Avoid these plumbing mistakes when remodeling your bathroom

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When you finally decide to kick things off, there are few things more exciting than a remodeling project. It’s a chance to imagine and then see your home in a whole new light. However, when it comes to a complex renovation project like your master bathroom, there are several potential pitfalls that can trip you up, leading to your project taking longer to complete and going over budget. The key to a successful bathroom remodel is avoiding these missteps and doing things right from the very beginning.

In this article, we’ll review some of the most common plumbing mistakes homeowners make when remodeling their bathroom and how you can work to avoid them.

When a DIY mindset goes wrong

Depending on exactly what you’re planning, a bathroom remodel can be a major, expensive project. For many homeowners, there’s a strong—and completely understandable—temptation to limit their overall costs by avoiding paying for labor and installation. These homeowners start their project with an ambitious plan to handle all of the work—from laying tile to sloping the shower floor—themselves. After all, there’s an online instructional video for just about everything, right?

More often than not, this ends up being a mistake. While it’s true that there’s a wealth of resources on the internet to guide you through complex plumbing or electrical work, it doesn’t mean you have the right tools or experience for the job. Many aspects of your remodel have razor-thin margins of error: sloping a shower floor incorrectly, for example, can result in water not draining properly and require the entire shower to be redone. Generally speaking, when it comes to your plumbing and pipes, it’s a good idea to talk to a professional contractor.

That isn’t to say you can’t do any of your bathroom remodel yourself. Even though you should leave plumbing, electrical, and ventilation installation to the experts, you can certainly cut costs by laying your own tile, painting the walls, and completing other low-risk parts of the project.

Hire the wrong plumber for the job

We’re tempted to say that hiring any plumber is better than hiring no plumber, but—unfortunately—that’s not always the case. As in any trade, there are a number of unqualified or unscrupulous contractors out there who look to take advantage of inexperienced homeowners. If you try to limit your costs by simply choosing the lowest bid, with no further research, you’re putting your entire project at risk. Some “plumbers” might pocket your deposit and then never show up. Others might routinely be late, unprepared, or simply not care much about your deadline. Even more disastrously, an unqualified plumber might do the work wrong, leading to a nightmarish maze of future leaks and other issues.

Trust us: it’s worth putting in the time and effort to find the right plumber for the job. If you have neighbors or friends who have recently completed a bathroom remodel, talk to them. They’ll no doubt give you recommendations for trustworthy pros they’ve worked with. You can also search for plumbers online. Be sure to look for positive reviews that mention bathroom remodeling—not every emergency plumber, even an otherwise good one, is a remodeling expert. Finally, ask any plumbers you’re considering working with about their prior experience, tools, insurance, permitting, and licensing. If, and only if, they meet these standards, should you start working with them.

Break through your indecision and get started

There tends to be a sliding scale when it comes to home remodeling projects: the more complex a project is, the less likely homeowners are to start it—even when they tell themselves they’re ready to. The truth is that you can do this. Start by finding a trustworthy remodeler in your area. They’ll be able to guide you through the entire process, from start-to-finish, ensuring that your bathroom remodel gets done on-time and on-budget.

When it comes to your remodel, you need to think ahead to avoid potential issues. For even more recommendations and advice on avoiding remodeling errors, check out this infographic.

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