How to Survive a Bathroom Renovation
If your house has just the one bathroom then it’s natural you’ll be concerned about just how you’re going to cope if you’re planning a bathroom renovation.
How long will you be without a working toilet? When will you next be able to have a shower? There will be lots of questions going through your mind, but the good news is that with a bit of pre-planning you can keep the inconvenience down to a minimum before enjoying the benefits of a fully renovated bathroom.
Of course, the length of the disruption will depend on the size of your bathroom and the scale of the renovation you have opted for, but if you make sure you know exactly what is going to happen - and when - beforehand then you’ll be able to ride out the building work and look forward to a glorious new bathroom when it’s complete.
First of all, though, you may be wondering why it’s a good idea to renovate your bathroom...
Why should I consider a bathroom renovation?
There are many reasons why people decide to renovate their bathrooms:
Fix existing problems: From water leaks to rotting wood or mould on the tiles, there are a variety of problems which are common in bathrooms. They can either be fixed as individual tasks, or you may take the decision to go for a complete renovation instead.
Increase property value: Renovating your bathroom will increase the property value of your home. Homes with modern bathrooms enjoy a greater chance of a quicker sale than those with dated looks.A new bathroom is a great investment.
Add storage space: If your single bathroom is relatively small in size, then a renovation gives you the opportunity to look at ways to increase your storage space. Bathroom cabinets are a great way of achieving this.
Improve safety: Many accidents take place in bathrooms and so if you have little ones in the house, you’ll want to be sure your bathroom is as safe as possible, such as by adding slip resistant flooring.
Update the look: Or maybe you just want to bring your bathroom to life – there are many accessories and products to help you achieve a new, fresh look for your bathroom.
So, assuming you’ve decided to renovate or update your bathroom, what are the things you need to consider in terms of minimising impact on youand your family during the renovation work?
Choose your tradesman carefully:
Delays to any project are always a source of great frustration and inconvenience, and even more so when it’s the functioning of your only bathroom which is held up. If you don’t have a spare bathroom to make use of, then you’ll want the job completed in the shortest timeframe as possible and with as few hiccups as possible.
To help guard against unexpected delays, you’ll need to properly check out your chosen contractor. If he/she has been referred to you via a trusted friend or colleague, then that will provide some comfort, likewise online reviews and testimonials can usually give a thorough insight into a tradesman’s reliability and performance standards.
Once you've chosen your tradesperson, communication is key. Plumbers are used to renovating bathrooms and understand the stress and chaos they can cause. That’s why you should speak to your tradesperson to see if there are any ways to make this period easier for you – for example, ensuring the toilet is out of commission for as little time as possible. Some tradesmen will do this without prompting, but it’s best to make sure you’re on the same page by asking questions and being clear about your needs. The more information you have about expected timeframes, the better you can plan.
Have a back-up plan:
With the greatest will in the world, and with the greatest contractor in the world, there is still the possibility of encountering unforeseen issues which delay the project. We don’t live in a perfect world and not everything goes to plan all of the time, but if you have a ‘Plan B’ then you will be better placed to react to anything that goes wrong.
In a worst case scenario you’ll be without a working bathroom fora period of time; in that situation you’ll need to find alternative means to wash or shower (maybe at your local gym?) or find another toilet to use (a neighbour or relative who lives locally?).
You might need to get creative, but there are various ways to manage your hygiene during a bathroom renovation.
Set up a wash station in the kitchen or utility room
This is a simple option, especially for adult-only households and young families. Bring any necessary toiletries downstairs so you can wash your hair and have a wash regularly. You can also bathe a baby or toddler in the sink. A pull-out spray kitchen tap is great for rinsing hair, but you can use a jug if preferred. You won’t feel as squeaky clean as you would after a proper shower, but a wash station will tide you over during the worst of the disruption.
Visit a gym or leisure centre
Use the shower facilities at your local gym or leisure centre. You can even squeeze in a workout or swim some lengths while you’re there.
Shower at work or at relative’s house
Some workplaces have shower facilities for employees who cycle to work. If you have relatives close by, it might be worth asking if you can shower at their house.
Spend a few nights away
Get some respite from your renovation by spending a few nights at a hotel or B&B. If you’re on a budget, see if you can stay with a relative instead.
Dry shampoos and showers
More commonly used by campers and festivalgoers, dry shampoo and dry showers are no replacement for a proper bath or shower. However, they’re useful in a pinch or as a last resort.
Choose the right time:
If you trust your chosen contractor implicitly, so much so that you would hand them the keys to your house, then why not combine your renovation work with a holiday?
If that’s not possible, then once you have established the expected timescale of your project, make sure you plan it for when there will be least impact on your family life.
It’s inevitably going to be a noisy and messy job to dig out a bathroom and install a new one, so having a house full of people at this time may not be the smartest idea – especially considering the bathroom is likely to be required for use!
Replacing the toilet:
The first question you are likely to ask after establishing the cost and the timescale of the project is likely to be ‘how long will I be without a toilet?’
No matter what the size or scale of your bathroom project, the toilet is the most essential of the items you need to see working again as soon as possible.
It will be important to speak to your contractor about how long he expects the toilet to be out of action and then make plans accordingly. The good news is, if it’s just replacing the fixtures and fittings then you shouldn’t be without a toilet for too long. If it’s a bigger job and you are completely redesigning the bathroom and moving things around, then it will almost certainly be a longer period, but your tradesman will be able to give you all the answers before he gets going.
The shower and bath:
Once you’ve had the ‘toilet’ conversation you’re likely to next turn your focus towards how long you will be without a bath or shower. The answer is much the same in the sense that it depends on the size of the overall project.
The easy part is to take out a shower or bath and replace with anew one, but you also need to account for the time it takes to tile, grout and seal the relevant areas.
It’s important to follow the advice of your contractor – if they tell you not to use the bath or shower for a specific period of time while the sealant is drying out then follow the advice. Don’t look for shortcuts in the name of convenience as you could end up causing more damage.
There’s no doubting a gleaming, modern bathroom at the end of your renovation project will bring you a sense of great joy. But the journey to get there may be stressful!
Not because anything may go wrong but because a key area of your house will resemble a building site for what could be a period of weeks. That in itself can cause worry and stress.
You’ll need to keep small children out of the bathroom and you’ll definitely need to ensure pets don’t go wandering – especially smaller animals who can escape under floorboards to cause mischief.
You may need to improvise during the course of the project: for example setting up a wash station over your kitchen sink. You’ll also need to make sure all of your bathroom accessories and products are safely stored elsewhere in the house.
If you found this post useful you might also like - Easy Kitchen Renovation Tips - How to Make Your Bathroom Renovation Project a Success - Caitie and Aaron's Home Renovation.
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