Ready to refresh your tired bathroom? We take a look at three of the most common bathroom updates and help you decide whether you can tackle them on your own.
Dated bathroom giving you the blues? There are many ways to breathe new life into one of the most important and practical rooms in your home. Three of the most common updates include replacing the toilet, installing a new shower surround, and tiling the floor. Doing the work yourself can dramatically cut costs, but are these tasks suited to most homeowners' skills? We asked an expert to weigh the pros and cons.
1. Replacing a Toilet
Upgrading from an old, ugly commode to a high-efficiency, comfort-height design is easy enough for most homeowners to tackle themselves. The process involves turning off the water supply to the toilet, removing the nuts and bolts, attaching the toilet to the supply line and to the floor, hauling away the old toilet, and then replacing the wax gasket and toilet flange. Finally, fastening the new bowl in place on the floor with nuts and caulk, securing the tank and lid to the bowl, and reconnecting the water line.
Potential problems include dripping water through the house when hauling out the old toilet, or failing to make the new toilet level so it moves under weight. Even worse, incorrect installation of the wax ring, flange, or bolts can cause water damage. "If you don't do it right, you're definitely going to have a leak," says Andy Blum, owner of Blum Remodeling Services in Jacksonville, North Carolina. "Then you'll have to have someone come in and fix it, and it won't have been worth the trouble of doing it yourself."
Bottom line: The work can be a little dirty and requires some heavy lifting, but replacing a toilet is a straightforward DIY task that a novice should be able to complete in an hour or two.
2. Installing a Shower Surround
Giving a shower stall a facelift with a prefabricated shower surround is a practical solution for DIYers. Typically made from fiberglass or acrylic, these units cover the three walls above the tub and may include tile-look walls and shelves.
To install, you must remove everything from the existing shower and repair any damaged spots on the walls. Using the surround's carton as a template, mark off the locations of the plumbing and other items that will protrude through the wall. Transfer these markings onto the surround and cut out the holes with a jigsaw. Cut the panels to fit the wall and attach them using adhesive. Replace the plumbing fixtures and other hardware. Seal the joints with caulk.
Bottom line: When it comes to basic three-piece surrounds, "there's no reason a homeowner couldn't do the work, but you'll need a whole lot of patience," Blum says. However, he recommends hiring a professional to install a tub-shower combo unit, a higher-end solution that covers the tub with a deck that's topped by a more intricate surround. Glass doors are also best left to the pros.
3. Changing Out a Vanity
One of the best ways to totally transform a bathroom is to change the vanity, which is the centerpiece of most floor plans. Replacing a pedestal sink for another of the same size is likely doable for handy homeowners. Going from a bulky vanity cabinet to a sleek pedestal or upgrading from a single sink to a double vanity, however, is far more complicated.
For a simple, same-size vanity swap, you'll need to shut off and disconnect the water lines, and remove the old countertop and cabinet. To install the new unit, find the studs and position the cabinet, install the faucet, attach the cabinet to the wall, secure the top in place, and reconnect the plumbing.
Bottom line: If you're swapping one vanity for another of the same size, go for it. For other upgrades, however, call a contractor. "Anything that involves opening the wall and moving plumbing should only be done by someone very experienced," Blum says. "If the plumbing is not right, you'll have big problems."
Content courtesy of http://www.bhg.com
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