For most homeowners, remodeling is all about creating a more visually appealing and functional space. But sometimes, a remodel begins as all about aesthetics quickly turns its focus to addressing hidden problem areas. That’s exactly what happened on a recent bathroom remodel in Ocean County, NJ.
Rasinski Construction was hired by a new homeowner to update a bathroom after their short sale purchase. The bathroom – which on the surface looked pretty good – had been updated by the bank prior to the purchase. But, since it wasn’t the homeowner’s taste, they sought a remodel.
Once demolition began, the real issues with this bathroom were uncovered. We noticed new water stains on the plywood under the recently-installed tub, a rotted wood subfloor and partition wall – all instant clues that the toilet had been leaking for years and was still leaking. Once we removed the subfloor and wall, a rotted sill plate, rim joist and floor joist were also noticeable, as was the negative pitch of the bathroom and kitchen sink drain pipe. With a pipe pitched backwards like this, the homeowner would undoubtedly experience chronic slow or problematic drainage. Our team continued to peel back the layers and in the ceiling cavity we found dangerous bare wire connections that in addition to not being to code, were a potential fire hazard.
Of course, no one, especially the homeowner, expected these findings. And while this particular homeowner purchased this short sale in “as is” condition, there are also many homeowners who find similar challenges during their bathroom renovation. It’s certainly not uncommon and with twenty years in home construction and renovation, I make a point to never allow my clients to have any other expectations – especially in older homes. The good news is that we’re experienced in not only identifying these issues – but also successfully addressing them.
The Hidden Challenges of Bathroom Renovation
Any major bathroom remodel is going to require demolition. With walls, flooring and ceilings ripped out, homeowners will likely uncover at least one of these common challenges. Be prepared to talk to your selected contractor about each of these common issues, how prepared they are to address them and how it may impact your cost and timeline.
Every project is different and you can never predict what you’ll encounter, but in addition to what we uncovered during this Ocean County NJ bathroom renovation, here are four other common challenges:
1. Notched or Cut Floor Joists
After removing the existing floor, you will be able to inspect the condition of the floor joists. DIY enthusiasts and inexperienced plumbers often notch floor joists to accommodate pipes, connections and valves. But this will deteriorate the strength of your floor and in all likelihood will require correction.
2. Poorly Installed or Missing Ventilation
Bathrooms require full venting in order to cut down on humidity and improve the lifespan of building materials and bathroom furniture. But even bathrooms with a venting fan can experience problems due to incorrect installation. Exhaust fans should be properly vented to the home exterior of your home with quality ductwork and the right sized fan.
3. Rotten or Moldy Framing or Drywall
Rotten or moldy framing or drywall must be replaced with proper moisture-resistant materials. Older homes may have plaster walls, which encourage the spread of mold throughout damp areas of your home.
4.Corrosion on Plumbing and Joints
Even with the best plumbing, corrosion can occur over time – especially at joints and valves. Corroded plumbing and materials not meeting current code must be replaced.
After a bit more time and work than originally anticipated, this beautiful bathroom renovation is complete – and with the added benefit of homeowner peace of mind. If you are ready to tackle a major bathroom remodel, hiring a proven professional will require more of an investment, but with so many unknown potential challenges it is certain to deliver greater long-term value.