Everything You Need to Know Before You Start a Bathroom Remodeling Project

Are you thinking about remodeling the bathroom, but not sure what to expect?

We are here to help you answer the most frequently asked questions like:

Where should you start?

How do you choose a contractor?

How long will it take?

and… What is your contractor not telling you?

After reading this complete guide, you should gain a deeper understanding of all the moving pieces and have a solid understanding of everything involved.

Let’s start from the beginning… the fun part!

Find Inspiration for Your Bathroom Remodeling

Finding inspiration and proper planning are key to smooth sailing of your project.

We highly recommend you have a good idea of all finishes prior to requesting estimates. Contractors will need to know what finishes go into your project and how much your budget is in order to provide an accurate estimate. Not having this information puts you at risk of receiving a "best shot guestimate" at best.

(Read "How much does it cost to remodel a bathroom?" for more information on selecting a realistic budget)

It is very easy these days to gather inspiration on websites like Pinterest, Houzz, and local show rooms. If you happen to live in our area, you can visit showrooms such as Contract Furnishing Mart (Beaverton, OR) where you can lay out samples, and even take some home with you. Keep track what you like and don't like, print out pictures, and use step-by-step guides like this one for example.

How to Select the Right Contractor for Your Home Bathroom Remodel

There are so many ways to find contractors these days. You can start by asking friends for referrals, use local Google listings, or post a request on a bid site like Home Advisor, Angie's List, Thumbtack, or the NextDoor neighborhood app.

(Of course, we really hope you work with us!)

How do you know which contractor is the best fit? There are a few basics to consider; check out this "How to choose a home remodeling contractor" guide for example for a list of minimum requirements.

Looking only at the lowest bid is risky business and not recommended. You don't want to be left hanging mid-project with no one picking up the phone anymore.

Read reviews, ask questions, and consider how well you communicate with each other. You are about to work with this person for the next 6-8 weeks; might as well pick a person that is pleasant and is easy to get along with. Who knows, it may even turn into a life-long friendship.

Once you have decided on two or three contractors, share your findings and vision with them. Some may request measurements and pictures over the phone prior to coming out for a visit; be ready to send your research digitally.

Get an Accurate Estimate on Your Remodeling Project

Requesting estimates can take time. Keep in mind that some contractors won't be immediately available to respond.

Usually contractors have a 3-5 day lead time on returning a solid estimate. Plan ahead and allow extra time for back-and-forth communication. Compare the estimates to each other, and to your budget. Know ahead of time what you are ready to spend and stick to the plan.

An experienced contractor may suggest items you haven't considered, so allow yourself a small amount to splurge on nice-to-haves.

Turning Your Dream Bathroom into Reality

By now you have spent countless hours online and have probably talked with friends and family about your new ideas. It is time to take your concepts and turn them into plans. This could be done by an interior designer who offers this service, or a building designer from an architecture firm.

Having a good set of plans (see examples in this article) will help your contractor and subcontractors know exactly what lays ahead, and what is expected from them. Having a good set of plans will eliminate miscommunication and arguments down the road.

Do You Need a Permit for Bathroom Remodeling in Washington County?

In Oregon, we need to have surfaces tested for asbestos and lead before demolition. Small samples are being sent to a lab, which can take up to 3 days to have results back.

Demolition work can not start before receiving lab results. If the tests are negative, work can go on as usual. If positive and asbestos is present, an asbestos abatement company needs to address the issue before moving forward with the remodeling project.

Project Timeline for Each Element of the Bathroom Remodel

Plumbing (2-3 days) Moving location of any existing fixtures will drag out the time line and will cost extra. Inspectors may not be available immediately.

Electrical(1-3 days) Electrical needs to be brought up to code and inspected on most projects. Inspector may not be available immediately.

Framing & Drywall (1-3 days) Tub to shower conversion needs framing work, and some drywall needs to be removed for plumbing and electrical access.

Tiles & Flooring (1-2 weeks) Tiles look amazing, but it takes some time to install them properly. Be prepared for some noise and dust.

Vanity install & other finishes (1-2 weeks) Vanity and counter top installation rarely can be done in the same day. Counter top installers will want to create a template prior to cutting the slab. Lead time can be 10-14 days from template to install.

Paint & Wallpaper (1 day)

Final walk-through (1-2 days)

Now You Know How to Remodel Your Bathroom (With a Little Help!)

Having a plan and communicating well with your team are the essential elements to a successful project.

And best of all, once it’s done, the only step left is to enjoy your sparkling new bathroom!

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