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Any home renovation can be a rewarding experience when it’s done right. A bathroom remodel in particular has many facets to it, and so should follow a certain order of completion to be successful. Whether you’re making a few changes or doing a total rebuild, some things need to be handled ahead of others.

Review your budget before you strap on your tool belt. It’s easy to get carried away when buying new fixtures and materials. Set a limit on what you want to spend and estimate all purchases so you know what and how much you can afford to update.

Plan the project. Envision the overall design. This includes color schemes, type of fixtures, lighting treatments, etc. Remember to make any décor choices functional as well as attractive or you might be disappointed later. And measure. Then, measure again. You don’t want to discover that a major purchase won’t fit when you are ready to install it.

Decide how much work you are going to handle. Will you hire a contractor to manage the entire project, use a professional only for specialized services like plumbing and electric, or do it all by yourself? Not having an accessible bathroom is obviously a major inconvenience, so if this is the only one in the house, the decision to hire help may be a smart move.

Be prepared to follow the proven strategy of starting at the top of the room and working your way down. Whether replacing or just repainting, move from the ceiling to walls to floor.

The following checklist assumes a total teardown and reconstruction of the bathroom and should be used as a broad guideline. Special circumstances might alter the order. If your makeover is less involved, simply skip any step that doesn’t apply.

  • 1.

    Remove all old fixtures and structures: lighting, flooring, walls, etc.

  • 2.

    Complete all ceiling work.

  • 3.

    Lay new subfloor.

  • 4.

    Run new plumbing lines.

  • 5.

    Set up rough electrical wiring.

  • 6.

    Install exhaust vent.

  • 7.

    Fill insulation on outer walls.

  • 8.

    Hang new drywall.

  • 9.

    Finish walls: texture, paint, wallpaper, etc..

  • 10.

    Lay flooring.

  • 11.

    Install major fixtures: shower/tub, vanity, toilet, etc.

  • 12.

    Position final accents: towel rods, handles, switch plates, etc.

If you’re aiming to significantly increase your daily comfort level by rejuvenating your bathroom, doing it one step at a time and in the right sequence will help you achieve your goal.