Actionable Bathroom Remodel Advice for 2019 (costs, contracting, etc)

by | Last updated Dec 3, 2018 | Bathroom remodel

Are you planning on an update to your master bathroom?


Or perhaps a full remodel right from bare studs?


If so, this post can be your resource to find out what you NEED to do when remodelling your master bath as well as a few things that you need to WATCH OUT FOR.


Hello again; this is Steve from SKG Renovations (Steve’s Bio) bringing you more actionable info and strategies. Make sure you approach your master bathroom remodel the RIGHT way by reading this post. You can also get some great tips even if you are only doing a small bathroom remodel.


I hope you enjoy it!


A Master Bathroom Remodel comes with a number of significant advantages. According to HGTV, it’s among the most valuable investments you can make in your home, and that’s before considering the qualitative difference that a relaxing oasis can make for anyone living in your home.


If you’re thinking about improving one of the most important rooms in your home, consider this your Ultimate Bathroom Remodel guide.


Ok, lets jump right into it!

Find a Contractor


The contractor you choose for your master bathroom remodel can make or break your project. As early as possible in the process you need to find a professional with sufficient experience that you feel comfortable with. If you have a designer that you trust, they will be able to help with this step since they will have a set of contractors they have worked with.


When looking for potential fits, use online resources like to find local contractors in your area. Check their reviews, as well as the Better Business Bureau for any potential red flags. If you feel comfortable, you can even ask for the contact information of past clients. Direct references are the most valuable, credible information you can get about your contractor.


To help qualify you might also ask some pointed questions like how they feel about waterproofing membranes around the shower or tub surround. Waterproofing is a vital part of the assembly, ensuring the long life of your new bathroom, and is considered “best practice” in the industry.


The right bathroom remodel contractor can help you plan the layout, budget and timeline of your master bathroom remodel project based on past experience with similar projects. They can also be a big help in choosing fixtures and finishes if you choose not to enlist the help of a bathroom designer for your project.

Preparing the Space


Understanding and preparing the bathroom space is a crucial first step in your master bathroom remodel plan. This part of the plan concerns what type of fixtures you are envisioning for your dream bathroom, where/ if they will fit, and what work will be required to make it all happen.


The most basic part of this plan will be assessing the condition and capacity of the water supply, drainage & electrical.


Then comes a basic assessment of the condition & capacity of insulation, framing or flooring. Is the structure adequate to support new fixtures? Are the floor and walls level and plumb?


The bathroom design, scope of work, cost and timing can be significantly altered based on this initial evaluation of the master bathroom area.


Fixture & Vanity Layout


After basic construction upgrades are considered in your bath remodel, the type & location of fixtures must be determined. This step will determine if you need to consider a bathroom redesign.


This step can change your bathroom renovation plans significantly, altering the scope of work, material and labour costs (a large part of your total bathroom remodel cost). If you want a shower adjacent to your alcove tub for example, there will need to be adequate space for this new feature, and framing to support and surround it.


Your contractor must also arrange for both water supply and drainage at this location. A new free-standing tub may require significant shoring of the floor beneath to support the increased weight load. If you prefer a tiled shower base instead of acrylic or fibreglass, this will require extra labour & materials to build/ support the new shower base & to install the waterproofing shower membrane.



If you simply plan to change the fixtures and finishes in your master bathroom remodel, but keep your shower in the same location, there are also some important shower remodel considerations to think about and discuss with your contractor.

Set Your Budget


In conjunction with the your initial evaluations and fixture planning, you must also consider your master bathroom remodel budget.


According to a popular bathroom remodel cost estimator, on average a middle-class US homeowner will spend from around $11,000 to $22,000 on a comprehensive bathroom remodel. This is quite a range, but it’s understandable considering you can spend either $250 or $500 for bathtubs that look virtually identical but have different brand names.


What this means is that your materials budget could easily double based on your choice of fixtures and finishings.


Based on the labour discussions you’ve had with your contractor you could also see that adding a shower, tub, or in-floor heating could significantly increase your scope of work, and therefore your labor costs.


Once you determine your budget, try to stick to it throughout the bathroom remodel process. The goal is to avoid the sobering reality that sets in when you realize that your tile and fixture choices have consumed your entire master bathroom remodel budget.



You should be prepared for a realistic time frame for your master bathroom remodel. The exact time frame depends on the complexity of the bathroom renovation, as outlined above.


This guide by The Spruce can help you better understand how long individual parts of the renovation will take. The overall average to shoot for is about five to seven weeks, though it does depend on a number of variables that are specific to your remodelling project.


Communicate with both your designer and your contractor to get a realistic estimate of the time required to accomplish the plan. To reduce conflict down the road, you will want to be prepared for this bathroom “down-time” especially if the remodel is a significant inconvenience to you and your family.


In light of these bath remodel cost and timing calculations, you should carefully review your plan to determine if some changes (or sacrifices) need to be made to preserve your expected timeline, and your bathroom remodel budget.


Another important hint to avoid delays, is to make sure you have most or all of your items purchased and at home, or waiting to pick up at a local retailer before your master bathroom remodel project starts.

Fixtures & Finishes

Master Bathroom Remodel - shutterstock_Faucet-display-scaled-to-400W-70jpg

Next, it’s time to shop for and choose the exact items for your master bathroom remodel that turns it into a space that you love. That includes your bathroom fixtures, but also the tiling you choose for the flooring and walls of the space. The bathroom vanity and counter top must be also be selected to match your bathroom design scheme.

Floor and shower tile choices


Your options for bathroom tiles are so diverse, it can be difficult to find exactly the right ones for your needs and style. You can choose between ceramic, porcelain, glass, or stone, as well as a variety of colors for each style option. This guide from can help you decide.



Once you’ve chosen the tiling, it’s time to work on the fixtures for your master bathroom renovation. These include the sink, toilet, faucet, bathtub or shower, as well as valves and trims for the shower.


Be sure to communicate with your bathroom contractor about the fixture finishes you are considering. He/ she can provide you with a wealth of valuable information about differences in brand and material quality, as well as the differences in fixture finish costs, and those fixtures best suited for your installation.


After this important consultation, you should now be prepared to go shopping for your fixtures. Your comprehensive master bathroom remodel plan should allow you to get the fixtures and finishes you want (within reason) and still stay on budget.



Vanity and Countertop


Your vanity and countertop choice will be one of the most critical of all the decisions in your master bathroom remodel because it is such an important focal point in the bathroom, both aesthetically and practically speaking. Do you choose a modern floating vanity with drawers or a classic furniture style vanity?

Read more about Bathroom Organization


And what about the countertop? Most current master bathroom remodels would only consider using a stone surface material because of it’s beauty and utility.


You can choose between the many different color variations of natural granite, if you like the idea of natural stone and can appreciate it’s distinctive mottled crystalline appearance.


Other less popular but absolutely beautiful natural stone options are marble or quartzite. Marble can be a high maintenance stone so not always a great option for the bathroom, but quartzite on the other hand, is a extremely durable and easy care.


The most popular option today is manufactured stone, or Quartz, which is very durable, comes in almost every colour and can also mimic the graining of natural stone.


Read more about the differences between granite and quartz.

Lighting and mirrors


Lighting is also a very important part of the material selection process for your new master bathroom remodel.


Lighting has the potential to become a dramatic feature in your bathroom but regardless of your design objectives, lighting considerations must always focus on utility first.


Important questions to ask are:


Will your face be well lit when you’re standing in front of the vanity?


Will you be able to see what you are doing in the shower with bleary morning vision?

Shower Niche


Depending on your budget, you might also be able to go beyond the essentials for your master bathroom makeover.


For instance, a stylish and practical new shower niche could be just what takes your new bathroom over the edge. Have your contractor install a shower niche for that extra storage you will appreciate, and a higher-end look.


If you are still in the shower niche planning stage, see our article, Find the Perfect Shower Niche Position – 2018 Shower Niche Planning Guide

Other Finishing Touches

Finally, it’s time to add some elements that make your newly renovated bathroom a little more homey but still stand out at first sight.


Your finishing touches will make your bathroom more useable and more comfortable and offer some warmer tones in those more modern master bathroom remodels. These come in the form of storage containers and baskets as well as countertop boxes, wooden racks for open towel storage, etc.


Read more about bathroom organization


Finishing touches can also include your towel holders, hooks, and more. You can match these to the metallic finishes in your bathroom whatever it may be. Options like bronze, antique glass, brushed nickel and stainless steel can take your bathroom anywhere from classic to antique to modern.


The perfect finish to your master bathroom remodel project.

Wrap up


A bathroom remodel may be a complex and expensive project, but it’s also one that comes with immense return on quantitative and qualitative investment. The right renovation can turn the most functional room in your home into a relaxing oasis. When you make the right choices, and work with the right professionals, the results of the project will be immeasurable.

Looking to improve your shower storage? Include the Redblock Niche in your next bathroom remodel