to start from the ground up.
Planning the space ahead of time will let you save the money as well as place everything properly when going to install it. There’s a chance that you can get what you want in the reno without ripping everything out of place. You won’t know that unless you formulate an in-depth plan ahead of time.
DON’T Rush the Process
I understand that this is an exciting process and you may just want it to be started, or be finished. Rushing the process is appealing because it means you’ll have your bathroom ready in no time.
Rushing the process also leads to minor or major flaws that will cost you more in the long run. It also means having to go back and fix mistakes so you won’t have the bathroom ready on time.
Remember, slow is steady, and steady is fast. You aren’t going to benefit by throwing everything together as quickly as possible. If you pay attention to detail and really think about what you’re doing, you end up with a beautifully renovated bathroom.
DON’T Cut Corners on Key Materials
Budgeting can be tough, especially if your budget is quite low. There are certain materials you can find for dirt cheap, and some will seem outrageously expensive.
The good news is, you can definitely cut corners on some of the materials. The bad news, don’t cut corners on everything, especially the key materials.
The high moisture levels that occur in bathrooms can quickly ruin anything that isn’t made for them. Floors can warp and walls can start to mold if you haven’t gotten the right materials. For your walls, floors, and vanities you want to choose the right materials rather than the cheap ones.
This also means being realistic about a budget. Set a budget that you can afford while making sure that the bulk of it goes to the important things. It will only cost you more further down the road if you waste the money now.
DON’T Use Improper Spacing
Getting the proper spacing in a bathroom is another huge part of the preparation and planning stages. Drawing up the floor layout and schematics can help to get the right spacing so no one is stuck on the toilet at a 45-degree angle because it’s too tight against the wall.
If you are laying new plumbing you need to be on top of the minimal building codes or you’ll find yourself in trouble. For example, if your toilet flange isn’t spaced at a minimum of 12 inches from the wall, you aren’t going to be fitting a toilet in place. Then everything needs ripped out and redone.
To avoid renovating a reno, focusing on comfort in the bathroom rather than style will make you happiest. You can always redecorate, but the spacing will be much more difficult to redo.
DON’T Have Low Ventilation
First off, no one likes a bathroom without a fan. Second off, no bathroom should be without a fan. Preferably a bathroom has a fan and a window or two. Those are the bathrooms with the longest lifespans.
You need proper ventilation installed in your bathroom in order to stop the moisture from slowly destroying the entire home around it. If your bathroom is tiny, you may be able to swing a cheap fan that will exchange a small amount of air. If you’re renovating a larger one, you’ll need to invest in a quality fan.
If you don’t have a window, codes require a fan. You want a fan that can exchange, at minimum, 150 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air inside the bathroom. That can mean budgeting hundreds for a fan that will keep your renovation pristine for a long time.
DON’T Focus on Trends
Remember, carpeting your bathroom used to be fashionable. It matched the floral wallpaper and the ancient clawfoot tub. Now, when you walk into a bathroom that looks like it’s from the 70’s, there’s a feeling of dirt and grime that you can’t get off.
When you renovate, don’t just pick everything because of what is trendy. Trends come and go. A bathroom reno is about maximizing function and getting a space that will last a long time. Pick the functional and quality materials rather than splurging on shag carpet for the walls.