When you’re an expert on a subject, you tend to use terminology that the average person may not be familiar with. You may know exactly what you want and be familiar with your bath space, but are at a loss once speaking with a contractor about what work you want done. We’re going to help you become an expert on what to ask for, and how to choose materials for your next bathroom remodeling project.

If you’re looking to get your shower or bath replaced, you’re remodeling your wet area. Contractors have specialties, and you will likely not have the same team working in your bathing space as your mirror and sink space. The area of your cabinets, vanity, and sink is called the dry area. If you’re getting this spot worked on, you’re likely going to be having a crew that specializes in cabinet building. Even though you’ll have the option of getting these both done as 1 project, contractors will almost always designate them as 2 on their end. Wet area projects take less time to complete and should be taken care of BEFORE starting dry areas if possible.  

Materials used, labor, and condition of your current bathroom will influence the cost of your project. You can take an educated guess of the condition of your bathroom before your contractor arrives to inspect if you know what they’re going to look for.  

  1. Does your bathroom have a damp or musty smell? This can be a sign that your wet area may have a leak that is allowing water to get into your wall behind your shower or bath. If you have a shower, check around the top of your shower pan to see if there’s discoloring in the connecting space to your shower wall. If you have a shower, check for cracks or where the top of the shower pan connects to the walls. Any gaps in these areas may be causing rotting, mold, or mildew in the walls behind your wet areas. Repairing these areas before starting work will increase the cost of your project.   
  1. In your dry area, do your cabinets have water damage?  It will cost you less money if your cabinet boxes are still in good condition, and the doors and tops are the only items that need to be replaced. A cabinet box is the scaffold that holds up all other parts of your cabinet located on the inside. Open up your cabinet and empty it out. Take a look at the wood that forms a ‘hollow box’ where all other pieces are attached. If your cabinet box is not warped or cracked, and does not have sign of water damage, you can have a new looking cabinet by simply replacing the tops and fronts. If they do have damage, mention this to your contractor before the start the project. The worst thing that can happen is your contractor misses the damage and puts new material on top of damaged cabinet boxes and you have to replace everything again a few years later. 

Knowing this information will help prepare you for your upcoming inspection and estimate. If the contractor that shows up to your house glosses over these items, that’s a red flag! The more you know about your project, the better prepared you are to find a contractor that works well with your budget and will treat your home with respect.