Bathrooms are one of the only spaces in a home that is clouded with moisture, and even soaked, almost daily. Even the kitchen does not suffer the kind of abuse that forces moisture into every nook and cranny of the small room. It is partly for this reason that bathrooms are one of most remodeled spaces in the home.
Bathroom remodeling discussions usually revolves around replacing the big three fixtures: shower/tub, sink and toilet. Floors and painting will revolve around these decisions. Depending on the style and use remodeling a bathroom can be done cheaply but look to everyone as if you completely gutted the place and started again.
Step 1: Assess the Situation
Leaks: Take everything out of the bathroom: shower curtain, towels, mats, window dressings, etc. Now you can see what you have. If the floor is squeaking and there is a noticeable area where water has been seeping below the floor or behind the shower wall then you will have to chase the moisture. For this you may have to hire someone who is familiar with bathrooms but a good handyman can find the source of any water pipe leaks or entrances where water is seeping in from the shower.
Fixture Shape: White fixtures never go out of style so check them over for cracks or discoloration. Maybe the shower unit has hairline cracks that are yellowing. Take note of this but don t rip it out just yet. If it is still functioning don t put it down for removal unless you have an extra $1000 or more to replace it. Steel tubs are usually bulletproof so these can stay.
Floor: Bathroom floors are small but if they were not sealed properly water might be leaking down into the walls below. Check this by lifting the molding. If the are is dry and there is no mold evidence then you are safe. Otherwise you might have to chase the water to alleviate the mold underneath.
Window: The old bathrooms never had showers but had a window over the tub. When showers were installed after ward the direct water saturation on the window frame sometimes caused rot beneath. If there is an old window the previous owner might have covered up a problem area with cermalite and not dealt with it. It is to your benefit to peel back this paneling or carefully lift a tile to assess the state of the wall behind it. In some cases portions of the studs may be rotten but this does not mean that the whole wall has to go.
Vanity: Pressed-wood vanity cabinets do not take kindly to moisture and will swell after a while. This is because the bottoms and edges are rarely sealed and water vapor gets into the wood chips. If there are water stains then it is possible that the supporting panels may fail sometime soon.
Step 2: Replacement
Sheetrock: Even in a cheap bathroom remodeling job if there is water damage then these parts will have to be replaced with new wood and green sheetrock. The green color means that this has been treated with a fungicide. The toilet can be removed easily to get at the walls behind it and by disconnecting the water and drainpipes the sink vanity can come out too. If the sink is a wall sink, and it is sound, then maybe just the sheetrock underneath may need replacing. Don t forget to turnoff the shutoff taps before disconnecting the pipes and stuff rags into the sink and toilet drain.
Shower Wall: If the shower and tub are not one unit, that is the wall is old tile or cermalite, you can easily replace this with a plastic liner that can be glued to the new wall surface. It is clean, white, easy-to-install and will instantly brighten up the room. If you want to retile use a fine steel lath as a reinforcement and read up on tile installation.
Tub: If the steel tub surface is worn or cracked the hardware store will have a resurfacing epoxy that will make it look almost new. With a new set of taps it definitely look as though it was just installed. This treatment also works for fiberglass shower/tub units. In both cases read the directions carefully.
Sink/Vanity: If you are not pleased with the sink new cabinet vanities or pedestal sinks are not that expensive. If you go for the pedestal make sure that you have adequate storage somewhere else in the bathroom.
Hardware: Now is the time to spent a bit of money and coordinate tall the fixtures including the lights. Using a brushed brass or nickel will take the chrome edge out of the bathroom and make it looked richer. The lights and towel racks should match.
Flooring: One of the easiest floors to install is vinyl. A small piece from a flooring place would hardy set you back $50. These are usually scraps. Make sure that the pattern matches your d'cor. Cheap is only good of it looks great. You can also go with tile if you have the abilities but a good handyman would probably put it down in a couple of hours one day and then another hour later to grout it.
Toilet: Unless you are attached to the existing toilet a gleaming, new toilet with all the amenities including wax ring, flex hose and new interior can be bought in a box for under $100. For that price it s not worth trying to fix or clean the old one.
If the old bathroom wasn t in too bad of shape to start with for under $500 including paint you can fix that it into a stunning new room.
For information on getting a bathroom contractor consult our Contractor Directory or post your project online at TrustedPros.caPosted by: TrustedPros