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Bathroom Renovation Project: Checklist of the Steps to Follow

Last modified: 2020-07-28 | Approximate reading time 14 mins

Léa Plourde-Archer

If you've ended up here, you’re probably starting a major bathroom renovation project. Renovating a bathroom from top to bottom is a project that involves several stages and that can easily be spread out over several weeks. To keep everything running smoothly and avoid unexpected situations regarding time and money, we have prepared a detailed guide that you can use to carry out your project.

You could check out our dozens of articles on bathroom renovations, but to help you save time, we've put together all the essential information in this article which is divided into relevant sections.

This guide will be useful if you are completing your bathroom renovation project yourself or if you want to better understand the different steps that are part of the process when a contractor takes on the job.

Would you like to jump straight to the checklist? Click here! We also have a version that has already been filled out to give you an idea of how to use it (click here)

BEFORE LAUNCHING THE PROJECT

salle de bain avec bain de luxe_luxury bathroom

If you are reading this article, you’ve probably been thinking about this renovation project for a while. You may even have officially made the decision to carry out this project. Now is the time to revise your priorities with regards to the room you are going to end up with.

THE KEYWORDS OF BATHROOM RENOVATION

- Functional

The layout of your bathroom should be focused on the daily use you make of it. Since you are in the process of setting up a new room, you should take advantage of this opportunity to optimize everything.

- Pleasant

Some people will prioritize the aesthetic aspect of the room. We suggest putting this priority lower than that of creating a layout which is first and foremost practical. Of course, since it is a central room in the house, the bathroom’s decor must not be neglected, as we want the room to feel comfortable!

- Resistant

What could be more annoying than having to replace materials or furniture too quickly? If your budget allows you to do so, opt for high-quality materials, or at least try to find the materials that offer the best value for money.

HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR NEEDS

salle de bain avec évier et miroir_Bathroom with sink and mirror

No one likes ugly and impractical bathrooms! This room, which is dedicated to comfort and daily hygiene, deserves that we pay attention to its layout and decor in order to create a welcoming space. Have you already started accumulating pins on your Pinterest bathroom boards? This is great, however, be careful to remember that these layouts may not suit your needs.

Make a list of your criteria and see how these points could have an impact on the choices you will make later. Here are some examples of criteria:

    • How easy it is to clean;
    • The quality of materials;
    • The ergonomics of the bathroom;
    • The amount of storage.

Another point to consider, much like for the kitchen, is that it should be noted that your bathroom renovation project could affect the resale value of your house. Bathrooms in a home can influence the first impression of the potential buyer. Therefore, if you plan to sell your house soon, you should perhaps avoid an overly unique layout. That said, as you are going to be using the bathroom, think of yourself first!

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN PLANNING A BATHROOM RENOVATION PROJECT

Homme qui peint fenetre_man painting windowsill

Here is an overview of the steps involved in planning out a bathroom renovation project. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss the main points.

Is there already a bathroom in place?

Before you build a new bathroom, you will have to decide what to do with the old layout. You may be faced with planning out a demolition and removal stage for the existing structures.

Are you going to keep some parts or replace everything?

If you answered yes to the previous question, you should now think about keeping certain parts of the old bathroom. Is the bathtub still in good condition? Maybe you should only replace the shower door? Is the colour on the walls still right for you?

Are you starting with an empty room?

Have you bought a new house, or do you want to install a bathroom in a space where this type of installation did not previously exist? This can be perceived as both an advantage and a disadvantage. First, you will not have to remove the old installations or deal with a predetermined layout. On the other hand, there is a good chance that the space is not yet equipped with a plumbing system, unlike a space where the bathroom is already in place.

The amount of space available

Typically, when it comes to bathroom renovations, you're going to start the process with an existing bathroom. The shape of the room, the height of the ceilings as well as the location of the doors and windows are all already more or less determined and you will have to take this into account when planning the layout of your new room.

You could decide to alter certain characteristics of the room (where some of the walls, doors and windows are located). However, there are many aspects that will be predetermined. Before officially starting the process, take the time to calculate and write down the dimensions of the room.

The ergonomics of the room layout

Salle de bain moderne_modern bathroom

Start by observing your daily use of the room. After a few days, you will be able to note the potential improvements that could have a positive impact on your life and that of your loved ones. What are the elements that affect your comfort and safety? Make a list and see with your contractor or designer so they can give you their opinion on this.

You can find more information on this in our article How to optimize the space in your bathroom.

WORKING WITH A CONTRACTOR FOR YOUR BATHROOM RENOVATION

entrepreneur qui fait des travaux_contractor working on bathroom

As mentioned earlier in the article, this guide is designed to help you both if you decide to do the work on your own or if you hand the job over to a home improvement contractor. However, even if you do the work in DIY mode, you will probably have to hire specialists to perform certain tasks including plumbing and electricity. In some provinces (including Quebec), this is mandatory.

Have you decided to hand the entire job over to a contractor? If so, you will have to decide if you will be hiring a general contractor who can oversee the project from a to z or if you prefer to hire specialized contractors for each task. To help you in your decision-making process, check out our article.

Not sure how to go about finding contractors for your bathroom renovations? Fill out the form HERE so that we can put you in touch with certified contractors.

To help you during the quote process, here is an article to help you establish your selection criteria:

One important thing to remember: you must always have written contracts with your contractors. Would you like to know why? Check out our article: Renovation Project: 3 Reasons to Sign an Official Contract

THE QUESTION OF THE BUDGET

Rénovation de salle de bain_bathroom renovation project

Bathroom renovation projects can be very costly. That said, having properly gone over the numbers, you won’t necessarily have to pay a fortune to arrive at a result that meets your expectations. You could also avoid the unpleasant surprises associated with unexpected situations, by having more or less 15% in your budget as wiggle room.

Start with a general calculation of the amount you are ready to devote to this project. It could turn out that this amount is completely unrealistic, not being based on precise figures. Then you can go into more detail, either by looking at all the elements of the project yourself (see the checklist below) or by speaking with your contractor (if applicable).

Again, in order to keep this article on the shorter side, here is a link to another article published on our blog which may be useful for this stage of the process:

Also check out our cost calculators to get a general idea of the budget you will have to set aside.

Finally, we also have a price guide that you may find very useful.

PLANS FOR YOUR BATHROOM RENOVATION PROJECT

plan architecte_architect plan house

You have started working on a bathroom renovation project and you hesitate to have an expert prepare a plan? Be careful, as this could be a very risky decision to make! In a bathroom, much like in a kitchen, every inch counts.

Are you going to use the services of a general contractor or do you prefer to oversee the work yourself? If you entrust the task to a contractor, the latter will take charge of the design of the plans, or they will hire specialists who are part of their network. If you are responsible for implementing the project, you will probably have to contact architects or technologists with whom you can collaborate to create the plans for the new bathroom.

What is the difference between an architect and a technologist? Click here to find out

TYPES OF MATERIALS FOR BATHROOM RENOVATIONS

You will be spoiled for choice when it comes to materials for your bathroom renovation project. Colours, patterns, textures, entry-level, high-end, you can weigh the pros and cons of each, at the risk of not knowing what to choose!

To help you, we have prepared a general overview of the different materials for each element in the bathroom. You will also find links to articles that we have published on our blog. If you want to know more about the materials, these articles will help you to better understand the characteristics, prices and pros and cons of each.

COUNTERTOPS

The bathroom counter isn't as big as a kitchen counter, but it still plays an important role in keeping the room clean and organized. As it is generally used to accommodate the sink(s), it is important for it to be waterproof and easy to clean. Here is an overview of the materials from which you can choose:

Marble - a high-end material, resistant, waterproof, but expensive.

Wood - a noble material, which offers affordable options and others that are much more expensive, depending on the grade of quality.

Slate - a heavy material, which requires a solid structure, offering a very attractive aesthetic element.

Corian - a material offering a malleable surface, well suited for creating original shapes.

Granite - a counter with a resistant surface, available in several colours and patterns.

Quartz - an ultra-resistant material, with a rather luxurious aesthetic appearance.

Concrete - a raw material, sometimes difficult to maintain, but allowing you to be very creative with the textures, colours and elements that you can integrate into concrete.

Ceramics - A timeless classic, with models for all tastes and all budgets!

Laminate - a product that very often imitates the appearance of other more expensive materials.

FLOORS

Bathroom floors must be waterproof and resistant, as they are frequently exposed to various potentially harmful elements including water, humidity and heat. Choose a material that suits your decorating tastes, but also make sure it is easy to maintain and has a long service life. Here are the floor materials most often used in a bathroom:

  • Ceramics - Ceramic is an excellent floor covering material in the bathroom. To simplify maintenance, opt for medium or large format tiles with a smooth surface.
  • Stone - Stone coverings are generally among the most expensive materials, but they offer a good quality / price ratio by their resistant surface and their timeless style.
  • Wood - If you choose a wooden floor in your bathroom, make sure that the surface is well protected in order to avoid damage caused by the presence of water (warping). In this sense, hardwood is preferable to softwood.
  • Vinyl - Affordable and flexible, vinyl is an economical alternative to wood and ceramic, as there are several models on the market that copy the appearance of these more expensive materials.
  • Linoleum - this material, which has been very trendy in the past, is regaining its acclaim thanks to a much more sustainable and even ecological manufacturing formula.

salle de bain tuiles et douche_bathroom tiles and shower

WALLCOVERING MATERIALS

Paint

One of the simplest ways to transform a bathroom is to use paint to change the colour and design of the walls. Is your bathroom too dark? Opt for a brighter shade! Do you want to be daring? Choose from bright colours like fuchsia, apple green or canary yellow. One piece of advice: opt for a type of paint that is suitable for bathrooms. In hardware stores, you will find paint formulas specially designed for this room, therefore made to resist humidity and dirt.

Check out our article on painting kitchens and bathrooms for more information.

Wallpaper

Wallpaper has come back in force in recent years with new products that are easy to install, of good quality and decorated with attractive patterns. For the bathroom, make sure you choose a moisture-proof wallpaper with an easy-to-clean surface.

Decorative panels

Another option if you would like to cover your walls by adding a little texture, mouldings or 3D sections is decorative panels. You will find an impressive variety of panels on the market, made of wood, plastic, faux brick, faux stone, MDF and so on. The quality and prices vary greatly, so don’t hesitate to shop around to find the product that suits you!

Wood

In the previous paragraph, we talked about decorative wooden panels. If you prefer, you can also opt for separate wooden planks (not yet installed in panels) to create your own wall covering. This is also known as “shiplap” wall covering. However, be sure to use the right finishing products to protect the wood and simplify its maintenance.

Brick

Brick is a material that is found as much in classic homes as in contemporary decors. If you would like to install real brick walls in your bathroom, you will have to plan this project adequately, especially if your walls are not yet adorned with bricks. For a cheaper and faster option, you can always install decorative brick panels. However, for a real brick siding, you will need to think about whether the structure of your house is strong enough, as this project adds a lot of weight.

Check out our article to be better prepared for this part of the project:

Stone

Like brick, stone is a rich material that can add a touch of elegance to your bathroom. If you want real stone, expect to set aside a considerable budget for this purpose. Of course, you can also find decorative panels that will recreate the look of the surface of the stone.

Concrete

Concrete can be added in thin layers on the wall surfaces to give an industrial decor effect. You can also find concrete tiles on the market or ones that look like concrete. Finally, you can also create a faux finish with paint or special products available at hardware stores.

Évier de salle de bain_bathroom sink

BATHTUB, SHOWER, TOILET, SINK AND PLUMBING

We have discussed the different materials that cover the surfaces of a bathroom, whether the floor, walls or countertops, but we have not mentioned the elements that relate to the main purpose of this room: hygiene. Indeed, there would be no bathroom without a bath and/or a shower, a sink and a toilet! During a bathroom renovation project, this is the right time to think about changing your bath or toilet model, to make the room even more pleasant.

The bathtub

Depending on the amount of space you have and the budget you are ready to devote to purchasing a bath, you can choose from a wide variety of models. Built-in bathtub, clawfoot, alcove, freestanding ... There are options for all tastes and budgets. Here are some articles that you may find useful in choosing your new bath:

The shower

Some people prefer showering over bathing. In many cases, both structures are installed together, adopting the hybrid model. However, if the bathroom is small, it is possible to opt for an individual shower, and if the room is very large, you can separate them so that they can be used by different people at the same time. Here are some articles about showers to help you know about the different models:

The toilet

The toilet may not be the most enticing element in the bathroom, but that doesn’t make it any less important! Ideally, you should not skimp on the level of quality of the toilet, because if it breaks, you’ve got a problem on your hands! The price of a new toilet can vary between $100 and $700 or even more if you buy a hi-tech (Japanese style) toilet. Check out our article to determine which model will meet your needs:

The sink

The bathroom sink does not play the same role as the kitchen sink. It is mainly used for washing teeth, hands and face. It is therefore not necessary to install a basin as large as that of the kitchen. Some people will opt for a prettier, but impractical sink. In the long run, this can prove to be annoying. We are thinking in particular of the trend for basins that are installed over the counter, as they are difficult to clean and can affect the ergonomics of the room.

Outils travaux de rénovation_renovation tools

THE BASIC TOOLKIT FOR A BATHROOM RENOVATION PROJECT

Regardless of whether you have decided to hire a contractor or do certain things on your own, you should have access to some basic tools to be able to make repairs later and/or to contribute to the project as such:

  • A drill;
  • Pliers;
  • An oscillating saw;
  • A multi-head screwdriver;
  • A hammer with short handle;
  • An adjustable wrench;
  • A siphon;
  • A box of finishing nails;
  • A measuring tape.

WHAT TO DO AS THE RENOVATION IS BEING CARRIED OUT

If you have only one bathroom in your home, a major renovation project could greatly affect your daily life. Your bathroom may not be fully functional for a few hours or even days. To avoid the inconvenience, you will need to make a plan that will help you prepare so that you can have access to a toilet and shower while your bathroom is not accessible.

Here are the questions to ask yourself:

  • Will I stay onsite during the works?
  • Could I have access to another toilet (at a neighbour's, a shop near me, a camping toilet)
  • How long will the work take (if all goes well)?
  • Do I have solutions if the work takes longer than expected?

Check out this article for a better of the various steps of a renovation project: From the ground up: stages of a renovation project

For examples of bathroom renovation projects carried out by RenoQuotes.com contractors, check out this article: 10 examples of bathroom renovation projects

THE CHECKLIST TO FOLLOW FOR YOUR BATHROOM RENOVATION PROJECT

Download the PDF version + Download the version that has already been filled out

 

Checklist bathroom renovation project

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