Hiring A Specialist For A Specific Bathroom Remodeling Project

Written by bprescottFebruary 1, 2012
A painting brush with blue paint swirls

Subcontractors and specialists

Knowing exactly who does what in a remodeling project gives you an idea of what to expect. Here's an A to Z rundown of subcontractors and specialists involved in a bathroom-remodeling project. Not all of them may be involved in your bathroom remodeling, but we're sure you'll meet some of them.

Carpenters

Carpenters build the framing for walls, doors, and windows, including any repair work around bathtubs or showers before tile or a surround is installed. They also return after the walls are up to install cabinets, countertops, medicine cabinets, and any built-in units, such as a window seat or storage cabinet.

Drywall contractors

These installers hang wallboard over the framing built by carpenters. They’re the ones who screw the heavy 4-x-8-foot or 4-x-12-foot sheets of wallboard to the framing and then hide the joints between the sheets with a mesh or paper tape that is covered with drywall compound. They make the cutouts for the electrical outlets, switches, lighting fixtures, and vents.

When the compound is dry, these workers sand it smooth so that the sheets of wallboard appear not to have any joints or seams. To make the walls smooth, they usually apply three rounds of compound and sand after each application. They hang the wallboard, do the taping, and apply the first coat of compound on day one, but each subsequent application takes a day to dry before workers can resume sanding and apply another application of compound, so this process involves several return trips. Be prepared for clouds of drywall dust after each sanding.

Electricians

These licensed professionals or their apprentices are responsible for all the sources of power needed in a bathroom. They run cable for the lighting switches and fixtures and install outlets for personal appliances and exhaust vents. They also install any other electric devices, such as heaters, towel warmers, ceiling fans, and their controls. Their work must pass inspection by a local building inspector before the walls are finished and again after they install and hook up the devices and appliances.

Flooring installers

These contractors specialize in laying new floor material, as well as removing the existing floor and what's beneath it. Some floor installers specialize in vinyl sheet flooring, tile and stone, or laminates. Their job begins by preparing the floor so that it’s smooth, level and structurally sound. They remove the baseboard around the room and the threshold at the door and replace any damaged subfloor, which is often found around toilets and tubs that have leaked. If uneven surfaces require leveling, they apply a leveling compound before the underlayment. After laying the new material, they install a door threshold and then they (or carpenter)s install baseboard around the walls.

Masons

Tile masons install ceramic, stone, glass block, and marble wall and floor tiles. Masons who install tile often spend more time laying out the tiles than actually installing it, which is especially the case if the job involves an intricate design of tiles or angled or odd-shaped surfaces. Masons who want to do a good job make sure they’re working on a level, sound surface, whether it's the walls, ceilings, floors, or countertops.

Specialists who install solid surface materials like Corian, Silestone, and Zodiaq are trained by the material manufacturers, so they're qualified to work with the material. This experience assures you, the customer, that the material is properly installed. If there’s a problem with the materials or the labor, the manufacturers will probably make it right.

Painters

Whether you want plain vanilla walls or a fanciful faux finish, a painting contractor somewhere is ready to splash some color on your walls. If new wallboard and/or wallpaper is involved in the remodeling project, the painters will first prime the walls with a special paint designed to seal the porous wall surface. On new wallboard it's particularly important to apply primer so the new walls can absorb the primer and create a nonporous surface for either paint or wallpaper. It's almost impossible to remove wallpaper from unprimed walls without severely damaging the wallboard's paper face. The painter will choose a specialty primer designed for the finish surface.

A decorative painter, someone who specializes in faux finishes, stenciling, trompe l'oeil, and other creative finishes, gives new meaning to a fresh coat of paint. A general painting contractor will paint the walls with two coats of paint, but a decorative painter offers unique designs, textures, and finishes that are limited only by your (or the painter’s) imagination.

Plumbers

These licensed professionals or their apprentices who work with them are responsible for the delivery of fresh water and the removal of wastewater from the bathroom. They run and reroute water pipes and lines; install fixtures and valves at sinks, tubs, and showers; and hook up toilets and bidets. Their work is done in several stages: first behind the wall and then after the walls are finished. First, they rough in the location for new valves and fixtures, and then they extend the existing drain lines and water supply pipes. Their work must pass inspection by a local building inspector before the walls are installed. After the rough-in inspection, the walls are installed, and the plumbers return to hook up the fixtures.

Wallpaper hangers

A good vinyl wallcovering in a bathroom provides a durable surface that usually outlives its design. You'll probably get tired of the pattern before it wears out. Wallpaper hangers choose the appropriate adhesive and primer based on the condition of the walls and the type of wallpaper you choose. These workers also have the tools and skills to remove old wallpaper.

Don't let anyone talk you into papering over old wallpaper. The new wallpaper will be glued to the old wallpaper, so the whole job will be hanging on the old paste, which is certain to fail eventually. Painting over wallpaper is even worse: It makes the wallpaper almost impossible to strip later because the paint seals the paper and prevents water from penetrating the surface to soften the paste.

Special services

The two face-lift services in the following list reuse, not replace, your existing furnishings as a budget-wise option to replacing them. Removing an old bathtub can be downright impossible without chopping it into pieces, which can be dangerous and damaging to surrounding surfaces. If a cabinet or bathtub is sound and in the right location, consider these choices as a way to extend their useful life at a fraction of the cost of replacing them. You'll find companies that provide these services advertised in the Yellow Pages and on the Internet.

  • Cabinet refinishing: You can give a trendy new look to a white and gold French Provincial vanity cabinet by refinishing it like a piece of furniture and replacing the hardware. Do it yourself or hire a furniture refinisher, who can work on it in place by priming, sanding, and applying a new finish.
  • Cabinet resurfacing: A cabinet resurfacing, also called refacing service, involves removing the cabinet doors and applying a new laminate surface to the cabinet frame and sides and replacing the old doors with new styles. When the finish is complete, add new hardware to complete the transformation.
  • Sink and tub refinishing: A sink or tub can be refinished through a process of reglazing the surface. The tub is scraped and etched to roughen up the old finish, and all imperfections in the old finish are filled and sanded. The new polyurethane finish is sprayed on the surface and polished. You get what you pay for with resurfacers. Look for one that will do extensive prep work and apply a bonding coat and at least three coats of glaze. This isn't a good solution for a sink or tub that's you use daily, because it's not as durable as the original, but if you treat it with care, it's one way to go.
  • Lining an old sink or tub: To create a tub liner, an installer measures the old tub, which is then matched with the tub manufacturer's specifications, and a matching acrylic model is made. The liner is trimmed to fit, slipped over the old tub, and fastened with adhesive and tape. You can also have matching wall panels made and installed at the same time.


From ‘Bathroom Remodeling For Dummies’
Copyright © 2003 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

 

Comments

2) Repair - Fix plumbing leaks, drain clogs, roof leaks or poor bathroom ventilation that can encourage mold growth.
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