When planning a basic bathroom remodel there are certain things that must be taken into consideration before starting. These are things that most people may not think about when requesting a quote from a tile contractor. Your project will start off much more smoothly if you have an idea, or at least ask about the options, available for these items.
Flooring Substrate and Underlayment
What type of flooring is currently installed? Most times this will need to be removed before tile can be installed. Your contractor should also ensure that your joist and subfloor structure is built well enough to support a tile installation.
After the current flooring is removed you must decide what type of underlayment you want beneath your tile. Tile can not be installed directly to the wooden subfloor. It can, however, be installed directly to a concrete subfloor (here in Fort Collins, Colorado – most of the time).
Ask about the options for these items with your contractor when you initially meet to discuss your project. They should be able to give you at least a couple of different options from which to choose.
Shower Substrate and Waterproofing
Again, whatever is currently installed will need to be removed. Depending upon what is behind it your wall will probably need to be rebuilt.
Something else you will have to decide is the method of waterproofing you want for your shower. These run the gamut from a basic vapor barrier behind a cementious backerboard all the way up to a full topically waterproofed substrate (Kerdi or liquid membranes). Ask your contractor about the available methods.
Will you be moving the plumbing? Changing the drain or fixture locations? Raising the shower head? If you think you may ever want to do any of these things now would be the time to do it.
Will you be keeping the existing shower and bath fixtures or replacing them? If replacing them will you replace the entire fixture or simply the trim pieces? If switching from one color to another, such as gold to silver, will you need to replace the drain also? The sink fixtures? Give some thought to these, it will save a lot of time and questions.
When replacing your flooring the toilet will need to be removed and replaced. There is usually at least a day it will be out of service. Is this your main bathroom? Do you have an alternative? Will your tile contractor need to do this or will you do it yourself? Deciding this beforehand also saves a lot of time.
Shelves or Niche
Do you want built-in shelves in your shower? If so, what type? Made from the tile in your shower, a piece of granite, Corian? Would you prefer a built-in niche? When building a shower a cavity can be cut into the wall for a niche in the shower. Write down any ideas or questions you may have.
Shower Doors or Curtains
Do you currently have glass shower doors or a regular shower curtain? What would you like installed for the new shower? Will it need to be custom made? Something to definitely keep in mind as it could quickly become a major part of the overall remodel budget.
Will you be keeping or replacing your vanity cabinet? Will you be doing this or having your contractor do it? Will the sink placement be different? Will plumbing need to be moved?
Will you have a new backsplash installed or keep the existing? If changing it, will the mirror need to be moved or replaced? Are you replacing the countertops? What tile will be used for the backsplash? Will it be a simple row of tile or something more intricate?
Who will remove and replace your wall base? Will you be replacing it with new trim or replacing the existing? Do you want to upgrade it to a tile base that matches your floor tile?
What type of grout do you want installed with your tile? Regular cement-based grout or would you like an upgrade to epoxy grout? Epoxy is virtually stain-proof, waterproof, and easily maintained. It is also quite a bit more expensive, but well worth it in my opinion. I may be a bit biased, though.
Ahh, didn’t think about the paint, did you? If you remove or replace the vanity, toilet, or mirror you will probably need to repaint. Most builder’s grade built bathrooms are not painted behind the mirror, the vanity, or the toilet. Even a height difference between the wood and tile base, should you choose tile, may be enough to require new paint. You wanted a different color anyway, didn’t you?
Go through the individual items on this list and think about what you would like to do with each. There are certain ones that you will probably need to discuss with your contractor to get the entire scope of options available but if you have them written down it will save a ton of time.
Being prepared before starting any remodeling project makes the process go much more smoothly. A small checklist goes a long, long way toward eliminating headaches and stress. Eliminating stress is a positive in any project!
If there is something you think I’ve left off this list please feel free to leave a note below. Help someone else eliminate some stress too.
How about in-floor heating/warming? We need it in winter … brrrr. Many of my customers see shows on tv that give the impression that in-floor heating can be installed anywhere, which is not the case. Most electrical codes here in Canada require a separate circuit for in-floor heating.
That’s a good point Rob. Another thing customers may want to consider when planning their remodel. Around here whether a dedicated circuit is needed or not is dependent on the type of in-floor heating unit, but it never hurts.
And you’re correct, they cannot be installed everywhere! Some manufacturers do make units that can be installed inside shower floors and benches though.
Thanks for adding to the list!