HomeownerEducational: A-M

Kitchen & Bathroom Remodeling

Kitchen & Bathroom Remodeling Educational Content

Remodeling your kitchen or bathroom gives you the chance to improve the look of the space as well as its function. For example, if your kitchen has an awkward layout, a remodel is your opportunity to change that. Or update the look of your bathroom and save on your water bill at the same time by switching out old plumbing fixtures. Think carefully about your needs and wants for your remodeled space. And be as realistic as possible. If you do a lot of cooking and entertaining, for example, a high-maintenance countertop material might not be the best choice. Marble countertops are beautiful, but they stain easily unless they’re kept sealed. A guest bathroom might be the perfect place for them instead.

Bathroom and kitchen remodeling projects are more complex than most home renovation projects. This is because these types of projects usually involve so many trades. The exact steps involved in your project will vary based on the complexity of the remodel. In most cases, the remodeling process includes:

Demolition. Tearing out tile in a bathroom or kitchen is a large project by itself, especially in an older home. Older tiling methods installed tile via a metal mesh attached to the wall studs. Builders would first spread cement across the mesh to make the wall even with the plaster above. Then the crew would attach the tiles to the concrete. In homes with tile installed this way, the demolition process involves removing the tiles as well as the concrete and metal mesh. It’s a messy (and destructive) process. Most older tile floors were constructed over a three-inch slab of poured concrete. In some cases, the existing slab is cracked, and the floor joists below are rotted. As part of demolition, the crew will break up and remove the existing tile and concrete slab.

Structural carpentry work. If tile or old cabinets have been removed, the crew will build out the wall to be even with the plaster above. They will also repair any damaged floor joists and build up the floor if necessary.

Roughing out utilities. While wall studs are exposed, the crew can move or update plumbing and electrical lines. If your project involves HVAC work, that will be done at this point, too. New bathtubs and shower pans also go in at this stage.

Tile work. Tile is versatile and easy to clean. In a bathroom, it can be used on almost any surface. In the kitchen, tile works well for the floor and backsplash.

Installing Sheetrock. Mildew-resistant Sheetrock or greenboard will be installed on bathroom walls that will stay dry. Wet areas, like shower stalls and tub surrounds, will get waterproof backer board. The crew will use the same waterproofing measures in a kitchen remodel.

Painting. Painting is usually one of the last steps in the remodeling process. This is because the walls are likely to be marked up during demolition and construction.

Cabinets have a dramatic effect on a space. In a bathroom, your cabinet choices will largely depend on your storage needs. Compared to cabinets for a kitchen, bathroom cabinets typically take up less space and are a smaller part of the remodeling project. For both kitchen and bathroom remodels, you’ll need to decide on cabinet type, design, and placement.

Custom. Custom cabinets are built to fit a specific space and are made of high-quality materials. Custom cabinets take a lot of skill to build. They are typically on the high end of the cost scale, but the look of custom cabinets is truly unique.

Stock. Stock cabinets are premade and purchased off the shelf. They are usually less expensive than custom-built ones. Since stock cabinets come in standard shapes and sizes, you might be limited in your design options.

Semi-custom. Semi-custom cabinets are an in-between choice. They are usually built for your project, but there are limits on the design choices. Semi-custom cabinets are great if you want a specific look on a budget.

Granite. Granite countertops come in many grades, thicknesses, colors, and price ranges. Granite is popular because it combines practicality and durability with a stylish look.

Marble. With its cool, smooth surface, marble is a popular choice for both kitchens and bathrooms. If you opt for marble, make sure that you choose the right type for your needs. In a kitchen, sealed marble is a must to prevent stains. In a bathroom, unsealed marble will likely be fine.

Ceramic tile. From a design perspective, ceramic tile is one of the most versatile countertop options available. Ceramic tile resists heat, scratches, and stains. To keep a tile countertop looking good and stain-free, the grout needs to be cleaned and sealed regularly.

Kitchens and bathrooms usually have tile floors. This is practical, since there’s a high probability that the floor in either of those spaces will get wet. Linoleum or other resilient flooring is another popular choice.

Tile. Ceramic, terra-cotta, and natural stone tile are popular options for kitchens and bathrooms. Tile comes in an almost endless variety of colors, textures, and designs. If you opt for natural stone tile, keep it sealed to prevent staining and discoloration. Though it is durable, tile can also be cold underfoot. If it fits in your budget, look into radiant floor heating for a tile bathroom floor.

Linoleum. Linoleum has been on the market for years as an economical floor covering. It’s recently grown in popularity due to its green features. Some types of linoleum are biodegradable and made from materials like linseed oil and ground cork dust. Linoleum comes in lots of colors and designs. It is also inherently antibacterial and easy to clean.

Bathroom and kitchen remodeling projects involve many different types of work. Because of this, kitchen and bathroom remodelers often offer supplementary services. Ask your remodeler about services like appliance installation, painting, and light carpentry work.