Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What Really Counts and What Really Makes Cents.

Week two of our bathroom remodel brings us one of my favorite parts....the guts! I love opening up walls to find out what's inside. It speaks so much about the care that was, hopefully, taken and what needs to be done if it hasn't been done already.

Something I love to see here is that even though most of these walls are interior, you will notice that there is still insulation.


Insulation isn't just for temperature control, it also acts as a sound barrier, which can be a really important feature in a bath reno.

Whenever you open walls, take the opportunity to examine your insulations. Is it adequate for your interior and exterior walls? If not, now is the perfect time to beef it up! If you don't have extra room, consider spraying in some extra and don't forget to spray around those medicine cabinets.

If you live in an older home and open up a wall and find that the studs run all the way up the walls (balloon framing), by code, you must put horizontal blocking in to prevent the quick spread of fire. The devastating fire in Boston and the recent church in Newfields might have been aided by this life saving structural change.

Also make sure you have horizontal blocking for anything you are handing up such as towel racks, toilet paper holders, medicine cabinets and showerheads. So much nicer than trying to find those "never placed in the right place" studs later on. Also, I love to see a clean, safe place.

Make sure your contractor takes proper precautions to insure your safety and a healthy living environment. Completely covering the flooring and installing plastic zip walls cuts down on the wear and tear to walls and floors.

Another wonderful feature is the particulate removal machine that helps pull out the dust and allergens, ensuring healthier breathing.

So let's talk a moment about BUDGET. My husband once warned me never to tell them the budget because they will always find a way to spend it. A good contractor or designer will use your budget to help realize your dreams and your realities, and there are always realities...!

Building a bathroom or kitchen is like making a small house. You have to tap into all the systems, i.e.; electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and finishes, to make it work. Sit down with your designer and talk about the non-negotiables, the nice to haves and the reaches. Kind of like applying for colleges. You also don't want to be looking at stuff that you know you simply cannot have. Take into consideration ROI. According to the +National Association of Home Builders, a new bath can increase the value of a home by 20%. On a renovation, one can expect to recoup about 60% of costs. Go to www.remodeling.hw.net to plug in your area and get resale values for the most common improvements such as kitchens, baths, even generators!

There are items to purchase at every price point. Some are fine to negotiate on such as lighting. Can we find something that looks that opulent, but for less?

Either of these stunning options gives us the look we want, but at a fraction of the cost of our original design.
Some things should not be compromised, such as plumbing fixtures. Look alikes from box stores can have the same name but use all plastic parts inside, hence keeping the cost down, but compromising the integrity and lifespan of the product.
Budgets always need to be fluid. Count on the 20/20 rule. Twenty percent more for mid-stream changes and/or things that may be encountered along the way. Also plan for it to take 20% longer. That way you can be pleasantly surprised when you are on time and on budget (and have the satisfaction of knowing you would be the first project to accomplish that!).
On our own project we sheetrock this week and start the pretty stuff...tiling. We will post some more pics next week on our progress. So far, so good!

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