Bathroom remodeling: DIY vs. Professional
Posted by Christopher Leo in Bathroom Remodeling Tips on December 9, 2022
Even seasoned do-it-yourselfers take a deep breath before starting a bathroom renovation project. No project is more complex in terms of the systems and abilities required, with the possible exception of a kitchen. Plumbing, electricity, and tile work are the three main aspects of bathroom remodeling—all highly specialized skills.
Every square foot counts in this tight, packed job as well. And then there are the regular surprises, as when you uncover rotted joists and subfloor beneath a leaking shower or cast iron plumbing stacks that have rusted so badly that they are now in danger of collapsing. The time crunch is the last factor. A critical area like a bathroom puts a DIYer under a lot of pressure to finish remodeling it and put it back to use as soon as possible.
Hiring a general contractor (GC) to oversee the project from beginning to end or selecting and overseeing your own subcontractors for each stage of the process is the apparent answer. Professionals can complete the task more quickly and efficiently than you can.
However, there is one genuine (and crucial) reason why you wouldn’t hire experts to undertake your bathroom renovation project: cost.
DIYers frequently emphasize the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing the job themselves, but the truth is that saving money is the driving force behind DIY home renovation projects. A general contractor might easily charge you $20,000 to totally renovate even a tiny bathroom.
A big 150 square foot bathroom might exceed $40,000 when finished by a professional contractor, using $250 per square foot as the standard figure used to calculate contractor expenses. If you pick your fixtures properly and keep a close eye on your budget, the identical bathroom that you completely rebuild yourself can cost $75 per square foot, or $11,000 in total.
The bottom line is that remodeling a bathroom will typically be less expensive than hiring a general contractor. In essence, you will keep the whole cost of the supplies while avoiding the labor expenses. The money saved will purchase a lot of shampoo.
Convenience is a luxury in and of itself, and one that may be worthwhile. In this situation, having someone else do the labor-intensive work while you keep your hands clean qualifies as luxury rather than having a spa-like bathroom with Tuscan tile. Having competent professionals complete the task more quickly and maybe more effectively than you can has undeniable benefits.
The harsh truth is that DIYers typically take a lot longer to complete the task, which must be balanced against the financial savings of doing the work yourself. By employing experts, you may save a significant amount of time—even weeks or months. A busy homeowner who cram remodeling work into a busy schedule could take six months to meticulously rebuild a spare bathroom, while a contractor and his crew can have the same bathroom looking brand new in just a few weeks.
As you see experienced workers ruin your bathroom, your mind will spin. No shower for you in the morning. As the workers arrive, you leave for work. You return home. There is a shower right now.
Building walls, boxing in bathroom or bathtub alcoves, and installing insulation and vapor barriers all need basic carpentry skills. Although it does necessitate carefully adhering to the requirements of your fixtures and cabinets, the majority of DIYers are completely capable of performing this task. When it comes to the frame construction, accuracy is key.
PLUMBING AND WIRING ROUGH-IN
Professional plumbers, electricians, and HVAC contractors deal with these difficulties on a daily basis and will be familiar with the specifics of local code requirements because the mechanical systems in bathrooms are subject to a variety of laws and regulations. It is a good idea to hire experts to handle the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC rough-in work unless you are a seasoned house electrician and plumber.
Major electrical and plumbing tasks are frequently left to the experts, even by skilled do-it-yourselfers. Only attempt this if you are really confident.
For the do-it-yourselfer, installing bathroom flooring is rather basic and simple for some types of flooring. You don’t gain anything by having professionals handle such simple-to-install coverings, like luxury vinyl planks, for instance, which a DIYer who has thoroughly studied the processes may do in an evening. Luxury vinyl is so simple to install that it is almost unthinkable to hire a professional.
Given the constrained floor area in a bathroom, ceramic and porcelain tile installation is frequently left to specialists, but there is no reason you can’t do it yourself as well. Once you have mastered the basics of installing tiles, you can lay the floor of a moderately sized bathroom in a single weekend.
Professional drywallers almost always construct immaculate bathroom walls if they are worth their weight. Even the most diligent homeowner occasionally encounters oddities that must be conveniently overlooked or covered up.
Installing ordinary drywall in other parts of the house is quite similar to installing moisture-resistant green board in bathrooms. What distinguishes the homeowner from the drywall professional that does this task every day is mudding and sanding to a flawless finish. You may save a little money by hanging and completing your own if you’re willing to accept flaws.
CABINETS & COUNTERTOPS
The primary benefit of hiring experts to install cabinets and countertops is the sheer ease of use. The cabinets can be moved into position and mounted more quickly and easily by a professional team of two or three employees than you can.
However, there aren’t a lot of cupboards in bathrooms, and the counters are frequently short. You’ll probably get a bathroom vanity unit in a certain width that you can manage on your own if your bathroom has a limited area. Many come with vanity unit tops already attached, which makes installing countertops simple.
When putting up your shower pan and tiling the walls, installing a shower might be challenging. Although you are capable of doing this, most individuals will prefer to engage experts for this phase. Installing a prefabricated shower cubicle, however, could be feasible for do-it-yourselfers.
Self-refinishing your bathtub or shower can result in respectable results. The reason hiring a glazing business will result in a superior finish is that the firms perform better prep work.
It is advisable to contract out this frequently challenging labor to experts. DIYers who try it will require patience and lots of assistance.
SINK AND FAUCET INSTALLATION
Bathroom sink installation is simple as long as supply pipes already run to the sink placement and a drain pipe exits. No plumber is required to install your sink. Bring in a plumber, though, if the installation calls for shifting plumbing lines. A follow-up visit to complete the final hookups may be included in a plumber’s bid service if your project required significant rough-in work from him.
Toilets are cumbersome and heavy, yet installing one is not difficult. There is no reason you can’t install the toilet yourself, unless you have a plumber previously install the other faucets and fixtures.
Unless a plumber is already making other hookups, a do-it-yourself project.
PAINTING AND TRIM
Even homeowners who are reluctant to DIY most other renovation jobs may install trim and paint walls. Painting contractors should only be hired for large spaces; bathroom walls are often very small. It’s also not too difficult to install hardware, mirrors, and other trim items by yourself.
Hiring a painting company to paint your bathroom or a trim carpenter to hang mirrors and install towel bars won’t help you much. Do it yourself.
You can DIY the majority of the lesser jobs associated with this larger project, unless your bathroom is especially big. For basic bathroom renovations, many do-it-yourselfers still employ plumbers and electricians but handle the rest of the job themselves. Surface-level remodels that don’t include significant electrical and plumbing improvements can be completed entirely by a do-it-yourselfer.
But keep in mind that skilled workers could complete the task more quickly and effectively than you. When deciding, balance cost reductions against these benefits.
If you have a project needing custom cabinets and/or countertops, please contact us.