Surviving a Bathroom Remodel(page 1 of 2)

Get tips on minimizing stress when living with a bath under construction

Bathroom Tile

Count on dust, noise and traffic from trades that you'll probably get to know quite well as they become part of your daily grind. Remodeling gets messy. And then there's the inconvenience of construction encroaching on your most personal space—the bathroom.

Of course, the inconvenience of renovating a bathroom depends on how many of them you have in the home. If you're overhauling your one and only, this project is one you'll want to start and finish as fast as possible. (And be sure that the tile layer doesn't leave you without a toilet over night while grout dries!) "You need to find a neighbor, stay with a family member or take a vacation," says Rick Miller of Miller's Fancy Bath in Louisville, Ky., referring mainly to households with a single bath under constructio."

There are surprises in any remodeling project, but you can prepare mentally (and physically, on site) by considering these pointers:

Dealing with dust. Sanding drywall is a dusty job, and so is cutting and removing a tub. Ripping out old tile? Expect some flying shards and, yes, more dust. "Weather permitting, we put a fan in the window and create a backdraft the bathroom to draw the dust-filled air and pump it outside," Miller describes.

Cover floors leading from the exit to your bathroom. "Make sure contractors are walking on drop clothes," Miller advises, noting that foot traffic will carry bathroom demolition dust all over the house if you're not careful.

Collect all materials. Before you dig into the project, be sure all materials are on site, from fixtures to hardware, tile—everything. Otherwise, you can plan on installation delays and scheduling challenges with various tradespeople. Just because your tile finally came in (six weeks late) doesn't mean the tile layer is available then to install it. (He had your job slated for way back when, and now he's booked.) See how this can get sticky? "Minimize the invasiveness of a [project] like this by having everything there and ready before you start," says Ellen Rady, designer/president, Ellen Rady Designs, Cleveland, Ohio. "Have all your pieces and parts laid out so when you do begin, you're not stalling."

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