How to Remodel a Bathroom

Marshall McCauley | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011

Remodeling your bathroom may seem like the perfect project to showcase your DIY home improvement skills, but just because your bathroom may be the smallest room in your house, don't assume that it will be the easiest to remodel. In fact, bathroom remodeling can get complicated because it often involves relocating plumbing pipes and electrical lines, not to mention installing new toilets, tubs, and showers. Even if you are a seasoned DIYer, chances are you may need bathroom contractors to help with your bathroom remodeling project.

5 common bathroom remodeling projects

Look at the following projects and what to watch out for to make sure that you can tackle the task without an expert:

  1. Updating your bathroom wall and floor coverings with fresh new tile can be a DIY-friendly project, but keep in mind that specialized tools may be needed to cut and set the tiles. You may want the help of a seasoned tile setter when working with small tiles, creating intricate tile patterns or installing the needed waterproof membrane under your shower's floor and walls.
  2. Replacing or installing an exhaust fan may improve venting unwanted moisture and odors from your home's bathroom, and many older homes simply don't have them. You may need to hire a pro to help with this home improvement project, because a new ceiling fan needs power from a wall switch and could require installing a run of ducting within a wall or ceiling cavity to connect the new fan to a vent on your home's exterior.
  3. Installing a new tub or shower in your bathroom usually requires the help of a licensed plumber, as strict building and plumbing codes must be followed in order to ensure that the new fixture functions properly. Not only do tubs and showers require hot and cold water supply lines, they also need properly-sized vent and waste pipes that connect to your home's existing plumbing.
  4. Replacing a toilet or sink can be a straight forward project if the existing water supply lines and waste pipes can be used. If this is the case in your bathroom, then you may be able to skip the plumber.
  5. Adding new lighting or additional wall outlets to your bathroom should be done by a licensed electrician because there are many codes that need to be followed when installing electrical wires within a "wet" location. Improperly installed or poorly located switches can create a fire risk or a safety hazard to those who use your bathroom.

When hiring bathroom contractors for your remodeling project, make sure that they are licensed and insured, as well as upfront about the time and cost required to complete each task. If you are going to hire a plumber or electrician to do some of the work for you, make sure that you do not change any of their work when finishing the rest of the remodeling project.