How to Remodel a Bathroom – Forbes Advisor

A bathroom remodel requires a significant amount of planning and home improvement if you intend to get all or part of the job done. To complete a successful remodel, you need some special tools and determination to get the project done. As with most remodeling, the project will be successful through patience and a willingness to seek help when needed.

Learn how to remodel a bathroom step by step.

When a bathroom needs to be renovated

Think how much you really need to renovate before making plans or going to the store to buy tile. The average cost to remodel a bathroom is $ 5,000. However, the cost will vary widely depending on the current state of the room, your design plan, and the cost of materials. Here are signs that you need to remodel a bathroom.

  • Breaks and leaks: Broken tiles, leaking faucets and cracked fixtures are all signs that your bathroom needs a makeover.
  • Outdated decor: Styles come and go, but some passing trends will instantly date your bathroom.
  • Bad light: Adequate light in a bathroom is important for functional tasks and makes the room appear more open and brighter.
  • Change needs: As your family dynamics change, so do your bathroom needs.
  • Lack of space and storage space: Layout changes or intelligent cabinet options can increase your storage space.
  • Looking for Sale: According to Zillow, the national average ROI for bathroom renovations is 70.1%. Updating the bathroom can increase your sales opportunities.

Security aspects

Regardless of what type of renovation or DIY project you’re starting out, it’s important to keep an eye on safety. Observe these safety instructions before starting the renovation work.

  • Equipment: Make sure that all hand or power tools are working properly and you know how to use them properly, and that ladders or step stools are in good condition.
  • PPE: Wear respiratory or dust masks, eye protection, work gloves, etc. to avoid accidents while working.
  • Ventilation: Many paints and sealants contain volatile organic compounds (VOC). Open windows and doors or use a fan to limit irritation from fumes.
  • Permits: Check with your city or county building codes to see if you need a permit prior to demolition. Approval is not required for all conversions. However, if you have electrical wiring, conduits, or walls running, then you can.

Step 1: make a plan

Before going to the store to buy tiles, it is worth developing a plan. List all of your wants and prioritize them based on your needs. From this list you can determine which parts of the renovation you can carry out yourself and which projects require professional help.

Here are some general elements to consider when renovating a bathroom.

Utilities location

Keeping your bathroom with the current look will save you the most money. Anything that involves laying electrical wires, water pipes or walls requires specialist and building permits.


Replacing tubs, showers, vanities, and toilets requires some plumbing or carpentry skills. Replacing a faucet or vanity is doable for a handy home improvement, but hire professionals to do the complicated plumbing.


Adding a fresh coat of paint to a wooden vanity or walls is an easy task for a home improvement. If your bathtub or shower is in good shape but needs a face lift, consider a professional resurfacing, which is significantly cheaper than installing a new bathtub or shower.


Adequate lighting in a bathroom makes it more functional and appealing. Replacing an old light fixture is an easy task for a skilled home improvement, but adding new light fixtures may require the services of a professional.

Step 2: Gather Essential Tools and Consumables

The exact tools required are based on your renovation plans. However, there are a few tools that are essential for any bathroom renovation.

  • PPE: Safety mask, work gloves and eye protection
  • Hand tools: Hammer, chisel, adjustable wrench, screwdriver, utility knife, hacksaw, bolt finder, spatula knife, cartridge gun, tape measure and chisel
  • Other deliveries: Silicone sealant, spatula, bucket, extension cord, brush and other painting utensils, work light and large trash can or dump truck rental
  • Power tools: Drills and wet and dry vacuum cleaners

Step 3: demolition

Regardless of whether you are doing a major or minor remodeling, demolition is a necessary step.

  1. Empty all cupboards with items and remove the towel rails.
  2. Turn off the water supply to the bathroom and drain the water from the faucets.
  3. Remove any fixtures you are replacing (such as the faucet, toilet, bathtub or sink) and the walls or tiles behind the bathtub or shower.
  4. Remove the vanity or cabinets.
  5. Remove the baseboards, floor, and sub-floor (if necessary).

Step 4: inspect and repair

If the room is clear, examine the area for signs of rotting wood or water damage to the subfloor, walls, or wall supports (if you removed the drywall). A general contractor or carpenter is the best professional to perform this inspection if you are uncomfortable or just want a knowledgeable person to look over the area. Water damage can compromise the integrity of the walls that support the fixtures and floor and lead to mold growth. If there is any damage it will need to be replaced before the new fixtures or floors are installed.

Step 5: rough-in the plumbing / electrics

If you want to keep the same layout for the water and power lines, you can skip this step. If lines move, contact a professional to help you reroute the lines or power lines. Routing electrical cables and wires is complicated, requires permits, and, if not done properly, can create more costly problems in the future.

Step 6: install the devices

The larger fittings such as the shower, bathtub and toilet are installed first. Make sure the frame matches your choice of bathtub or shower and adjust the frame as needed. Once in, install the faucets and shower heads. A skilled handyman who is familiar with tools like an adjustable wrench and identifying basic installation wiring can easily complete this task.

Step 7: wall and sub-floor

Put down the sub-floor, hang up your drywall and, if necessary, insert the underlay of the wall tiles. If you want to do concrete work (floor leveling, shower tray, etc.), do so before drywall. Then mend or glue the walls and paint or tile the walls.

Step 8: hard surfaces

Lay the flooring that you have chosen for the bathroom. Tile installation is more complex and time-consuming because of the multiple steps involved, including first the underlay, then the mortar and tile.

The mortar must harden for 24 to 48 hours before grout is added. It takes another 24 to 72 hours to harden. While sheet or LVP vinyl is a faster installation and can be done by most home improvement.

Step 9: small fixtures, cabinets, and siding

Install everything that is screwed to the walls. This step covers all the aesthetic parts of the bathroom such as the vanity and sink, towel rails, cabinets, sockets, light switches, fans, mirrors and baseboard trim. A homeowner can take care of most of these items, but the vanity and sink require some knowledge of plumbing.

Step 10: finishing touches

If necessary, install all kinds of glass enclosure doors for the shower or bathtub. Finally, touch up the paint on the wall if necessary. Seal the seams along the tub, sink, and toilet. Sealing helps prevent water leaks, but it also gives the bathroom a neat, finished look.

When to call a professional

For minor renovations, an experienced do-it-yourselfer can handle most of the projects involved, e.g. B. replacing a vanity, upgrading lights or taps and even laying tiles. However, when moving electrical cables, conduits, and wall frames, this should be left to the professionals as they can damage the integrity of the structure of your home.

If you think some of the remodeling is more than you can handle, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

Bottom line

A bathroom remodel is a valuable upgrade for your home. It increases the aesthetics and function of the room and ensures a solid ROI. A practical homeowner with DIY skills can easily tackle some of the projects in minor bathroom remodeling. Hire a specialist for larger renovation projects with plumbing and electrical components.

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