Hiring Bathroom Remodelers

The bathroom is second only to the kitchen as the most-remodeled room in the house. That’s why the phone book in every sizable town is nearly overflowing with "bathroom remodelers,” contractors who specialize in renewing, reconfiguring and, in some cases, reinventing their clients’ most private spaces. Many bathroom remodeling contractors and firms also specialize in kitchen remodels, which makes sense, since both bathrooms and kitchens are relatively small spaces with uniquely complex design challenges and construction requirements - not to mention a square-foot price tag that rivals that of a new luxury car.

Bathroom showroom

Large remodeling companies have showrooms where you can get an idea of their aesthetic philosophies.

With so much at stake, it’s important to hire a bathroom remodeler with not only the right experience for your project, but also with a design sensibility that agrees with your vision of the finished product. Often, the best way learn about prospective remodelers is through free consultations. This is the time to discuss your general goals, needs and budget and to get a feel for the contractor’s experience and work style. If you’re talking with larger remodeling companies, there’s a good chance you’ll meet in their showroom, where you can see some products and displays that reflect the work and aesthetic philosophies of the firm.

Types of Bathroom Remodeling Contractors

Bathroom remodelers run the gamut from one-man shops to big firms that employ full-time designers, general contractors and a host of tradespeople. But don’t think you have to go with a big team to get turnkey service. What you’re looking for is someone with experience with projects like yours, and for whom you are a fairly typical client. If your project is complicated, don’t hire someone who primarily does quick makeovers. Likewise, if your project and budget are modest, you probably won’t be comfortable working with a high-end firm. Contractors and companies that offer complete design and construction services are often called "design/build” firms.

Installing sink

Hire someone who has experience with projects like yours.

Bathroom Designers

In a room where every square inch counts, it’s unwise to make any significant changes to a layout (or drop any serious dough) without professional design help. People hired to design bathrooms include everyone from full-fledged architects to trained employees at your local home center. Again, the designer you choose should have experience with your type of project and share your taste and sense of what looks good.

Many bathroom design specialists become Certified Bathroom Designers (abbreviated "CBD”) through the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), the nation’s largest organization of bathroom and kitchen remodeling professionals. The standard level of certification indicates at least seven years of design experience, among other qualifications.

Bathroom designers may work in-house for large remodeling firms or operate as independent contractors and offer design, consulting and project management services a la carte. With a large firm, design fees are typically rolled into the total project cost, while independents can be hired for as much help as you need; they may provide only the design and construction drawings, or they can be retained to oversee the construction process, too.

Bathroom plans

Bathroom experts can help with design and construction drawings.

Unofficially, any seasoned bathroom remodeling contractor (of the hands-on type) can help with basic design considerations and steer you away from common pitfalls and unnecessarily expensive options. For simple projects with few layout changes, this may be all the design help you need.

Do Your Homework Before Hiring

All of the standard steps of due diligence apply here, especially if you’re hiring a single company or contractor to handle your entire remodel. For each prospective bathroom remodeler, be sure to do a background check, ask for proof of licensure and insurance (these must meet the industry standards and legal minimums for your area), talk to past clients and inspect the quality of work on past jobs.

Most importantly, make sure you have a detailed contract specifying the scope of work (and who’s responsible for it) and timetables for the construction and payments. All contracts should include complete job specifications detailing every aspect of the proposed work (including installation methods, as appropriate) and all products and fixtures used. A bathroom designer or third-party contractor can help you draft construction specifications once your final remodeling decisions are made.

Before you consult with a bathroom remodeling contractor, come up with some general ideas about what you want to do. Think about the bathroom vanity, various toilet options like pressure-assisted toilets and tankless toilets and what you can do with tile.

Fill out the form below to locate qualified bathroom remodelers in your area.

Philip Schmidt is a home improvement author and editor based in Colorado. He enjoys honey-do lists and boring his family with random facts about houses.

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