Every Successful Remodel DIY Starts with a Lot of Valuable FYI
Getting Started on your Bathroom Remodel Project
With an investment range that averages around $20,000 to mid-$60,000’s and more, a bathroom remodel is no small undertaking. But with most homeowners able to recoup at least 60% of their costs when it’s time to sell, there’s plenty of incentive to remind yourself that every decision you make concerning your bathroom should be considered an investment – not an afterthought.
With that in mind, and with more of us thinking home improvements since we’ve all been spending a lot more time there lately, a handy list of common mistakes when remodeling the bathroom just felt like a good way to start off the year. If you’re tagging 2021 as the year you finally realize the bathroom of your dreams, take a few minutes to learn from others’ mistakes and save yourself wasted time and dollars that could otherwise go toward all that bubble bath and champagne you’re picturing yourself enjoying.
We spoke with business development manager Lisa Tompkins of Carr Supply in Columbus, Ohio. She gave us some insight into how working with a plumbing showroom can be a smart way to educate yourself. A showroom consultant is familiar with a variety of different brands and can provide you professional guidance before you make costly decisions. A plumbing showroom often has better-made products that aren’t always available in big box stores or through online merchants, and will have the latest styles and trends on display.
"In a showroom, you’re one-on-one with your sales consultant. And each of us on the team does a lot of training”, explains Lisa; “In a big box store, you could get somebody from the paint section helping you with plumbing. They aren’t really experts. But we do all the factory tours, the manufacturing tours; we learn everything there is to know about plumbing.”
Lisa and the Carr Supply team meet people every day who have taken on a bathroom remodel and quickly realized they should have asked a lot more questions. Below are some of the most common bathroom remodel blunders:
- Switching the layout of the room unnecessarily. This could involve moving pipes, which can get expensive and cause problems. A one-time consultation with a plumbing expert can help you make sure moving things is feasible before you do anything.
- Not factoring in the door clearing. You bought great new fixtures and a beautiful new tub – but now the door hits it every time you enter.
- Getting the shower door wrong. When it’s even just a little bit off, the bathroom floor will likely always be wet, it’s a “little thing” that will annoy you endlessly!
- Positioning the bath tap in an impractical place. Do you have small children who will be bathing in it? Are you installing an overhead cascading shower? These are just a couple of the things to consider. Experienced consultants know which questions to ask.
- Installing or remodeling around improperly treated wood finishes. It may look beautiful now, but humidity and moisture will lead to rotting quickly if not treated and maintained properly.
- Assuming products are the same no matter where you buy them. The truth is, even if a product looks exactly the same, the quality can be very different. Lisa explains: “Even though the products are the same brand, the wholesale version that we have in the showroom is often very different than the version available in the big chain stores. Ours typically feature higher-quality materials such as brass fixtures and ceramic cartridges, rather than plastic.” Another example – Specialty Plumbing showrooms offer durable cast acrylic bathtubs rather than the gel-coat or stamped steel. We’ve all experienced price points available from chain stores, it’s not always the best choice.
- Not coordinating delivery times with online orders. If you buy fixtures and hardware online, you run the risk of delivery dates not lining up with the timing your scheduled contractors. This can lead to expensive unproductive time.
- Missing limited return times. You may be extra organized and have everything you ordered online delivered early. But if you don’t inspect it when you get it – and know what to look for – you may discover broken or damaged items or the wrong item altogether, when it’s too late to return it.
- Implementing big ideas in small spaces. A layout may seem appealing to you in concept form but could prove impractical and downright frustrating when completed. An expert can show you formulas that have been proven over time to enable moving around and using a smaller bathroom space comfortably.
- Not planning for “surprises”. Bathrooms can contain numerous hidden problem areas that may not be visible until well into the project – and well into your budget. Rusty pipes, rotting wood, outdated electrical wiring, mold and mildew are just a few of unexpected things you might find.
- Skipping the specifications. Ordering bathroom products online seems like the easy way to go, but most times the product isn’t all you need. Lisa explains: “A lot of people come in and tell us they’ve ordered a whole bathroom online. But they didn’t know they also needed specific valves or other parts to actually make the plumbing work. We’re able to help people make sure they not only get the right product, but all of the pieces and parts that need to go with it.”
- Failing to consider the pipe layout. There are maximum and minimum distances that should be allowed between pipes and sinks, toilets, showers and bathtubs. Failing to consider these distances can lead to problems during and after installation.
- Foregoing a bathtub. It may seem practical and space-saving at the time, but many home buyers consider a bathtub a necessity. Should you ever decide to resell, you could cost yourself prospective buyers.
- Measuring the bathtub space incorrectly or not at all. If you order a bathtub online and it’s the wrong size, it can be very costly and frustrating to return. “A lot of people come into our showroom and try to buy a bathtub in a certain size”; says Lisa, “When we ask if they measured the space, many times they tell us they didn’t know precisely how to go about it. So, we’re able to help them measure correctly and avoid a mistake.”
- Failure to allow enough storage. There are lots of creative ways to ensure you have enough storage and make it work with the design of your space rather than having to add storage later and trying to find a space to fit it in.
The bottom line is a showroom is full of helpful people who are happy to help you when you humbly realize you have no idea what you’re doing – or just have no ideas at all. They are trained experts who not only know and understand plumbing and products, they are up to date on trends and enjoy helping customers dream up great plans. “We have so many people who come in with no plan at all”, says Lisa; “We can send them home with lots of literature and information, help them narrow it down, and guide them toward products that make sense for their budget and bathroom set-up.”
||We appreciate the help that Lisa provided us as we kick off this blog series! Lisa is an accomplished Business Development Executive and an expert in the Specialty Plumbing showroom space. Her relationships with professionals in the Plumbing and Building industry make her a valuable asset to the Carr Supply organization. Carr Supply is one of many valued Jetta partners. Visit their website at carrsupply.com