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Are you thinking about gutting a bathroom? Before you get to work ripping out your existing space for a brand new bathroom, there are some important things to keep in mind. In this article, we will list nine crucial things to know before gutting a bathroom for a major renovation project.

Gutting requires careful planning in terms of design as well as bathroom renovation costs, and plenty of patience. It’s generally the first step for homeowners who plan to change the way their old bathroom looks and feels.

Many choose to tackle it as part of the renovation — some in order to save a bit of money and some just for the fun of it. However, demolition can be tricky and doing it right is very important for the success of your bathroom renovation. We recommend hiring a professional for the job. It will save you a lot of hassles.

What is gutting?

Bathroom guttingMaster Bathroom Renovation, by Mike D on Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Gutting a room refers to the process of tearing out all finished materials — walls, wall studs, flooring, or even ceiling — with the intent of completely rebuilding that room.

When it comes to gutting a bathroom, it requires additional skills beyond demolishing the walls and floors. There are electrical wiring and plumbing supply to take care of. Not to forget, drain vents lurking inside the bathroom walls.

The professionals will have to carefully remove large fixtures such as bathtubs, walk-in shower stalls, storage spaces, and sink vanities. There are so many other facts that a homeowner needs to take care before going ahead with bathroom gutting.

Important things to consider:

1. Local building code

The first and the most important step is to contact the local building codes department and get all clarification regarding regulations pertaining to such kind of renovation. Some municipalities require that homeowners obtain a building permit before gutting the bathroom. Find out!

2. Approximate cost of gutting a bathroom

If you’re contemplating such a demolition, the first question on your mind would be:

How much does it cost to gut a bathroom?

An average bathroom remodeling costs approximately $10,300. Most homeowners spend between $3,500 and $14,900 — depending upon the size of the bathroom and the kind of work the renovation entails.

For an average small-sized bathroom, materials will cost between $8,000 and$10,000. This includes new fixtures such as a toilet, sink, and bathtub. And also the cost of new tiling, cupboards, and a sink countertop.

3. Your budget

The course of your renovation will depend a lot on how much you are willing to spend. For starters, it will determine the kind of appliances and fittings you can buy.

As a rule of thumb, work out a bathroom renovation estimate, and then add another 20%.

The reason is that, generally, renovations tend to go over budget. Prices might go up or unexpected structural issues may crop up. Apart from this, the process might take longer than you anticipated — increasing your contactors labor costs for the extra days.

If you are on a tight budget, we have some really helpful, quick tips for you:

  • Identify and preserve items you would like to reuse.
  • Look for stores that sell high-quality second-hand fixtures and fittings.
  • Opt for half-wall or decorative tiling instead of full.
  • Tackle DIY tasks before bringing in the professionals.

With a limited budget and a lot of creativity, you can still get a beautiful bathroom makeover.

4. Hiring a bathroom remodeling contractor

Some jobs are best left to professionals. Gutting is NOT a DIY bathroom project. When picking a licensed contractor, go with an experienced person who has aced bathroom remodeling before. It’s important that you choose someone who understands your vision. Make sure they are insured, should anything happen to them on the job.

5. Clarity about your project

Renovating bathroom by guttingDe-tiled Bathroom, by Ian Brown on Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Before you start gutting a bathroom, know all the reasons behind it and get clarity about the things you want to change in your new bathroom. Are you going for it only for aesthetic reasons or do you want to improve the functionality of your bathroom too?

So, will you go for full gutting or partial gutting?

For instance, if you have termites eating away at the structure of your bathroom, a full gutting is the only answer. For specific pain points, a partial gutting may be sufficient.

Knowing the purpose of your renovation will make things easy for you. It will give you the right direction in allocating and redirecting funds as the need arises.

6. Preparedness for not-so-pleasant surprises

Once you begin a bathroom gutting, you may come across hidden damage and plumbing issues, especially if you have an older house. DO NOT PANIC! Diagnose the problems and fix them before they snowball into bigger issues.

Any surprises you find along the way might shake your budget. This might mean either increasing your budget or doing away with some of the things you want to be done. Both, not happy options!

It is advisable to have a professional look at the condition of your plumbing, electric panels, etc. before the process begins.

7. Your finalized plan

For a remodel, you need to start from the end result in your head and work backward towards the beginning. It’s best to know and finalize what you want — from the color scheme, new fixtures, their new location, to your bathroom’s new design.

You will also have to factor in lighting design, flooring pattern, or whether you want a tub or a shower for your new bathroom. If you want to enliven the space with indoor plants, where would they look best? Basically, we are asking you to be 100% sure of what goes where in the new bathroom layout.

Read more: How To Estimate The Cost Of Bathroom Renovation?

8. Contingency plans for the process

So, you’re almost prepared for the final gutting, right? Make alternative arrangements for lighting and other utilities for the duration of the renovation and turn off your electricity and water supply.

As your whole family is affected, it’s best to keep all your contingency plans in place.

There’s always room for some flexibility and compromises here and there. The target is to build a bathroom that all of you will love.

9.  The gutting

Gutting for full bathroom renovationPhoto by Pxhere CC0

The moment of truth is here. Once you have a clear plan in mind, gutting a bathroom becomes an important step towards the bathroom of your dreams.

Prevent dust from infiltrating the other rooms in the house by sealing the door. You also need to seal heating or cooling registers, if any, with duct tape and plastic sheets.

Once the electricity and water supply lines have been cut off, start by removing the sink, vanity cabinet, and bathtub. Remove the toilet and related bathroom fixtures. Next, the walls and flooring need to go. Don’t worry, your licensed contractor will be able to guide you step-by-step along the way.  

Conclusion

Before you gut your bathroom to make way for a new, improved one — the above points will help you immensely. Keep them in mind and your remodeling will be easy, quick, and convenient.

Read more: Bathroom Remodeling On A Budget With A Touch Of Class

9 Crucial Things to Keep in Mind Before Gutting a Bathroom was last modified: July 6th, 2019 by Ramona Sinha
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