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DIY Bathroom Remodeling vs. Hiring a Contractor: Pros, Cons, and Cost Comparison

Is it time to give your bathroom a makeover? Are you thinking about tackling a bathroom remodeling project on your own but aren’t sure if you should? When it comes to remodeling your bathroom, you have two options: you can either do it yourself (DIY) or hire a contractor. While both options have their advantages and disadvantages, the decision ultimately comes down to your personal preferences, skills, and budget.

Regardless of which option you choose, the most important thing is that you have all the facts about both options so you can make an informed decision about which option is best for your situation. In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of DIY bathroom remodeling vs. hiring a contractor and provide a cost comparison to help you make that informed decision. And if you need tips on how to prepare for your remodel, be sure to check out our step-by-step guide to planning and executing a successful bathroom remodel.

Keep reading to find out when you might be able to DIY a bathroom remodel and when you should leave it to the pros!

DIY Bathroom Remodeling vs. Hiring a Contractor

Shower interior with gold fixtures in a bathroom remodeling project done by TEKRA Builders

DIY: The Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • Save money
  • Learn new skills
  • Total control

Cons:

  • Plumbing and electrical work may not be up to code
  • Potential safety hazards
  • It can end up costing more in the long run if work is done incorrectly

If you are an experienced handyperson with plenty of time on your hands, then doing a bathroom remodel yourself can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. The main benefit of DIY is cost savings because you don’t have to pay labor fees associated with hiring a contractor. According to Bob Vila, labor costs can account for 40-65% of a total bathroom remodeling budget, depending on the scope of work and the tier of bathroom remodeler you hire (low-end vs. high-end).

Other people who choose the DIY route appreciate the fact that they have total control over every aspect of the remodel and can do the work at their own pace since they are doing all of the work themselves. However, there are some tasks that require specialized knowledge and skill that may prove difficult if you don’t have the right tools or expertise.

This includes tasks like electrical work, plumbing work, and waterproofing–all of which require professional licenses and insurance in most states. And if you need major layout changes or replacement of plumbing fixtures, then DIY isn’t recommended as it could lead to safety hazards down the line.

Hiring A Contractor: The Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • Bathroom renovation work is high-quality and is done correctly
  • Work is completed faster
  • Work is licensed and insured

Cons:

  • Higher labor costs
  • You have to trust someone else to do the bathroom renovation work the way you want it done
  • Large gut renovation projects can disrupt your daily routine

On the other hand, if time is limited or if you want peace of mind knowing that your bathroom renovation project will be done correctly by expert professionals who use high-quality materials, then contracting out is probably your best bet. Of course, this option does come with additional costs such as labor fees and material acquisition costs–but these upfront costs are typically less than the cost of repairing or replacing incorrectly installed components or faulty electrical or plumbing work.

Hiring a licensed contractor means that any electrical work or plumbing work will be done safely and up to code–something that would not be possible if you take on the bathroom renovation project yourself without proper qualifications and insurance coverage.

Now that we’ve covered the most common pros and cons associated with both options, let’s take a look at some reasons to DIY, as well as some reasons to hire a contractor.

Reasons To DIY

Save On Cost Of Labor

One of the main reasons people choose to DIY their bathroom renovation is to save money on the cost of labor. Bathroom remodeling services can be expensive, and doing the work yourself can significantly reduce your overall costs. With the help of online tutorials and DIY guides, it’s more convenient than ever to learn how to tackle certain bathroom renovation tasks on your own.

You Are An Expert

If you have experience in construction or bathroom remodels, then you may be able to take on more complex tasks like plumbing or electrical work. This can save you money on labor costs and give you more control over the project.

You Want To Make Minor Changes

If you’re looking to make minor changes to your space, such as replacing bathroom fixtures or repainting, then DIY may be a good option. These bathroom renovation tasks are relatively easy to do and don’t require a lot of technical knowledge or experience.

Reasons To Hire A Contractor

Professsionally installed tile and fixtures in a bathroom remodeling project completed by TEKRA Builders

You Don’t Have Time

Bathroom remodeling can be a time-consuming process, and if you have a busy schedule, then you may not have the time to take on the project yourself. Hiring a contractor can save you time and ensure that the project is completed on schedule.

You Need It Done Quickly

If you have a deadline for your bathroom remodel, such as hosting guests or selling your home, then hiring professional bathroom remodelers may be the best option. Contractors have the experience and resources to complete the project quickly and efficiently.

Electrical And Plumbing Work Is Required

If your bathroom remodel involves electrical or plumbing work, then it’s best to hire a licensed professional. These tasks require specialized knowledge and expertise and, if not done correctly, can be dangerous and costly to fix.

Major Layout Changes Are Required

If you’re planning to make major changes to your bathroom layout, such as moving fixtures or walls, then it’s best to hire a contractor. This type of work requires experience and technical knowledge to ensure that the job is done correctly.

Replacement Of Shower Or Bathtub Required

Replacing a shower or bathtub is a complex task that requires special tools and expertise. If you’re not familiar with the process, then it’s best to hire a professional to ensure that the installation is done correctly and safely.

Professional Waterproofing

Proper waterproofing is essential in any bathroom remodel to prevent water damage and mold growth. Hiring a professional can ensure that the waterproofing is done correctly and to code, giving you peace of mind and protecting your investment.

Protection You Get From Licensed And Insured Work

Hiring a licensed and insured contractor can give you protection and peace of mind. If something goes wrong during the project, the contractor’s insurance can cover the costs of any damages or injuries.

Bathroom Remodeling Tasks: DIY vs. Contractor Pros And Cons

Bathroom remodeling tends to involve many different tasks that require different skill sets. Some of the tasks are relatively easy for DIYers, as long as they have some handyperson experience, while other tasks require technical expertise and even professional licensing.

Something else to keep in mind is that many contractors will not divvy up bathroom remodeling tasks with DIYers because they want to maintain quality control over the entire project. For example, a contractor would not let a homeowner tile a bathroom before they install a bathtub because the tilework may not be up to that contractor’s standards.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common bathroom remodeling tasks and whether they should be completed by a DIYer or left to the professionals.

Framing – Possibly DIY

Framing involves measuring, cutting, and nailing wood pieces together to create the framework for your bathroom walls, ceiling, and floor. If you make a mistake while framing, it could throw off the entire project. So if you’re planning on making any major changes to the layout of your new bathroom design (like moving walls or doors to maximize space), then framing is going to be a job for professionals.

But if your project is more cosmetic in nature, then you might be able to get away with doing the framing yourself. For example, framings for built-in features, like shelving or a medicine cabinet. Just be sure to check your local building codes first.

Flooring – Possibly DIY

Installing new flooring is a big job, but if you’re comfortable using power tools and have some experience with tile work, then it’s something you can likely do yourself. If you choose to DIY your bathroom flooring, be sure to take your time and measure twice before cutting—you don’t want any costly mistakes! Also, keep in mind that some flooring materials (like hardwood) require special installation techniques that are best left to the experts.

Plumbing And Electrical – Hire A Contractor

Unless you’re a licensed plumber or electrician, we strongly recommend leaving plumbing and electrical work to the professionals. These are two areas where even a small mistake can have major consequences–like starting a fire or flooding your bathroom. So unless you’re 100% confident in your skills, we suggest hiring a contractor for this part of the job. Trust us; it’s worth the peace of mind!

Walls – Hire A Contractor

Hanging drywall is simple, right? Well, it depends on how much skill you have and where the wall is located. If you’re not confident in your ability to hang drywall perfectly straight, you should hire a general contractor to do it for you.

However, that’s not the only reason we recommend leaving this task to the pros. The walls in your bathroom need special waterproofing materials and installation techniques in order to prevent long-term water damage. So unless you have experience with installing tile underlayment or moving load-bearing walls, this is a task best left to the experts.

Shower Or Bathtub Installation – Hire A Contractor

Beautiful shower tile work completed by TEKRA Builders

Installing a new shower or bathtub is definitely a job for a professional. Not only is it physically challenging work, but it also requires knowledge of plumbing and electrical systems. Unless you’re an experienced contractor (or very handy), we recommend leaving this one to the experts. Trust us–it’s not worth risking injury (or flooding your bathroom!) over something that can easily be done by a pro.

Vanity And Countertops – Possibly DIY

Most DIYers with basic carpentry skills can handle the installation of a new vanity–especially if it is a stock vanity with readymade countertops. However, if you’re installing a custom-built vanity or premium countertops for a luxury bathroom, then it’s best to hire a general contractor to ensure that the work is done correctly.

Toilet – Possibly DIY

Replacing a toilet is a relatively easy task that DIYers can handle on their own. However, if you’re moving the toilet or making major changes to the plumbing, then it’s best to hire a contractor.

Sink And Faucet – Possibly DIY

Replacing a sink and faucet is a task that most DIYers can handle on their own with some basic plumbing knowledge. However, if you’re making major changes to the plumbing or need to move the sink, then it’s best to hire a contractor.

Painting And Hardware – Possibly DIY

Painting and installing hardware, such as towel bars and toilet paper holders, are tasks that most DIYers can handle on their own. These tasks don’t require any specialized knowledge or tools and can be a great way to save money on your bathroom remodel. That being said, unless you have previous painting experience, hiring a professional to paint your bathroom will generally result in a higher-quality paint job.

Avoid These Common Bathroom Remodeling Mistakes

Not Having A Plan: Before starting your bathroom remodel, it’s essential to have a plan in place. This will help you stay on track and avoid costly mistakes. Here at TEKRA Builders, we understand that designing your dream bathroom can sometimes feel overwhelming. That’s why we offer to pair you with an interior designer or architect during the design phase to help bring your vision to life.

Ignoring Plumbing And Electrical Requirements: If you are doing a gut renovation that involves plumbing or electrical work, it’s important to follow local codes and regulations to ensure that the work is done safely and up to code. This typically means leaving this type of work to the professionals!

Going Over Budget: It’s easy to get carried away with your construction project and overspend on materials and labor. It’s important to set a budget and stick to it to avoid going into debt. This also means setting aside funds for contingencies (typically 5-10% of your total budget) in case unexpected issues arise, such as discovering hidden damages.

Choosing The Cheapest Contractor: Choosing the wrong contractor can result in subpar work and costly mistakes. It’s essential to do your research and choose a licensed and insured contractor with experience in bathroom remodeling–especially if you want a high-quality luxury bathroom.

Ignoring Waterproofing: Proper waterproofing is essential in any bathroom remodel to prevent water damage and mold growth. Ignoring this step can result in costly repairs down the line.

TEKRA Builders Can Bring Your Dream Bathroom To Life

Couple Facing Bathroom Drawing Gradating To Photo

When deciding between DIY bathroom remodeling vs. hiring a contractor for your bathroom renovation project, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making your decision. If you are an experienced handyperson with plenty of time on your hands and are only making minor changes to your bathroom, then DIY might be right for you. However, if significant changes are required, then hiring a contractor is your best route due to safety risks and the licensing and insurance coverage needed for the safe completion of such projects.

If you’re ready to start planning your bathroom remodeling project, we would love to help! As a full-service design-build firm, we have extensive experience in home remodeling solutions and would love to provide more insights into which path is best for you. Just fill out our contact form, and we’ll work with you every step of the way to make sure your project is successful.

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