So, you’re ready to embark on that long awaited bathroom renovation. You’ve flipped through all the magazines full of glossy images of steam showers, whirlpool tubs, spa tables, and all manner of luxury items for your very own retreat. Now what?
Before you actually sign a contract with a designer, there are some considerations you need to think about it. Take a step back and figure out exactly what your budget is and whether or not you’re going to allow yourself to change your plans halfway through the project. I know that last bit sounds a bit silly. But, the number of choices you’ll be required to make and the variety of products and ideas you’ll come across might tempt you to change your original vision over and over again!
Once you’ve figured out exactly what you want from your bathroom, interview every available designer until you find one that answers the following questions to your satisfaction.
What is your renovation schedule? You will want a designer (and subsequently, a contractor) who will decide right from the start on a solid timeline. The schedule should tell you when the work will start, when you’re expected to pay for that work, and when it will be completed. You’ll also want to know if the workers will be in your home every day until the project is complete or just on particular days.
Who will be in my home? Bathroom renovations involve a lot of different tradespeople. Make sure you know ahead of time who is expected to show up when. If you can’t be home during the renovation, find out if the contractor or designer offers a supervisory service. Failing that, try asking a family member or neighbor to come over and supervise who is in your home and where they go.
How will my home be protected? With so many tradespeople coming and going, it would be easy for a stranger to enter without anyone knowing. As above, find someone to supervise the work if you can’t be there yourself. Also, remove all breakables and anything valuable from adjacent rooms. Renovations can be a little destructive, and you don’t want something important to vibrate off a table and break. If renovators need to remove a window or outside wall, find out how they plan to protect your home from the weather and any animals that might try to enter.
What is your preferred method of communication? Designers and renovators are busy people. So are you, for that matter. Because anything can happen during a renovation, knowing how to contact the designer or contractor is key. That person should provide you with a cell phone number or the best way of reaching him or her quickly.
Do you anticipate any problems? Before you start your renovation, your head is probably full of all the wonderful ideas you’ve been collecting that will turn your barely functioning bathroom into a spa-like experience. Be aware, though, that few renovations are problem free. Your designer or contractor should be sufficiently familiar with the style and age of your home to know what kind of issues you might run into. Anticipating problems will ensure that you have enough money saved in your budget to deal with any surprises.
Contributed by: Aaron Gruenke author and foremost expert in bathroom design and bathroom products.