Bathroom Renovation Checklist: 5 Essential Remodeling Tips

Bathroom renovation, before and after
OK, maybe the before-and-after image is "slightly" exaggerated, but you get the point!

When it comes to boosting the value of your home, a bathroom remodel is one of the top ways to get plenty of bang for your buck. In fact, a 2005 study published by Remodeling magazine stated the cost of a medium-sized bathroom remodel yields a 102 percent return on investment (ROI). So, done correctly, remodeling the bathroom is a great way to boost the value of a home. Here are some useful tips to help ensure your bathroom renovation gets done right.


The cost of a bathroom remodel can vary significantly depending upon where you live and the extent of the renovation.

A surface-level remodel (i.e., new paint, refinish tub, new fixtures) can be done for less than $1,000 in many cases. A mid-level bathroom remodel (i.e., replacing toilet, sink, vanity, tub, fixtures) is a bit more expensive ranging from $10,000 on up. Stepping up to a complete tear-out renovation (changing the layout of the bathroom) can set you back $25,000 or more.

Once you know how much dough you have to spend, it can help determine how far you want to go with your bathroom renovation. Avoid spending more than you can afford; you have to draw the line somewhere.

GC or DIY?

Once you have a firm budget in place, you can decide whether or not to hire a general contractor (GC) to oversee the project or simply do it yourself.

Obviously, doing it yourself requires far more work on your part, but it can save quite a bit of money. If you have absolutely no knowledge of basic plumbing, electrical or home remodeling in general, your best bet is to hire a trusted GC to handle the job.

FIND: Local Demolition Contractors for Interior Projects

Ask friends and family for recommendations/referrals for GCs they’ve used in the past, or do some research online to make an informed decision. For more information about hiring a general contractor, check out this useful guide at

Plan, Plan, Plan

It’s so important to properly plan out the renovation. This includes everything from design to creating a timeline. A properly planned remodel helps keep you within budget, so take your time planning it out. Here are some things to consider during the planning phase of a bathroom renovation:

  1. Determine a budget
  2. Take measurements of the bathroom
  3. Layout the new design of the bathroom on paper (if applicable)
  4. Hire a GC, or find electrician/plumber/etc if you plan to oversee the project yourself
  5. Choose flooring, tub, toilet, sink, wall covering and other materials needed for the project
  6. Secure necessary permits
  7. Rent a dumpster for demolition
  8. Create a work schedule to estimate a completion date

Be as complete as possible when planning a bathroom remodel. It will save time and money later on.

Project Begins Long before Demo Day

A bathroom renovation doesn’t begin with the swing a sledgehammer. There are a few things you should do as part of your planning and preparation phase leading up to demo day. Three of the most important things you should do weeks ahead of time include:

  1. Interviewing/hiring a GC
  2. Applying for any applicable building permits. Projects that usually require a permit include moving a sink/toilet (major plumbing work) and electrical work.
  3. Call and secure a roll off dumpster at least a week ahead of time. A 10-yard dumpster is typically large enough for an average-sized bathroom renovation.

Keep a Keen Eye for Moisture Damage

It’s no secret that moisture is a bathroom’s biggest nemesis. Take advantage of the fact the bathroom is torn to shreds after demolition, and inspect the flooring and walls for signs of water damage.

Old water stains may be a sign of mold or structural water damage. Be prepared to replace any structural 2x4’s, drywall or flooring showing signs of mold or water damage.

To finish off the new bathroom, be sure to use a high-quality caulk/sealant (avoid the cheap stuff here) around the tub, sink and other areas prone to collect moisture. This guide will hopefully help get you started on your bathroom remodeling project.

For more detailed information, you can check out the handy guides at DIY Network.

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