Bathroom remodeling: DIY vs using a professional

Written by view.com.au in Renovating

A provincial style bathroom

If you’re reading this, I’m sorry. You are in that unfortunate position of deciding whether to take on the herculean task of doing your own bathroom remodeling project, or opening the wallet a little further than you’d like to leave it to someone who knows how a toilet actually works, and can install one.

The best way to approach your bathroom remodeling, as long as you are someone who the phrase ‘money is no object’ does not quite apply, is to divvy up tasks that can be done yourself, both affordably and easily, and those that are better done by a professional.

This is because there is fine line between taking on so many tasks yourself that you lose money in the time it takes you to complete a project yourself, and missing opportunities to quickly get something done (such as painting a wall) and to save money on such a task that can be put towards higher quality fixtures.

Bathroom remodeling you can do yourself

You can ostensibly take on an entire bathroom remodeling project yourself, but unless you have significant experience you should expect the project to take much longer than in professionals were involved.  There are some major aspects of a build that you can do yourself that are relatively easy to perform, meaning the money you save on a professional installation can be used to invest in better quality fixtures.

Flooring

The most common form of bathroom flooring is some form of tiling.

A monochrome designed bathroom

Significantly large individual tiles are becoming increasingly common in bathroom renovations, due to their easy installation and low maintenance requirements (less grouting).

Counters and cabinets

The money you save on installing your own cabinetry can be used in buying higher quality products. Cabinetry in other areas of the home (i.e. the kitchen) can be more complicated than in the bathroom, so this is a great way to save both time and money if you are in a large scale renovation.

Bathroom sinks

Just like cabinetry, bathroom sinks are relatively simple to install yourself. Consider exploring custom sink types that reflect your tastes.

Two bathroom sinks with circular mirrors

There is an increasing trend of bespoke bathroom sinks that reflect an aesthetic pursuit of the ‘imperfect’, such as irregular sized sink bowls, vintage bowls etc. Be careful of drilling sink holes into vintage bowls, and consider spending the money to have this done by a professional.

Painting

One of the most achievable and affordable bathroom remodeling DIY projects is to do the paintwork yourself.

A professional painter will obviously ensure the paintwork in your bathroom is 100% perfect. DIY paintjobs allow you to get a result that is 95% there, just like so many disciplines where people choose to produce something themselves. This is because professional painters simply have the experience and techniques to quickly and effectively produce clean results. This is more important for exteriors and other areas of the home, while a bathroom may only have one wall and a ceiling that you need to paint, providing more wriggle room for DIY painting.

Shower installation

One of the last areas that is relatively simple for the novice is the installation of a shower. As long as you do not intend to reroute any piping, your existing bathroom will have a shower, which you can easily replace with a high quality shower head.

A shower with timber slat flooring

Things do get more complicated with rose shower heads and new technologies, and are best left to those with experience with installing these new types of shower heads.

Bathroom remodeling better left to the professionals

New connections 

Copper pipes in a bathroom

One of the most common setbacks new renovators face when undergoing a bathroom remodeling project is being told by their builder that their plans require significant expenses and time they had not factored for in their budgets. This is because if you wish to make any changes to the layout of your bathroom, you need to be aware that your shower, bath and sink connections cannot be moved without major structural repercussions.

Toilet installation

Few people really know how a toilet actually works, let alone how to properly install one. A certified plumber is the best person for installing a toilet so that it does not cause you issues further on down the line (i.e. leaks).

Bath installation

A standalone bathtub surrounded by pebbles

Similar to a toilet installation but certainly more labour-intensive, is the installation of a new bath. This is made more complicated when baths have structural support and surrounding shelving, which requires a carpenter, while the effective sealing of a wall-facing bath is best done by a professional if you are after a polished finish in your bathroom renovations.

Wall construction and tiling

There is a growing renovation trend that favours individual styling, imperfect designs and more vibrant uses of colour. This extends to the bathroom in the form of detailing tiling work.

Light blue tiling on a bathroom sink wall

It can be hard to produce polished results when it comes to precise tiling work on walls, which is why it is best to save both time and potentially money on using a professional for this process. This extends to the construction of dividing walls, recesses and shelving.