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10 Mistakes To Avoid When Renovating a Bathroom

Last modified: 2018/10/05 | Approximate reading time 7 mins

The bathroom may be the smallest room in the home, but it is far from insignificant. Being that we spend a great deal of time getting ready for our day, our evenings and our bedtime, it is crucial that the bathroom is functional while, at the same time, comfortable. Renovating a bathroom should be simple, but there are common mistakes that homeowners make, often leading to a decrease in their home's resale value as well as creating future problems.

Here are 10 mistakes that you should try to avoid when renovating a bathroom

1) Forgetting to establish a budget for your bathroom renovation project

Even though the bathroom is a small space, it can be turn out to be one of the costliest rooms to renovate. There are typical renovation costs when dealing with the bathroom that are often not accounted for, and further costs could arise as you begin renovating. Skip spending large amounts on fancy tiling, and make sure the groundwork and the "unseens" are allocated a significant budget.

If you are considering hiring a professional to do the renovation job, make sure to hire a tradesperson who works in bathrooms specifically. A contractor who knows bathrooms will understand the challenges and surprises that could arise, solving issues quickly and with efficiency. It is important that all bathroom components have been installed properly to bypass long-term problems. 

To learn more about how much money you should plan to spend on a bathroom renovation project, check out this article on our blog: 

Salle de bain blanche et bois

Photo: John Hickery Fry

2) Poor bathroom ventilation

There is no way around it when your bathroom has poor ventilation, mould will build up. Having a window in your bathroom offers excellent ventilation as well as a source of natural light. If possible, the window should be accompanied by an exhaust or ceiling fan to keep air flowing. 

One or the other is necessary, but having both can help you to avoid humidity building up on surfaces. If humidity builds up, the paint will deteriorate, metal fixtures will rust and mildew will form, leading to long-term issues as well as health risks.

Alongside proper ventilation, you should paint bathroom walls with an oil-based or mould resistant bathroom paint. Paint specifically designed for bathrooms tackles common issues such as longevity of paints' colour as well as improving the resale value of the home. Further, if your bathroom has a fan, it is necessary to keep it clean. Vacuuming the fan on a regular basis will help to keep the air and bathroom hygienic and fresh. 

3) A lack of storage 

Bathroom storage

source: Flickr, Tim Crowe

Ample counter and storage space is necessary, as the bathroom is a multifunctional room which requires lots of varying appliances, products and materials to operate correctly, and for you to operate comfortably.  Make sure storage is well thought out and carefully located: add cabinets, put in extra shelving, install plenty of hardware for hanging towels and bathrobes. 

Do not leave open space between the counter and the wall or toilet, and try not to crowd the room with overly large storage units. Since the bathroom is generally the smallest space in a house, it is important that it's storage and design are efficient. Try to be creative with your storage.

4) Poor Lighting in the Bathroom

If you're a woman who's waking up every morning and putting on her face, or you're a man who needs a good clean shave before heading to work, then you know a thing or two about the necessity of good lighting. 

As these daily duties are generally performed in the bathroom, we know the space requires excellent task lighting that is both well designed and well placed.

Lighting is often overlooked in the grand scheme of bathroom renovations, and this could lead to the frustrating realization that you may need to re-renovate. Make sure to install a significant amount of light around the sink and mirror, making sure they aren't too soft or harsh. 

Not only is great lighting essential for putting your best face forward every day, but poor lighting conditions in a bathroom can be dangerous. Installing bathroom rated lights can help to avoid all problems, including falls around the bath or shower.

5) Employing porous materials

Salle de bain blanche

As we are all aware, the bathroom is a wet and messy space. It is impossible to predict when a splash of water will end up on your floors or walls. Therefore, it is necessary that all bathroom materials are impervious to moisture. When choosing tiles, paint, and finishing, making certain to pick materials that are specifically designed to be used in a bathroom.

If you've found your dream paint but it's not oil based, it would be better to forget it and choose something practical. Using a paint that isn't oil-based will lead to peeling as well as mould and mildew buildup. 

If you have ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tile installed, the grout lines must be sealed, therefore, do not cut corners on sealants. Choosing bathroom-specific materials will aid in the longevity of the renovation, and help to avoid having to do it all over again in two years' time. 

6) The bathroom's layout

Bathroom renovation mistakes

source: Flickr, Jessica Summer

Do not put beauty before function! Although it's easy to only consider the way a bathroom will look, the spacing of this room is paramount to functionality as well as making those using the restroom feel comfortable. 

A bathroom may seem to only have a few components: cabinet, toilet, tub, show. But in fact, the bathroom has so many small components that need to be correctly integrated into a tiny space. If the bathroom is designed correctly, it should function better, cost less to build and perform efficiently.

Avoid putting the toilet beside the door, as this feels very awkward. Try to plan for the toilet to be furthest away. Also, consider safety, accessibility and comfort, as the bathroom is a space we visit at least a few times, daily.

7) Wanting to follow trends

Modern bathroom

Photo: Flickr- Hotel Le Plaza

In a space that can be both difficult and costly to renovate, one should practice caution with experimentation in the way of bathroom decor. Extravagant trends or in vogue hardware can be costly in both the short term and long term. 

Where are those trends going to be in 5 years time? Instead of eyeing that expensive must-have piece, consider settling for classic colours and elegant hardware. Put your time, effort and budget into quality workmanship instead of the glitz and glam of a fleeting trend.

Think neutral colours, like vintage white, chilly grey or mellow blue. Also, make sure to match all finishes, rather than having miss-matched colours and shades. 

If the toilet is white, consider having the bathtub and sink in the same shade. Also, measure different materials against each other before buying, as you could bring them home and find they aren't quite what you had envisioned. 

8) Neglecting to Consider Electricity

Although this comes down to poor planning, neglecting to consider electricity in your bathroom can lead to immediate problems as well as others down the line. Bathrooms are considered a unique location for electrical installations, so contacting an electrical contractor before moving forward with the installation yourself is recommended, especially in provinces where the law obliges you to do so.

There are specific bathroom electrical code requirements, which will likely depend on the city or province you live in, so make sure to look into those before installing any fixtures!

9) Choosing accessories that wastewater

source: Flickr, Steven Depolo

As our society becomes more environmentally conscious, we must begin to consider the ways in which we can we can save water in the bathroom. If your budget allows for it, there are options such as low-flow showerheads, auto-shutoff faucets and high-efficiency toilets that save water and money in the long run. Also worth considering would be a gray water system. These reclamation stations reuse water from other areas of the home in places like the toilet where the water doesn't have to be as clean.

This system is environmentally conscious, and you will not only be doing your part to contribute to preserving the environment but having an environmentally conscious bathroom will greatly add to the resale value of your home.

10) Trying to complete the bathroom renovation project by yourself

As we've stated in several of our previous points, the bathroom is a significant space that has plenty of parts working behind the scenes, especially things we don't consider on an everyday basis. Most homeowners forge ahead without considering all angles of bathroom renovation.

Unless you feel completely comfortable performing these renovations on your own, it is essential to contact a professional who knows exactly what to look for in both the installation and upkeep of this specific space. Going forward without 100% confidence in what you are doing could lead to long-term problems, and who wants to renovate the same space twice in a few months? Not us!

To see examples of bathroom renovation projects completed by contractors, check out "10 examples of beautiful bathroom renovation projects". 

Author: Amanda Harvey

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