After remodeling your kitchen, bathroom remodeling is the second best way to add value to your home. Unfortunately, after your kitchen, your bathrooms are also the second hardest rooms to remodel in your home.

Surface or structural?

The first thing you have to decide when you start your bathroom vanity remodeling is whether it’s going to be a surface remodeling or a structural one. If you just want to change the way your bathroom looks, and there’s no need to change the actual plumbing, it’s a cosmetic bathroom  remodeling, but if you intend to do major plumbing it’s a whole different issue.

Do it yourself or hire a professional?

If you plan to remodel your plumbing, you’re much better off hiring a professional for that part of the job unless you have plumbing experience. While plumbers can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 an hour plus parts depending on what area you’re in, paying for their expertise at the beginning of the project will ultimately be cheaper than botching the job yourself and then having to pay for both water damage and a plumber to fix what you’ve already broken.

If your kitchen and bathroom remodeling is only cosmetic, there is a lot more leeway for doing the project yourself instead of hiring a contractor. It basically comes down to how extensive and complicated the job is and whether you believe that you have the time and expertise to do a good job.

The areas to focus on.

Unless you’re knocking down walls, there’s only so much you can do to remodeling a bathroom. The obvious starting points are the floor, the walls, the toilet, the sink and cabinets, and the tub or shower.

If your bathroom is still sporting old linoleum, one of the quickest ways to upgrade the look of your bathroom is to put down a tile floor. Tile can range from economical to outrageously expensive, but any good quality basic tile is going to look better than linoleum, and unless your bathroom is enormous, the cost will be relatively low. If you’re looking for an upgrade, you can even go with marble, but it can get very expensive very quickly.

If you have floor tiles leftover, you might consider using them to make a splash guard on the wall directly above your sink. You can go even further and tile the first couple of feet of wall above the floor to provide water protection and a sense of continuity in your bathroom. Paint the rest of the walls with water resistant paint.

Depending on how long you’ve had your toilet and how well it’s been taken care of, it may not be necessary to replace it. Most well made toilets are practically indestructible and look new after a thorough cleaning. If you do want to replace it, you can consider luxury models that offer heated seats and dual flush ability. The prices on these toilets have come down considerably in recent years, and you can now get one for less than $400.

One of the cheapest ways to beautify your bathroom is to replace your sink and cabinets. They often get the most wear, and tend to show their age before other bathroom fixtures. Prices range from economical Ikea or Target basics to outrageous luxury offerings. Just remember that mirrors do tend to make rooms look bigger, so incorporating as many mirrors as possible into your bathroom cabinet space will make the room look less claustrophobic.

Redoing your tub or shower can range from a minor undertaking you can do yourself for less than $30 if you just need to clean the grout and replace moldy or damaged caulk to a major plumbing job if you want to take out an old fashioned claw tub and put in a shower. If you do just need to clean grout and redo caulk, buy yourself a basic do it yourself book and make sure not to use silicone caulk. It doesn’t adhere well in humid conditions and won’t provide you with a solid seal to prevent water from getting into your walls.

If you have money to burn, in addition to having a contractor do the work for you, you can also hire a local designer to take a look at your bathroom space, design a plan to optimize it, and choose materials. Designers’ rates vary drastically depending on location and demand, but a trusted designer is one way to ensure that the image you have in your head actually translates to the reality of the finished product in your home.

Whether you decide to do it yourself, or trust the professionals, enjoy your new home spa.

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