A fresh look in an outdated bathroom is something to get excited over. However, bathroom remodels aren’t the most straightforward project, and a lot can go wrong if you’re not a pro.
Homeowners must pay careful attention to details when planning a bathroom renovation to avoid costly and potentially dangerous mishaps. Here are six common mistakes to avoid making during your redesign project.
1. Failing to Designate Wet and Dry Zones
Let’s face it — bathrooms are likely the wettest room in the house. Therefore, a helpful bathroom renovation technique is designating wet and dry zones as you work.
Allocate an area for water-related products and installations, such as bathtubs and showers, toilets, sinks and other general plumbing fixtures. The rest of the space should be kept dry from humidity and moisture — sufficient ventilation makes this possible.
You’ll notice that every comfortable and stylish bathroom has separate wet and dry zones. Aside from improving the overall appearance and functionality, it also helps regulate dampness and prevent mold buildup.
2. Using the Wrong Wood Materials
Everyone knows that water and wood are two elements that don’t mix. Naturally, bathroom renovations require different wood materials than you’ll find in the rest of your home.
Moisture-resistant wood is manufactured to withstand steamy temperatures, humidity and rot. Some materials you might want to consider are moisture-resistant (MR)-grade plywood and boiling-water resistant (BWR)-grade plywood.
These specialty wood materials are treated with various resins that prevent water absorption — some better than others — so be mindful of which types you install near wet zones.
Always avoid medium-density fiber (MDF) and particle board in the bathroom. You’ll likely find these cheaper items in ready-made vanities. Instead, invest in quality materials that will last.
3. Selecting the Wrong Surface Finishes
Another expert bathroom renovation technique is to select surface finishes that are water-, stain- and scratch-resistant.
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to choose the wrong materials for a bathroom renovation, as they often fail to account for durability requirements, maintenance and hygiene.
For instance, marble shower walls or vanity countertops can elevate a bathroom’s luxurious aesthetic but require proper care.
Instead, porcelain and ceramic materials are highly sanitary and extremely water-resistant options. They are also ideal for wiping away grime and come in various textures and finishes to prevent slips.
4. Leaving Cavities and Gaps in the Wall
One of the worst mistakes renovators should avoid is leaving cavities and gaps in the wall. In case of a fire, wall cavities and airflow encourage rapid combustion.
Today’s construction code requirements comprise fire-blocking — a method that blocks holes with materials like drywall and cellulose insulation, plywood, mineral wool, cement board and glass fiber.
Be sure to add fire-blocking around your bathroom’s plumbing and electrical and an unfinished wall behind a drop-in tub, if you have one. It could be what ultimately saves your home and household members from significant fire and smoke damage or injury.
Technology has optimized fire-blocking in new construction. For example, with a quick scan of an equipment’s QR code, contractors and installers can immediately access useful fire-stopping specifications.
QR codes also allow contractors to store installation photos with a timestamp, confirming that fire-blocking was done correctly during an inspection.
5. Miscalculating the Clearance of Bathroom Features
Some bathroom renovation mishaps are more evident than others — for instance, not including proper ventilation and lighting. However, inexperienced renovators might forget to consider adequate clearance of prominent bathroom features.
Imagine wrapping up your bathroom renovation and realizing that you can’t open cabinet doors without colliding with the walls or pulling open the shower door and hitting the toilet. Even a minor miscalculation in your measurements could result in you having to undo your hard work.
Another example might apply to those with a top cabinet over the vanity. Ensure there’s enough space between this feature and the sink faucet. Otherwise, you’ll need to disassemble the cabinet to do maintenance when the faucet breaks.
6. Not Accounting for Bathroom Safety
By all means, if you desire a spa-like space to unwind after a long day, your bathroom renovation should meet your satisfaction. However, failing to account for safety is a surefire way to hamper a relaxing soak in the tub.
Young children and older adults especially are more prone to household injury. In fact, one out of five falls results in broken bones or head injury. Additionally, 3 million older adults visit emergency rooms annually after falling.
Your new bathroom shouldn’t compromise safety for style. Consider the following bathroom renovation techniques and upgrades to improve your remodel’s safety:
- Anti-slip flooring materials
- Grab bars and nonslip mats in the shower
- Shower bench
- Curbless shower
- Motion-sensor lights
- High-seated toilets
- Walk-in bathtubs
Preventive measures ensure you and your loved ones are safe when using the bathroom.
Common Mistakes Are Easily Avoidable During a Bathroom Renovation
An efficient, safe and successful bathroom renovation requires time and careful consideration. Avoid the most common remodeling mistakes and enjoy your bathroom upgrades by sourcing quality materials and designing a functional layout.