In this podcast, Joe DeMarco of Perry Brothers Construction discusses the steps involved in planning a bathroom remodel. An increasing number of homeowners have been wondering how the bathroom remodeling process works so they can feel confident when looking to hire the right contractor for the job. Are you looking to understand the bathroom remodel process? Here are some things to consider.

Joe DeMarco: Hi, I’m Joe DeMarco, general manager of Perry Brothers Construction, a general contracting company based in Newbury, Massachusetts, who specializes in home renovation and remodeling. Today I’ll be giving you a step-by-step guide on planning your bathroom remodel to help you understand the entire bathroom remodeling process from start to finish.

What Are The Key Factors of Planning A Bathroom Remodel

One of the biggest things that people need to consider is the key factors that go into planning a bathroom remodel. Key factors can include budget, which is determining how much you’re willing to spend, not only now, but in the future. There’s always emergencies that can happen at any time in your life, and these emergencies could require a large sum of funds. And those funds that you would have to use for the emergency could potentially impact your bathroom remodeling budget. If you’re going to commit to a bathroom remodel, you need to be completely sure probably within the next six months to a year, that you’ll be safe to spend the money you have saved on a bathroom remodel, even if unforeseen emergencies and consequences are to arise?

I mean, an unforeseen consequence that could happen when remodeling a bathroom, for example, is maybe you’re taking out the window in your bathroom, and then you find out the exterior of your house is rotted, completely rotted, and you find all the windows on the left side of your home have completely rotted exteriors. And now you got to replace the siding and the windows, and that’s going to cost a pretty penny. But the thing is, you’re better off fixing the problem early rather than waiting years down the line when that problem becomes much bigger and much more expensive.

Another big factor obviously to consider when you’re running a successful bathroom remodeling project is the design and layout of your bathroom. And this includes the visual aesthetic and the layout of your bathroom. The layout, it’s wondering where the tub going to go. Where’s the toilet going to go? Where is the vanity double sink going to go? Where are you going to install a closet? Are you going to have handicap-accessible grab bars throughout the bathroom? Maybe you have an in-law that needs to easily navigate through the bathroom with non-slip flooring. All these things are very important to consider. The overall style, the color scheme, and the functionality. I mean, you want to design a bathroom that’s unique to you, unique to your needs.

And part of the layout is just key factors, just understanding the space and measurements of your current bathroom. So you want to evaluate the available space in your bathroom. Before you even call a contractor, I would take your own accurate measurements. So you need to decide, okay, is the current bathroom big enough for my dream remodel, for everything that I want? Am I going to have to build a home addition to extend the bathroom out so I have more space? Are there things that I could do to be more effective with the space I currently have in my bathroom? So instead of getting a tub and a shower, get a tub shower combo. You don’t need it separately. Get it together. Instead of a double sink, just get a single sink. Either you guys can brush your teeth at separate times or just share the space.

How Do You Determine The Budget For Your Bathroom Remodel?

You got to compromise when it comes to remodeling your bathroom. And this goes into our next topic here, which is determining your budget for a bathroom remodel. Compromise is everything with a budget. You want to evaluate your current finances and really look, do you have the income to keep you safe financially when remodeling your bathroom? Do you have the available funds allocated for a home improvement project? And are you going to need those funds elsewhere potentially? You want to prioritize your needs and wants and really understand what are the essential elements you need in your dream bathroom remodel. Are you replacing any plumbing in your bathroom? Are you going to keep the plumbing that you already had? Are you going to be installing some eco-friendly, low-flush toilets or, again, the double sink? Are you having a bidet, or heated flooring?

I mean, all these are excellent features to have inside your bathroom, but they cost a pretty penny. They cost a lot of money. And you have to decide what upgrades you desire, and then what upgrades can you afford. It’s very important. And part of planning a good budget for any remodeling project is just researching and gathering estimates on the cost of everything so when you’re interviewing different contractors for the job, you’ll learn the average costs of stock and labor in the remodeling industry. How much is the labor of his subcontractors, the plumber, the heating technician, and the electricians? How much is the stock? The stock price is everything. It fluctuates even from week to week.

How are you going to create an accurate budget? Who are you going to talk to find out how much everything costs? I mean, you got to find out how much the permits and inspections cost and think about all the unforeseen emergencies that could come up during any home improvement project. You need to know what could potentially happen that’s going to cost you a lot more money in the future and maybe research some different financing options. You might, if you’re lucky, maybe you can take out a loan on your home. Maybe there are some personal savings that you’ve had lying around you want to put into a project. Maybe you’ve got enough on the credit card line for this. There might be repayment plans and financing options to consider.

And then the last thing, when determining your budget, there might be parts of a bathroom remodel that you could consider doing DIY versus hiring a professional general contractor. And I personally, as a general contractor, don’t recommend it for a lot of things. But for example, just demoing a bathroom, that’s easily done by yourself, and that’ll save you at least a couple thousand dollars. You’re just breaking those walls, throwing the debris in some trash bags, and putting the trash in the dumpster. And I’m sure if you hire a general contracting company like Perry Brothers Construction, they’ll set you up with a cheap dumpster easily.

What Are The Essential Steps To Completing A Bathroom Remodel?

I thought I’d just go through the essential steps that are involved in planning a bathroom remodel from start to finish. The biggest thing when you start is you definitely want to have a vision. You need to know your goals for your bathroom remodel. What are you going to achieve? Are you trying to improve beauty, functionality, or both? It’s all very important to consider. Do you have electrical and plumbing issues that need to be fixed? Do you have outdated features? And do you have toilets and shower heads that aren’t as eco-friendly and energy efficient as the newer models? What problems do you need to address during this bathroom remodel? It’s very important to think of all this. And again, in the beginning of the bathroom remodeling process, you’re gathering information. You’re exploring things like magazines, Instagram, and Facebook. Pinterest is really good. You see all these bathroom remodeling ideas that other people have tried, tried, and true great ideas, that you can instantly apply to your bathroom to build your unique vision.

These are great. I mean, in the process, yeah, it starts with the demo. It starts with finding the right contractor. And after you find the right contractor and he sends you over the contract that you’re ready to sign, the contract will state step-by-step everything that is happening during the bathroom remodeling process. So it’ll start with demoing the bathroom. We were talking about demoing earlier. So there’ll be a team demoing the bathroom, and they’ll be getting rid of all the old drywall, and basically gutting the walls down to just the frame. You might have some new reframing done. They’ll rip up the old tub and toilet and the old vanity. This all depends on the scope of your bathroom remodel, whether you’re starting from scratch or maybe you’re keeping a few of the elements that you had previously.

And from there, it’s just basically we’re just building the room back up. We’re replacing the floor, replacing the walls. We’re putting in the new tub-shower. Part of what makes a great tub-shower combo now is using Wedi pans and Wedi walls, which are 100% leak-proof, and very affordable. Basically, you put it into the wall like drywall, and it creates a leak-proof wall that is just excellent at preventing any rot or damage from a leaky shower, guaranteed not to leak.

And during the selection process, like when you chose the Wedi board, you’re choosing different fixtures and materials, different selections that your contractor offers you. A good contractor will give you the rundown of, “Hey, this is my favorite option, but it’s a little more expensive, and then this is the cheaper option, which I still recommend, but it’s not as good as the more expensive option.” And you need to consider those kind of things. Sometimes it’s better to spend more money for quality than it is to get something cheap that’s going to cause you trouble down the line.

And by the end of the bathroom remodeling process, the walls are getting reframed and the drywalls getting installed on there. Obviously, the walls get painted, and the floor gets done. This depends. You might be choosing tiles for the walls and floors. You might be doing tiles and paint. You might be doing vinyl on the flooring. There are a lot of different bathroom remodeling options to consider. You got to consider the paint colors that you’re going to have. And it’s beautiful stuff, really. I mean, you can create a space completely unique to you.

And during the remodeling process, what’s most important is hiring a good home remodeling company,  where it’ll feel like they’re not even in your home. And I know that’s very stressful for a lot of people, but Perry Brothers Construction, for example, we take pride, and we always clean up at the end of every job. And we even clean up during the jobs, because our goal is to make it seem like we’re not even there, and we want you to be comfortable. Every day of the process of remodeling your bathroom, we want you to check up on the work and think, “Wow, minus a vanity and a tub or whatever else that’s currently missing, this looks good to go. I mean, I could relax in here.”

And part of the process is obviously the contractor’s going to be conducting, well I mean bring in the inspector and getting all the correct permits. You’ll have a project manager who’ll be communicating with you and all the subcontractors and building inspectors the whole time. Our project managers, really keep the job completely under control. And it’s almost like you don’t have to lift a finger the entire time.

And at the end of the process, it just ends with you enjoying your new bathroom. Once all the inspections and final touch-ups are complete, you get to enjoy your newly remodeled bathroom and really take pride in this accomplishment, the vision that you made, the improved functionality and beauty of your space that you created. And it’s awesome.

How Do You Hire The Right Professionals For Your Bathroom Remodel?

And another thing to consider, or at least I bet you’re wondering, is how do you hire the right professionals for a bathroom remodel? I mean, that’s crucial to the success of any home remodeling project. You need to find the right professionals, the right contractor, and hopefully the right contractor who has the right team and subcontractors. In my opinion, I would seek recommendations from your neighbors, friends, families, or whoever. Learn who they used in the past for home remodeling projects, and really ask them for the good and the bad. Firsthand experiences provide valuable insights, and they really let you find the most reliable professionals in the field of home remodeling.

Another thing you can consider is when you go on Google, just check out Google reviews of different home remodeling businesses and see who has the most five star reviews. Check Angi’s, and see who has great reviews on there. Google bathroom remodeling, and then you’ll find whoever the top companies are, all probably a good bet for you to check out.

And when you find a contractor that you potentially want to work with, set up an in-person meeting, not just a phone call, an in-person meeting where you can really get an understanding of them as a person and how they would work with you. Make sure they’re a great listener. And review the renovation and remodeling portfolios of these contractors. Most construction companies, they have a photo gallery on their website where you can check out past work. And it’s very convenient just to see, oh, well, if the bathroom remodel worked for that customer, I’m sure it’ll work for me. Even if I’m here to promote Perry Brothers construction, check out some other local contractors, and see what they have to offer. You might learn something that will help you understand what to look for in another contractor.

And also, too, which is really important, make sure you’re requesting detailed proposals from these contractors. You want an entire complete explanation of the remodeling process from start to finish. You want every detail of your job listed in plain writing on these contracts. And you want to review these proposals carefully, okay? Because all the necessary aspects of the project should be there. And I’m telling you that includes materials, labor, permits, the timeline, everything. You want to be comparing all this before you finalize any agreements.

How Long Does A Typical Bathroom Remodel Take?

And the last thing just to quickly glance over would be, how long does a typical bathroom remodeling project take and what kind of factors can affect the timeline of a bathroom remodel? I mean, it depends on the scope of the project. It can vary. I mean, the extent of a remodel, it depends. Is it a minor cosmetic update? Are you just replacing fixtures and repainting, adding some new tiles? I mean, that could be done within a few days to a couple of weeks depending on the scope, but an extensive full bathroom remodel involving structural changes, plumbing, and electrical work, that could take several weeks to a few months, depending on both the size of the bathroom and the scope of the work.

The biggest thing that is going to help you have a smooth construction timeline when remodeling a bathroom, again, is taking the planning and design phase seriously. That is always the most important point when it comes to any bathroom. Any remodeling project, it’s the planning stage. If you have the planning stage completely worked out and done, you have nothing to stress about. You’ll be okay. And the planning stage, again, that could take a few weeks to a couple months, but once you have that done, you have a stress-free remodeling process to work with.

And another thing that can affect the timeline of your bathroom remodel is just the selection of materials. I mean, sometimes you could order a countertop and it might take months for that countertop to be shipped. And then, for example, the countertop gets shipped, it comes to you, and it’s the wrong one, and then you want to return it, that’s another two months. Good luck. There are so many factors that can affect the timeline of a bathroom remodel project. It’s never only you… It would be a disservice to the customer for us to go to them and say, “Hey, this is going to take two months exactly.” We make sure our customers know that there’s a general timeline for the project completion, but the project’s going to probably be completed either a little bit before this date, or a little bit after. If we say the project’s going to take two months, I would judge maybe it’s going to take a month and a half to three months. So you want to average out these timelines. That’s very important.

And any customizations and special features in a bathroom remodel are going to really affect the timeline too, because special installations require special servicemen, servicemen who specialize in a certain thing. So if you’re installing heated floors, you need to find an electrician that specializes in wiring heated floors. If you’re installing a Mitsubishi mini split unit into your bathroom, you need to find a heating and cooling technician that specializes in Mitsubishi ductless mini split systems.

Contact Perry Brothers Construction Today To Discuss Bathroom Remodeling

All right. I hope everyone now understands some ideas that go into planning their own bathroom remodel. For more information on bathroom remodeling or any other type of renovation or remodeling services, please don’t hesitate to contact Perry Brothers Construction. You can visit our website at or call our office at (781) 233-7511. That’s (781) 233-7511. Thanks again for listening, guys and gals.