Tuesday, 2 March 2021

It was a sunny Fourth of July and another gorgeous summer day. My friend waited for his two young daughters to finish up in their upstairs bathroom, and the family of four exited the house and walked across the street for a neighborhood barbecue. What better way to spend a holiday than with friends, food and fun?

When they returned home, the fun immediately stopped. While they were enjoying the neighbor’s Slip-N-Slide in the back yard, they had their very own being created down the main stairs of the house.

It was a simple little thing. After the toilet flushed, something went askew with the inner workings and something got plugged. The second my friend and his family walked out the door, the water began overflowing and continued to do so for the entire day while they were a mere 50 yards away.

Sheetrock was hanging down in the kitchen, everything was soaking wet and the puddles on the floor continued to grow.

One of the more anxiety-inducing aspects of building my home in Lincoln was the plumbing (likely because I had just heard this story). It is something you want to get right the first time and something you want to be able to trust for years to come.

Today I want to focus on one of the more plumbing-heavy rooms in the house: the master bath. We’ll explore why this room is important to the home and some of the reasons it should be at the top of your list for renovations and upgrades if that’s the path you are on this summer.

I’ve said it before, but one of my favorite reasons to update or renovate the master bath is purely selfish. The reality is you should be the one that gets to enjoy it before anyone else. Renovating and immediately turning the keys over to the new owners robs you of this opportunity. Reward yourself with a soak in the jet tub and enjoy that newly tiled walk-in shower after a long day of cleaning up the construction mess you made in there. You deserve the reward, so in the words of Donna Meagle, “Treat yourself!”

The other (still a bit selfish) reason for sprucing things up in the bathroom is ROI. Of course the quality of the work you do and the materials you use will impact this value greatly. According to the 2018 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling magazine, a bathroom remodel is one of the projects with the highest returns. Most folks see an average of a 70.1 percent return. For me, that alone is enough encouragement to lean more towards higher-quality products.

“If the homeowner is planning to sell in the next six months, I tend to encourage the use of high-quality materials in the renovation,” said Badger Realty agent Brendan Battenfelder. “It can be a bit risky to go way beyond the budget, but stretching a bit (with the idea of getting your return in under a year) can be beneficial in the long run,” he continued.

One of the other great benefits of picking the master bathroom for your remodel project is that you can do many of the tasks yourself. If you’re like me, you enjoy the demolition part of any project. Swinging a hammer and ripping things off the walls is cathartic and simply a blast! I also learned (with the help of my good friend Denis) that “rough” carpentry is something we can all learn. You could frame in the spot for the new tile shower and even handle all of the tile work. Adding a new vanity and toilet are also very simple projects, with the assumption that you are not relocating any of that plumbing.

When it comes to the plumbing and electrical, get some help. Although the cause was not the fault of shoddy workmanship, refer to the third paragraph for a solid reason to leave this stuff to the pros.

Although the idea of it being easier than a kitchen remodel should not be a major reason for your decision to tackle the bathroom, it still is a great reason. With great ROI, personal enjoyment of the room and the fact that you can do a lot of it yourself as reasons in the “plus” column, the decision becomes pretty obvious. With the assumption that you have more than one bathroom but only one kitchen, the inconvenience factor alone makes the bath renovation a winner. If this is your first remodel, the smaller, simpler room will increase your chances for success as well.

If you are looking for a project this summer, look no further than where you brushed your teeth this morning. The master bath is a “doable” project that will pay off in the end and offers a big level of satisfaction when it is complete. Ask for help when you need it and you’ll be enjoying that gorgeous new shower and double-sink in a couple weeks! See you at the lumberyard!

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