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The Ugly Side of Bathroom Remodeling


While remodeling a bathroom is generally a relatively small project, there are unexpected hazards or surprises that may be lurking below the surface of walls and floors. You can’t plan for everything, but some pre-planning before you cut into a wall or rip up the flooring may reduce budget overages and dangerous outcomes.

The Problems That Come With Age

Remember that disclosure form you received when you purchased your home? Take a look at it, and note the year your home was built. If it was built before 1978, there are additional precautions any contractor must take before removing paint, wallpaper, windows, walls or fixtures because of lead paint dangers. If you are simply painting over existing walls, there is no problem. However, if you are replacing cabinets, sinks, tubs or windows or if you are changing the footprint of the bathroom, fixing plumbing or rerouting electrical wires, you’ll need to budget in the cost of testing and possibly mitigating for lead-based paint.

Mildew, Mold and Decay, Oh My!

Bathrooms are prime spots for the growth of mildew and mold because of the warm, damp environment. Additionally, many bathrooms that need to be remodeled have water routing or draining problems. If your plumbing tends to overflow or the bathtub leaks, you may find subflooring, sheeting underneath the subfloor, drywall and even floor joists that are rotting and need to be replaced. If you have a contractor bidding the project, ask them to probe the floors surrounding appliances to see if there is an indication that you have a rotting problem. Also ask them to check for any signs of mold or mildew. If you are completing the work yourself, carefully inspect all areas of the floors and walls. If there is any sign that you may be dealing with these hidden hazards, budget for them from the outset. It may be frustrating, but it’s always better to be prepared than to be surprised.

Ducting, Plumbing and Wiring That Makes Absolutely No Sense

The location and routing of ducting, plumbing and wiring is not always logical. A builder may have routed a duct behind the bathroom cabinet during construction for a particular reason that is no longer clear when you are remodeling a bathroom 15 years later. However, you want to avoid crushing ducting or cutting through wiring inadvertently. If possible, take the time to go to the basement or attic and complete an examination of where the venting pipes, wiring, waste lines and supply lines enter and exit the bathroom. Sketch them out, and note where they must run behind the walls. Then when you are completing any kind of destruction in the bathroom, you can use extra caution in those areas and avoid messy, expensive and often smelly mistakes.

Remodeling your bathroom isn’t always a straight forward experience and you should be prepared for the worst! Make sure you have experienced professionals helping you along the way to make sure you have a safe bathroom that will last a lifetime.

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Katy Hahn
Katy Hahn

Wow! This reminds me of one of those Fabreeze commercials where the person says it smells like spring time and flowers. You got any after pictures?


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