Although they account for a relatively small percentage of your total square footage, your bathrooms play a big role in your home’s overall ambiance. These high-traffic areas get used multiple times a day, so outdated spaces eventually start to stand out. Meanwhile, the fact that they’re “wet” areas means they experience a lot of wear and tear.
Luckily, a bathroom remodel is a fairly straightforward project, especially when you’re able to clearly communicate your needs to your bathroom renovation contractor. Here’s what you need to know to get started with the planning process, including how to make your own bathroom remodeling checklist.
Here at GreatBuildz, we speak with clients every day who are planning a bathroom remodel in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura & San Diego Counties. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners with reliable, pre-screened remodel contractors, then provides ongoing project support to ensure a stress-free experience.
How do I start planning a bathroom remodel?
No matter how big or small your bathroom is, one of the most important steps you can take during the planning process is to create a bathroom remodeling checklist. This is a list of everything necessary to successfully complete your bathroom remodel and it includes tangible products like the vanity, shower tiles, and lighting as well as labor and utility-related items like demolition, construction, plumbing, and wiring.
Identifying all your wants and needs and listing them out means you’ll be able to solicit comprehensive, easily comparable bathroom remodel contractor bids that outline the full scope of work to be completed. You’ll also be able to get a clearer picture of how to plan your bathroom remodel budget. To help you get started, we created a free printable bathroom remodeling checklist template. You can cross off the items that aren’t necessary for your project and add notes specific to your goals. The more detailed you can be, the better.
What should I include in my bathroom remodeling checklist?
Some of the most common items to include in your checklist include:
- Layout: It’s always easiest to keep the same floor plan, but sometimes you just need a change. If you do plan to add or remove walls and change the locations of your shower, sink and toilet, you’ll need to plan for demolition, rough construction, new plumbing, new ventilation and new wiring.
- Shower/tub: The shower is a major focal point of the bathroom. Homeowners remodeling on a budget can choose a pre-fab fiberglass shower surround or tub/shower combo. Those favoring a more high-end look typically choose tiled walls with standalone tub — if they even have a tub at all.
- Vanity: You have two primary options here: a pre-fabricated unit or a custom-built piece. Some pre-fab vanities will come with a countertop, but in many instances you will have to buy one as well as a faucet.
- Countertops: Countertops are available in prefab or custom cuts. Laminate, natural stone, ceramic or porcelain tile, and solid surface are the most common materials used in bathrooms. A showroom salesperson can help you make the best selection for your aesthetic, needs and budget.
- Toilet: Will you be replacing your existing toilet? There are a number of styles on the market, including one-piece, two-piece and all-in-one. You’ll also find a range of features including hands-free flushing, bidet attachments, heated seats, automatic overflow protection and self-cleaning mechanisms. Choosing the right toilet can be a huge upgrade to your bathroom.
- Fixtures and finishes: This tends to be a catch-all category for everything from flooring to faucets to light fixtures. You have plenty of options for each of these items, and your contractor can provide input on which are the most durable and which provide the greatest cost savings.
- Plumbing and ventilation: If you’re moving or replacing your vanity, shower or toilet, you’ll need to plan for new plumbing and ventilation.
- Utilities: Even smaller projects might involve utility updates like new or additional electrical outlets and HVAC registers.
- Painting and miscellaneous: Toward the end of the renovation, your contractor’s team will tackle final tasks like painting, touch-ups, hanging shelves and towel bars, and punchlist repairs.
Related: Tips for adding onto your bathroom
What are the costs, processes, and timing to complete a bathroom remodel?
In Los Angeles, you can expect to pay about $25,000 to remodel a smaller or secondary bathroom and $40,000 for a larger master bathroom. Your costs will be determined by your location, size and scope of the remodel, and the materials you choose.
Once you finalize your bathroom remodeling checklist, if it’s a more intensive teardown remodel, you’ll hire a designer, architect, or bathroom renovation contractor to create plans. This professional will then submit them to the city building department for plan check. This mandatory step ensures your project is compliant with all applicable building codes. During this approval period — which can take anywhere between two weeks and a few months depending on whether there’s a backlog of projects — you can start sharing your plans with bathroom contractors and asking for bids.
If you’re planning a simpler bathroom renovation (AKA not moving any walls or fixtures), you can likely bypass the plans phase and go straight to collecting estimates from contractors. When considering bids, it’s important to take a close look not only at the sum quoted but also at the services provided. In some instances a contractor might give you a considerably lower estimate but leave you responsible to cover costs covered by other contractors, effectively negating what appears to be a bargain. That’s why setting expectations via an itemized bathroom renovation checklist is so important — it makes it easier to do an apples-to-apples comparison.
Once work begins, most bathroom remodels take between three to six weeks depending on the size and complexity of the project.
How to find the best bathroom remodel contractor for your project
At GreatBuildz, we make it easy to connect with Southern California’s best bathroom contractors. Whether you’re renovating in Orange County, Ventura County, or elsewhere in the Los Angeles area, we’ll connect you with the right people to get the job done.
Just give us a call and tell us about your project, your timeline, and your budget. Our contractor concierge team will then match you with three pre-screened local professionals who specialize in the kind of work you described. We do an in-person interview, verify licensing and insurance, and check references for every contractor in our network, so you can feel confident knowing your home is in good hands.
Not sure how to find a remodeling contractor in Southern California? Let GreatBuildz help streamline your bathroom renovation experience—we’ll connect you with screened and dependable bathroom remodel contractors in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura, and San Diego. We’ll also give you project support so you can turn your inspiration into reality.
Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com