We get a lot of questions from customers about whether they should do a full bathroom remodel, a few simple cosmetic upgrades, or somewhere in between. That question isn’t the easiest to answer and usually depends on quite a few factors. First, we’ll talk about different levels of bathroom remodeling and then share some questions you should consider to help determine what level of bathroom remodel is the best option for you.
Levels of bathroom remodeling
Every remodeling project doesn’t have to be extreme. There are different levels that can fit your price point and still get you an amazing bathroom.
Level 1 – Cosmetic bathroom updates
Cosmetic updates are usually simple, surface level, and limited to easy-to-update parts of your bathroom. These types of updates can include new paint colors, new hardware and fixtures on cabinets, decor items, and other simple upgrades. While these types of changes can make your bathroom look fresh and new, it doesn’t do much to improve functionality, accessibility, or safety concerns in your bathroom.
Level 2 – Intermediate bathroom remodel
This is an in-between type of remodeling and goes a little deeper than cosmetic updates and requires a little more work, such as a new vanity, new flooring, or even quick tub-to-shower bathroom conversions. For many homeowners, finding a happy medium between cosmetic upgrades and completely gutting the bathroom works out well. Striking that balance allows for significant changes and a more user-friendly bathroom without a huge investment of time and money.
Level 3 – Complete bathroom remodel
This is the final and most advanced type of bathroom remodel. People often call this “gutting” the bathroom, where you’re basically starting from scratch and scrapping the existing layout and plumbing fixtures. It includes knocking down walls, redoing the plumbing system, and expanding the square footage of the room. This is a great way to get exactly the bathroom you want — down to the very last detail — but usually requires the biggest budget.
What is the best option for you?
There are pros and cons to each level of bathroom remodel. Here are a few questions to ask to help you figure out the best option for you and your family.
1. What is your budget?
Of course, the cost is going to be the main consideration here. The more involved a remodeling project is, the more expensive it’s going to be. A few gallons of fresh paint, some new decor from TJ Maxx or Target, and a few other odds and ends may cost you only a few hundred dollars and a weekend’s worth of time — and you’ll still end up with a nice-looking bathroom. On the flip side, the cost of a full bathroom remodel can be in the thousands — especially if it involves knocking down walls or redoing any plumbing — but allows for much more substantial changes to get you exactly the bathroom and floor plan you want.
2. Are there any major plumbing issues?
If you’re dealing with any major plumbing issues, such as leaks, mold, and water damage, due to the age of your home or improper plumbing installation, a more extensive bathroom remodel is probably the best option. These issues can create long-term health and safety risks. In most of these types of cases, cosmetic upgrades are usually just “band-aid solutions” that don’t address the underlying problem.
3. Do you have any major accessibility issues?
If you’re dealing with major life changes, such as illness or sudden mobility issues, it’s important that you can still safely and easily utilize the bathroom. Depending on the situation, more major renovations and updates — such as widening doorways and lowering sink levels for wheelchair access or adding a walk-in-tub for increased safety — may be a necessity. If you plan to stay in your home well into your Golden Years of retirement, it’s in your best interest to plan ahead and add safety and accessibility modifications to your bathroom.
4. What are my goals?
What are you really hoping to get out of your bathroom renovation? If you’re planning to sell your house and you’re just trying to make it as sales-ready as possible, perhaps making a few cosmetic upgrades makes the most sense financially. If you’re planning to stay in your home and really want to make the bathroom a space that works for you and your loved ones, then more substantial changes may be a good long-term investment.
Whatever you’re looking for, Watters Plumbing is here to help. From minor improvements to major remodeling projects, we’ve been helping Fox Cities homeowners create the bathroom of their dreams for more than 60 years. We’re ready to answer your questions and bring your bathroom ideas to life.