Bathroom Remodel

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What to Consider Before Remodeling Your Bathroom

Unlike exterior projects that are often urgent, you may consider a bathroom remodel at any point in your home's life. Many homeowners decide to remodel when they start to see wear to the tile and countertops or the tub and shower, have recently purchased a home with an outdated master bathroom, or even when they want to change the layout to create a custom space.

No matter why you have chosen to remodel your bathroom, you have to be ready to make some key decisions. Planning your budget, choosing the right remodeler, knowing what materials work best, and understanding the bathroom remodel process will make your experience far more enjoyable. Plus, you'll end up with a remodeled bathroom that you love.

Steps to Planning Your Bathroom Remodel

1. Inspiration

Most homeowners spark their bathroom remodel ideas by flipping through magazines, curating boards on Pinterest, and watching reality TV shows about home remodels. But turning these design ideas into a reality takes more planning than merely pulling photos that match your desired aesthetic. The tough thing about recreating an inspiring design in your space is the constraint of your home's layout and your budget. Think about the scope of the project and the materials that will fit within your budget when you are looking for inspiration.

2. Budgeting

It can be tough to find average prices for bathroom remodels because your unique scope and materials selections will determine the budget. However, you can manage your expense and avoid unexpected costs by understanding the percent of your budget that should go into each item, the amount of labor needed, and how the grade of materials you choose will change the cost. But, even the most well-planned remodels can run into unexpected costs, so you should set aside a chunk of your budget for any unforeseen problems or upgrades you may want to make during the process.

3. Choosing a Remodeler

With so many contractors to choose from, it can be challenging to narrow down the list to trusted professionals. Many contractors will offer attractive quotes or make promises that are unrealistic to earn your business. But once the project starts, you can get hit with unexpected costs or a larger scope of work than you expected. Before signing a contract, you should always ensure that the contractor is licensed, check the Better Business Bureau website, and read previous customer reviews to ensure that they are reliable and trustworthy.

Getting a complete design and estimate in writing is an essential first step. It is rarely, if never, a good idea to accept anything handwritten or generic. A good proposal should be quite a number of pages covering each aspect of the project (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, cabinets, etc.) even if one particular area is not an issue. If no electrical work is to be done, the proposal should say so, and everyone should agree before you sign the agreement.

4. Design

Most homeowners begin a bathroom remodel with great inspiration from a variety of sources. However, working with a professional designer can take these ideas and turn them into reality. With years of experience creating custom spaces, a designer can guide you through the materials selection process, helping you choose the best materials and finishes to suit your design ideas and your budget.

5. Construction

Timing can be estimated on the scope of work for your unique bathroom and the contractor's schedule. When you work with Brothers, your project will be overseen by a dedicated Field Quality Manager who ensures that every detail of your project is done correctly. The average bathroom remodel can take up to eight weeks with the contractor juggling other projects, but with Brothers, we average four weeks with a dedicated team working solely on your bathroom.

Most Common Design Challenges During Bathroom Remodels

Once you have considered price and timeline, it's time to tackle common design challenges that can become obstacles when turning your inspiration into reality.

inefficient layout

When doing a total remodel, you will likely be changing the location of either your toilet, tub, or vanity. Think about how you will use the space. Is it worth getting rid of the tub in place of a shower and more storage space? Can you add some privacy with a toilet closet or half-wall? These are major decisions that you need to make up front.

poor lighting

There's nothing worse than trying to get ready in the morning without good lighting. Consider adding to your general lights with accent pendants or sconces and even task lighting around mirrors and vanities.

limited storage

A minimalist design looks beautiful in magazines, but is it realistic for your home? You'll likely want plenty of storage in your updated bathroom, so you don't clutter your beautiful new countertops with toiletries. Consider the vanity and cabinet options that will best add storage in even the smallest spaces.

improper venting

Especially when renovating old bathrooms, insufficient venting that does not meet current plumbing codes will need to be replaced. You may just need a new vent to better circulate air, but you could also need to do plumbing work that will add to the cost and affect your final design.

Choosing Materials for Your Bathroom Remodel

When picking out the materials for your bathroom remodel, consider the design as a whole, not just the individual elements. Each decision you make will impact every other part of the project as the pieces come together to create a functional, beautiful bathroom design. Bathroom material decisions can be grouped into five main categories – flooring, countertops, cabinetry, fixtures and finishes, and tub or shower selection.

1. Pick the Right Flooring for Your Bathroom Remodel

Your bathroom flooring needs to be durable enough to stand up to lots of wear and a consistently wet atmosphere. Your four main options include vinyl, ceramic tile, cork, porcelain tile, and stone. Modern luxury vinyl tile (LVT) can be a great option that mimics the look of wood or stone without the high price tag and stands up relatively well to moisture. Ceramic tile comes in seemingly endless patterns and is quite durable, but not as durable as porcelain tile. A newer option in bathroom flooring, cork is environmentally sustainable and, when properly maintained, can last up to 40 years. But when it comes to Return on Investment (ROI) in your bathroom remodel, porcelain tile and natural stone are two options you should consider. They are the most durable and are not vulnerable to the heat and moisture of the bathroom. However, these options are the most expensive up front.

  Vinyl Ceramic Cork Porcelain Stone
Available in a wide variety of color and styles Some Yes Some Yes No
Durability Good Good Good Excellent Excellent
Ease of maintenance Good Good Good Good Good
Vulnerable to heat and moisture Yes No Yes No No
Ease of installation Excellent Good Excellent Good Excellent
Cost $ $$ $ $$$ $$$$

2. Deciding on the Countertop Material for Your Bathroom Remodel

When choosing a bathroom countertop material, you'll want something aesthetically pleasing as it's a central focal point in the bathroom, but you also need something hard-wearing and low maintenance. The most popular countertop materials are granite and quartz for their visual appeal and ability to hold up in the wet environment, plus they can add to your home value. Other honorable mentions for countertop materials include concrete, solid surface, and natural stone. However, these options have downsides as concrete is very heavy, solid surface is not as durable, and natural stone can be tough to maintain. Much of the time, quartz can mimic the look of these materials without the downsides.

Granite
Quartz

Granite

Granite comes in a wide range of aesthetic options and is incredibly durable. Though, it is a natural sone meaning it is porous and can potentially stain if not sealed correctly up front. Depending on the quality and unique look of the granite, it can range anywhere from $40 to $140 per square foot.

Quartz

Quartz is an engineered stone comprised of mostly natural materials that comes in an even more extensive range of colors and customizability than granite. It is non-porous and thus very hard to stain; however, the finish often shows fingerprints meaning it will need to be wiped down regularly. The cost of quartz is similar to the average price of granite, with a range of $40 to $70 per square foot.

3. Choosing the Right Cabinetry for Your Space

Unlike a kitchen remodel, your bathroom cabinetry usually won't take up a significant part of your budget. However, it still takes careful planning to choose the right vanity or storage cabinetry that will work best in your space. Consider the options below to add more storage area to your bathroom without sacrificing style.

standalone vanityStandalone Vanity

Classic and beautiful standalone vanities can work with many different designs. Depending on the size and quality, they can range on average anywhere from $200-$1,000, with larger vanities reaching further into the thousands. With so many options, you can find one for every aesthetic and budget.

countertop cabinetryCountertop Cabinetry

When drawers under the sink don't provide enough space for your toiletries, consider adding a countertop cabinet. These types of cabinets are often seen between two sinks. Still, they work particularly well in corners to keep everything you need for your daily routine right at hand.

wall-mount vanityWall-Mounted or Inset Vanity

When you don't have much space to work with, a wall-mounted vanity is an excellent option. During a remodel, you can even plan for a vanity that fits into the wall or rolls up instead of hinging out for maximum space efficiency.

linen closetLinen Storage

Sometimes, a traditional vanity cannot hold everything you need to store in the bathroom. Adding a floor to ceiling cabinet, especially if you can consolidate space by choosing a walk-in shower, is a great way to blend storage seamlessly into your final design.

4. Coordinating the Finish for Your Bathroom Remodel

In both small and large bathrooms, maintaining a uniform finish will help pull together your final aesthetic. Many brands have lines that make these decisions more manageable. There are even options for his and hers knobs that keep a uniform look while still adding design to the space. Your finish options include the neutral chrome, which will likely be the least expensive. However, many homeowners choose to upgrade to polished or brushed nickel for a more updated look in their new bathroom. Brass and matte black are also common in modern and minimalist designs. Though the trendier an item is, the more expensive it tends to be.

5. Choosing Between a Tub and Shower

Depending on your available space and scope of work, you may be able to fit both a standalone soaking tub and a walk-in shower in your new bathroom. This is the best of both worlds. You can enjoy both the spa-like soaking tub and efficient shower space – just remember that adding both elements will substantially increase the budget. However, most homeowners have to choose between a walk-in shower and a tub-shower combination based on space restrictions. Suppose accessibility and aging-in-place are your main concerns. In that case, a walk-in shower is a better choice as you can even add handrails and seating to accommodate your needs. On the other hand, if you are considering selling soon, a bath may maximize your home value by appealing to a broader range of buyers, especially those with children.

Budgeting for Your Bathroom Remodel

Your bathroom remodel price depends on the decisions you make in the design and planning phases. When you evaluate the quotes from different remodeling contractors, consider these three key factors that will determine your cost:

Materials

You can expect to spend about 40% of your bathroom remodel budget based on the materials that you choose, outlined above. Planning your materials beforehand can help you stay on budget. For example, you may fall in love with a pricier countertop material, and planning will allow you to cut materials costs in other places like choosing less expensive flooring or cabinets to keep costs in check. When you visit the Brothers showrooms, you'll have the chance to see, touch, and envision materials as well as work with experienced design experts who can guide you through materials selections, helping you stay on budget while still achieving your vision.

Design

Any large structural change, like opening up walls for more space or moving the shower placement, will result in a higher cost. When you work with Brothers, you gain a team of in-house design experts who can analyze your space and create a unique design, taking your budget into account. Suppose you choose to make significant design changes like moving walls or changing your bathroom's footprint. In that case, it is all the more essential to work with an experienced contractor who can properly assess your home's structural needs to ensure that everything is safe and up to code during and after the remodel.

Labor

Labor often makes up around 60% of a bathroom remodel's cost. So it can be tempting to lower the cost of your remodel by attempting DIYs or hiring the least expensive remodeling contractor. But the fact is, experienced craftspeople are simply not cheap. Skilled craftspeople are in very high demand, and experienced lead carpenters, master electricians, and their teams earn excellent salaries by producing high-quality work. Hiring a trustworthy contractor with an awesome track record and a professional production team will help you avoid costly mistakes in the long run.

The staff respected our home as if it was their own. They were efficient, timely and the quality of the product and the workmanship was superior to any other company we've used in the past. We will not hesitate to have them do our next project.
Hamilton Family, Owings Mills, MD
The team that did the work was really amazing. They were patient and did a great job. They had a lot of attention to detail, and they were a pleasure to have in the house and to work with.
Yeung Family, Timonium, MD
Brothers Services earns five stars from us. The reps for this company and the crew were outstanding. They were all professional, courteous and did a fantastic job. This was an excellent job. from start to finish. I recommend them to everyone!
Martha M., Cockeysville, MD
They were amazing! I would recommend that anyone use them. They were meticulous, stand behind their product, and everyone was a pleasure to deal with from start to finish.
Gary E., Owings Mills, MD
“Our Brother Services experience has been exceptional, from the design team to the carpentry team. Always respectful of our home, clean, trustworthy and expert craftsman. Highly recommend Brother Services.”
Petry Family, Reisterstown, MD

Finding the Right Bathroom Remodeling Contractor

Identifying the right bathroom remodeler is all about building a trusted relationship. Just because someone offered an attractive quote doesn't mean you'll get the bathroom remodel you've been promised.

A common problem many homeowners face when searching for a contractor is running into permit avoiders. Unprofessional contractors may attempt to complete the project without the necessary permits just to finish the remodel faster. At first glance, faster work seems like a great deal—until there's a problem with the workmanship months or even years later.

As a general rule, be sure to ask about the permit process before choosing a bathroom remodeling contractor. Assuming your final options are all reputable providers, selecting the right partner is all about the process.

At Brothers Services, we follow a consistent, three-step process to build trust with clients and ensure they're happy with the design and workmanship: 

  • Planning Phase: Our first step is to do an initial walkthrough and space interview with the client. Before we ever provide a proposal, we make sure we learn everything there is to know about your wants and needs for your new bathroom space.
  • Design Phase: We create a preliminary design, and our professional Design Consultants work directly with homeowners to select materials in one of our remodeling design showrooms. Our final proposal will include a 3-D rendering that brings your selections to life so you can see the work you're investing in.
  • Delivery Phase: Our teams of master craftspeople execute the plan put forth by our designers, overseen by a dedicated Field Quality Manager who keeps customer service and high-quality work top of mind.

What’s Next for Your Bathroom Remodel?

A bathroom remodel doesn't just increase the value of your home; it makes your home more comfortable, adding the features you want and need. It's time to turn your ideas into reality.

When you start your research, you'll find a wide range of potential contractors to work with. You may think that with so many options, you can't possibly go wrong. Don't make the mistake of choosing a bathroom remodeler too quickly. Evaluate your options, check licenses, read online reviews, and check the Better Business Bureau®, and see who can do more than just complete a one-off renovation. Choose a partner that makes you want to be a Customer for Life, someone who is invested in finding the best possible solutions for your home.

Becoming your Contractor for Life has always been "The Brothers Way." We've helped thousands of Maryland families with bathroom remodels, and we'd love to help you, too. Schedule a Consultation today and let us know how we can help bring your dream bathroom to life.

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