Updated: Jun 2, 2022
As much as you believe that you're prepared for your bathroom renovation, you're probably not.
I have done a bathroom reno or two. Chris has done FAR more than I have. It's his job, of course, but, combined, we have some experience under our belts. As much as you feel that it's your "typical" renovation, it really never is. In fact, I think there is always one new or unusual issue with each job.
Bathrooms have serious little hidden issues many times. They'll either have you ripping your hair out, or cussing up a storm if you're brave enough to attempt the DIY.
Tip #1 - Assume your DIY renovation is going to be the worst one ever.
Trust meeeeee. Assume that the person that worked on your bathroom last had no clue what they were doing. EVEN if it was professionally done. Things change, codes change, people have bad days, and sometimes they just flat out forget important aspects of the job. OR you are dealing with someone like the person that worked on our bathroom prior to us - and they'll cut through the roof rafters in order to install an insert that does not fit in the space they're putting it in. Does that mean you should cut out the roof rafters? No, never. But hey, it didn't stop ol' JD that used to own this house.
Tip #2 - Assume that it's going to take twice as long, and cost twice as much.
We are professionals and we design and build bathrooms for a living. It is a bit of a blessing for us to be able to source items, figure out cool ways to use things, and yes, save money. That may not be something that you will be able to take advantage of, but don't hesitate to look for ways to trim some costs from your budget. The minute you open up walls, change plumbing etc., the costs start to pile up. Bathrooms are not an inexpensive endeavor, but there are ways to offset your costs. Check out the image below. We found an antique clawfoot tub for 125.00 and used it in our renovation.
Bathrooms aren't something you can skimp on. Any room with plumbing is not going to be an easy DIY. Especially if you want to move the plumbing, or change the layout at all.
Tip #3 - Consider your timeline.
Ask yourself if you're prepared to be without a bathroom for two months. Do you have another bathroom to use? Where will you shower or bathe while your bathroom is taken apart? Once the shower and toilet are gone, you need a place to "go" and hopefully you've thought of that already.
Tip #4 - Know your codes and follow the rules.
Depending on where you live, there are rules and regulations that MUST be applied during the course of a bathroom remodel. Everything from electrical, cutting studs, waterlines... it's important that you are well informed so that your remodel is safe, your structure is sound, and your pipes are where they're supposed to be. As we discovered during our own remodel, some folks have no issue cutting studs out completely, or cutting THROUGH roof rafters. That's not even a rookie mistake, it's dangerous and wholly irresponsible.
Do you have trades lined up? If not, don't assume you can call an electrician to "stop by tomorrow". If you create a plumbing emergency, it's going to cost you dearly to have someone show up to fix a burst pipe or find the leak inside of the wall. Be prepared!
Tip #5 - Make sure you have everything you need BEFORE you start.
Don't assume in this post-pandemic world that you'll be able to walk into a store to purchase half of the things you'll need during your renovation. Imagine your bathroom is ripped apart, and you're desperately trying to get the gorgeous tile that spurred this bathroom reno in the first place? You'll either end up waiting outside of your comfort zone, or you'll end up settling on materials you do not want because you didn't plan ahead to get the materials you did want. Timing is everything.