Five Ways to Make a Bathroom Remodel Go Faster

This is a lovely, simple finished bathroom remodel. We like the shade of this blue bathroom. (Photo: lavenderstreak/Flickr)Bathroom remodels are inconvenient home improvement projects and are often time-consuming to complete. Whether you’re delaying remodeling because you don’t want to live at the in-laws' for the next few weeks or you merely want to complete a simple bathroom remodel for an outdated one, try these suggestions to cut how long your bathroom's out of commission:

1. Keep the existing floor plan

It takes time to move plumbing and install wiring for outlets, lighting or new bath fixtures and securing the required remodeling permits is always a hassle. Find ways to eliminate relocation of the tub, sink or toilet. Fixtures and lighting come in myriad sizes, shapes and styles designed to maximize space and fit into awkward areas. Replace worn, bulky fixtures with streamlined, compact styles so you can skip the extra work of rewiring, yet open up the space.  

2. Don’t demolish – cover up

Yes, you heard correctly! Unless mold is present in the walls, floor. or ceiling, you can cover up old, ugly features, without going through the cumbersome process of demolishing and rebuilding.   

For example, if you’ve got an old ceiling that’s lost most of its popcorn or plaster texture, install new ⅜” – ½” drywall right over the old, then tape and plaster as usual. If the bottom portion of walls has taken a beating, install wainscoting or laminate paneling as a beautiful alternative to demolishing and starting from scratch. On a tight budget? Old tubs and showers can be refurbished by specialty contractors in less than a day and are a great choice for bathrooms that don’t get heavy-duty use. 

3. Buy materials that let you cheat without compromising quality

The biggest time-sucking part of remodeling is the duration it takes to tape and plaster. Depending on temperature and humidity, plaster can take days to dry! Mixing a powdered joint compound is a little more work than opening a ready-to-go container, but spending a few extra minutes blending these fast-dry products is worth the effort. Several quick-drying compounds allow you to apply multiple coats and reach finish point in less than two days.

You’ll pay a little bit more, but purchasing pre-primed trim and baseboard, pre-finished doors and windows, and other partially or fully finished products will let you shave time off your project. Don't skimp on painting prep, though. According to Denver-area tile installer Kevin Stevens, it will cost you in the long run.

4. Use quick-cure grout

Epoxy-based grouts can be washed and polished in a few hours and ready for traffic the next day. They may be more expensive than traditional cement, but they’re also highly stain-and-mold-resistant and don’t require sealing.

Caveat: Working with these quick-cure grouts can be tricky because they’re time-sensitive. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully if you intend to do this yourself and tackle the floor in sections. Alternatively, you should think about “Where can I find the best remodeling contractors near me?” if you start to doubt your abilities and want to leave it to a professional.

5. Line your ducks up in a row

If you’re a DIYer, this means having all your materials on-hand and a specific schedule for implementing your bathroom project before work begins. If you intend to outsource, make sure subcontractors (like electricians) are scheduled back-to-back (or in some cases, side-by-side) and are ready to go when it’s their turn to complete a portion of the project.

No matter how much you plan or how much effort you put into designing a worry-free renovation, there’s always going to be a few bumps in the road. Even if you managed to figure out easy ways to remodel your kitchen, a bathroom remodel is an entirely different project. These tips will help you limit the remodel duration which also helps keep price down.

Laura Foster-Bobroff writes for Networx.

Updated December 24, 2018.

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