After a weekend of watching Man Caves, House Crashers and Bath Crashers on the DIY Network, you may be tempted to think that doing that bathroom remodel you’ve been putting off for months yourself is a piece of cake. And you would be correct. That is, if your name is Jason Cameron, Josh Temple or Matt Muenster — stars of the DIY Network.
But most of us can barely swing a hammer, let alone remodel a bathroom. That’s why it is important to realistically explore the true costs involved – whether time or money – in remodeling your bathroom yourself versus hiring a pro.
To help you gain perspective, here are 7 things to consider before you remodel your bathroom:
1. Do It Yourself (DIY) vs. Hiring A Professional Remodeling Company
Unless you’re an experienced contractor or builder, your DIY bathroom will probably look like you did it yourself. Not only will you end up with less than professional results, but when it comes time to sell your property, the person purchasing your home will be on the lookout for substandard work that was probably done just to get the home on the market.
In a real estate environment that currently boasts a huge inventory of homes, your DIY bath remodel will hurt you. On the other hand, hiring a professional remodeling company means you will be able to garner professional work crews, better quality materials, and have access to exclusive products. That’s because professional remodeling companies have special relationships with certain manufacturers; products you wouldn’t be aware of as a consumer.
Consider that a company may offer warranty. But if you decide to DIY, you alone are responsible for mistakes or faulty workmanship.
2. Getting It in Writing
This is simple common sense, but many people still will not insist on getting everything in writing. Don’t worry about insulting your brother-in-law the contractor or your best friend Andy. Making changes to your property is serious business. Anything can go wrong when you remodel your bathroom.
The best way to protect yourself legally is by getting a written contract outlining all of the company’s (or individual’s) contact information and the work to be completed. This includes all supplies, sub-contractors (if any), insurance, payment schedule and names and qualifications of everyone involved in the project.
Check for licenses required by your state, references, and Better Business Bureau reports.
Be careful what you sign. The contract should be typed, legible and easy to read. Trust your instincts on this. If someone shoves a handwritten scrap of paper in your direction and calls it a contract – run. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
3. Quality of Materials
Your bathroom remodel is only as good as the products used to create it. Different materials will vary in their performance — ease of cleaning, maintenance, appearance, and resistance to staining or damage.
Discount home improvement stores are great places to go to touch, feel and see the latest product offerings. If you are planning to DIY, the store’s retail sales associate probably won’t have the installation or design expertise necessary to properly advise you.
Many products are exclusive to dealers who have relationships with certain manufacturers. Only a professional remodeling company has the expertise and the manufacturer relationships that will ensure that the right materials are chosen to address your specific functionality, layout, and design needs.
4. Scope of the Project
Make sure that your contract fully details the scope of the work to be done, supplies to be used and includes a detailed payment schedule. It should also be stated in the contract that you will not pay any costs above the quote unless agreed to in writing.
When budget is a consideration, consider getting the remodel done in phases. This will help you control your costs and yield better overall design results.
5. Time Frame for Completion
Most DIY projects never save as much time or money as you think. Not only do you have to purchase the main items, but most people don’t factor in the specialty tools needed to actually do the job that also have to be purchased.
On top of that, how much do you value your time with your family? DIY projects always take longer than you expect and usually yield amateur, unprofessional results. Can you live with a DIY job that looks less than professional and has the potential to take over your life?
6. Who Will Be Using The Bathroom?
This is a question that is often overlooked. Form should always follow function. Getting a great deal on a bathtub for grandma is insignificant if the tub isn’t elder-friendly. Installing a shower for a toddler probably won’t work either.
A professional bathroom remodeling company will ask the right questions that will yield design and functionality appropriate to the intended users of the bathroom space.
For example, if you need a bathroom that will address mobility issues for older family members, a professional remodeling company like ReBath of Houston can recommend grab bars, safety tubs, scald guard, or wall mounted shower seating.
If the resident is wheel chair bound, other options may include tank-less toilets (where the tank is mounted inside the wall) or ramped shower bases. We will also ensure that all products are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.
7. Warranties & Guarantees
Be sure to take a close look all product and workmanship warranties and/or guarantees.
While both warranties and guarantees protect consumer rights, a guarantee is usually a promise by a seller to a buyer for complete replacement of the item or product. It is usually for a fixed period of time and has legal status.
A warranty is a guarantee from the seller that specifies the extent to which the quality or performance of the product is assured and states the conditions under which the product can be returned, replace or repaired.
Bathrooms are such high value rooms that the smart approach is to get the highest quality remodel you can afford, so you can make that money back at closing if/when you sell your home. Be a smart consumer. Get everything in writing, research the remodeling company, examine all warranties and guarantees, ask for recommendations, and make sure the company you choose meets all requirements regarding certification and insurance relative to your state.
If you decide to do it yourself, understand the trade-offs relative to quality of work, true costs of the projects and time away from family. If you have further questions, or would like to find out more about scheduling a free in home design appointment with ReBath of Houston, contact us at 713-939-1744.