Remodeling anything can be quite a chore for a homeowner, but especially when remodeling a bathroom. To avoid being overwhelmed, whether you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer or a pure novice, bathroom remodeling requires a great deal of planning in order to create the final product that you envision. Mike Webster, owner of Webster and Associates, a company specializing in bathroom remodeling, answers a few questions about the bathroom remodeling process to help homeowners gain more knowledge to make sure that the entire project goes smoothly.
Q: How much will a bathroom project typically cost?
A: This depends on the size and scope of a project. Most standard-sized bathroom makeovers run anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 if everything in the bathroom is replaced. Adding a bath in the basement/attic/spare bedroom will range from $20,000 to $30,000. Partial remodeling projects are typically $5,000 to $10,000 with some less than $5,000.
Q: Will my price change (increase) after you start a project and find “surprises?”
A: There will always be surprises in a remodeling project since you cannot see behind every wall. Usually, the older the home, the more surprises there are. You want to make sure that, when working with a contractor or doing the work yourself, that you build surprises into your pricing. It is important to put this information in any contract before you sign it.
Q: How can I make sure that the contractor will start the project on time and end the project on time?
A: Again, project start and end dates should be confirmed in writing and signed by both the homeowner and the contractor. This is important since if the contractor decides to take on more projects than s/he can handle and decides to work on more profitable projects, thus delaying your remodel, you have this agreement in writing.
Q: How long will a project take?
A: Most standard-sized bathroom make–overs take from 1 to 2 weeks. Bathroom additions or large bathroom projects run 3 to 6 weeks. When a project exceeds its estimated completion date, it is usually because the client has requested additional work after the project started, more surprises have been uncovered with the remodel than anticipated, and/or the contractor is failing to work on the project as agreed to.
Q: Does the homeowner have to move out of the house during the construction process?
A: Not necessarily. If there is only one bathroom, you want to make sure that it is written in the contract that you will have a workable toilet at the end of work each and every day. In most cases, a contractor can guarantee a tub to bathe in after the first day. Again, make sure that this is in writing.
Q: Will there be a big mess?
A. Most reputable contractors will respect your home and your privacy. Contractors should lay down clean tarps as needed, take down pictures or other items that could fall off the wall, installing a ventilation fan when needed, cleaning the work space and traffic areas daily, dusting and vacuuming nearby spaces, and cleaning the bathroom thoroughly on the final day of construction. Workers should wear shoe-covering booties as they enter your home so you needn’t worry about dirt and dust being tracked through. Reputable remodeling firms should have strategies for protecting your home and minimizing dust and dirt.
Q: How does the homeowner select the best materials and fixtures?
A: Contractors can help you with this process by going to a showroom or do catalog shopping with you. Some contractors have interior designers that can work with you to select the best materials and fixtures for your space. It helps the process if you have pictures of bathrooms that you really like.
Q: Do I need to get references?
A: Absolutely! Reputable contractors should have references available and be willing to share these with you. Also, you should be able to contact previous clients about their experiences. And, check the Better Business Bureau to make sure that the contractor that you are interested in hiring has not been the subject of any complaints.
Finally, make sure that the contractor that you want to hire is insured. To confirm this information, the contractor should be able to provide you with a certificate of insurance. Reputable remodelers will also arrange and pay for all permits as well as provide a warranty for work performed.