Q: My primary bathroom is in desperate need of a remodel—the fixtures are dated, the tile is damaged, and I’d love to replace my old tub with a walk-in shower. The problem is I have no idea where to start. How do I find out who to hire for a bathroom remodel?
A: How exciting! A bathroom remodel is a great way to refresh and add functionality to a space that gets used daily—not to mention increase the home’s value. A licensed bathroom remodeling contractor will be the go-to professional for getting the project off the ground for most bathroom remodels. Depending on the specifics of the remodel, it may also be necessary to bring on an architect, structural engineer, plumber, or electrician for various parts of the project. Read on for some details about who to hire for a bathroom remodel—you’ll be on the way to having a more modern, luxurious bathroom in no time!
You can hire a bathroom remodeling contractor.
Bathroom remodeling is a job best left to an experienced professional. Hiring a contractor to oversee a bathroom remodel is a great way to ensure the project goes smoothly. Bathroom remodeling is a complex job with lots of moving parts, often including construction, plumbing, and electrical work. In addition to physically carrying out the work, an experienced contractor can take care of obtaining permits, acquiring the necessary building materials, and hiring subcontractors.
Homeowners can reach out to friends and neighbors who have recently had bathroom remodeling done to ask who they hired and whether they were satisfied with the work. It’s a good idea to interview several contractors and ask to see examples of previous work to decide who is the best fit for the home and budget.
Changing a room’s layout or moving walls may require an architect’s services.
Small bathroom remodel projects may involve simply refreshing the space with new cabinetry or a refinished tub. But for big projects that include knocking out walls or changing the room’s layout, it may be necessary to enlist the help of an architect or a structural engineer.
It isn’t always clear to the untrained eye whether a wall is load-bearing or if it contains wiring or plumbing. It’s also essential to ensure that new installations like tubs and showers have adequate support from the anchoring floor and walls. Architects can ensure that any plans for the space will be up to code and structurally sound.
Plumbers and electricians may also be required to complete a bathroom remodel.
Plumbing and electrical work are specialized skills that are not often included in a general contractor’s training. The homeowner will need to bring on a plumber to move a sink to the other side of the room or an electrician to add an extra outlet near the vanity. Even if the homeowner doesn’t plan on making these types of changes, they will want to be prepared for the possibility that the services of a plumber or an electrician may be needed if issues arise once the project is underway. Opening up walls may reveal corroded wiring, faulty plumbing, and other unexpected hazards that will need to be dealt with. Most of the time, the remodeling contractor will take care of hiring any subcontractors, so homeowners won’t have to worry about making these arrangements.
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Before hiring a contractor, come up with ideas and determine a timeline.
A contractor needs to know a few details about the project before creating a quote. For this reason, it’s important for homeowners to come up with a plan before getting in touch with a contractor. Homeowners will want to consider what elements they want to keep in the space and which ones will need to be updated. It can be helpful to gather some photos for inspiration. Hiring a designer to help dream up a layout and decide on the aesthetic details may also be a good idea. There will be plenty of opportunities for small changes along the way, like opting for a different-color tile or changing a chrome shower head to a brushed-gold fixture. But having the outline in place will give the contractor something to work with and allow them to develop a plan, timeline, and idea of how much the remodel will cost.
Reach out to multiple contractors, ask questions, and get estimates.
It may be tempting to rush the hiring process when looking for contractors. Remodeling can be a long and drawn-out undertaking, and the sooner the contractor can start, the sooner a homeowner can enjoy their new bathroom. But getting the right person for the job is essential to ensuring the final result is in line with the homeowner’s vision.
Not sure how to hire a contractor for a bathroom remodel? Homeowners can start by gathering recommendations online or by word of mouth. Then they can talk to several contractors and ask to see examples of past work. Do the photos in their portfolio fit the design aesthetic? Have they completed bathroom home improvement projects of a similar size and scope?
If possible, a homeowner can arrange to meet the contractor in the home so that the contractor can get a feel for the space. This is also a good time to discuss the remodel’s estimated timeline and budget. Homeowners will want to provide each candidate with the same details to get the most accurate quotes for comparison.
Ensure contractors are properly licensed and insured.
Once a homeowner has selected the best contractor for the job, it’s wise to perform the due diligence of double-checking their qualifications before signing a contract. Contractors should specifically have experience remodeling bathrooms, and if they will be doing electrical work or plumbing, they should have additional certifications for these specialized jobs. Though it may feel awkward, homeowners shouldn’t be afraid to ask for a contractor’s license number and proof of insurance. Contractors are professionals who understand that their clients are trusting them with their most sacred spaces: their homes. Having this confirmation will provide homeowners with peace of mind and will protect both parties in the event that something goes wrong on the job.