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Thu, Oct. 17

Ask the contractor: Bathroom remodels have a high return on investment - so indulge!

Q: My husband is 80 and I am 82. We are considering remodeling our master bath but are not sure what direction to go in. Your advertising always says "Don't Start Without Us," so we won't. What does YCCA recommend?-Dorothy and Ed, Highland Pines

A: We have had a lot of calls lately on the sprucing-up of bathrooms, both master and guest. Bathroom, as with kitchen remodels, can make or break a transaction when it comes to buying or selling a home.

In remodeling a bathroom, it is critically important to think about what works for you, as well as what potential buyers might want.

First of all, determine what space you have available. Is there a possibility you can enlarge the bathroom by transitioning into an adjoining closet or room, or will the bath footprint have to remain the same? Is there a current tub/shower unit? If you do not take many baths, you might want to consider removing the tub and enlarging the shower. The extra space by removing the tub could lend itself to additional storage or larger vanities. Do you currently have one or two vanity sinks? Vanities are getting larger because storage is a constant demand. Wall-mounted cabinets and medicine cabinets are items that are key to storage and saving space.

Bathrooms are taking on more of a spa-like feel, and a homeowner can spend from $4,000 up to $50,000 and more on a remodel.

Bathroom remodels usually have a high return on investment and are generally considered one of the smartest home improvement projects you can do. Bath remodels return around 80 percent of the investment or better. This means that if you sold your home within a year of doing the improvement, more than likely you would recover 80 cents on the dollar for the improvement.

A mid-range remodel would more than likely include a new toilet, walk-in shower with surrounding tile or art glass, a solid-surface double sink and vanity, a medicine cabinet, a tile floor and new paint. New fixtures are an absolute must in any bath remodel, from faucets, to lighting to cabinet knobs and drawer pulls.

One of the major costs in remodeling a bath is moving plumbing fixtures, so if you can maintain the same floor plan, you will certainly spend less on plumbing.

It is easy to spend thousands of dollars on a bath remodel if you can go with iridescent tiles, exquisite glass vessel sinks, a state-of-the-art toilet and a granite or quartz countertop. Reining in the budget is all about compromise and what will work for you and give you the enjoyment. It is important to think about what elements you must have, and those that you would like to change but do not have to, and what is fine as it is.

Tom Reilly, owner of Renovations - Your Complete Remodel Resource, recommends that you gather pictures for décor ideas. "Magazines will give you pictures, trends and ideas of what's hot, what's in and this is an easy way to discover wow-worthy makeover ideas." Tom has been a local builder for 30 years, and remodeling bathrooms is a favorite project of his.

The stages that you can expect for a bathroom remodel are:

1.Design: Even with just a simple toilet/shower/cabinet bathroom remodel, design planning must take place.

2.Demolition: Removal. There will be some type of demolition with any remodel.

3.Roughing-In: Plumbing and electrical equipment are of key importance in any bathroom remodel.

4.Installation of shower and/or bath: The bathtub or shower are built or installed in accordance with the rough-in area. Bathroom sink and toilet are installed.

5. Flooring, cabinets, paint and fixtures are last to be installed.

Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. Call YCCA for information on hiring a contractor at 778-0040. Submit questions to or through

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