Home Improvement

Bathroom Remodeling and Accessory Upgrades

For many homeowners, a bathroom remodel is only complete with a few upgrades to accessories. But these items add up quickly.

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Keep the existing layout and plumbing to avoid costly re-piping fees. Also, refinishing sinks and bathtubs is often less expensive than replacement.

A bathroom remodeling project requires a well-thought-out design. This is where our design team comes in to work with you to develop goals for the remodel and plan how that will be achieved. The design stage is also where plumbing changes, if needed, are determined and accounted for. For example, toilets and sinks require a certain amount of space to function properly (toilet bowls should be at least 30″ from the wall, sinks 20″). And any new fixtures must fit within existing pipe locations (or, at the very least, can not conflict with them).

Layout considerations will also be considered. Moving tubs and showers, changing the location of a sink or vanity, and rearranging shelving are common bathroom layout changes that can make your bathroom more functional. We take the time to consider your family’s needs and plans when determining layouts, as the right renovations can help you save time and money in the long run.

Another part of the design process involves choosing materials for your bathroom. This can include tile, counters, cabinets, and more. Choosing the best material for your bathroom can impact your budget and aesthetic in many ways. For example, natural stone is a great option for durability and beauty, while wood components can give your bathroom an organic feel.

Hardware choices for your cabinets and bathroom accessories are also a fun and easy way to customize your space. Whether you prefer gold or silver, chrome or antique brass, there is something to match your style and complement your home’s decor.

Lighting is another essential part of the design process for your bathroom. Recessed and decorative lights can provide a great ambiance and enhance the functionality of your bathroom. We also recommend incorporating dimmer switches for added flexibility.

The last aspect of the design process for your bathroom is considering what finishing touches you want to include. Adding custom elements like cabinetry, artwork, and decorative tiling can make your bathroom unique and personal. We can also incorporate smart technology into your bathroom with hands-free faucets and programmed shower systems that conserve water and energy.

Plumbing upgrades are the most expensive aspect of a bathroom remodel. This is because they involve tearing out walls, relocating fixtures, and installing new pipes. For this reason, it is best to hire a professional plumber to do the work. They have the training and tools to ensure your plumbing is safe, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. A plumber can also evaluate your current plumbing and advise maximizing your space.

A plumber will usually begin by checking the condition of existing pipes and ensuring they are up to code. This is important because if the pipes are not in good condition, they may leak or clog. Older pipes may also be less efficient than new ones, which could lead to high utility bills.

After evaluating the state of your existing plumbing, your contractor will determine where new plumbing lines should be run. This will depend on the design of your new bathroom and any changes you plan to make to the layout. For example, if you are moving the toilet or shower, you must install new water and drain lines. This job is best left to professionals, as it involves removing the floor and relocating water and waste lines.

Once the plumbing is in place, your contractor will install the shower or tub. This is often the largest sub-project within the larger bathroom remodeling project and can take several days or even a week to complete. It can be particularly time-consuming if tile is used, as it must cure in stages.

When the plumbing and flooring are finished, it is time to install the cabinets and vanity. The cabinetry should be made of moisture-resistant materials like wood or solid surface materials like marble or granite. This will help protect the cabinet from water damage and allow you to clean it easily.

The last major sub-project is to install the toilet and fixtures. This can be a relatively quick project, especially if you use a prefabricated toilet and hookups are already in place. Once this is done, the remaining tasks are painting and adding decorations. Because of the high moisture in bathrooms, using durable, low-moisture materials for the flooring and paint is critical. This will help prevent mold and mildew growth.

Homeowners can remodel their bathrooms with a wide range of electrical upgrades, but they must be careful to keep their budgets manageable. This is where it’s important to find a contractor who can help them assess their options and develop a plan for the project. It’s also wise to double-check that the contractor has experience in the kind of work they’re proposing to do and to make sure they’re licensed and insured for electrical and plumbing work.

Some homeowners are startled to learn that their bathroom wiring needs to be updated, which should not necessarily deter remodeling. The latest codes have requirements primarily aimed at new construction, and existing bathrooms are often allowed to add replacement switches and receptacles without going as far as adding additional circuits to bring the entire space up to code.

A common upgrade involves:

  • Changing the bathroom layout, such as moving the toilet or tub/shower.
  • Enlarging the shower or bathtub.
  • Increasing storage space.

This type of project can require a lot of drywall and other demolition, so it’s important to be clear with your contractor from the outset about what changes you want to make.

Smaller upgrades include:

  • Relocating or replacing light fixtures.
  • Removing or installing a skylight.
  • Modifying a window.
  • Adding recessed lighting.
  • Changing the door.

These typically do not require a permit and can be completed without a change to the bathroom footprint.

Other significant upgrades include installing a washer/dryer, a steam shower, or a bidet. Depending on your building’s laundry room rules and whether you have a closet, this might mean knocking down a wall or taking over an adjacent storage closet to create space for the units. It also requires a dedicated water line and 50A electrical circuit, so this project should be left to the professionals.

Depending on the scope of your project, you may need to obtain permits and board approvals from your building management before beginning work. The Sweeten team can assist you with the process by finding vetted contractors, getting estimates, and hiring the right one for your bathroom remodeling job. This can be done in as little as 2-3 weeks, making Sweeten a great option for apartment dwellers who need to get their bathroom remodel started sooner rather than later.

The lighting in your bathroom is an opportunity to add a design element and set a mood. While adding recessed lighting around the mirror is a practical touch, consider other options such as backlighting a vanity or shelving, sconces in a powder room, pendant lights over a tub, or a chandelier in a master bath. Also, don’t forget to consider a dimmer switch for your ambient lighting – it allows you to adjust the light levels depending on the mood or task.

The ventilation of a bathroom is another area that should be addressed during a remodel. A great ventilation fan that properly vents outdoors is essential to reduce moisture, mold, and mildew. Oftentimes, this needs to be done, and the resulting moisture can damage walls, floors, ceilings, and furniture. A qualified professional will help you select the right exhaust fan based on size, noise level, and airflow capacity.

When installing new fixtures, look for those that use LED bulbs, which performed well in our recent lightbulb tests. They last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and provide bright, even illumination. Consider also a dimmer switch for your ambient and decorative lighting to allow you to set the mood.

A dimmer switch will also make taking leisurely baths or enjoying the view from your window much more enjoyable. A dimmer switch is also an easy way to improve the lighting in a powder room or guest bathroom.

Changing the color of the wall tiles can completely change the feel and look of your bathroom. While this project is simple for many homeowners, it can be not easy without professional expertise. It would be best to work with an experienced contractor who can help you choose the best tile for your space and install it properly.

The last step in completing a bathroom renovation is to trim the room. Adding the final touches will make your bathroom feel complete and ready to use. Whether you add window treatments, decorative storage containers, or pictures on the wall, the final touches will personalize your bathroom and make it feel like home.