Nobody likes to learn the hard way. While a bathroom might not be the first room a potential home buyer asks to see, it can make or break the sale by turning people off. The quality, style, and function of a bathroom make a conscious and subconscious impact.
Knowing what problems and mistakes others have made can save you the pain, time, and money! Here are just a few out of many mistakes to avoid as get you started of your bathroom renovation and upgrade:
MISTAKE 1: Forget or Ignoring layout and space
Bathrooms may seem straightforward, but a lack of spatial awareness in the renovation planning stages can lead to problems down the road.
Remember: Just because you can fit something into the bathroom design doesn’t mean it can function within that space. Always keep function in the forefront of your mind and in your design.
For example, if you choose a shower with a door, your bathroom layout should leave plenty of room for it to fully open. No potential home buyer will want to squeeze out of a partially opened shower door every morning. Other considerations include providing enough space to comfortably get on and off the toilet, open cabinet doors, etc.
Spatial considerations also include making sure elements of the room are close enough together to function. For example, the toilet paper holder should be within a child’s arm’s reach of the toilet, and outlets should be easily accessible from the counter.
MISTAKE 2: Using the wrong materials or products
Because of the sink, toilet and shower, bathrooms deal with more moisture than any other room in the house, homeowners tend to use many of the strongest cleaning products on bathroom surfaces. Both of these factors, if not taken into consideration, can lead to significant damage if you don’t select the right materials for the job.
Go with materials that can stand up to harsh cleaners and are not highly susceptible to mold, warping or distortion. Avoid porous materials that will retain moisture and allow hidden mold to grow. It may be worth your time to talk to as least two experienced professionals such as a tile expert, contractor, or plumber who works in such places as Home Depot or Lowes as they often are retired with many years of experience and may be happy to answer questions, give tips, and tell you what else to avoid during your own project. Maybe even discover your project is actually more complex that you anticipated!
MISTAKE 3: Ignoring storage space
No one complains about having too much storage in the bathroom. When planning a bathroom remodel, incorporate plenty of storage space into the design. Sometimes having a few friends take a look gives you some fresh perspective. It’s always possible you didn’t think of something or didn’t pick up on a problem because you are too familiar with your own bathroom.
Consider how many people will use the bathroom. Don’t make the mistake of providing only enough bathroom storage space for one person in a 4-bedroom house. It is better to use as much space as possible while avoiding overcrowding. Looking on Pinterest is often a fun and useful idea to see what other do-it-yourself people have done to give you additional ideas.
Additionally, most people prefer a bit of privacy with bathroom storage, so a set of floating shelves, while helpful, will not be sufficient on its own. It usually look more “clean” or elegant if most of your items are out of sight.
MISTAKE 4: Forgetting about ventilation
Ventilation isn’t a glamorous part of a bathroom renovation, but it is essential. Forgetting to work in enough ventilation can lead to mold, mildew and other costly problems in the future. It can also make a bathroom uncomfortable if it’s not properly ventilated during or after a shower. For a little more money, you can find ventilation fans that are more quiet and more effective in removing odor and moisture. Getting the cheapest vent fan is often a bad decision.
If possible, work in a combination of natural and artificial ventilation sources. A well-placed window can go a long way, but it won’t be very helpful during cold winter months, when a homeowner won’t open it. Make sure to install a quality ventilation fan that can handle the size of the bathroom. Larger is usually better, but get one that is as quiet as possible. Large and cheap vents are usually very noisy.
Having an independent switch of the vent, with or without an additional switch of it’s light, makes for even greater convenience. The ventilation light should never (or almost never) be your main source of light.
MISTAKE 5: Putting off lighting plans until the end
Many people think of lighting as a finishing touch to a renovation. While lighting is often installed later in the process, you should plan your lighting fixtures at the beginning of the renovation. You can always modify your plans as you make changes in the renovation.
Bathrooms are often where people get ready for the day, which is why lighting is essential. Recessed lighting can create shadows on your face in the mirror, and the last thing you want when trying to sell a bathroom is unflattering lighting. Consider adding track lighting that is able to move, bend, turn, and/or flex after being installed to allow for movement of light for the most usefulness and convenience.
Waiting until the end to address lighting can also lead to dark patches within the bathroom. Depending on your preferred shower style, you may or may not need lighting above the shower or tub. While a track light does provide options to adjust on-the-fly after installation, do not use it as a “fix all”, otherwise you walls and ceilings may begin to look cluttered and too busy!
Similarly, no one wants to use the toilet in darkness. When drawing up your plans, consider what type of lighting will best accommodate your space and room design. Installing dimmer switches are particularly helpful for toilet room lights, especially when you go late at night; the last thing you want is a blinding bright light in the toilet when you want to get back to sleep aft wards.
Now that you know about these mistakes to avoid in a bathroom remodel, see what else you can discover before spending time and money on your project! Online video on YouTube is a good start, as well as talking to your local professionals in Home Depot and Lowels!
Summary of 5 Mistakes to Avoid in a Bathroom Remodel:
Forget or Ignoring layout and space
Using the wrong materials or products
Ignoring storage space
Forgetting about ventilation
Putting off lighting plans until the end