Bathrooms are the most frequently used rooms in the house. You use them every day but do you really see them? Unfortunately, that level of familiarity with the family bathroom can lead to a blind eye where problems are concerned and you might not realize it's time for a bathroom remodel.
Often what happens when people start any remodeling project, they end up doing a bathroom remodel too. So a bathroom remodel is likely in your future. Here are 5 signs that your bathroom remodel should happen sooner, rather than later, along with tips on getting started.
Ugly Tile and Grout? A Bathroom Remodel Could be on the Horizon
Some tile is classic. White, 4-inch ceramic tiles will probably never go out of style. Some tile will only stay classic in the minds of preservationists. Vintage pastel tile, particularly pink, is a perfect example, as some people love it and others hate it. There is hardly any middle ground with “Mamie Pink” tile (photo credit to Democrat & Chronicle), named for former first Lady Mamie Eisenhower’s love of the color.
Any tile that’s showing damage or wear doesn’t just need a facelift, it needs attention and probably replacement. Cracks let moisture get through, and you can’t count on the tile’s waterproof barrier catching all of it. In fact, tile walls and floors might have no waterproof barrier at all. The shower is the only place where it’s standard.
If the grout is crumbling, you might have loose tile or poor grout. As with cracked tiles, damaged grout usually requires replacement. Sometimes just removing old grout and installing new can give tile a fresh look. But if tiles are also loose, you’re probably need more help.
Tile can be as inexpensive as $0.50 cents for a plain 4-inch square, or as expensive as $20 for a 12-inch granite tile. If you’re on a budget, consider the condition of your existing tile. If there's physical damage, you probably want to replace it but can wait, if's it’s just not pretty.
Damaged Sink, Toilet or Tub? When Replacing Them, a Bathroom Remodel Makes Sense
Porcelain is tough, but it’s not impervious to damage. Once a sink, tub, or toilet is cracked, you only have a couple of options. You can replace it or buy time with a temporary fix using a crack-sealing epoxy.
Scratches and stains on these fixtures also spell permanent trouble. Harsh cleaners can abrade away the smooth surface, which makes porcelain susceptible to stains. Once it’s marred, there really isn’t any way to restore porcelain to its original appearance.
Acrylic bathtubs scratch and stain easily, and they’re also susceptible to cracks. Some companies can refinish an acrylic tub, but the cost of a new one isn’t much more than some refinishers charge. If there is a crack, it should be replaced as soon as possible.
Corroded Plumbing Fixtures? They Won’t Get Better on Their Own
New faucets, shower heads and other bathroom plumbing fixtures can corrode when water is left to sit. This can happen from years of less-than-ideal cleaning routines, or from a chronic leak where water is always present. Those leaks are common at vanity faucet handles.
Unfortunately there’s no way to repair a corroded fixture. Once the metal has the telltale pits, bumps, and discoloration, they’re there forever. Corroded fixtures are an instant detractor from the look of your bathroom, and they aren’t prohibitively expensive to replace.
You can install a brand new vanity faucet from anywhere between $20 to $150, and up. A new shower set will cost more, but it’s still in the affordable range between $70 and $200, for average to moderately high-end pieces.
Bad Flooring? Replace or Time for a Major Bathroom Remodel
Bad flooring might mean damaged tile or vinyl, or in some homes, even old carpeting. In other homes, a bad floor might spell real trouble as my handyman business saw around bathtubs in homes with small children.
Floors that feel soft underfoot have another problem that puts a bathroom remodel at the top of the list. A soft, bouncy floor, or one that sinks down near the tub or toilet, means there is probably water damage in the subfloor. This requires removal of the old flooring, and installation of a new subfloor and sometimes my handyman business had to repair the floor joists underneath a bathroom subfloor.
Worn out Cabinets? Replace Them for a Fresh Look
Bathroom cabinets live in a harsh environment. All wood products are susceptible to water damage. What you might not realize is that laminated cabinets consist of a top layer of plastic laminate bonded to compressed fiberboard. Fiberboard is much like sawdust, compressed with a binder such as urethane.
When water seeps underneath laminate, the fiberboard underneath swells. This is irreparable damage, and it’s the reason why some laminate bubbles up and eventually peel away from the cabinet.
In a solid wood cabinet, water damage is also a concern, but it doesn’t always spell disaster. Water can create dark stains in the wood, but in some cases you can sand it down and refinish a darker color.
If the integrity of the cabinet is sound, this doesn’t have to go near the top of your list. Even paint can revive a cabinet that’s strong. If the cabinet is wobbly, it might take a higher priority. A simple vanity can cost as little as $150, but remember you get what you pay for and with so many beautiful choices online, you'll probably spend more.
The average bathroom remodel is roughly $16,000 for a mid-range bathroom and upscale bathroom remodels average more than $50,000 according to Remodeling.com's Cost vs Value report. It really depends on how many fixtures you're replacing and their cost. Prioritizing requires more than planning for the things you can afford. It also takes consideration of what really needs replacement.
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