What to Do First When Renovating a Bathroom

Renovating a bathroom can be an exciting yet challenging project. Knowing where to start is crucial to ensure a smooth process and a successful outcome. Here’s a detailed guide to help you kickstart your bathroom renovation journey. This guide includes essential steps, expert tips, and answers to common questions, all tailored to meet modern standards and trends.

Initial Planning and Design

Assess Your Needs and Goals

Before diving into the renovation, it’s essential to define your goals and what you want to achieve with the new bathroom. Ask yourself:

  • Do you need more storage space?
  • Are you updating outdated fixtures?
  • Are you looking to create a more modern and functional space?

Create a Design Plan

Using online design tools can help visualize your ideas. Websites like Bathfitter.com offer virtual design tools where you can experiment with different finishes and layouts. Collecting design inspiration from platforms like Pinterest and Houzz can also be beneficial. Save your favorite designs and organize them to make decision-making easier.

Make a Checklist

Create a detailed checklist of everything you want to change or add to your bathroom. This could include:

  • Bathtub or shower
  • Vanity and sink
  • Toilet
  • Cabinets and storage
  • Lighting
  • Flooring and wall tiles
  • Accessories and fixtures

Budgeting For Renovating a Bathroom

Set a Realistic Budget

Determine how much you are willing to spend on your bathroom renovation. Keep in mind that unexpected costs can arise, so it’s wise to allocate an extra 10-20% of your budget for contingencies.

Prioritize Your Spending

Identify the must-haves versus the nice-to-haves. Focus your budget on essential updates first, such as plumbing and electrical work, and then move on to aesthetic enhancements like tiles and fixtures.

Hiring Professionals vs. DIY

DIY or Professional Help?

Decide if you want to tackle the renovation yourself or hire professionals. For complex tasks like plumbing, electrical work, and waterproofing, it’s often best to hire licensed professionals to ensure the job is done correctly and safely. Verified Builders can handle all aspects of your bathroom renovation, from design to completion, ensuring a seamless experience.

Finding the Right Contractor

If you opt to hire a contractor, do thorough research. Check reviews, ask for recommendations, and verify their credentials. Ensure they have experience with bathroom renovations and can provide a detailed project timeline.

Demolition and Preparation

Clear Out the Bathroom

Before any work begins, clear out the existing bathroom. Remove all fixtures, fittings, and any items that are not being replaced. This step ensures a clean slate for the renovation.

Inspect for Issues

Check for any underlying issues such as mold, mildew, or water damage. Addressing these problems early on can prevent costly repairs down the line.

Rough-In Work: Plumbing and Electrical


Ensure all plumbing lines are properly installed. This includes the supply lines for sinks, toilets, showers, and bathtubs. Consider upgrading old pipes to more efficient and durable materials.


Update the electrical wiring to meet current codes and safety standards. This may involve adding new outlets, installing GFCI outlets, and planning for adequate lighting.

Install Fixtures and Fittings

Bathtub and Shower

Install the bathtub or shower unit first. Ensure proper alignment and secure installation to avoid future leaks. Consider features like water-saving showerheads or a walk-in shower for accessibility.

Vanity and Sink

Next, install the vanity and sink. Ensure the plumbing connections are secure and there are no leaks. A vessel sink can add a stylish touch to your bathroom.


Install the toilet in the designated space. Make sure it’s level and securely attached to the floor.

Walls and Flooring

Wall Tiles and Paint

Choose water-resistant materials like ceramic or porcelain tiles for the walls. For painted areas, use mold-resistant paint to prevent moisture issues.


Select durable and slip-resistant flooring materials. Options like ceramic tiles, vinyl, or natural stone are popular choices for bathrooms. Ensure the floor is properly sealed to prevent water damage.

Finishing Touches


Install adequate lighting to create a bright and inviting space. Combine ambient, task, and accent lighting for a well-lit bathroom.

Accessories and Fixtures

Add finishing touches like mirrors, towel racks, and soap dispensers. These small details can enhance the overall aesthetic and functionality of your bathroom.

What to Do First When Renovating a Bathroom

Step Description
Assess Needs and Goals Define what you want to achieve with the renovation.
Create a Design Plan Use online tools and gather inspiration from design websites.
Make a Checklist List all the changes and additions you want to make.
Set a Budget Determine your budget and allocate extra for contingencies.
Decide DIY or Professional Choose between doing it yourself or hiring professionals.
Clear Out the Bathroom Remove all fixtures and fittings to prepare for renovation.
Inspect for Issues Check for mold, mildew, or water damage and address them.
Plumbing and Electrical Ensure all plumbing and electrical work is up to code.
Install Bathtub/Shower Properly install and secure the bathtub or shower unit.
Install Vanity and Sink Secure the vanity and sink, ensuring no leaks in plumbing.
Install Toilet Properly align and secure the toilet to the floor.
Wall Tiles and Paint Use water-resistant materials and mold-resistant paint for walls.
Flooring Choose durable, slip-resistant flooring materials.
Lighting Install a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting.
Accessories and Fixtures Add mirrors, towel racks, and other finishing touches.

Common Questions

How do I create a functional bathroom layout?

Ensure there is enough room for all fixtures and that the layout promotes easy movement. Place frequently used items within easy reach and keep the design practical.

What is the best flooring for a small bathroom?

Ceramic tiles, vinyl, and natural stone are excellent choices. These materials are water-resistant and durable, making them ideal for small bathrooms.

How can I make a small bathroom look bigger?

Light colors on walls and floors can make the space appear larger. Adding large mirrors and optimizing natural light can also create the illusion of a bigger bathroom.

Should I replace my old plumbing during a bathroom renovation?

If your plumbing is outdated, it’s wise to upgrade it during the renovation. New plumbing can improve water efficiency and reduce the risk of leaks.


Renovating a bathroom is a multi-step process that requires careful planning and execution. By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth renovation that meets your needs and enhances your home’s value. Whether you’re updating fixtures or doing a complete overhaul, starting with a solid plan is key. Verified Builders is here to help with all your bathroom renovation needs. Contact us today to turn your bathroom dreams into reality.

For more tips on making your small bathroom look bigger, check out our article on how to make a small bathroom look bigger. If you’re considering a walk-in shower, learn more about the options available at how much is a walk-in shower. For flooring options, visit what is the best flooring for a small bathroom. Renovating your bathroom doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With careful planning and expert help, you can achieve the bathroom of your dreams. Contact Verified Builders today to get started on your bathroom renovation project.


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