DIY Bathroom Remodeling Dos and Don'ts

By Alexandra Turner

On average, remodeling a bathroom reels in potential homebuyers and recoups 62 percent of the remodel cost, U.S. News and World Report notes. Bathrooms date fairly quickly, and a well-done remodel preserves the good bones of your bathroom while replacing outdated elements with modern ones. If you've completed some DIY projects before, you'll be able to tackle much of your bathroom remodel yourself, but there are some tasks that require professional assistance.

Must-do items

Prioritize your to-do list based on your budget and these must-do items. While a complete remodel may be ideal, tackling just some of these must-do items can increase your home's attractiveness and resale price, according to U.S. News and World Report.

  • Get the floor in good shape – If your bathroom floor is outdated or looks old, replacing it is a must.
  • Update fixtures – Replacing the shower head and faucet handles helps modernize your bathroom.
  • Replace the toilet – Replace your old toilet with a low-flow model to begin saving money instantly and update the room.
  • Add fresh paint – A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color gives any room a nice look, especially the bathroom.

What to DIY

If you have some experience with DIY updates, you'll be able to tackle these items yourself. Find any supplies at your local home improvement store.

  • Replacing the toilet – With half a day's work and a little heavy lifting, you can replace your toilet. Turn the shutoff valve, then drain the toilet bowl and tank. Disconnect the supply line, then disconnect the toilet tank from the bowl. Remove the toilet and replace it with the new one by working the process in reverse. If you have a weak back, call a plumber for this one.
  • Updating fixtures – Unscrew your shower head and replace it with a new one. Consider a low-flow shower head as an eco-friendly move.
  • Painting – Clean the walls with a bleach solution before you paint. Tape off the ceiling and floor, or around any fixtures. Apply a primer and up to two coats of paint, letting the walls dry in between each coat.
  • Replacing the medicine and linen cabinets – Freestanding cabinets can be removed and replaced, while built-ins must be demolished first. Take apart the old cabinet, then mount your new cabinet against the wall by drilling screws into wall studs. Select screws that will support the cabinet's weight when loaded with towels, toiletries and cleaning supplies. Pre-assembled medicine cabinets are easy to mount on the wall.

What to trust to experts

Bathroom repairs that require re-plumbing or re-wiring the room are best left to the experts, design spokesperson Deborah Burnett notes at DIYNetwork. These include replacing the tub or shower, updating the shower tile or the bathroom floor, updating the bathroom lighting, adding floor heating or moving the water and drain lines. As MSN notes, hiring contractors can be expensive, but making mistakes in electric, plumbing and general contractor work is far costlier in the long run. Click here for remodeling contractors in your area. An expert contractor will be well worth his fee by improving your home's value through needed bathroom updates.

Alexandra Turner is an interior designer and space planning expert who enjoys blogging about her profession.
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