Common Home Remodeling Questions


More than five years after the housing bust, the real estate market remains weak in many parts of the country. As a seller, the weak market means you need to go the extra mile in order to beat the competition. If you are planning to invest a significant amount of money in remodeling, one of the best places to put that money is the bathroom.

Real estate agents have long said that the condition of a home’s kitchen and bath will make or break a sale. Prospective buyers do not want to see outdated spaces or those in poor condition. That’s why experts recommend at least a fresh coat of paint and refinished cabinetry.



To see the wisdom in remodeling your bathroom, consider the latest statistics from Remodeling Magazine. Their annual report showed a bathroom remodel costing $15,782 would increase the resale price of a home by an average of $10,295. Do the math and you’ll see you will recover more than 62% of the cost of your remodel just in the sale price.

The investment in a remodeled bathroom goes beyond just the sale price, however. It also increases your chances of beating out other sellers. In other words, if two otherwise identical houses were for sale on the same street, the one with the remodeled bath would be more likely to sell first.


Today’s real estate market is significantly different from the market of just 20 years ago. One of the most significant differences is that families are abandoning the idea of a “starter home” in favor of purchasing a house they plan to stay in until children are grown and gone. That mindset suggests new home buyers are thinking more long term. A long-term mindset means your bathroom remodel needs to concentrate on the quality of both materials and workmanship. For example, a tub and shower made of cross-linked acrylic is virtually indestructible when compared to standard acrylic.

It may cost a little more to install, but it will last a lifetime. That’s the sort of thing today’s homebuyers are looking for. In terms of style, openness and modern chic are both in. However, do not get caught in the trap of trying to change the current footprint of the space or make it larger by building out into other areas. That’s when a remodel gets too expensive to make it practical for resale purposes. Work with the space you have by using stylish materials, a modern design, and some creativity.

If style and creativity are not your strong suit, consider working with a bathroom remodeling company that supplies a designer. Good designers are very adept at staying within a manageable budget. There’s a lot to do if you plan to sell your house in the near future. If you are planning to sell as-is, you probably need do nothing more than a little painting. However, if you are planning to remodel before you sell, seriously consider investing in the bathroom.


The English language is a strange animal. You know some classic examples like the fact that we drive on a parkway and park in a driveway. However, as our language evolves certain terms come into play that seems completely out of place. For example, why has the old term “bathroom remodel” been replaced by “bathroom makeover?”

When I think of “makeover,” I think of a middle-aged mom who goes down to the beauty salon for a new hairdo and a few lessons in the effective use of makeup. In just a couple of hours, she is transformed from the average plain Jane into a starlet. That’s all good. But maybe my example explains why we are using the same term with a bathroom remodel.



Perhaps the reason for using the makeover term comes from the fact that most bathroom remodels are merely cosmetic. In other words, of all the rooms in your house you could remodel the bathroom is probably the most restrictive in terms of what you can do with it. Its location generally prevents you from enlarging it while the nuisance of re-routing plumbing typically dictates you leave the layout generally the same.

With such restrictions, the only things left to do are upgrading bathtub and toilet, updating fixtures, and implementing new design elements. In essence, you are giving the bathroom a new hairdo and some new makeup. If you look at in this way, the bathroom makeover can even be fun!


Language concerns aside, if you are going for the makeover concept rather than a total remodeling overhaul, there are some important things to consider. Here are some helpful tips:

Remember the Environment – The bathroom represents one of the harshest environments in your home. It is a room where temperature and humidity are constantly changing, thereby putting stress on window and door-frames, paint, etc. This is one room where you need to make sure you use high-quality materials.

Remember Continuity – Unless you plan to hold on to your current home well into the future, it’s a good idea to remember the continuity of the rest of the house in terms of style. Simply put, you do not want your bathroom to stand out as being extraordinarily different; otherwise, it could have an effect on a future sale.

Remember Functionality – The makeover principle dictates the changes you are making to your bathroom are largely cosmetic. If you’re going to do anything that dramatically changes the functionality of the space, make your choices wisely. A loss in functionality could severely diminish any benefits derived from the cosmetic portion of the makeover.

Regardless of whether you use the term “remodel” or “makeover,” making a change to your bathroom is often a wise investment in your property. You can add value to your home while also giving yourself a space that looks and feels brand-new. And unlike the makeover at the beauty salon, it will not come out in the shower!


When it comes to bathroom remodeling projects, there is a question that has been perplexing the minds of homeowners and contractors since the dawn of creation: tub or shower stall? Okay, maybe not since the dawn of creation, but at least for the last few years. The price of remodeling a bathroom has come down enough to encourage more and more homeowners to undertake these projects. Unfortunately, when it comes to the choice between a tub or shower stall it’s not as easy as it sounds. Both choices have their pros and cons that need to be considered.


An older couple in upstate New York decided to remodel both bathrooms in their 2,000-ft.² ranch. The bathroom in the lower level originally had a full tub with a single sink/vanity unit. Unfortunately, there was no linen closet. In order to solve that problem they replaced the tub with a shower stall and used the extra space to install a closet. This solution worked well for them because they still had the tub in the main bath upstairs. However, homeowners with only a single bath may not have that luxury. For them it becomes a question of how important having a tub is.


Down the street from the older couple was a young family with four small children. When they purchased their California Split, it also had two bathrooms; one in the lower level and a second upstairs near the bedrooms. When it came time to remodel, they put full bathtubs in both. For them it was a question of family circumstances. With four young children and plans to have more, they knew there would be plenty of challenges getting all the kids in and out of a single bathtub at bedtime. By having tubs in both bathrooms, mom and dad had twice the space to work with. For them a shower stall would have been impractical because of its limited use.


A third scenario to consider is the homeowner who decides to convert unused living space into a small rental unit. This is a fairly common practice in urban areas where homeowners have more space than they need. If the homeowner plans to rent his unit to a young college student or a still-single professional, he could probably get away with installing just a shower stall. The active lifestyle of these types of people suggests they will not be spending a lot of time at home anyway. Installing a shower stall is a way to save a little money and make more effective use of space. Perhaps the scenarios we presented here do not help you make a decision for your bathroom-remodeling project. But that’s okay. Deciding whether to choose a tub or shower really depends on your circumstances and what you are trying to accomplish with your remodel. Do what you think is best for your current circumstances, knowing you can always change things around in the future.


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