The prospect of a new bathroom is enticing, but transforming your vision into reality requires some preparation. Following some simple but important guidelines will put you on the path toward realizing your dream.
Form Follows Function
Define who will be using the new bathroom and what their needs are. Guest baths and powder rooms need only the basic amenities, but a master bath deserves more. It should be an oasis, a luxurious retreat from the stresses and intrusions of daily life.
Set a Budget
To determine what you should spend, consider how long you plan to remain in your home. If it's 10 or more years, you can make a serious investment. Should financing be necessary, figure out how much additional monthly debt you can afford. Factor about 30 percent for labor costs, plus 10 percent of that to cover change orders or last-minute problems. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) provides a helpful online budgeting worksheet at http://www.nari.org/.
How do you want your bathroom to look? Create an idea book with photographs from design magazines or product web sites, or take a mental inventory of bathrooms you have admired in other people's homes or even hotels. Manufacturer websites are a good source to find their products in room settings. A designer can help you with experience. In the end it is your bathroom so make sure it is what you are going to like.
Stay on Budget
Keep your financial homework close at hand and use it to track expenditures against budgeted amounts. You'll be less likely to authorize expensive change orders if you know you are within your spending limits.
Allow some flexibility. If you have your heart set on a deluxe spa tub, for instance, it may be worth forgoing real marble counter tops in order to balance your budget.
The Faucet Expert™ from eFaucets®.com recommends working with your contractor to install all the costly items out of your expertise such as rough plumbing, tile work, cabinets, and granite counter-tops. Shop online for all the Lighting Fixtures, Faucets and kitchen & bath accessories.
Select a Designer/Contractor
Ask friends and associates for references. Check the ratings/reviews section of online referral services such as ServiceMagic. Interview at least three professionals and show them your idea book before making a decision. See our
Talk candidly with your designer about your budget, preferences and concerns. Contractors and designers should bear these in mind during the design process. Experienced professionals are equipped with an arsenal of techniques and strategies for satisfying champagne tastes, even on a beer budget.
If you aren't using a designer, ask your contractor to review your ideas before ordering fixtures and materials. Ask for feedback about how your design would impact the cost of installation. For example, relocating plumbing fixtures costs both time and money.
Keep on top of the project until it is complete. It's the best way to stay on track, under budget, and on top of any unexpected issues as they arise. Get any changes in writing up front to avoid hidden change orders. Work with your contractor every step of the way to ensure it is being done the way you desire. You don't want to change things after the work has been done. Communication is key. Always remember that the contractor is the one doing the manual labor. You are still the boss, the client and the one that needs to be satisfied when the job is done.
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