3 Recommendations To Protect Your Bathroom Investment (And Your Sanity)

Bathroom Remodeling NightmareHave you heard remodeling nightmare stories shared by family, friends, and neighbors? Was your reaction a vow to never remodel your home? Time has passed, and now you’re considering a major bathroom renovation. Your new vow is, “Those nightmares will never happen to me”. How can you avoid costly, frustrating problems? Let’s follow the “Smiths” and the “Browns” through their bathroom transformations:

“Wish List”

The “Smiths” wanted to remodel their master bathroom, but didn’t think about what they really wanted to include, and how they wanted to feel in their new bathroom. This opened the door for unnecessary features that could squeeze them into an over-budget situation. The “Browns” took the time to define exactly what they wanted — the look, feel, and function. They agreed that their #1 priority was a two-person shower with all the bells and whistles (rainhead shower head, body sprays, adjustable personal shower, a large bench seat, and decorative glass tiles). They could talk knowledgeably with professionals they would hire to help them design and build their new bathroom.

♦ Recommendation #1: Define Your Priorities (Money Matters!)

The “Smiths” relied on magazine articles and TV remodeling shows for information, without testing reality. They did no research about

product prices for their new bathroom. Although they knew several families that had remodeled a bathroom, the “Smiths” never asked any questions to get information that would help them make decisions. The “Browns” got reliable information from everyone they knew who had recently remodeled a bathroom. They called contractors and designers to get preliminary estimates for their 120-square-foot bathroom. They got valuable information online, including specific cost/value numbers for a master bathroom renovation in their city at http://www.remodeling.hw.net/2015/costvsvalue/national.aspx.

♦ Recommendation #2: Establish Your Budget; Allow 15-20% for Contingencies (Help!)

The “Smiths” hired a designer/contractor (different from a design/build company) based on a phone recommendation from a plumbing showroom. They didn’t check credentials, didn’t check references, and didn’t ask questions. They signed a one-page proposal that stated, “Remodel the master bathroom. Supply all plumbing fixtures, lighting, cabinets, rough and finish materials, and labor. Total, Labor Only = $25,000”. Two months after signing the proposal, the “Smiths” fired the designer/contractor for shoddy work and going over budget with change-orders. They hired a new designer and a new contractor, and learned that:

  • The previous designer/contractor was not a licensed contractor, and he’d hired non-licensed electricians and plumbers.
  • The designer/contractor had not prepared plans, and had not obtained permits for the major renovation.
  • The bathroom looked shoddy because plumbing and electrical work didn’t comply with code requirements. Most of the work needed to be redone, which nearly doubled the budget and delayed completion of their project by three months.

The “Browns” asked for referrals from everyone they knew, and got referrals from local trade organizations. They talked with several designers, contractors, and design/build firms, and asked lots of questions. The “Browns” also checked credentials and references before they made a decision about who to hire. They established ground rules for communication, and they didn’t allow anyone to “upsell” them during the entire process. Their project was finished on time, just 1.5% over their target budget.

♦ Recommendation#3: Hire Qualified Design Professionals

There are many other things that you can do to protect your bathroom remodeling investment and your sanity. Would you see a dentist if you had pain in your knee? Of course not! To achieve the best results in your bathroom remodeling, hire a professional  who specializes in bathroom design. The National Kitchen and Bath Association has lists of qualified designers in your area that are ready and eager to help you.

It is possible to avoid a remodeling nightmare. If you follow these three recommendations, you’ll be on the right path to successful results that you can brag about. Then others will vow, “I will have a project just like [fill in your name]”.

“See the Possibilities. Create a Positive Difference.”

D. P. Design can help you avoid and solve remodeling nightmares! Send an e-mail to Diane, or call (503-632-8801), to get more information and to talk about your home remodeling.

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