Budget for the unexpected. Hidden water damage is a common problem in bathrooms, whether from a leaky shower pan or running toilet. “If the floor feels spongy, that's a sign of serious water damage,” says John Petrie, owner of Mother Hubbard's Custom Cabinetry in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Other issues are truly hidden, for example a vent stack inside a wall that you thought you were going to knock down. An experienced contractor will do exploratory work early in the project to sniff out as many issues as possible. “In the case of the vent stack, we'll investigate above the bathroom to see the pipe coming up through the house,” says Petrie. But contractors can't see through walls, so don't expect them to catch every possible pitfall. That's why it's important to build a 10 to 15 percent cushion into your budget. If nothing goes wrong, you'll have a nice little windfall.
You obviously need towels and, most often, they'll be laying out—so they might as well be pretty! New towels or not, take your bath towel and fold it into thirds (vertically) and drape over the side of the tub. A basket or stool to store and display extra towels is always a great touch. It sounds silly, but there's actually a lot you can do to pretty up a bathtub or shower. Drape fresh eucalyptus over the showerhead for some added greenery and an aroma-therapeutic shower experience. Hate your shower floor? Cover it with a teak slat floor tile. Want to add some luxury to your bathtub? Add a tub tray for leisurely tea drinking and book reading. The main goal: Keep it tidy! The simpler the better. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, a razor, and face wash are all you really need.
An expertly remodeled master bathroom will provide years of pleasure and comfort. But do an amateur job and you'll be reminded of the fact every day. It's a tricky space, unfortunately, with lots of moving parts crammed into a tight footprint, not to mention the volumes of water ready to exploit any and all leaks. Setting a budget and planning ahead are two ways to keep your project on track. (See Bathroom remodeling trends and costs.) And also take care to choose the best sink, countertop and toilet for your space. The following list of dos and don'ts will help you master the remodel, whether you do the work yourself or a hire it out. When you're investing in a home remodeling project, you want to make sure that the results not only please you but add value to your home and save you money on energy and water as well. These seven steps will help you take advantage of the latest design trends, technologies and products.
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