Remodeling bathrooms can be a bit trickier than most other renovation jobs. Aside from the typical choices you have to make in terms of finishes and fixtures, bathrooms come with added complexities. You need to plan around plumbing lines, ventilation systems, waterproofing, and even the insulation in your bathroom.
Three to four weeks is typically how long a bathroom remodel will take. But it could easily take much longer depending on the size of the renovation, both in the amount of floor area and in the scope of work. Working with a larger bathroom or refurbishing every square inch of the space could easily double the construction time.
So if time is a factor in your bathroom remodel, here are some tips for minimizing the number of delays in construction or design.
The Design Phase
Planning the details of the bathroom renovation is an important first step. It begins with taking accurate measurements of your bathroom and laying everything out on paper. If you decide to hire a professional designer to help out, they typically draft up as-built drawings of the bathroom.
From there, you can make informed decisions on what you want to do with your space. The last thing you want to happen is to have weeks of delay in the construction process because you found out that the tub you purchased doesn’t fit your bathroom.
Don’t be afraid to take your time in designing and planning out the renovation. Study up on the basics of good bathroom design and familiarize yourself with basic plumbing concepts. Time spent doing so can save you time spent in construction by tenfold. And it costs you nothing.
The Construction Phase
When all major design decisions have been planned out and verified, that’s when actual construction works can begin. Most bathroom remodels follow these standard construction phases.
1. Demolition Works
You start with removing any old fixtures or materials that you’re looking to replace. For more significant remodeling cases, major demolition work might be required such as taking down walls.
This sets the framework for the rest of the construction phase. The less you decide to demolish, the less you need to rebuild. And the less you rebuild, the faster you finish.
2. Structural Elements
After demolition, the next step is to make sure that the structure of the bathroom is sound. Inspect any structural lumber and carpentry works that hold up your walls, flooring, and ceiling. Refurbish or replace any elements that need fixing.
If you live in a building, you need to be more mindful of not affecting any major structural elements. These are harder to alter or relocate because it affects more than just your bathroom.
This step involves roughing in both the plumbing lines and electrical lines of the bathroom. If your final design requires moving any fixtures, the utility lines also need to be adjusted accordingly.
This is usually the step that requires some professional help. Depending on the laws in your area, you might need to hire professional plumbers and electricians for this part of the construction process.
Wall elements are typically made up of an inner core of insulation as well as adequate waterproofing which are then sandwiched between outer layers of drywall. The layers over that drywall can either be wall paint or bathroom tile, depending on the finish you want to apply. Putting up walls properly will help deal with moisture, humidity, and even unwanted noise pollution coming from your bathroom.
Be careful to use waterproof finish materials (i.e. bathroom tiles) on walls that are more likely to get water and moisture on them. The walls around your shower booth, for example, should always be waterproof.
If you’re looking to install any built-in cabinetry in your new bathroom, this comes after the walls have been put up and finished. This includes any storage cabinets under your sink, wall-mounted shelves, and medicine cabinets.
This step involves laying out and grouting the tiles in your refurbished bathroom. You could also opt to use materials other than tile in areas in the bathroom that are less likely to get wet.
You can play around not just with the type of flooring material for your bathroom you use but also with how you decide to lay your flooring out. Experiment with different types of patterns to see which one you like best.
7. Bathroom Accessories
The last step is the installation of bathroom accessories such as wall hooks, towel racks, soap dishes, and toilet paper holders. Your main focus is functionality but do not be afraid to consider different materials or finishes that suit the aesthetic you’re trying to achieve.
Most local governments will require major bathroom renovation to be approved by professional inspectors before construction work can officially be considered finished. Inspections typically happen after utility lines are installed or relocated and after all remodeling work has been done.
Remodel Within Your Means
The available budget is the main driving force for most design and construction decisions during renovations. Per square foot, the bathroom can easily be one of the more expensive rooms in the house in terms of materials, utilities, and cost of construction.
Being concerned with how long your bathroom remodel will take can also affect how expensive the renovation will be. If you’re unwilling to compromise on both schedule and budget, be prepared for lower-quality materials or labor.
There’s no way around it, the bigger your allotted budget is, the better the output will be and the sooner the turnaround.
If you’re an avid and experienced DIY enthusiast, bathroom remodels can be a piece of cake. You decide on what parts of the bathroom you want to renovate, you purchase the materials, and you get to work. Maybe you can get a friend who can help with jobs that require more hands. And the best part is you don’t have to spend a cent on labor costs.
The only catch is – the amount of time you spend remodeling a bathroom on your own is directly proportional to your DIY experience and skill. In other words, if you’re a DIY beginner and have had no experience working on bathrooms, don’t even think about doing major remodeling in 4 weeks.
So take good stock of what you can and can’t do by yourself and don’t be afraid to hire extra help. It will save you a lot of effort and time.
Bathing in the Meantime
In the three to four weeks that the bathroom is being renovated, most bathroom activities will have to be done elsewhere. Bathing, showering, and using the toilet in the bathroom are all private and personal activities.
Prepare contingencies for the period that the bathroom is out of commission. If there are other bathrooms in the house, make do with those for the duration of the construction phase. If you have no other bathrooms, consider staying at a hotel or with a friend for a month. Having a gym membership is also quite useful since you’re able to use the gym bathroom facilities in the meantime.
Is a Month Enough?
It’s been mentioned at the start of this guide – expect to take more than double the amount of time initially estimate with larger remodeling projects. There can also be unplanned delays such as orders being delivered late or emergency workplace accidents.
But the important thing is to manage your renovation project properly, communicate with your hired professionals in a timely and thorough manner, and get your orders in on time.
Take the time to understand and internalize the concepts we’ve discussed. With a little bit of luck, you can minimize construction time and get your dream bathroom finished in a month.