6 Mistakes to Avoid When Remodeling Your Bathroom

Bathrooms are one of the most popular areas in a home to remodel, right along with kitchens. Should you decide to remodel your bathroom on your own, there are a few things you’ll want to consider to ensure the project goes off without a hitch. Take a look at six of the most common mistakes you’ll want to avoid when remodeling your bathroom.

#1- Poor Planning

Jumping into any sort of remodeling project without a clear plan is often a recipe for disaster. Bathroom remodels are especially risky without detailed plans. It’s understandably exciting to start working on a project when you have the end goal in mind, but it’s crucial to start on the right foot.

Take accurate measurements, learn about your bathroom’s plumbing needs, research the materials you might want to use, and determine the quantities of each item you’re going to need. It’s also a good idea to study the remodeling process so that you know how to replace fixtures correctly before you start.

The entire remodeling process will likely proceed far more smoothly when you have a step-by-step plan that supports the vision you’ve designed.

#2- Setting an Unrealistic Budget

Making changes to your bathroom can be done on practically any budget. However, if you want to perform an entire remodel, a realistic budget is important. One of the most common bathroom remodeling mistakes is improperly predicting the total cost of the project.

A newly remodeled shower from West Shore Home.

Before you begin any part of the remodeling process, develop a budget. Think about the funds you have available to set aside for your remodeling project and stick to that budget. Check the prices of every material you’re going to need and create an itemized list of products, so you can compare totals against your budget.

You don’t want to start a remodeling project strong, only to realize you’re running low on money halfway through. This realization leads to cutting corners. In a bathroom remodel, cutting corners is the last thing you want to do. Buying low-quality products and skipping important steps to save a few hundred dollars can eventually result in thousands of dollars in damage.

#3- Using the Wrong Materials

If you want to avoid bathroom remodeling mistakes that end up costing you significantly in the long run, make sure you purchase the right materials. For example, if you’re replacing a vanity, look for one that’s designed for bathrooms, not bedrooms or other low-moisture spaces. If you’re replacing trim, use a product that won’t warp when it’s exposed to the steam from your shower or tub.

The wet area of a bathroom after it was remodeled.

Even the paint or wallpaper you plan to use needs to be able to handle long-term exposure to moisture. The last thing you want to see is peeling wallpaper, bubbling paint, or migrating tiles within a couple of months of your project’s completion.

In addition to choosing materials that are designed for bathroom use, think about the practicality of the items you plan to replace. If you’re removing a cabinet to create a more open space, think about where you’re going to store the items the cabinet once held. Are you planning to downsize your bathroom products during the project? Are you going to install a vanity that has adequate storage space? Do you want a medicine cabinet behind your mirror? Each of these elements requires careful consideration before deciding on a specific step.

#4- No Replacement for Bad Lighting

A common bathroom remodeling mistake involves skipping over the light fixtures in lieu of pursuing a more aesthetically pleasing design. A beautiful new bathroom might end up looking quite drab if you neglect your lighting.

Instead of skipping this crucial step, make sure that you keep your lighting in mind during the planning process. If you have a window or skylight in your bathroom, you might have enough natural light coming in during the day but think about the evening hours or stormy days when natural light will be lacking.

A bathtub remodel done by West Shore Home.

If you plan to replace old fixtures or install new ones throughout your space, upgrading your lightbulbs is also worth considering. Instead of using old, yellow light bulbs, opt for white light or LED bulbs. Not only will they make your bathroom appear lighter, cleaner, and even bigger, but they’ll also save you money on your utility bills.

#5- Shower Mistakes

So many of the bathroom remodel mistakes you’ll want to avoid involve shower replacement. Whether you’re planning to completely redesign your shower space or you just want new knobs and fixtures, a lot can go wrong during this part of the remodel. Let’s cover a few.

  • Knobs that don’t fit: Choosing an aesthetically pleasing set of knobs might make your new shower look inviting, but it’s important to choose knobs or handles that actually fit into the space allotted. If your shower knobs are close to the interior wall and you don’t plan to move them, you might find that longer handles don’t allow the shower to turn on all the way. Furthermore, if you use knobs intended for sinks, you might notice too late that they don’t fit the underlying hardware very well. Avoid leaks and inconveniences by choosing the right knobs.

A close-up of new shower fixtures.

  • Moving shower location: Moving any sort of plumbing to a different area of your bathroom can become complicated fast. You might find that this step of the project is too much for you to do on your own. If you plan to relocate a shower, sink, toilet, or tub, it’s a good idea to consult a plumbing professional. Trying this step without adequate experience could lead to long-term plumbing issues like leaks, broken pipes, and water damage.
  • Shower head and knob placement: If you plan to redesign your entire shower, think about the placement of your shower head and the knobs you use to turn the water on and off. Consider installing your knobs close to the entrance of your shower so that you can turn the water on and wait for it to get warm before you step in. Leaning in under the shower head and having cold water pour down on you is a hassle. If you can, situate your shower head and knobs in more convenient locations.
  • Poor tiling work: If you’re tiling your new shower, make sure that you’re using shower-appropriate grout. Furthermore, make sure you properly seal your grout and tile before you use the new shower. Grout and tile are both porous materials. When they’re constantly exposed to water and steam, condensation can present a threat. You don’t want moisture building up between your tile backing and the inner wall of your shower stall, as mold tends to grow in these moist, dark spaces.
  • Improper drain placement: Make sure that if you’re replacing your shower drain, you install it at the lowest point in your shower stall. Most showers are designed at a slight angle to direct water toward the drain. If you skip this step, you’ll likely have water puddling on the floor of the stall instead of going down the drain. This can lead to mildew, grime, and potential water damage, so pay careful attention to your drain placement.
  • Low threshold showers: Low threshold showers, also known as curbless showers, look nice, but they’re not appropriate for every bathroom. If your shower head faces the shower’s entrance, you might not want to try this option. Additionally, if your shower stall is on the smaller side, low threshold showers might also be a mistake. You’ll likely get quite sick of a low threshold shower if it pours water onto your bathroom floor every time you turn the water on and off.

#6- Improper Plumbing Replacements

To avoid bathroom remodeling mistakes involving changes to your plumbing, be sure to replace toilets, sinks, shower fixtures, or tubs with high-quality products. Cheap toilets and sinks might seem like a great way to save money, but at times, these items are poorly produced. To avoid leaks and water pressure issues, buy plumbing replacements from reputable companies. It’s a good idea to buy new toilets and sinks from brands with long histories of dependability and functionality. They’ll likely serve you well for years to come.

Bonus: Poor Use of Space

A West Shore Home installer affixing new fixtures in a shower.

As an additional note, remind yourself that just because something technically fits into a certain space, that doesn’t mean the fit is practical. Think carefully about your bathroom spacing and do your best to position appliances in areas that make sense, provide you with enough room to move about, and look aesthetically pleasing once the remodeling project is done.

If you can only complete some of the steps of your project on your own, it’s perfectly reasonable to accept help where you need it. Involving the right people, like the pros at West Shore Home, when remodeling your bathroom, will help make the project a complete success.