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How should I get started with a bathroom remodel?

Successful bathroom remodeling starts with an honest assessment of priorities for the bathroom. The first step is to look carefully at the bathroom and decide what you like and what you don’t like. Some key questions to ask yourself are:

  • Is anything in this bathroom broken or otherwise in need of repair?
  • Can I find any stains around the bath or shower?
  • Is there any mold or mildew?
  • Is there any water damage?
  • Is the bathroom difficult to use because someone in the home has limited mobility?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then the first priority really needs to be focused on solving the problems. The problems above are related to access and maintenance. Correct remodeling will solve these problems, and create the foundation for a beautiful finished bathroom that will last at lifetime.

The next set of questions have to do with a secondary set of priorities. These are related to “use of space” and “colors and styles.”

  • Is the bathroom cramped and too full of “stuff” to easily use?
  • Is there a lot of empty wall space?
  • Does the bathroom lack storage space, for example, does the vanity have enough drawers and shelves, or is it just an open box?
  • Is the shower or bath too big or too small?
  • Do you have ideas for colors and styles?

Do you like bright and clean colors, or dark and elegant colors, or earth tones, or is there a functional element to color where you want a look that is: “open” or “elegant” or “modern” or “cool” or “warm?” Color and style can contribute to a long term sense of enjoyment and personalization.

Our founder, Alan Hansen, said: “Lot’s of customers start thinking about remodeling and immediately jump to colors and styles. Years of experience have taught us that our most satisfied customers start by recognizing and solving problems, and then build color and style choices on that foundation. Simply follow this order:

  1. Solve the problem
  2. Design ergonomically
  3. Consider the use of space
  4. Choose colors and styles.

This is a proven process that will give you an awesome result.”

What happens during a design consultation?

When your consultant arrives, the first job is to listen. It is so important that we fully understand your goals and your reasons for considering a bathroom remodel. Once you’ve told us what you are looking for, we will do a careful inspection of the bathroom. This allows us to begin to plan the correct construction methods and material and design recommendations we will share during our visit. When we understand your goals we can pair that up with the work that needs to be done in the bathroom, and can begin designing. Normally, we follow a process based on the steps outlined in question 1 above, where we will solve problems, work on ergonomics, consider the use of space and determine colors and styles.

Our consultants have experience in recommending products and methods that maximize the value of your remodel, and that will result in a design and ultimately in a bathroom you will love.

The final step of the consultation is to provide an exact, all-inclusive price for the bathroom of your dreams.

How much time is required between contract signing and installation?

Most projects start about 8 weeks after contracts are signed. We do have a rush program for people who need immediate work in their bathroom, and some complex projects may require more time between contract and installation,

How long does installation take?
Bath and shower installations can normally be done in a day or two. Fully bathroom remodels generally take 5 to 10 days, but can take longer depending on complexity, local jurisdiction permit requirements and other factors. The good news is, once we start work on your job, we will be on site until the job is complete, with very few exceptions.

How much does it all cost?
We have projects that range from under $4,000 to over $60,000. Most bathrooms are similar, but none are exactly the same. The elements that go into deciding on the investment level for a bathroom remodel include:

  • Extent of demolition
  • Extent of repairs
  • Extent of foundational construction (structural, sub-floor, wall repair, plumbing, electric, hvac, change in layout, compliance construction for permitting and inspections, etc).
  • Extent of finish construction (floor coverings, wall coverings, etc)
  • Cost of fixtures (Tubs, Showers, Wall surrounds, lights, vanities, toilets, floor coverings, etc)

We work to align our designs with our customers’ budgets. We can be efficient or fancy, and it is important to introduce budget ideas early in the process, so we can remain aligned through the design steps. We offer financing in order to help customers maximize the value of the remodel.

How do permits work? Do I need one for my project?

Most jurisdictions (cities and counties) require a building permit for bathroom remodeling. If we are modifying plumbing or electric, this is especially important. USA Bath can provide a full service permit administration process, or a customer can handle their own permit.

Permits are opened with the local building department. There are certain requirements for keeping bathroom remodels aligned with local building codes. There are requirements for clearances around toilets, for electricity in and near water fixtures, for waterproof materials around baths and showers and more. Our consultants are familiar with the requirements for compliance in jurisdictions where we work, but as cities and counties adopt new elements of the building code, they may add requirements or additional inspections. We are able to work with building inspectors on emerging requirements, and make sure the bathroom remodel passes its inspections, and permits are completed and closed.

My bath/shower is hard to clean. Will the new one have the same maintenance issues?

This is a common problem for baths and showers. Usually, a bath or shower requiring extra maintenance is made of flawed materials, or has been installed without taking the correct waterproofing precautions and steps. Your consultant can show you options with modern materials and construction methods that largely solve the maintenance issues.

Do you do ADA showers, or install safety features?

ADA stands for Americans with Disabilities Act. This a law that is meant to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities. Part of the law requires commercial buildings with showers, such as hotels or public pools, to have showers that are accessible to individuals in wheelchairs. The ADA shower is defined here. (see section 608.2.)

Our experience is that the actual ADA shower is designed to meet certain government requirements.

Most of our customers prefer a shower that is more personalized to their specific needs. We are able to improve on the ADA design in almost every case, but we can easily install ADA showers when required or desired by our customers.

How should I select a toilet?

We believe the criteria for toilet selection should be prioritized as follows:

  • Size and shape (height and bowl size)
  • Flush capacity
  • Water saving features
  • Color and style

How should I select flooring?

We recommend a variety of “solid core” flooring, and we carry samples when we visit your home. Solid core flooring can be installed with or without grout, is extremely “hard” and easy to clean. It is also the most waterproof floor covering material available, so it works well in an area which will frequently get wet.

How should I select a light?

Lighting selections should be made as follows:

  • Bathroom lighting must be compliant with the building code. Some jurisdictions require LED lights or waterproof housing. Please ask your consultant for details.
  • Style and brightness should be aligned with your tastes. We have a selection of lights, but can install just about any light that is compliant with the building code.

How should I select a vanity?

We recommend a high quality vanity. Our vanities feature solid plywood, dado and recessed anchor construction. These are more solid and reliable than vanities made of other materials.

Vanities can add extra value in a bathroom when you select certain upgrades. Here are some ideas:

  • Extra tall
  • Extra drawers
  • Tilt out trays
  • Soft close doors and hinges
  • Bottom drawer

Ask you consultant to review these and other options, including matching mirrors, medicine cabinets and other bathroom storage options.

How should I select a countertop?

Countertops have a variety of value added features. Consider:

  • Drip free edge
  • Integral sink
  • Solid surface (acrylic molecule)
  • Variety of colors and styles

Be sure to ask your consultant for the very best recommendations based on cost efficiency, function and style.

How should I select paint?

We recommend Kelly-Moore Dura Epoxy paint, or a similar single coat paint intended to be resistant to moisture.

Be sure to ask your consultant for details!