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Planning a Remodel

You can’t go in there just randomly tearing down walls; that could get disastrous. You have to figure out how big you want to make it (if you even want to expand the size at all). After you do that, you have to figure out if there are any load-bearing walls that you have to watch out for, because they are hard to work around without prior knowledge on how to support them if you take the wall out. There is a lot you have to think about before you begin. Luckily, that is what this guide is for. In this chapter, there will be all the information you need to make a remodeling plan.

Decide on Size

You have to decide if you are going to expand your bathroom, or if you are going to leave it the same size and just update and rearrange. This is an important step because you can’t start a remodel deciding that you want to keep the bathroom the same size, and then halfway through try to start knocking down walls because you decided you did want to make it bigger to accommodate a jacuzzi tub. Well, you can, but it will cost a lot more money if you do it that way because chances are, you will already have started your remodel on the wall you decide to knockdown.

You also have to decide on the size of the appliances you want to put in. (i.e. Do you want to get a bigger tub and sink, or do you want them to stay the same size?) This will help you decide if you need to enlarge the bathroom, or if you are okay with staying the same size.

Inspect the Area

You have to inspect the bathroom before you can do the remodel. You have to see what all needs to be fixed, and what can stay the same. You have to know where there are potential problems with moving something; if you don’t, you could hit a financial drain trying to move something where it is not feasible to move, such as a tub, toilet, shower or sink. If there is not a set of water lines ready to be hooked up, or at least easily accessed, it would be best not to move anything that requires the use of water there, and perhaps instead put a linen closet or organizer there.

Decide on a Budget

If you haven’t decided already on a budget that fits your needs, then you should probably plan that out now. Otherwise, you will get swept up at the moment, and not realize that you are spending way more than you can financially handle at the moment. So, set a budget for your remodel. Then, allot a piece of the budget for each element. Sink, tub, toilet, building materials, paint tile, etc.

Once you have the budget portioned up, stick to it. If something is more expensive than the money you have allotted for it, maybe look into other alternatives, which will be described later on in this book.

You have to be willing to not go over your budget when you are remodeling.

Maybe have a friend go with you to remind you how much you have to spend, and help you keep a tight grip on your pocketbook because sometimes we tend to get so swept up in the excitement of things that we try to make sure that we get everything we want, no matter the cost. And you should be able to get everything you want, you just have to dig a little deeper sometimes, and that is okay.

Establish a Time Line

This is extremely important if you only have one bathroom, and you are remodeling it. You want to make sure that it is functional for most of the remodel, so you will have to be on a strict schedule. You will have to do most of the stuff that requires the water to be shut off in a rather short time. It is less of a worry if you have more than one bathroom, as you will still be able to do your business as usual, so you can relax a little on the timeline.

Nevertheless, if you have one bathroom of four, you still have to have a set time for when you want to be done with you remodel because time is money. Even if you are doing everything yourself, the more time you have the bathroom open and exposed, the more things that can start to go wrong, and the more effort you have to put in. In a heavy-duty remodel, where you are doing everything yourself, you should not take more than a month to finish.

Find All You Need First

This is important. You have to find all of the materials you need before you start ripping apart your bathroom, otherwise you could be stuck for weeks with something missing, and if it is a tub or sink or toilet, it could put your remodel to a halt, because you can’t finish the flooring until they are in, because you have to floor around the holes they need for the plumbing. It is always best to have everything you need before you begin, that way you don’t have to keep going back and forth getting the things you need, plus it saves you time. And as discussed above, time is money, so essentially you are saving money by saving time.

Ensure That it is Safe to Remodel

Along with inspecting to make sure you aren’t going to knock down any loadbearing walls, and that you can move the appliances to where you need to move them for a reasonable amount of money, you also have to make sure that it is safe to start tearing down walls while people are still living in the house. This means making sure there is no black mold, and making sure that you are safe from asbestos and other harmful materials that can make people sick. There are kits at hardware stores to help you test for this, and they are well worth the money you pay for them. Remember, safety is everything.

Once you have made sure that it is okay to move on to start remodeling, it is time to plan the layout. This is an important part of planning for a remodel because it takes the guesswork out during the process. Make a blueprint of your current bathroom to scale. It doesn’t have to be detailed, just make little scale boxes of your tub, shower, sink, and toilet aligned the way they are in a scaled square that represents your entire bathroom. Then you make a scale blueprint of the bathroom you desire to have, and label everything with the products you want. Make sure if you are expanding that you make it to the scale of the expansion, not your current bathroom. After you have a plan lined out, you can get ready to open up your walls and start the demo. But before we get to that, let us head into our next chapter, which is tips on keeping the remodel affordably.