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Bathroom Remodel

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

Remodeling a bathroom requires significant planning, a fair amount of DIY know-how and determination to get the job done while being willing to seek help when needed.

1.Planning and Budget

Planning should be the longest phase of learning how to remodel a bathroom. In addition to decisions on design, decor, tile. fixtures and bathroom paint colors, establishing a budget for both money and time set the groundwork for a successful remodel. It’s easy to figure out how much money a new toilet, tub, and sink will cost. The challenge in remodeling a bathroom on a budget is determining how much time you can spend on the project and how much money you can spend on any hired work. A general contractor could do the entire job for you, but if you plan to work on the bathroom remodel yourself, be careful to not over-estimate skill level and under-estimate the amount of time it will take to complete each phase.

Review online tutorials on topics related to how to remodel a bathroom, and determine which parts of the work you can handle on your own. Know your limitations and be aware of building codes. If you do need help, hire someone who is licensed and insured to handle the electrical work for lighting or plumbing work for a soaking tub, for example. A pro might be able to handle a particular task with faster or sometimes better results. This will add to the labor expense but could mean significant savings in your time and frustration. When making a design for the layout of the bathroom remodel, carefully take accurate measurements so that the new vanity you selected will fit and the right amount of tile is ordered. Relocating fixtures such as the toilet or tub might not be possible because of the plumbing cost, but replacing a tub with a custom shower with tile and a glass door can provide a new look for the room.

Prepare to use auxiliary work lights while electricity to the space is turned off. Be sure to have alternate bathroom facilities – including storage for toiletries – while the remodeling work is taking place, whether you do the work yourself or hire a contractor.

Determine how to dispose of fixtures and other materials removed during demolition. For an extensive project, renting a waste container might be a solution and on-demand waste-removal is available in some markets.


Removing the old tile, flooring, and fixtures can begin after the budget is set and design inspiration for bathroom remodeling is behind you. There might be a temptation to start swinging a sledgehammer but demolition should be controlled and methodic.

Be careful to not damage plumbing or electrical work during demolition. Turn off the water supply to the tub, shower, sink, and toilet. Uninstall the toilet. Use a rag to plug the waste pipe to prevent sewer gases from entering the home and to keep materials from falling inside.

Disconnect the plumbing for the sink and remove it and the vanity. Remove the tub or shower stall and inspect for any mold and mildew or water damage. Pry off baseboards and label them for easier installation if reusing.

If lighting fixtures are to be replaced, turn off electricity to the bathroom and remove the lights. Take accessories like towel racks from the walls. Remove tile, backer board and drywall from areas where it will be replaced.

Remove the tile or linoleum flooring and check for water damage to the subfloor.

3.Plumbing Rough-In

With all of the square footage of the bathroom exposed, prepare the plumbing for new fixtures.

Replace the toilet flange. Install a new shower pan or tub. Replace shower controls for the showerhead. Run a water line extension for dual showerheads or overhead rain shower. Address any plumbing modifications needed for adding the second sink for a double vanity or downsizing vanities to a single-sink.

4. Electrical Rough-In

Reworking wiring is much easier when the walls are open.

Consider replacing 15-amp wiring with a 20-amp circuit to accommodate hair dryers and other appliances. Relocate or install additional outlets – including GFCI receptacles for those outlets located near water – and light switches so they line up with new vanity. Add hookups for any lighting in the shower, around the vanity and ceiling lights. Move vent fan closer to shower for the more effective operation.

5. Add Blocking for Grab Bars

Because the walls are open, now is a good time to add blocking between wall studs to support grab bars. Even if they aren’t going to be added as part of this remodeling project, having solid material for securing these safety features at the toilet, shower stall and tub now can save time in the future.

6. Close Walls

Install cement board and vapor barrier in damp areas in the shower stall or tub. Cement board is resistant to moisture and is a good backer for wall tile. Use drywall for other walls.

7. Paint Walls

Paint before the toilet, tub, tile, sink, and vanity are installed to reduce the risk of splatter on new fixtures or flooring. Select an interior paint with a satin or semi-gloss finish that will stand up to the humidity in the bathroom.

8. Install Tile

Tile the shower walls or bathtub enclosure first and then move to other areas of the bathroom. Install the wall tile and then work on the floor tile. Use grout for both but caulk the corners. Grout is available in a variety of colors to enhance or become part of the overall bathroom decor.

9. Install Shower Door

After the tile is firmly set, install the door for the shower enclosure, the track door for the tub or the shower curtain rod.

10. Install Lights and Exhaust Fan

Hook up and install ceiling lights and wall lighting. Connect the exhaust fan. 

11. Install Vanity and Sink

Get the vanity and sink into place and hook up the plumbing to the new fixtures. 

12. Install Toilet

Installing a new toilet might be the simplest part of bathroom remodeling, so review installation guides before paying someone to do this task. 

13. Add Accessories

Finish up the project by installing shelving, towel bars, light switch plates, and other accessories.

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