Bathroom renovations — product recommendations and lessons learned (2022)

What we learned from our first bathroom renovation

Author of the article:

Randi Mann

Publishing date:

Dec 28, 2021December 28, 20216 minute read Join the conversation

Bathroom renovations — product recommendations and lessons learned (1)

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Shopping for a condo in downtown Toronto was nightmarish. So when I found my condo, complete with 11-foot ceilings, lots of natural light, a separate kitchen area, decent square footage and a hideous “condo grade” bathroom, I put in a winning offer. Considering I now work from home, I decided to treat myself to the gift of not hating my bathroom.

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I started the project as a DIY, but then quickly realized I have zero skills and pivoted hard toward hiring a crew (specifically, Elcon Renovations and they are fantastic). I learned a lot of useful lessons along the way and am excited to share them with anyone who is considering renovating their bathroom (or washroom, toilet, loo, lavatory, John, water closet…).

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Bathroom renovations — product recommendations and lessons learned (2)
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No need to go at the internet alone. We test products, interview pros and do what’s required to get you unbiased, unadulterated, unsponsored recommendations. We’re a weekly newsletter, a cool one. Talk Thursdays.

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(Video) Bathroom Renovation Secrets to Success (Without Breaking the Bank!)

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Note: I am very budget-conscious. I designed everything myself and purchased all the products in one day at a Home Depot and homedepot.ca.

Products used

Modamo Marrue Midelt White ($5.38 / sq. ft.)

My beautiful floors. These floors are the focus of the bathroom. Considering the washroom was so standard, I wanted something anti-standard, and these tiles are so loud and fun. It’s really the tiles’ bathroom, and I just share the space with them. I started with these tiles and designed around that aesthetic. I love these tiles and they’re easy to install (says the team who installed them).TIP: I found it useful picking one object (tiles in my case, but it could be a photo, a vanity or a towel) and designing all elements around that object. So when everything gets pieced together, it looks seamless.

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Bathroom renovations — product recommendations and lessons learned (4)

Glacier Bay Everdean ($398)

I chose this vanity because it fits, it’s simple, sleek and has a drawer at the top. I swapped out the silver hardware for modern door knobs. I updated all of the bathroom’s hardware to matte black because I like it, it’s on-trend but not too trendy that it would negatively impact resell value. I’m very happy with this vanity; I just need to ensure I don’t over-stuff the top drawer or things get stuck when I try to open it.

MOEN Genta Faucet ($199)

This is one good-looking faucet that I’m glad I didn’t install myself. The team that installed it said the back rod was challenging to get into place. But now that it’s there, it looks fabulous and I’m truly happy when washing my hands and singing happy birthday, twice.

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Bathroom renovations — product recommendations and lessons learned (5)

MOEN Claye Mirror ($188)

This mirror is great but it presented some challenges. The mirror arrived broken, and when the extremely nice contractor exchanged it, the new mirror was missing a piece. But once installed, which was easy to do, it works wonderfully, slanting downward and upward on the little matte black hinges for an optimal reflection.

TIP: I purchased all of the products before the contractor came to do the work. I should have opened all of the products to ensure they were intact and complete.

Home Decorators Collection TATUM 3-Light Bathroom Vanity Light ($109.00)

I was doubtful about this fixture because it’s almost too well priced. But I love it and it’s perfect. I moved my single-socket fixture to this three-bulb beauty and have been introduced to new wrinkles in my face.

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(Video) DIY Small Bathroom Remodel | Bath Renovation Project

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Bathroom renovations — product recommendations and lessons learned (6)

MOEN Genta 24-inch Towel Bar ($53.98)

I like MOEN’s Genta line and purchased most of the collection for this makeover. The towel bar looks great; it’s simple to install and holds my towels like a champ.

MOEN Genta Hand Towel Bar ($38.98)

This hand towel bar is the sleek little brother of the long and lean towel bar above. Note: you’ll need to fold your hand towels in thirds to make them fit and look presentable.

MOEN Genta Pivoting Toilet Paper Holder ($39.98)

I’m so excited to be done with the mischievous toilet paper spring-loaded holder. Now, when I’m out of TP, I just need to lift one side of this bad boy and lock and load a full roll.

MOEN Genta Single-Handle 1-Spray Tub and Shower Faucet ($279.00)

TIP: I wasn’t planning on updating the tiles in my shower because they’re white and in good condition. However, I did want the shower faucet to match the matte black theme. This is easier said than done. It’s possible to swap your shower faucet for a new one without damaging your shower tiles (as long as it’s the same brand… this has to do with the behind-the-scenes parts), but it’s more likely that a few tiles will need to be broken (so make sure you can source your existing shower tiles if you’re interested in this option. So, I didn’t end up installing this part because it would involve a full shower redo. But I will eventually finish the shower area as well and am excited for this Genta set to feel fully at home.

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Behr Marquee Interior Satin Enamel Paint & Primer ($30.97)

Though Home Depot says you only need one coat of this paint if you have areas in your wall that require patching you’ll need at least two coats. The paint went on nicely and now only needs to pass the test of time.

Alexandria Moulding ($12.57)

I decided to go simple here to keep the tiles the centre of attention.

Additional tools and products:

Custom Building Mortar ($14.97)

Custom Building Products Polyblend Grout ($28.46)

Performance Select Gold Paint Kit ($19.77)

ScotchBlue Original Multi-Surface Painter’s Tape ($5.37)

Lessons learned

1. I’m not an electrician, plumber or tile setter. I’m all for DIY projects; I like the process and prefer to save money. But when it comes to a bathroom in a condo that is technical work with potential liability issues so invest the money in a professional. I am glad I did. My washing machine flooded soon after reno. My bathroom is safe but had I done some of the reno plumbing myself it could have impacted insurance.

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(Video) Bathroom Remodeling Tips - Start to Finish

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2. Get quotes, contractor insurance proof and written copies of all communication. I must have contacted 10 contractors, five of whom came by for a quote. Three companies were charging way too much because they are large companies and hire a specialist for each job. One person, who I found on Kijiji, came by and wanted a deposit to secure a date. I had a bad feeling about this and decided not to go with him. This ended up being the right decision as he stopped responding to me when I asked for credentials. I went with Elcon Renovations, which I also found on Kijiji. They were amazing. Clean, communicative, skilled, respectful, really nice and a definite recommendation if you live in the Greater Toronto Area.

(TIP: Ask for photos of previously completed jobs and do an image search on Google, so you can ensure they didn’t just pull photos off the internet.)

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3. If you’re not going to DIY, stick around while the work is being done. There are small real-time decisions that need to be made. Like the fixture from above – it appears like it should be installed one way, but the upside-down version looked a lot nicer and is a lot more functional.

4. Buy extra tiles. This may be obvious but it’s worth including. I lined the bottom of my vanity with extra tiles so I have replacements just in case anything happens to the floor in the future.

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(Video) Lessons From Our Bathroom Remodel

FAQs

What is included in a bathroom renovation? ›

A bathroom renovation includes the removal and/or relocation of vanity cabinets, sinks, tub & showers, replacement/changes to the lighting or removal & replacement of the wall board.

What is the first step in a bathroom renovation? ›

Demolition

The first step in any renovation project is to demolish your existing bathroom. If you want to keep the layout of your bathroom but simply update the fixtures and surfaces, you may be able to limit how much work is done during demolition.

Why should you upgrade your bathroom? ›

The greatest benefit of upgrading or remodeling your bathroom, is that it increases the value of your home. Not only do you get to enjoy the new bathroom for yourself, but you also get healthy return on your investment when you sell the property.

How often should a bathroom be renovated? ›

Experts at LT Plumbing say you should update your bathroom every 7 -10 years. This is based on the general lifespan of bathroom products as they can become damaged through wear and tear.

Are bathroom renovations worth it? ›

According to Remodeling's “Cost vs. Value” 2022 report, a bathroom remodel can recoup around 53% to 58% of the cost put into the project. The biggest factors of a bathroom remodel that can increase a home's value include updating worn-out items, modernizing fixtures, and creating a more functional space.

What does a bathroom renovation cost? ›

On average, bathroom remodels cost about $10,000. The most budget-friendly remodel can be done for $2,500, while high-end projects can be upwards of $30,000. The cost will vary depending on the scope. NOTE: The beginning half of 2021 has seen an unprecedented labor shortage as a side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How long should a small bathroom renovation take? ›

On average, a small complete bathroom remodel can be done in about 23 days under ideal circumstances. Assuming that no work is done on weekends, this translates to about 4 1/2 weeks—slightly more than one month—if the work proceeds uniformly with no breaks.

In what order should I finish my bathroom? ›

The usual bathroom installation stages are:
  1. First fix. The first fix consists of any plumbing and electrical requirements.
  2. Wall coverings. Walls are covered with your choice of tile or wall boards.
  3. Floor coverings. ...
  4. Sanitary ware and furniture installation. ...
  5. Finishing touches.
25 Nov 2019

What order should I clean my bathroom? ›

First, clear the floor of all items, such as baskets, towels, toilet plungers, etc. Second, sweep up any dust that collected on the floor, especially in the corners. Third, use a vacuum to remove any remaining debris. Fourth, mix warm water and an all-purpose cleaner in a bucket, and mop the floor.

Why do people remodel their bathroom? ›

People choose to remodel their bathrooms for a variety of different reasons. These may include reasons such as bathroom wear and tear, outdated style, and personal preferences. Some desired to change the aesthetic of their shower enclosure, shower accessories, or wall surrounds.

What should you not do when remodeling a bathroom? ›

Read on to find out the 7 most common mistakes made during a bathroom renovation and how you can avoid them in your own home.
  1. Ignoring the Bathroom Fan. 1/8. ...
  2. Lacking a Clear Plan. ...
  3. Improper Spacing. ...
  4. Choosing the Wrong Materials. ...
  5. Being Unrealistic About a Budget. ...
  6. Overlooking Small Mistakes. ...
  7. Losing Focus Toward the End. ...
  8. Reno Rules.

How long does a bathroom renovation last? ›

How long does a bathroom renovation take? Sweeten general contractors say the construction period will average two to three weeks. Overall, a renovation can take between six weeks to three months, from planning to punch list.

How long does a total bathroom renovation take? ›

A bathroom remodel can take anywhere from 3-4 weeks, but this answer largely depends on the size of the remodel. Larger remodels will take anywhere from 4-6 weeks, but generally, you should prepare for most remodels to take at least a month to complete.

What adds the most value to a bathroom? ›

11 Ways to Add Value to Bathrooms
  • Create Twin Sinks. For shared bathrooms, installing an extra sink can be a brilliant move. ...
  • Update Lighting. ...
  • Integrate Custom Storage. ...
  • Add a Neutral Palette. ...
  • Option No. ...
  • Option No. ...
  • Install New Tile. ...
  • Update Shower Fixtures.
18 Dec 2017

What renovations add the most value to a home? ›

  • Create an Addition.
  • Redo Your Kitchen.
  • Renovate a Bathroom.
  • Update Your Home's HVAC.
  • Amplify Outdoor Living Space.
  • Make Your Home More Accessible.
  • Update Your Light Fixtures.
29 May 2022

What renovations increase home value? ›

Key Takeaways. Remodeling can boost the return on investment (ROI) of a house. Wood decks, window replacement, and kitchen and bathroom upgrades tend to generate the highest ROIs. For cost recovery, remodeling projects generally must fix a design or structural flaw to earn back the cost of construction.

How do you budget for renovations? ›

How much to budget for a renovation. Homeowners should be budgeting at least 20% over the estimated cost of the renovation. Sit down with your contractor, be realistic about your budget, and set a contingency line item for 20% of the projected costs.

How much does it cost to replace a floor in a bathroom? ›

Average Cost of Bathroom Flooring

The cost of the bathroom flooring material falls in the range of $1.82 to $2.39 per square foot. The national average cost is around $2.10 per square foot. The total budget, which includes the materials and labor cost, runs between $11.36 and $17.34, with the average cost being $14.45.

How much should it cost to put in a new bathroom? ›

New bathroom installation costs $7,600 on average with most homeowners spending between $4,500 and $12,400 when adding a bathroom to an existing space. Your final cost will depend on if it's a half or full-bath and the quality of materials used.

Can you remodel a bathroom in a day? ›

Alternatively, one day bath remodels usually cost far less. This lower price comes from the fact that you're maintaining much of the original bathroom even though you're completely changing its look. And, since one day bath remodels require less time to complete, they'll save you money when it comes to labor.

How long should it take to tile a shower? ›

A professional tiler will spend between 6 to 8 hours laying tile floors in a bathroom. A DIY project will take anywhere from 10 to 16 hours.

How long does it take to renovate a shower? ›

A good estimate for a shower replacement would be between three to five days. However, it can take much longer than that in certain circumstances, especially if you're going to complete the work on your own.

Does tub go in before flooring? ›

So you are installing a new bathroom and suddenly have hit a snag-which should you install first, the flooring or bathtub? The short answer is that standard bathtubs such as alcove and corner bathtubs should always be installed first, followed by the wallboard, the subfloor and the vinyl.

Does toilet or floor install first? ›

If you're installing a new floor, pedestal sink, and toilet, you should install the laminate flooring first so it's under the sink and toilet. Because laminate flooring floats above the sub-floor on top of underlayment, it will expand and contract slightly with the temperature and humidity of the room.

Should I install toilet before or after tile? ›

The bathroom fitters are unanimous—if you're looking for a high quality finish, with a better seal against water damage, then always tile the floor first.

How do you remove toilet bowl stains without scrubbing? ›

To remove toilet stains, start by emptying the bowl of water. Add one cup of vinegar and let sit for one minute. Sprinkle baking soda over the stained areas and pour in another two cups of vinegar. Let the mixture fizz and soak for about five minutes, then use a brush to get rid of any loosened stains.

Does vinegar disinfect bathrooms? ›

The high acidity level of vinegar helps loosen mineral deposits (such as lime & rust) and dissolve soap scum, making it perfect for bathroom cleaning! And because it is so acidic, it creates a “hostile” environment for many microorganisms, making it a powerful disinfectant as well.

What are the most important duties when cleaning a bathroom? ›

Complete these quick tasks every day to keep the space neat and tidy.
  • Declutter Countertops. With your morning beauty routine complete, it's time to start your day. ...
  • Hang Up Towels. ...
  • Disinfect the Toilet. ...
  • Clean the Drains. ...
  • Polish the Mirrors. ...
  • Wash the Shower Curtain and Liner. ...
  • Wash Bathroom Rugs and Shower Mat. ...
  • Clean Trash Can.
20 Jun 2022

How much does a master bathroom remodel cost California? ›

Although Home Advisor says the average bathroom remodel in California is approximately $14,000 to $18,000, the truth is that every bathroom is different. Remodeling a small bathroom will be less expensive than remodeling a large master bathroom. There are different budgets for different bathrooms.

How much is a small bathroom remodel in California? ›

In Los Angeles, the cost for a typical half bathroom remodel can range from $7,500-$27,000 and up; whereas the cost for a full, rip-and-replace remodel of a small full bathroom can range from $18,000-$74,500 and up, depending on finish level of the materials used.

How much is a bathroom remodel in Los Angeles? ›

In Los Angeles, a budget-level bathroom remodel will start in the $15,000—$25,000 price range for a 35 square-foot space. Costs increase for mid-grade bathroom remodels; expect costs to start between $26,000—$38,000. If you're splurging on a high-end bathroom, starting costs increase to $55,000 and go up from there.

How long does a bathroom renovation take? ›

How Long a Bathroom Remodel Takes. On average, a small complete bathroom remodel can be done in about 23 days under ideal circumstances. Assuming that no work is done on weekends, this translates to about 4 1/2 weeks—slightly more than one month—if the work proceeds uniformly with no breaks.

Do I tile before or after fitting bathroom? ›

The bathroom fitters are unanimous—if you're looking for a high quality finish, with a better seal against water damage, then always tile the floor first.

How long does a bathroom refit take? ›

While on average it takes around 5 days for a bathroom to be installed, this is going to differ depending on the overall size. Bathroom fitters will certainly work fast, but sometimes you can save a LOT of money by choosing to DIY.

How do you budget a Reno bathroom? ›

10 Bathroom Ideas on a Budget
  1. 1 Don't Relocate. Running new pipes or moving existing ones can really add to your reno cost. ...
  2. 2 Choose a Single Splurge Item. ...
  3. 3 Swap Your Vanity. ...
  4. 4 Use Contrasting Tiles. ...
  5. 5 Pack a Punch with Paint. ...
  6. 6 Look For Deals on Faucets. ...
  7. 7 Accessorize. ...
  8. 8 Repurpose Living Room and Bedroom Furnishings.

What flooring is best in bathrooms? ›

The most popular choice for bathrooms is tile. Specifically, ceramic and porcelain tiles are great options for bathrooms. Tile flooring is resilient, waterproof, available in a variety of colors and designs, and generally less expensive than other hard surface options.

Can you remodel a bathroom in a day? ›

Alternatively, one day bath remodels usually cost far less. This lower price comes from the fact that you're maintaining much of the original bathroom even though you're completely changing its look. And, since one day bath remodels require less time to complete, they'll save you money when it comes to labor.

Do I need to remove toilet to install flooring? ›

While it is possible to install a new linoleum or ceramic tile floor without removing the toilet, it is not recommended and actually can increase the labor involved in the project.

Do you have to remove toilet to install vinyl flooring? ›

Remove any carpeting or old vinyl flooring and temporarily remove the baseboard. If you are installing vinyl planks in a bathroom, you may need to temporarily remove the toilet or you can install around it. If the subfloor is unlevel, you can fix low spots with a self-leveling product and sand or grind down high spots.

Should I tile behind toilet? ›

Do you need to tile behind a toilet? No, tiles are only necessary where, because of damp or splashes, the wall must be protected from water ingress. The toilet is a self-contained bathroom artefact and, as such, presents no risk to adjacent walls of spreading damp.

How long should it take to tile a bathroom? ›

A professional tiler will spend between 6 to 8 hours laying tile floors in a bathroom. A DIY project will take anywhere from 10 to 16 hours. You'll also require an hour of prep time per project, and an hour of layout time per job. Also, set aside an hour of grouting and cleaning time per square foot.

How long does it take to plaster a bathroom? ›

Plastering. One of the most important steps in refitting a bathroom is to get the plastering job done the right way. That will usually take up to 2 or 3 days if your bathroom is larger, but it shouldn't take longer than that.

Can you remodel a bathroom in a weekend? ›

In many cases, you can give your bathroom a fresh, new look by replacing the dated vanity cabinet, sink, faucets and light fixtures. And with a little planning and perseverance, you can get most of the work done in a weekend.

What is the cheapest way to redo a shower? ›

Ceramic tiles are the best choice as they're not as expensive as porcelain. Both materials are sturdy and reliable and if installed correctly, should last you decades. If you decide that you want to re-tile your shower, this is when your costs can increase. Once again, if you choose to DIY, you'll save money.

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