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The Bathroom Renovation Checklist

Don’t get stressed out by all the details of the renovation process - use this checklist to make sure you are covering all the bases!

No matter how big or small your planned renovation is going to be, it is always good to take the time to plan properly to avoid any costly mistakes in the future.

To ensure that your bathroom renovation runs smoothly, here’s a checklist to keep your project on track. Remember: A successful renovation is all about smart timing.

6 Months Out

If you are planning a big overhaul it is better to start at least 6 months before you even think about taking down the first tile.

- Get inspired. 

To figure out what you want your new bathroom to look like, tear pages out of magazines and catalogues, and make a scrapbook or inspiration board. This way you can see what fixtures or tiles you like  the most and because you start early you have time to find just the right tap or tile.

- Ask around for contractor recommendations. 

While it’s not necessary to talk to a contractor yet, it’s a good time to start poking around for recommendations from local hardware stores, friends, and professional business associations. Then, when you’re ready to make the call, you’ll have a ready list of names.

- Start thinking about the layout

It’s essential to consider layout early on. Spend time thinking about what works about your bathroom’s layout—and what doesn’t. Consider storage needs: Could a closet be turned into a custom cabinet offering lots of stash spots?

Lastly, would you like to move the toilet, sink, or bathtub, and if so, what is feasible plumbing-wise? Are you going to expand the size of the bathroom or simply improve its aesthetic?

Keep in mind that the most expensive thing to move in a bathroom is the toilet. Also, if you plan to install multiple body sprays in the shower, it’s likely that your bathroom will require more rough plumbing work, so the cost will be higher.

3 Months Out

- Finalise your budget

Once you’ve figured out what you can spend, you should count on spending about two-thirds of your budget on labor. Then you’ll have a clearer sense of what you can spend on tile, fixtures, and extras, like a glass shower door.

If the remaining amount seems low, don’t fret: Thanks to a wide range of tile and fittings options, you can often replicate a high-end luxury look for less. 

- Hire a contractor

With a few months to go before d-day, it’s a good time to bring in a licensed contractor. Ask a few to look at your drawings and make sure your plan—adding two shower heads, installing a Jacuzzi tub, etc.—is possible. 

Review estimates, check references thoroughly, and sign contracts. At this point, the contractor should commit to a start date, create a timeline of when he needs materials, and estimate when the project will be complete. Don’t let any work begin without a signed contract.

Be sure to talk up front about the pay schedule: Often, you’ll pay a third up front, a third at the halfway point, and a third when the project is complete to your satisfaction.

Find out exactly how many days you’ll be without a shower, especially if you’re renovating your home’s only full bath. Make alternate plans in advance.

Two Months Out:

Purchase tile and fixtures. While some tile orders can be fulfilled in two to three days, handmade or hand-painted tiles could take 12 weeks. Play it safe and make sure your tile orders are placed at least eight weeks before your d-day.

Fixtures should also be purchased early. Even big-name manufacturers can take three to four weeks to deliver products. High-end products often take as long as six to eight weeks to arrive.

If you’re ordering custom-built vanity or cabinets, check with the manufacturer to make sure that they’ll be there when the contractor needs them. Light fixtures can also take several weeks to arrive, so give yourself plenty of leeway when ordering.

One Month Out:

- Prep for contractor’s arrival 

Clear out medicine cabinets and bathroom closets, and set up a temporary grooming space where you can get ready out of sight of contractors.

- Shop for accessories 

With most of the hard planning over, have fun shopping for towel bars, towel hooks, a toilet paper holder, and the perfect soap dish. If you have a new color scheme, pick out your new shower curtain or towels.

During the overhaul:

- Select a paint color 

Once the tile is up and the flooring is down, you’ll be able to get a sense of what color to paint the walls. It’s difficult to pick anything before that.

- Check in with your contractor often 

Every day, when the contractor arrives, ask what will be done that day and mention any project hiccups and concerns you might have. Keep the lines of communication open. Make sure he knows where to store materials and how to get into the house if you’re not there. Keep pets and children away from the work site.

Final Days:

- Be flexible 

If a project runs a few days over, try not to get frustrated. If that’s the biggest problem you’ve had, you got off easy.

- Inspect the contractor’s work 

Chances are you’ll do this every day, but if anything seems amiss, try to address it before the job is completed.

- Celebrate 

Throw down your new bath mats, unpack your toiletries, and sip a glass of Champagne.


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