It's one of those little ironies of life. The room in which you tend to…
Before You Start Renovating Your Bathroom: Read This First
Renovating your bathroom is a great way to add value to your home — both for your family’s daily living and for future resale.
Before you decide to go ahead with a renovation, it’s critical to have a good idea of any underlying problems that could cause unwelcome and costly surprises.
Taking time to find problems before you start your renovation will save you money, protect the indoor air quality, and preserve the durability and structure of your home.
Common Renovation Situations
A bathroom renovation is one of the most common home improvement projects. Bathroom renovations come in all types and sizes—it could be anything from changing a light fixture to replacing the entire shower area.
Your project is unique to you, but your reasons for renovating will probably fall into these common categories:
Size And Design
The room may be small or poorly designed
There may be problems that require structural changes or repairs: such as water damage, mold, or mildew
The fixtures may be outdated, small, hard-to-clean, leaky, cracked or uneconomical
Excessive bathroom moisture may have deteriorated the bathroom surfaces, affected the indoor air quality, or jeopardized the structure of your house
Plumbing + Electrical
If your house is 30–40 years old, the plumbing and electrical services may be outdated and need upgrading.
Houses built prior to 1950 often have lead piping that may pose a health hazard
Heating + Ventilation
Bathrooms are often cold because of poor insulation or poor heat delivery
Ventilation is often inadequate, non-existent, or causing secondary problems that need to be fixed
The Healthy Housing Principle
Renovating is an ideal time to make your house healthier for you, the community, and the environment- especially when it’s in the bathroom. When doing your renovation, be sure to consider the seven essentials of Healthy Housing.
- Keep your home dry
- Keep your home clean
- Keep your home well-ventilated
- Keep your home pest-free
- Keep your home contaminant free
- Keep your home safe
- Keep your home well maintained
While not all seven are applicable, the bathroom has a direct impact on the dryness of your home, as well as the ventilation, cleanliness, safety, and maintenance.
Think Of Your House Like A System
Keep Your Home Dry and Well-Ventilated
A house is much more than just four walls and a roof—it’s an interactive system made up of many components including the basic structure, heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, the external environment; and the occupants. Each component influences the performance of the entire system. A renovation provides an opportunity to improve how your house performs.
Bathroom renovations often include changes to HVAC equipment that can improve moisture management in the house. Structural changes may improve air sealing and insulation, resulting in increased occupant comfort and house durability.
Keep Your Home Well Maintained and Clean
Bathroom renovations provide a chance to lower the amount of maintenance required and therefore spend less time cleaning.
With material improvements and the new technology available, we have created a completely waterproof, mold and mildew resistant product that is easy to maintain.
Because it’s waterproof and there’s no risk of mold or mildew, it’s not recommended to clean every week like you would tile. It can be maintained with much less frequency, using non-abrasive cleaners that won’t harm you.
Keep Your Home Safe
Bathrooms are the most common site of an accident leading to injury. The floor can become slippery, and stepping over the tub base is always difficult.
With new bathroom renovations, you can install many safety features to keep your home safe from further accidents in the bathroom.
At Five Star Bath Solutions, we offer:
- Non-slip mats and shower floors
- ADA rated grab bars
- Shower benches
- Handheld showerheads
- Low-threshold bases
- Walk-in tubs
As technology advances so does the safety of the bathroom. It doesn’t have to be a concern anymore.
Avoid Surprises During Your Renovation
Before you start renovating, you’ll want to think about your bathroom, your needs, and your budget. Look carefully for signs of deterioration and the possible causes. This will save you money and also help you to be better informed if you’re dealing with contractors.
Reflecting on your project will also help you to decide whether you need the services of a professional. Being unsure of what needs to be done, recognizing that the job is very complicated, or that you don’t have the time or energy to do the work, are good reasons to hire a professional renovator.
Questions to Consider
Size And Design
- What aspects of the current bathroom need to be changed
Choose a design option that meets your existing and future needs. This may be a simple renovation to replace fixtures or a complex project to change the layout, enlarge the bathroom, or add an extra bathroom.
- Is the layout convenient? Is there enough storage?
The layout may not be flexible enough to meet existing or future needs for space and storage. There are, however, many cheaper options to provide extra storage.
- Does the bathroom meet the needs of everyone in the household, including anyone with special needs, extended family and guests?
The layout may not be suitable for anyone with special needs such as wheelchair accessibility
- Are the fixtures or seals damaged, cracked or leaky?
You will need to replace or repair damaged, cracked, or leaky fixtures or seals. If it’s the first time you’re finding a problem, it’s often cheaper to repair it. However, if it continues to happen, replacing the part is the only answer.
Plumbing problems will continue to cause damage to finishes, the house structure, and will promote mold growth. Regardless of how it’s fixed, it will need to be taken care of as soon as possible.
- Is the styling outdated?
Choose fixtures that enhance the appearance of your bathroom while conserving water and energy. This is your chance to create your dream bathroom. Take advantage of it and be proud of the end product!
- Are fixtures water and energy efficient?
Outdated fixtures usually mean higher energy and resource costs. New toilets can save more than 70% of water per flush.
Low-flow showerheads can save up to 60% on water usage. Compact fluorescent light fixtures are 4X more efficient than standard incandescent bulbs.
- Is there often condensation on the toilet tank?
Yes, cold toilet tanks are prone to condensation that leads to moisture problems. Install an insulated toilet tank to keep the tank surface warmer.
- Which walls are load bearing? Will they need to be cut or removed as part of the renovation?
We will need to assess the structure carefully. The proposed renovation must either fit the existing structure or the required structural changes must be possible.
Expert help may be needed. Improper structural changes, new loads, or proceeding with changes that stress the structure may cause wall settling or collapse.
- Are there any cracks, slopes or bulges that might mean that the floors or supporting members are deteriorating or inadequate?
If there are any cracks, slopes, or bulges, you should repair or upgrade structural elements so that they are able to meet expected loads.
Ignoring the underlying cause of bulges, slopes or cracks can result in recurring problems. A bathroom renovation can fix it.
- Are the walls deep and strong enough to allow installation of grab bars, new windows, plumbing or ducts?
If the walls aren’t strong enough to place grab bars, in most cases we can install structural blocking or backing as needed to make it work.
For new windows, plumbing, or ducts, we’ll build out walls to accommodate them. However, insufficient wall cavities may limit this option.
- Are exterior walls, floors or ceilings cold or drafty? Is it noticeably cold while taking a bath?
Insulate and air seal the exterior wall, ceiling or floor assemblies to provide warm surfaces and a draft-free space.
Poorly insulated exterior surfaces, poor quality windows or poor air sealing will result in cold surfaces that cause discomfort and are prone to condensation, which can lead to mold growth.
- Are there water stains or visible mold growth on any surfaces?
If water stains or mold growth is visible, you’ll first need to determine where the moisture is coming from: building leaks, plumbing leaks or high humidity.
Unresolved water problems will cause renovations to deteriorate quickly, whether the water comes from building leaks, plumbing leaks or the high humidity generated by bathroom activities. Leaks may contribute to mold growth and result in serious IAQ problems.
- Are there any moisture damaged finishes?
Once you fix the causes of the deterioration, then you can replace all water damaged or deteriorating elements and they’ll stay healthier, longer.
Ventilation is a good way to control excess humidity and prevent that moisture damage from occurring in the first place.
- Is there any blistering or peeling paint?
If there is and you need to repaint, choose low-odor, low-toxicity materials and finishes to minimize the effects on indoor air quality (IAQ).
- Are any surfaces buckled, swollen or rotten?
To prevent this, you will need to maintain grout and caulking to restrict water access to cavities.
However, with the new technology from Five Star Bath Solutions this isn’t an issue. There’s no grout involved and the surfaces are guaranteed waterproof for life.
- Is there any chipped or cracked grout or caulking?
Hiding moisture damage behind new finishes can cause deterioration and mold growth to continue.
That’s why at Five Star Bath Solutions we do a full demo on every job. We don’t like to cover up your problems, but fix them to prevent future issues.
Plumbing and Electrical
- Are there any signs of leaks such as mold growth, soft drywall, or rotting materials?
It’s always a good idea to repair any plumbing leaks right away. While doing so, be sure to upgrade the plumbing to meet current codes and the needs of new fixtures.
If plumbing problems aren’t repaired, deterioration will continue and mold will grow. These problems don’t fix themselves and they never go away without action.
- Is there sufficient water pressure?
Nobody likes low water pressure, so be sure to mention this to your bathroom remodeler. Some things to try would be to install larger diameter water pipes to allow greater flow or pressure balancing valves.
- Does water drain slowly? Are there any unusual noises or smells coming from the drains?
Plumbing problems such as slow drains or smells from poor venting are annoying and will continue to get worse and be a source of poor IAQ if nothing is done.
Ensure that the drainage system is sufficiently vented and that proper traps are installed.
- If the house is pre-1950, are there any lead or galvanized steel waterpipes?
Replace lead or corroded metal pipes immediately. If it begins to corrode, lead and steel piping can contaminate the water.
- If the house is more than 30 years old, is the electric service and wiring safe and adequate?
Have an electrician inspect the electric service and wiring before moving forward with any renovations.
Repair and upgrade electrical service and wiring if needed to handle your fixture upgrades. Equip outlets with ground fault circuit interrupters for safety.
- Is the lighting adequate, providing good overall and task area light?
Update lighting so that it is adequate and energy efficient. This will make your life easier, but it also eliminates a lot of potential hazards in the bathroom.
- Do the pipes make a banging noise (water hammer)?
You can provide an air cushion to eliminate water hammer.
Heating + Ventilation
- Is the bathroom cold?
If your bathroom is cold, provide an adequate heat source during renovation.
- Does condensation form on windows, mirrors or other surfaces?
Excess moisture is a problem. So, if condensation does form, it would be ideal to install a whole house ventilation system, including a heat recovery ventilator.
If the whole house system is not an option, install a quiet exhaust fan with adequate airflow capacity to handle excess humidity.
The fan should have a sound rating of two sones or lower and must vent properly to the outside.
- Is there a stale, musty smell?
Problems can arise if heating, ventilating or air conditioning (HVAC) needs cannot be met by the capacity of the services available; including stale, musty smells. Proper ventilation is needed to control excess humidity and remove indoor pollutants, thus improving indoor air quality.
The Rewards of Bathroom Remodeling
- Correcting structural flaws, fixing leaks, and making sure that all services are adequate before renovating will make renovations look better, work better, and last longer.
- Using low-odor and easy-to-clean finishes will improve IAQ and help prevent mold growth.
- A warm, comfortable, attractive bathroom can contribute to a safe, relaxing lifestyle.
- A bathroom renovation typically offers a 64-71 percent return on your investment, meaning increased value of your house for resale.
THE DIY Skills You Need to Do the Job Right
A homeowner with good fix-it skills may be able to do some of the work including:
- Removing old fixtures
- Gutting old wall surfaces
- Removing non-load bearing walls
- Fixing roof or window leaks
- Insulating and installing a vapour barrier and air sealing.
Serious structural work may require the services of a professional renovator.
You’ll also likely need an electrician for any new wiring, a plumber for the plumbing work and a heating contractor to install or move heating or ventilation outlets.
You may want to hire tradespeople to do the structural work, roofing, window repairs or installation, and any exterior wall repairs.
Trust The Five Star Professionals
The professionals at Five Star Bath Solutions are ready and available to help you cover all these questions and more! Because we focus solely on bathroom renovations, we’ve seen it all and have likely fixed it multiple times.
Visit our website at fivestarbathsolutions.com, or call at (855) 970-BATH, to schedule a free consultation today!