INTRODUCTION TO BATHROOM RENOVATION
Renovating your bathroom is a great way to add value to your home, both for your family’s daily living and for future resale. Before you decide to go ahead with a renovation, it’s critical to have a good idea of any underlying problems that could cause unwelcome and costly surprises. Taking time to find problems before you start your renovation will save you money, protect your indoor air quality and preserve the durability and structure of your home.
A bathroom renovation is one of the most common home improvement projects. Bathroom renovations come in all types and sizes – from a simple update of the flooring to enlarging the room and replacing all fixtures and finishes. Your project is unique, but your reasons for renovating will probably fall into these common categories. SIZE AND DESIGN >The room may be small or poorly designed. FIXTURES > Fixtures may be outdated, small, hard-to-clean, leaky, cracked or inefficient. STRUCTURAL > There may be problems that require structural changes or repairs. MOISTURE > Excessive bathroom moisture may have deteriorated the bathroom surfaces, affected the indoor air quality or jeopardized the structure of your house.
PLUMBING AND ELECTRICAL If your house is over 30 years old, the plumbing and electrical services may be outdated and need upgrading. Houses built prior to 1950 often have lead piping that may pose a health hazard.
HEATING AND VENTILATION Bathrooms are often cold because of poor insulation or poor heat delivery. Ventilation is often inadequate or nonexistent, which may cause secondary problems that need to be fixed. A house is much more than just four walls and a roof. It’s an interactive system made up of many components including the basic structure, heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, the external environment and the occupants. Each component influences the performance of the entire system. A renovation provides an opportunity to improve how your house performs. Bathroom renovations often include changes to HVAC equipment that can improve moisture management in the house. Structural changes may improve air sealing and insulation, resulting in increased occupant comfort and house durability. Before you start renovating, you’ll want to think about your bathroom, your needs and your budget. Look carefully for signs of deterioration and the possible causes. This will save you money and also help you to be better informed if you’re dealing with contractors. Reflecting on your project will also help you to decide whether you need the services of a professional. Being unsure of what needs to be done, recognizing that the job is very complicated or that you don’t have the time or energy to do the work are good reasons to hire a professional renovator.
SKILLS TO DO THE JOB
A homeowner with good fix-it skills may be able to do some of the work including:
■ Removing old fixtures.
■ Gutting old wall surfaces.
■ Removing non-load-bearing walls.
■ Fixing roof or window leaks.
■ Insulating, installing a vapour barrier and air sealing.
Serious structural work may require the services of a professional renovator. You’ll also likely need an electrician for any new wiring, a plumber for the plumbing work and a heating contractor to install or move heating or ventilation outlets. You may want to hire tradespeople to do the structural work, roofing, window repairs or installation and any exterior wall repairs. The cost of essential repairs will depend largely on the deterioration of the existing structure and how much professional labour is needed. This article was supplied by CMHC (the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation). Go to www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca for other articles.
GET TO KNOW THE BASICS BEFORE TAKING ON A BATHROOM RENOVATION.