There are two basic kinds of bathroom remodeling projects: a pull and replace renovation, and a comprehensive bathroom remodel. Since no two bathrooms are identical, there will always be variations, but the work scopes involved for bathrooms that fall within the same category are usually pretty standard. These are two very different approaches however, and as is outlined below, the cost drivers are quite different.
Pull and Replace Bathrooms:
The name is a literal description of what is involved in these bathroom projects. Existing fixtures and finishes are “pulled” out of the existing bathroom and “replaced” with new. The configuration, or the infrastructure of the bathroom will not change: wallboard, subfloor, plumbing pipes, and electrical wiring will remain intact. The new finishes and fixtures will simply be installed over, and hooked up to what already exists. Pull and replace remodels are general quick and easy, and are best suited to newer construction where walls are straight, and plumbing and electrical wiring are up to date. The cost drivers in a pull and replace bathroom remodel will be the finishes and fixtures: tile, toilet, bathtub, shower system, faucets, sinks and cabinetry.
Full Bathroom Remodel:
Full bathroom remodels are far more involved than a pull and replace project, and typically involve some sort of reconfiguration to the footprint of the room. A full remodel is generally the right approach when working in an older home; such are typical in the Washington DC area. A full remodel will call for the bathroom to be completely gutted to expose wall, floor and ceiling framing and all plumbing pipes and electrical wiring. Existing wiring and plumbing will be removed, and then re-run to support the new configuration and with materials compliant to modern building codes. Framing will be straightened and strengthened by “sistering” new lumber to existing, and new wallboard (drywall and tile backer board) will be installed throughout. Once all these infrastructure issues have been updated, new finishes and fixtures can be installed in the new configuration. The most costly component in a full bathroom remodel will almost always be the reworking of the infrastructure: plumbing, electrical wiring, framing, HVAC and wallboard. Because these work scopes are hidden behind the finishes, the associated costs are often hard for a homeowner to accept. But when working in an older home, the full bathroom remodel is absolutely the right approach to take so as to avoid (major) problems and expenses in the future. For a more comprehensive overview of what is involved in remodeling a typical thickset bathroom in an older Washington, DC home, visit: http://fourbrothers.wpengine.com/designing-and-remodeling-an-old-bathroom/.