Tips for Remodeling Your Bathroom 1. Have a plan. When tackling a DIY project like the bathroom, most might ask: “Where do I start?” To make it as headache free as possible, start by creating a plan of action. Are you remodeling strictly for design or more in depth issues like plumping and electrical? Create a roadmap that includes the planned layout, materials, fixtures, finishes, labor, time frame, and budget and do your best to stick to the original remodeling plan to control costs. Something else to consider is obtaining blueprints of your home to see exactly where the plumbing and electrical layouts are; this will help save time and money if you can avoid changing the existing lines. 2. Know when to call. Knowing when to hand your project over can sometimes be tricky. Unless previously trained in plumbing and electrical work, it’s usually best to leave it to trained professionals. Seek out potential contractors to get quotes and ideas on what the estimated cost will be. Make sure to include a time estimate, ask for references, and make sure all licenses and insurances are up to date. Once work has begun - a process that averages two to three months - resist changing your mind. Work stoppages and alterations add costs that may be unnecessary. Know that many things can easily be done DIY style such as installing window and baseboard trim, painting walls and trim, installing the toilet, shelves, and towel bars; with little or no experience, tackling these items will save you hundreds of dollars and not cause too much of a headache. 3. Think design concepts through. Now that you have a range of cost for the contractor, it’s important to know what you want the layout of your bathroom to look like. Don’t be afraid to sketch something out. If design isn’t your strong suit, consider hiring a designer to help with this portion of the project (prices vary from $70-$200 or so hourly.) Figure out what fixtures you want, tile, placement of cabinetry and toilet, paint color, and any other extra things you want to change. Whether or not you purchase materials yourself or have the contractor do it, make sure to purchase quality materials that can withhold the exposure to heat, moisture, steam, mildew, and other causes of deterioration. Longer lasting materials will ultimately be more cost effective. 4. Simplicity is best. Once you’ve jumped into the renovation, try to use corners and other forgotten areas in the bathroom. It’s amazing what space can be found when using a minimalist approach. A wall hung toilet or sink, a petit corner sink, or replacing the old tub with a shower are all great ways to use the most of a smaller space. Light colored paint goes a long way in a bathroom, as do large mirrors, which can make the room double in size. Sources: houselogic.com/home-advice/bathrooms/strategy-for-bathroom-remodeling/7 thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20431881,00.html bobvila.com/articles/2082-bathroom-remodeling-101/#.VNvZ8Fo0PyM (The photos below is a Creative Commons photo and available to use.)
Remodeling and Permits: When is it Necessary?
“Did you get a permit for that?” are probably words that you may hear even while completing seemingly simple DIY renovation tasks. Although it can be a pain to go through the process, you will feel more confident about your work knowing that it is allowed in your area! Did you know that you could be fined or penalized for going through with a project without a permit if it is required? Although it probably wouldn’t affect you in the short run, it may just catch up! Of course with smaller projects (painting, tiling, moving cabinetry, etc.) cities do not require the same thorough compliance as do with other projects.
In general, a building permit is required by your city of residence whenever you undertake the erection, construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, improvement, conversion, removal or demolition of a building. Just about every conceivable type of work falls into one of these categories. Electrical rewiring work, plumbing, tearing down a wall, fixing the roof and adding a bathroom are just a few examples. Because the process of getting a permit can be a hassle and they have a fee associated with them, some home owners are tempted to sidestep the permit process not wanting to pay the fees (municipalities generally charge a minimum issuing fee—such as $25—as well as an additional fee—sometimes 1 percent—of total construction costs), or they might not want to risk delaying a project or a sale by waiting for city inspections (obtaining permits can take anywhere from a day to six weeks or more). The main reason a city requires permits for some renovation projects is to ensure sure work is being done safely. If you do have specific questions regarding your city’s protocols, make sure to contact them and double check! Another option would be to talk to local contractors and architects on what is allowed. We compiled a list of well-known projects that usually (but really, double check with your city) require permits:
• Demolishing a load-bearing wall
• Changing the house's roofline
• Altering the footprint of your house
• Installing any new electrical wiring
• Installing a fence over a certain height, such as 6'
• Parking your roll-off dumpster on a public street
• Building decks over a certain height, such as 30" above grade
• Doing anything with a sewer line
• Building an addition to your home
• Carport building
• Exterior doors, windows and skylights that require a new opening
• Electrical circuits and service
• Fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, and inserts
• Some sink renovations that deal with new plumbing
• Garage conversions
• Home-business conversions
• Creating mother-in-law apartments
• New furnaces
• New water heaters
• Roof overlays
No matter what the project, it’s better to be prepared when it comes to permits and know what is required. The International Building Code requires you to receive a permit before any renovations that make any substantial alteration to a structure. Pulled from a permit inspection website, we are given a very clear message on the importance of following the rules.
“Not only is it the law, but building permits can also protect you. With a building permit, you get the advice of plan reviewers and inspectors who will approve each phase of your project, checking to see that the work is done in accordance with the building code, zoning laws, and the approved plans. Additionally, a building permit is required to show compliance with sanitary, safety and welfare concerns, including required setbacks from property lines and adjacent structures. Working without a permit, when a permit is required, can result in fines and can cause problems when you sell your home. More importantly, you lose the assurance that the work you’re paying for is built to code, a minimum standard for safety.”
We do hope your renovation and permit process goes well, and feel free to comment below with any comments or questions regarding your progress!