We are very excited at Speakman about our new bathroom collections! Infact, the bathroom DIY bug is spreading fast within Speakman’s employees.
Speakman’s Product Manager, Amy Scherer, had a substantial hand in bringing the new shower and bath collections to market. Amy has been a part of the Speakman family for almost 5 years and when she was appointed Product Manager last year, she knew exactly what Speakman customers wanted for faucets, fixtures, and new designs of our legendary hotel showerheads. She was so happy with them that she decided to completely gut her bathroom and start fresh with new Speakman Fixtures! Take a look at her story… and learn the secrets from one who knows bathrooms best!
My husband and I bought our home in 2010; great structure, solid bones, and in its original 1968 style & décor. Needless to say when we bought it we knew over the years we would be doing a lot of renovations. We started with simple things landscaping and painting. However some new flowers and fresh paint will only take you so far.
Our bathrooms were frightening; pale pink walls, crazy mirrors, tile starting to delaminate from the shower walls and a blue toilets. After 2+ years finally had to do something about our guest bathroom. The grout between the tiles was beginning to disintegrate and we started to worry about the potential for mold. So it was time, now I consider myself pretty handy, but I recognize I have limitations, professionals are professionals for a reason. Keep in mind we completely gutted this bathroom down to the studs and sub-floor. Here are my 10 tips & lessons learned for renovating a bathroom:
- Have a clear plan & budget – Without these two things you will find yourself questioning your decisions and spending way more than you planned to. Keep a little bit of extra money in your budget, I can promise you there will be things you did not account for.
- Be realistic about your timeline – We set out to complete our renovation in 2 weeks. At the end of two weeks we had a functional shower & toilet, but no door on the bathroom and no faucet yet installed. The overall renovation took just over 3 weeks. Keep in mind that 3 weeks is aggressive for a timeline. If you can allow yourself 4-6 weeks for a project of this scale.
- Purchase as much of your materials before you begin –There is nothing worse than running around trying to get everything you need for the project during the project. There will always be some things you will need mid-project but try to have your big items already secured and ready, these items include: tile, fixtures, vanities, doors/windows, mirrors. It makes it much easier to see it all come together and ensure everything works together if you buy things upfront.
- Material Selection – Not everyone can afford marble tile and high-tech toilets for their bathroom. In our case we made sure to spend our money on things that were really important to us and shopped around for other things. The main tile we used we purchased from a tile store, the accent tile we purchased from a big box retailer. Had we purchased the accent tile from the tile store we would have paid $20 a square foot, the tile from the big box was $10 a square foot, and we liked the design more. Fixtures are important as well; you want to be sure you are getting what you pay for and quality fixtures. Speakman was the clear choice for us not just because I work there, I know the reputation for quality. There are a multitude of manufacturers who make quality products and many who do not, more importantly you can’t look at a price tag to determine that quality level. Go online, read reviews, ask your friends/neighbors/family – you want a beautiful fixture that will last a long time, not just look pretty for a while.
- Inspect all your materials ahead of time – Make sure you check out all your materials before you install, hang on to any packaging and receipts for the materials in the event you don’t need it so you can return things. We had bought several items we ended up not using. In total we were able to return around $100 worth of materials.
- Stay Calm – Demolition is my favorite part of renovations and a project that is easy for most homeowners. With that said, you never know what you will find behind your walls or under your floors. In our case we had sub-floor that was rotten due to water from the toilet over the years and we had a small amount of mold behind the tile in our shower. We also found our walls were 2×3 instead of 2×4 and our air vent pretty much had not supplied AC or heat properly to that room ever. The natural reaction to all of this? To freak out, DON’T. Its not productive and anything you run into can be dealt with either be you or a professional. In the case of things like mold, you need to handle with care or call in a professional to remediate the issue.
- Know your Limits – As I said I am pretty handy, but there are two parts of this project that were beyond my skills; Sanding/finishing and tiling. In a bathroom these are two very important steps and you want them to look the best they can. So in our case, we hired professionals. When it came to insulation, plumbing, electrical, painting & decorating, we had that covered, which helped us save money over having a contactor for everything.
- Hiring Contractors – Make sure you to your homework, hire the right people for the right job. Your time, money & home is important, to protect those things make sure the people you hire know what they are doing, don’t hire a tile guy for plumbing and an electrician for finishing. Check out contractors through the Better Business Bureau and ask your friends if they have hired someone in the past.
- Décor – Don’t limit yourself to what is traditionally done. There are many amazing ideas and things you can do with rooms that you may have never thought of before. For us it was plants in the bathroom & a heavily frosted glass door. I love plants so adding them into the décor of the bathroom added a splash of color to the room and something that I enjoy. We also decided on a frosted glass door instead of a traditional interior door. You can’t see through it at all, it adds a nice design element and allows light into the hallway.
- Take lots and lots of picture – It’s amazing to look back when you get done the project and see all the steps involved. I took pictures almost every day, and have really enjoyed looking at them compared to the images of the bathroom before especially when we first moved in. They also allow you to showcase your hard work or evaluate your contractor’s performance.
The best part of the entire project is the end; the outcome will reflect your decisions, efforts and style. Bathrooms are also one of the biggest equity boosting renovations you can do to your home (Kitchens are huge as well). My husband and I are completely in love with our new guest bathroom, and cannot wait until we can renovate our master bath (date to be determined).