8 Signs That It’s Time to Remodel Your Bathroom

by James SheaMarch 2, 2018

If you’re thinking of putting your house on the market, you probably already have a giant to-do list. You want to paint the bedroom, hang new curtains and fix the broken planks on the deck. In reality, those might not be the best places to concentrate your energy. An updated bathroom can make or break a home’s appeal and value.

“Some people want new, clean spaces,” said Ken Kostecki, Maison Construction & Renovation president. “Kitchens and bathrooms are the places where you get top value. You’re going to get that money out of it.”

Here are some signs that it’s time to update your bathroom:

1. Out-of-Date Design

Your bathroom should have a modern design to appeal to today’s buyer. You don’t want your bathroom to look like it was designed when the home was constructed. You need to make sure the faucets and toilets are updated, and you have a showerhead that is modern looking. You don’t want any wallpaper on the walls or popcorn ceilings. The toilet, sink, and tub needs to not be pink or some other bright color — something that was common in the 1970s. Often older bathroom designs have carpet flooring, but no modern designer would place carpet in the bathroom. As well, older bathrooms tended to have only had one smaller sink. A modern bathroom often has his and her sinks.
Modern bathroom, with double round basins. earthy warm tones, and elegant decor.

2. Outdated Colors

All-white bathrooms went out years ago, but many homeowners have not updated the color of the room. Powder blue, beige, black, taupe, nautical blue and pistachio are all vibrant colors for a modern bathroom. It’s easy to spend a couple days painting the bathroom yourself or you can hire a professional. Either way, the color goes a long way toward modernizing a bathroom. “Most people do grays on the wall these days,” Kostecki said.
Bathroom with peeling pink and floral paint designs and damages to foundation.

3. Mold Problems

Water usage is a major part of any bathroom. That creates the potential for mold, which thrives in moist environments. A major mold infestation can make a bathroom smell old and dank. There are many easy signs to spot mold. You will often see black or green spots on the wall or floor. Blistering sheet-rock is also common. Even ants in the bathroom can be a sign that the bathroom has mold damage. Besides decreasing the house’s value, mold in the bathroom can cause serious health problems. You need to get it fixed. “If it’s on the surface, it just built up moisture from a long shower,” Kostecki said.

4. Leaks

Mold and mildew are often closely related to leaks. The leaks can occur in the shower or tub calking, and around the toilet or the sink. You will often see bubbling walls where the water is leaking or peeling paint. The steam from the shower or tub will not generally cause the paint to blister or peel. Another sign is damage to the ceiling on the room below the bathroom. That means water is leaking into the floor.

You have to be very cautious with water leaks. Water can cause serious damage to the wood framing of the house, and when that happens, it can be costly to repair.

5. Bad Layout

The orientation of the toilet is often different in modern bathrooms. Many older homes placed the toilet next to the shower or tub, but people often prefer the toilet and shower to be separated now. By moving the toilet, you change the flow and aesthetic of the room. In general, people want bathrooms to be more spacious. “People are taking walls out and doing frameless glass showers,” Kostecki said. “People want more light and space in the bathroom.”
Modern bathroom with a spacious tub and shower separate from each other.

6. Poor Lighting

Bad lighting in the bathroom is a common problem in older homes. Often small bathrooms have poor or limited natural lighting, because the window is small. Older-style bathrooms often just have a single incandescent bulb in the center of the room or above the mirror.

To update the bathroom lighting, you might consider making that small window larger or adding track lighting across the room. Both are easy ways to quickly improve the lighting in the bathroom. “We’ve put in skylights in a few bathrooms,” Kostecki said. “We have even done solar tubes, which produce a lot of light without the size of a skylight.”
Modern master bathroom with glass shower and skylight.

7. Family Needs Have Changed

Families grow and change over time. A bathroom might have functioned well when you were single, but it doesn’t function well with two kids and a spouse. Or perhaps, you have aged in the home, and the bathroom requires more space. There can be a myriad of reasons why the family dynamics have changed, and the bathroom no longer functions well in the home.

8. Low on Storage

Older homes often have very little storage space in the bathroom. You might have a small closet, a tiny storage area below the sink or just some storage behind the mirror. There are a variety of ways to add more storage in a bathroom. You can add a storage closet or install shelving. You can move the towel rack and use that space for a shelf or other storage.

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About The Author
James Shea
James Shea is an award-winning journalist and author. He owns Media Lab, a content marketing and search engine optimization company is Richmond, Virginia.