How Hard Can a DIY Bathroom Remodel Be?
Getting ready to do a bathroom remodel? Thinking of doing it yourself to save money? Unless you have experience in bathroom remodeling, you might want to think again. Fairfax bathroom remodeling jobs are botched more than any other remodeling project.
A DIY bathroom remodel can start off easily. After all, you need a few tools to pull out a vanity and replace a few plumbing fixtures. But a simple project like that can quickly turn into a nightmare. You never know what you might run into. When you dismantle the vanity, you can find frozen plumbing fixtures and an unfinished floor underneath, causing you to have to call in a plumber and replace the entire tile floor, pull out the toilet, replace the caulking, and so forth. One thing leads to the next. In fact, the likelihood is very high that once you start peering under counters and behind walls you will find an unexpected problem or two.
In the Fairfax area, some of the homes are older and some are brand new. The age of the home and the quality of the construction are just a couple of factors that can increase the odds of finding problems hidden under the tiles and behind the walls that you need to resolve during your bathroom remodel.
The best way to approach the project is to expect something unexpected. Set aside a portion of your budget as a reserve. A suggested reserve is about ten to fifteen percent of your budget. Here are five of the most common problems homeowners face during a DIY Fairfax bathroom remodeling project.
1. Aging and Corroded Plumbing
Plumbing issues are high on the list of hidden conditions that homeowners find during a bathroom remodel. Plumbing installed in the 1960’s or earlier is probably galvanized pipe. If your home still has galvanized pipe, this is the time to replace it. Galvanized pipe that old is corroded and is prone to clogging easily. Additionally, old threaded galvanized pipe joints are usually frozen tight from corrosion and cannot be disassembled without breaking them.
Newer homes use copper or PVC plumbing. Copper is expensive and over time will corrode also. Mineral deposits from hard water corrode copper lines to corrode from the inside out, much like cast iron and galvanized pipe. You may not be able to determine if your copper lines need to be replaced. With PVC, tying into existing lines and drains securely may be difficult for the DIYer.
Another common problem is new fixtures do not always fit into existing pipes. You may also have to modify existing pipes to accommodate new fixtures.
If you find moisture or evidence of leaky plumbing, or you are unsure how best to connect the new fixtures properly, it may be time to bring in a plumber to replace all faulty plumbing lines or to assist you in properly tying in new plumbing to existing lines. Current plumbing codes also require proper vent lines for the sink, tub, shower, and toilet. If you don’t know what that involves, you need professional help.
Ignoring plumbing problems can lead to mold growth and can compromise the integrity of the bathroom flooring support. Trying to jerry-rig something will not pass muster, and repairing it all later will be more complicated and more expensive.
2. Bad Wiring
Like old plumbing, old or poorly done wiring is another common problem that homeowners encounter in their bathroom remodel. Updating older wiring can be costly, and replacing it is a project that needs a professional electrician to bring it up to code. Bad wiring is a safety hazard and should not be ignored.
3. Out of Plumb Walls and Floors
Demolishing existing tile walls and floors is easy (try to avoid damaging the framework or windows). Installing new tile is more difficult. Even when the walls and floors are plumb, tiling is a tedious and time- consuming job. Tiling comprises most of the labor in any Fairfax bathroom remodeling project. Unless you have experience installing tile, your DIY tiling job may not look very good.
The job will be even more difficult with out of plumb walls and floors. You will discover this problem when you are installing new backer board, any glass shower stall, and the tiles. None of your lines will square up, and it can be quite noticeable when the project is completed. Professional tilers know how to identify and resolve the problem at an early stage of the project.
4. Structural Weakness in the Framing of the Bathroom Floor, Walls, or Ceiling
After the bathroom is gutted, you can identify and resolve any deficiencies in the structural framework. Many homeowners are surprised to find that a prior homeowner or contractor has cut through a joist without properly transferring the floor load by adding headers to adjacent joists or doubling them up. In other cases, homeowners can find years’ worth of moisture has damaged the integrity of some of the framework. The necessary repairs are fairly easy, but it takes experience to know exactly what to do.
If your bathroom does not have an exhaust fan, this is the time to install one. You will need to ensure that the fan itself is properly vented, which may require constructing ductwork. Most new homes have exhaust fans. Make sure the one you have is big enough for the job. Otherwise, you are creating conditions for mold and mildew to thrive.
Contact a Professional Fairfax Bathroom Remodeling Contractor for More Information
Make sure your Fairfax bathroom remodeling project is done right. Trying to tackle a bathroom remodel yourself is asking for more headaches and often leads to expenses that could have been avoided. In many cases, especially in older homes that have not been updated in many years, gutting the bathroom to find and resolve hidden conditions is the most cost-effective approach.
Use an experienced bathroom remodeling contractor that knows what hidden problems are likely to exist and knows how to correct them. Call a professional Fairfax bathroom remodeling contractor to schedule a free consultation.