In many people’s minds, DIY home improvement is not as much about skill as it is about willingness to get your hands dirty. People tend to figure that slapping a few tiles and fixtures together can’t be difficult if you take a little time to work out any challenges or kinks. How hard can it be to screw a new sink into the wall, run a few wires in conduit spaces provided or connect a few pipes? Power tools are cheap, and all it should take is a little elbow grease.
If it were true that working on your home didn’t require anything more than a little tolerance for hard work, though, most professional plumbers would get everything they did right. As anyone with a little home-improvement experience knows, though, this isn’t true. Slapdash work by qualified plumbers isn’t uncommon — water leaks from the shower drain, uneven water pressure, and mould from incorrectly designed ventilation are all alarmingly easy to find in homes across Britain. Mistakes that turn up as a result of poor bathroom installation practices are more than just annoying. They can cause health problems, as well.
If you are planning on a DIY bathroom remodel, though, mistakes are only one part of what you need to worry about. The challenges can begin even before one has a chance to make mistakes.
How much time do you have?
Remodelling a bathroom is very hard work, involving skills in multiple departments. It can take you, the DIY enthusiast, an incredible amount of time in the planning and learning phases, as well, and in recovering from mistakes.
If you only have one bathroom, doing it yourself has to be out of the question. It would take weeks, and you wouldn’t know what to do for your bathroom needs the entire time. If you do have more than one bathroom, you’ll still need to make sure that you can tolerate the mess for weeks.
Do you have the skills needed to install your own walls?
Consider installing wall cladding all by yourself. Installing drywall, casting a professional eye over sheet level unevenness and correctly performing sanding to achieve smooth transitions from one sheet to the next can take so much skill, mistakes become unavoidable, unless you have experience.
If you can live with a few flaws, you can probably save much money by doing everything yourself. If you want a perfect bathroom that no one quietly wonders about, though, you should call in the professionals. The level of skill that professionals bring to the job cannot be replicated at home.
Many DIY enthusiasts tends to consider wall cladding in the bathroom as the perfect project for a beginner. Little could go wrong, it often seems. In reality, though, bathroom walls can be particularly risk-prone areas. When incorrectly installed, walls likely to see exposure to water can quickly pass moisture through. While this could mean any wall or ceiling in the bathroom, the shower area tends to be especially problematic. The safest way to install shower walls is to use backer boards. The kinds sold today are completely impervious to water.
Installing tiling on the walls can be difficult if you plan to take it all the way up to the ceiling. Ceilings are rarely level — they tend to be uneven ways. It can take training in tile cutting and shaping to do a good job.
If you believe that cabinets and vanities are easy enough to do on your own
Many homeowners who wouldn’t ever consider doing their own walls or tile would gladly attempt cabinets, because they come ready-made. All you need to do is to put them in place.
There’s one part that tends to be extremely difficult, though — measurements. Things can go wrong in every direction if you do not bring great measuring experience to the project. It’s easy to miscalculate ceiling height, forget the clearances needed, and allow gaps that let in moisture. According to real estate stalwarts KingandChasemore.co.uk, the last one, especially, can be serious — it can quickly lead to rot, something homebuyers need to look for.
Everyone does their flooring themselves
Bathroom floor tiling tends to be considered so elementary, it can almost feel silly calling in a professional. It only seems this way, though. Bathroom floors done by those inexperienced often let water through into the subfloor, and can cause great damage over time. Bathroom floors, especially, should always be a contractor-only area.
It’s all about sealant
One of the top mistakes that DIY bathroom installers make is to not do the research needed on sealant, caulk and grouting. Multiple sealant technologies are available for use in different parts of the bathroom, and they need to be used correctly to ensure adherence in spite of expansion and contraction through the seasons. Making one mistake with sealants can mean terrible leaks, and structural damage.
DIY work can be fun in areas that are uncomplicated and noncritical. In bathrooms, though, mistakes can cause terrible misery, both to you, and to anyone who lives below you. Certainly, calling in professionals will help you save hundreds, if not thousands of pounds. The option is simply unsafe, though, when it comes to bathrooms.
Lindie O’Sullivan is an interior design consultant and is always pleased to provide some useful insights to homeowners. She is a regular online contributor for a number of home and property websites.