I was asked the other day which form of construction would generate a better end result, a complete bath/kitchen remodel or a simple facelift. Truth of the matter is that the term “better”, is best described by each individual client. In other words… what are they looking for in this change and in what condition is their current kitchen and or bath in. The main issues I see as primary to the decision of FOR are the current: style, color and condition of flooring, style, color and condition of the cabinetry, SC²of Fixtures, and SC² of surface areas. I will touch on these individually as each one has its own unique set of challenges. Obviously, the closer the current features are to your desired style and color, as well as their current condition, will play a major role in the decision making. Your budget and end result vision should be the other factors in your decision making process.
I always approach each project, no matter how large or small, and no matter the size of the budget, with the best price-to-quality ratio items available in the marketplace that are suitable for the particular situation. From there you begin with a sound foundation. I also try to save money wherever possible, even on the high- end, high budget jobs. From this strategy stems the steps I will address here.
A couple of habits to always try to adhere to when doing any kind of work to your home. Always ask your friends, neighbors, someone you trust to give you recommendations of trustworthy contractors. And no, that statement is not necessarily an oxy-moron. You can find competent trustworthy contractors, you just have to ask around and do your due diligence. Also remember to always obtain at least three separate contractor quotes.
The Flooring- If your existing tile/stone/wood floor is the style in your end result vision and is in good shape, leave it alone. A professional tile/stone/wood cleaning contractor usually will do a good job with this kind of service. Make sure to hire a specialist for the specific floor type that you have, be it tile, stone, or wood. They will probably be different people.
A few things to keep in mind: If you have a cabinet and are planning on changing it to any other cabinet style that will show the floor… you may not have tile all the way under the cabinet. Before committing to your project it is best to cut a small whole in the base of your cabinet in a back corner and with a flashlight verify how far back the tile goes.
The other tile related issue involving bathroom remodels/facelifts that you may encounter is if you are replacing the toilet. Each toilet has a different footprint. That’s the space and shape of the toilet that touches the floor. Not all toilets have been tiled underneath. Again, if you are replacing with a toilet that has a smaller and or different footprint that does not cover the complete surface area that your existing toilet covers. Although there is nothing to cut a hole in to for verifying the space you have tiled under the toilet, simply lifting the toilet will be enough to determine if it is tiled underneath. If it is not…. decision time. Add tile to the job? Change to a larger footprint toilet, or maybe stay with the toilet you have. These decisions, in my opinion, should be based on what your budget is and what your end result vision is for your project. If in fact your flooring decision is to lay down new tile/stone/wood, check with the contractors from whom you are receiving bids, and ask them to quote you for laying the new material directly on top of the existing surface. This may or may not be able to be done. It will depend on a number of factors that would best be determined by your contractor. So, ask all the contractors you are receiving a bid from if it can be done in your specific situation. You may have them quote you both ways, laying the new material on top of the existing as well as removing the existing, before laying the new. This will clearly show the difference in your project investment.