You can save a lot of money redoing your bathroom if you can avoid hiring bathroom remodeling contractors, but only if you do it right. If you make a mistake along the way, you may find yourself paying a pro to not only do the original job itself but to undo your work as well. Depending on the issue, fixing your foible can cost more than a professional job would have cost. Your bathroom is an important room that gets used frequently, so weigh your DIY decision carefully.
Most homeowners can DIY a bathroom facelift that involves a fresh coat of paint or a new faucet. Leave tasks that create potential safety issues to the professionals, however.
Stay Safe While Bathroom Remodeling
According to Money Crashers, the first question you need to ask before tackling a job yourself is, "What's the worst that could happen?" If you try to tile your shower wall and each course of tile is more crooked than the last, you'll have to deal with a cosmetic issue, but no one is going to get hurt. The same may not be true for electrical work where a mistake could prove lethal or for a plumbing job that could result in a massive leak that damages your home.
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Whenever there is a potential for major damage or serious injury, hiring bathroom remodeling contractors is the wisest choice. If you're not sure how dangerous a potential job may be, find out if doing it requires a building permit and subsequent inspection. Permits and inspections serve to verify that dangerous jobs get done safely and according to code.
Changing a light fixture, for instance, is fairly safe and simple, so you won't need a permit. Running new electrical wiring to add a light fixture where there wasn't one before is a bit more involved, however, and this does require a permit. It's generally best to leave any project that requires a permit to a licensed contractor.
Understand the Remodeling Project Scope
Even if you have mad DIY skills, as the kids say, you may wish to dole out at least a few jobs to the pros. If your bathroom remodel is a simple cosmetic overhaul that involves some new paint and a different faucet, you can probably handle the project on your own. Many homeowners are also comfortable pulling out existing fixtures and replacing them.
Things get a little trickier if you want to change the layout of your bathroom, as this can involve moving plumbing and electrical. Completely gutting the space and starting from scratch is also an option but one that requires a massive variety of different skills. In this instance, you'll need to level floors, perform plumbing tasks, complete electrical work, hang drywall, finish drywall, lay tile, install and mount fixtures, paint and more. You'll also have to do some design work before you start so you have a clear plan.
You're probably not good at all of these things, and that's OK. Have an honest conversation with yourself about which projects you feel you can take on and which are outside your wheelhouse. Take on the projects that you can handle and hire a pro for the rest.
Consider the Bathroom Renovation Timeline
As HomeAdvisor points out, even a professional bathroom renovation can take four to five weeks, and that's assuming all goes well. A DIY project can take even longer. Before you go gung-ho and gut your bathroom, open a closet in your house or visit your garage and take a good look around. If the place is full of half-finished projects, perhaps remodeling your bathroom by yourself isn't for you, especially if there is only one in your house.
Even if you always promptly finish what you start, do you honestly want to spend every evening and weekend working on the bathroom? A project like this can be draining, especially if you work full time. Remember that you'll have to run all over town shopping for the materials and fixtures you need. You probably don't have all the connections that a contractor does, so you'll spend time shopping and price comparing rather than having someone do it for you.
Some jobs, like installing tiny mosaic tiles on your shower floor, are tedious and require a slow, steady hand rather than a rush job. Again, you must honestly assess your temperament and decide if you can do a job like that without tearing your hair out. You must also ask yourself if you can live with imperfections. If you do the job yourself instead of hiring bathroom remodeling contractors, you will know where every mistake and flaw is no matter how tiny. Can you live with them, or will they annoy you every time you use the bathroom?
Hiring Bathroom Remodeling Contractors
If you decide to hire a professional for your remodel, ask friends and family for recommendations. Check with the local Better Business Bureau to look for complaints and with your local government to verify that potential contractors are licensed and in good standing. Ask contractors to provide a copy of their license, insurance and references when they come to give you an estimate.
Get at least three estimates and make sure you get them in writing. Compare the estimates carefully and verify that they include everything you need. Do the same when you choose a contractor and when he presents you with a contract. You don't want to find out at the end of the project that your contract didn't include all the finishing touches like sinks, countertops and light fixtures.
Contracts should also include a payment schedule detailing how much money is due and when. It must also outline how you'll go about resolving disputes and making changes in addition to what happens if you're not happy with the work.