Professional strategies for starting a toilet remodel, including techniques to conserve and when to Do-it-yourself


My wife and I loved almost everything about the Magnolia duplex we experienced just acquired, except for a person evident exception.  At some issue, a person resolved to place a large window in the shower.   The window faced a close by neighbor’s household and it was 5 toes from […]

My wife and I loved almost everything about the Magnolia duplex we experienced just acquired, except for a person evident exception.  At some issue, a person resolved to place a large window in the shower.  

The window faced a close by neighbor’s household and it was 5 toes from a sidewalk, offering strangers a immediate line of sight to any one working with the bathroom. The window also had a ledge that collected shower water, and above the several years, h2o had seeped into the encompassing wall. The whole point was so rotten, you could punch as a result of it like you were being a superhero.  

As significantly as bathroom design and style concepts go, it was a single of the most head-scratching choices at any time made. In our situation, it direct to rebuilding the wall. The window became smaller translucent blocks that were being flush to the wall so they drop drinking water. And a new tile encompass secured the partitions from even more h2o intrusion.

When householders are considering a transform, bathrooms are often at the major of their listing, due to structural concerns like mine, outdated layout or poor functionality. 

Loos have a exceptional area in the residence. They are commonly just one of the smallest rooms in the home, nonetheless they are packed with facilities. They are wherever you devote substantial quantities of time undertaking incredibly particular issues, so the area wants to be inviting, warm, purposeful and uniquely tough.

Just because a lavatory is modest does not indicate the decisions are easy or cost-effective. In actuality, the decisions frequently turn out to be more challenging thanks to the place constraints. 

And considering that loos are comprehensive of likely amenities, they boast one of the better expense-for every-sq.-foot ratios in the property.

If you are imagining about a lavatory remodel, listed here are some of the significant issues to manual your decisions and your funds.


“How a lot will it price?” is typically the very first question. But the response is not so clear-cut. The common tub transform runs about $12,000, but how considerably you’re inclined to commit will ascertain how significant and awesome your undertaking will be.  

Basic improvements, these kinds of as new paint and swapping out a number of components, could price tag as little as $1,500–$5,000, although a whole-scale renovation using superior-finish components will be far more like $25,000.  I’ve also seen people invest as a lot as $100,000 on a one toilet.

When planning your bathroom space, consider putting the toilet in its own room, as seen in this Ballard house, so it can be closed off when someone else is using the vanity. (Sara Kennedy / At Home in the Northwest)
When planning your lavatory house, look at putting the rest room in its have area, as noticed in this Ballard property, so it can be shut off when someone else is employing the vanity. (Sara Kennedy / At House in the Northwest)

Arranging your space 

Area in a toilet is commonly at a premium, so thorough organizing on the entrance finish is crucial. When on the lookout at illustrations of loos you like, it’s uncomplicated to get distracted by finishing information like paint colours or faucet kinds. But to get a very well-designed bathroom, truly shell out attention to the massive picture things — issues like general dimension, spacing and how you normally use it.  

The selections you ultimately make should really match the type of your property, and it is important not to overdo it. If your toilet is remarkable but the relaxation of the house is falling apart, it will have been wasted funds when it comes time to provide.

When sketching out your area, make notice of wherever the plumbing is situated. Shifting this can flip into big operation and generate up charges, so leave drains and water resources in position if you can. That said, if the preceding owner designed a terrible layout selection (like positioning the toilet in front of the doorway, for case in point) then it’s really worth the expense to hire a professional to change the format.

For electrical, feel via exactly where you want your shops. Where by will you demand your electrical toothbrush or plug in your hair dryer? If you share a area with anyone, will you will need to use the shops at the same time?

If you’re more mature or planning your without end household, believe about how the space will functionality as you age. This might guide you to allow further area for a wheelchair or to install a no-threshold shower.

No one likes to brush their tooth though a further person is utilizing the rest room. So, if achievable, put the toilet in its have area with a door and fan. It can be a relationship saver.  

When the author was building this shower stall at his home near Leavenworth, he coated the walls with RedGard to waterproof the backer board before tiling. He used small tiles on the shower pan, which are easier to slope toward the drain, and he added an alcove to hold soap and shampoo. (Courtesy of Jeff Layton)
When the creator was constructing this shower stall at his residence close to Leavenworth, he coated the walls with RedGard to waterproof the backer board ahead of tiling. He used smaller tiles on the shower pan, which are less complicated to slope toward the drain, and he additional an alcove to hold cleaning soap and shampoo. (Courtesy of Jeff Layton)


By their mother nature, loos are subjected to huge quantities of dampness. This is awful for wooden flooring or trim, which will warp and discolor if uncovered to huge amounts of water. Drywall, far too, will soak up water if it’s overexposed.  

Which is the purpose that tile (in the form of porcelain, ceramic or stone) is so well-known in bathrooms. Tile is 1 of the couple development features at the intersection of attractiveness, durability and expense-efficiency.

When the materials alone can be very very affordable, the tile installation will normally be a big line merchandise. If you want to acquire on the tiling job your self, you can preserve a bundle. Be warned that it is soiled, unpleasant and needs excellent focus to depth. Of all the design initiatives I do, tiling is one of my least favorite. But it can also be fulfilling to see an whole area coated in a solitary working day.

When I developed my new residence recently exterior of Leavenworth, I mounted 4 bogs and laid down tile floors and shower surrounds in all of them — principally because I didn’t want to fear about future h2o difficulties.

But even with tile, you have to make good selections to have peace of mind.

During my establish, I was stunned to study that some grout is porous, so water will ultimately seep by. Making use of an epoxy-centered grout alternatively of sanded grout will hold out water, despite the fact that it’s tougher to set up and much more pricey.

You can also increase a watertight coating like RedGard to your backer board prior to the tile is set up. It is a fast and straightforward action that will quit moisture if it passes via your grout. This is in particular vital when tiling a shower pan.

For lavatory flooring, make positive your tile is slip-resistant. Textured tile will support this, as will applying smaller tile with additional grout strains to include traction. Little tile is easier to slope than massive tile, which is vital in shower pans.

Whilst shade is hugely individual, in my experience white grout looks pristine for about a 7 days and is then maddening to clear for the rest of your life. So decide on a darker grout if feasible.  

And the tile you opt for should really be timeless. Changing a stylish faucet or mirror is uncomplicated, but changing tile is a big undertaking. So select a thing that will age effectively.

The author’s wife, Amanda Gatlin, installs heated flooring, a fairly easy upgrade. (Courtesy of Jeff Layton)
The author’s wife, Amanda Gatlin, installs heated flooring, a quite straightforward up grade. (Courtesy of Jeff Layton)

Heated flooring 

A big downside to tile flooring is that it can sense chilly on the ft. If you are by now setting up a new tile flooring, introducing heat is a relatively straightforward upgrade. This might sound overwhelming and highly-priced, but my wife and I place a heated ground in our learn bath as a Do it yourself challenge for under $300 in supplies, and it was 1 of the very best decisions we created in our entire property.  

Heated flooring use joined mats or heated cable beneath a layer of mortar. An electrician will have to have to link the flooring to a controller which can be programed to operate when you opt for.

Just make sure you go over the full flooring. If you skimp, you are going to have awkward cold zones.  

Soaker tubs 

For some, obtaining a jumbo bathtub is the top of luxury. These appear in the variety of freestanding, claw-foot-type tubs or embedded soaker tubs. 

But there are a few factors to contemplate when opting for a significant tub. To start with, they are pretty significant and heavy, so determine out if you can even get one particular into your room.  

2nd, know you and no matter if you’re actually a tub man or woman. Some people today never ever acquire baths, creating a massive tub a waste of dollars and space.  

An oft-ignored 3rd thought is the water heater. A jumbo tub may well require a even larger water heater, or you will run out of sizzling drinking water right before it is stuffed.

Options for compact spaces 

There are a selection of merchandise that can make a bathroom come to feel even larger. A pedestal sink, as opposed to a cupboard, purchases you much more visual room. A major mirror and glass shower doors trick you into feeling like the place is bigger.  

Invest in great lighting to make the space sense brilliant. Pair that with lighter colors to make the place truly feel larger.

If you have the space and budget, adding a small sauna or steam room can make your bath feel like a spa. (Getty Images)
If you have the place and finances, adding a compact sauna or steam space can make your bathtub feel like a spa. (Getty Visuals)

Updates for larger sized budgets 

If funds is no object, there are some definitely enjoyment upgrades to consider. Showers can have numerous heads put in. Double sinks will end a typical source of aggravation. Very low-threshold showers are a interesting, contemporary contact. Non-public steam or sauna rooms can make your lavatory truly feel like a spa. And you can devote countless numbers on a extravagant Japanese bathroom.

Storage, like this Latitude Run Bjorn Recessed Cabinet, can be embedded between the wall studs to save space. (Courtesy of Wayfair)
Storage, like this Latitude Run Bjorn Recessed Cupboard, can be embedded among the wall studs to preserve space. (Courtesy of Wayfair)


While not one particular of the sexiest merchandise on the checklist, abundant storage will declutter the room and make the place operate far more efficiently. Extend the idea of the recessed medicine cabinet to other pieces of the lavatory, with storage embedded concerning the wall studs somewhere else in the home.

If you are already tiling a shower, incorporate a built-in alcove to shop your shampoo and other toiletries.


Fantastic ventilation is one more forgettable product that’s incredibly essential. With no it, humidity will not depart the area, and that potential customers to rot and mold.  

Some older bathrooms count on a window for ventilation — all those rooms will practically normally have moisture troubles, so it is definitely truly worth it to install an electric powered admirer.  

Lavatory admirers are rated by their electrical power and noise. Do not just get the minimal power needed for your space — this is a place in which a lot more is improved. When in question, decide for a a lot more strong design than you have to have. You can also set up far more than one supporter. 

Author and normal contractor Jeff Layton has been a builder and landlord in Seattle for much more than 15 decades. He a short while ago installed 4 new bogs in his “forever home” in the vicinity of Leavenworth.  

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