Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Three Bathroom Remodeling Horrors--And How to Avoid Them

In the spirit of Halloween, we're thinking about remodeling "horror" stories. Earlier this month, we shared a fewstories about kitchen remodeling planning mistakes. Today, we'll discuss a few potential bathroom remodeling mistakes--or, if you please, "horrors."

"If you've researched your project online," we wrote in our previous post, "you've undoubtedly read a remodeling horror story (or two, or three...)." Indeed, the Internet is positively teeming with frightening bathroom remodeling stories.

Of course, disaster is not the norm.

In fact, the Internet is also a veritable showcase of remodeling triumphs. A simple Google search yields picture after picture of beautiful and successful bathroom remodeling projects. But the potential for disaster is real--and the Internet can certainly remind us of this simple fact.

In MKBD's view, the best way to avoid disaster is to partner with a bathroom remodeling company. A good bathroom remodeling company can lead you through all stages of the process from planning to construction. And yet, we understand, that many individuals prefer to coordinate contractors, or to perform a DIY project.

Whether you hire a bathroom remodeling company, like MKBD, perform your own bathroom makeover, or coordinate contractors, you can ensure success--and avoid horror--by following a simple outline. In each case, the key is planning, a studious attention to detail, and an honest assessment of potential challenges.

With this in mind, we offer a three bathroom remodeling horrors—and how to avoid them.

1. Choosing a Bad Remodeling Company

A simple perusal of Contractor's From Hell should be enough to convince you that frighteningly bad contractors and remodeling companies do exist. Just take a look at this bathroom remodeling horror story, which details a history of negligence, even abuse. In this story, the remodeling company shows a complete ineptitude for planning, no attention to detail, and terribly, outright dishonesty.

So how do you find an honest and reputable remodeling company or contractor?

Your first, most important duty is to do your research! Ask friends and family for recommendations, then find secondary reviews for each recommendation. For good recommendations, you might also ask local building inspectors or neighbors who have recently performed remodeling projects.

Once you've discovered at least three or four remodeling companies, call each to conduct a short phone interview. Ask each for referrals. And don't be afraid to ask specifics about your project and the companies work load. After the phone interviews, you can choose which companies you'd like to meet in-person. During in-person interviews, make sure you feel comfortable talking to the contractor about your project. And make sure the contractor is tactful, precise, and honest.

This process should yield a few good choices. From this field, you can whittle the choices by calling references and, perhaps, inspecting the company's work at another house. Finally, if you have more than one choice, ask the various companies to bid on your contract. And remember to include details beyond cost, like the start and completion date. And remember: do not necessarily go with the lowest price. Go with the best choice--the company that inspires the most confidence.

A successful remodeling project (like this MKBD project) should be a partnership between the homeowner and remodeling company.

2. The DIY Nightmare

You might think that a professional home remodeling company would not support DIY projects. After all, DIY renovations take away potential customers. In reality, we support DIY projects--to an extent. What we hate to see is the DIY project gone wrong.

We've seen our fair share of nightmares: plumbing disasters, fallen ceilings, even fires! By the time a failed DIY project comes to a professional remodeling company, the work site might be disaster-area. Quite simply, a bad DIY project makes our job harder. We must undo mistakes before we can even begin the real construction work.

And yet, we must admit: in the right hands, a DIY project can be a wonderful achievement. A crafty homeowner can save thousands of dollars on labor fees. And the sense of accomplishment you will feel from sketching a bathroom design to building your bathroom is simply inspiring.

Just make sure you are, in fact, crafty. If you do not know how t perform certain tasks, like plumbing, you might create a horror story! Trust us, we've seen it all. Remember the keys to success: especially with DIY projects, an honest assessment of potential challenges is crucial.

A DIY project can save you thousands, and we believe it's a great investment of time and money--if you know what you're doing. But there's simply no replacing the expertise of a professional remodeling company. In this MKBD project, we combined a artistry and expertise to create a one-of-a-kind bathroom.

3. The Budget Blowout

Budget horror stories are often the result of poor planning and unrealistic expectations. This is a frequent remodeling trap: homeowners expectations often exceed the budgets. In the case of the budget blowout, honesty is crucial. Before your project begins, have a frank budget conversation with your contractor or remodeling company (or yourself, if you're performing a DIY project).

Keep in mind, your total budget is not necessarily the most important number. Think about the way the budget is allocated. Spend wisely!

Mistakes (like those above) cost money, but the biggest mistake is not accounting for potential mishaps in your budget. Many projects only yield problems after demolition beings. Behind your bathroom walls, you might discover lurking mold or water damage. These are real problems that can only be discovered after the work begin. Our suggestion? Leave room in the budget for problems. 

Your budget can include many unique details, like the stain glass window in this MKBD project, but it should also include some extra money for problems.

If you have any questions about your next bathroom remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. MKBD is currently offering a FREE bathroom remodeling estimate, FREE design, and FREE custom layout to all new customers.

Let's talk budget and more! Call now! 215-355-4747 or visit us online at

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