A Handy Bathroom Remodel Checklist: Going Through Your Project Step By Step - Orlando Custom Home Builders | ICOA Builders

Una práctica lista de verificación para la remodelación del baño: repasando su proyecto paso a paso

Bathroom remodel is the process of renovating or improving a bathroom. This may be done for many purposes including adding more space, adding functionality, or more convenience.

You may choose to create a spacious and luxurious bathtub area by increasing the size of your bathroom, or you may be considering a more subtle change such as updating the plumbing fixtures.

Projects can vary drastically in scope and costs, so we created the following bathroom remodel checklist so you have all your ideas written down on paper.

PS.: We highly recommend you to read our previous blog post on Bathroom Remodels before heading on the the creative choices available to you. Here’s what we cover in this other article:

  • How big is Your Bathroom Project?
  • Will you need a permit?
  • How to use your homeowner’s insurance?

Table of Contents

What does a typical bathroom remodel cost?

A typical bathroom remodel may cost anywhere between $5k-$25k. This range is due to the fact that bathrooms come in many sizes and shapes.

A bathroom for a family of 6 will have much different needs than one meant only for guests. Similarly, luxury baths can be extremely expensive. Also, it’s important to note that price estimates may include fixtures, appliances and materials only – labor is an additional cost which varies by contractor.


Bathroom Remodel Checklist

Step 1. Changing fixtures

A plumbing fixture is a device or object that aids with the disposal of fluids. It includes such things as water faucets and toilets, sinks and shower pieces. Changing these bathroom fixtures is relatively easier, but you’ll need a permit for changing their location. 

A permit is required because when you change the location of one of your bathroom plumbing fixtures you will also need to change the plumbing system for that fixture.

You may have to purchase additional pipes and valves to make sure that your bathroom’s plumbing system is not compromised.

The permit also guarantees that the proper installation of the new plumbing system is sound.

It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to plumbing. The last thing you want is for you to have a brand new bathroom and all of a sudden you have a pipe burst ruining all the work (and money) you just put into your home’s upgrade.

Unless you have plumbing experience and are licensed, hiring a professional is a must. They will do the work and apply for the permit on your behalf and save you money in the long run.



There are hundreds of different styles of toilets. Some more on the traditional side, while others have a more modern sleek look. 

When it comes to toilets you also have the option of getting a toilet that is eco friendly. Here are The 7 Best Water-Saving Toilets of 2021

Having an efficient toilet is not just good for the environment, but it is also good for your wallet. The Environmental Protection Agency that toilet use accounts for almost 30 percent of a household’s water consumption, the largest use of water in a home. That’s 30% of your water bill. 

Today there are regulations that limit the amount of water that a toilet can use to flush at 1.6 gallons. However, older toilets still in use today can use up to 7 gallons of water with every flush. Over time an older toilet will use 13,000 more gallons of water over the course of a year and increase a utility bill by more than 140 dollars. 

Some manufacturers are going even further than the 1.6 gallons standard and making advancements with dual flush toilets, and gravity assist toilets that limit the amount of water necessary to flush your toilet.


You usually have two types of sinks, an undermounted sink or a vessel style sink. An undermount sink is a sink where the counter is cut and polished in the shape of the sink. The sink is then installed underneath the counter inside of the vanity. 

A vessel style sink is a sink that is fully finished and sits on top of the counter, as pictured below. The price of the two types of sink vary depending on the size of the sink itself, the material and the labor necessary to install the sink. Typically a vessel style sink is easier to install, however depending on the shape and style of the sink, you could actually end up spending more.

bathroom remodel checklist

Vessel sink

bathroom remodel checklist

Undermount sink


For faucets you have a few options. You can install a counter mounted faucet or a wall mounted faucet.

Counter Mounted Faucet

bathroom remodel

Wall Mounted Faucet

With faucets you also have to decide if you want a single handle faucet or a widespread faucet. A single handle faucet just means that there is only one handle to control the temperature of the water. While a widespread faucet has two handles, one for the hot water and the other for the cold. Typically a widespread handle is more expensive because you have to purchase all 3 separate pieces – the faucet and the two handles.

bathroom remodel checklist

Counter Mounted Faucet

bathroom remodel checklist

Widespread Faucet


Like your faucet, you have options when it comes to where you can mount your shower when you are doing a remodel. You can mount you shower head either on the ceiling above the shower enclosure or on the wall. 

I know you’ve seen the videos of those cool showers where it looks like the influencer is taking a shower and the water is falling out of the sky. Yeah, it’s not falling out of the sky, but having a big shower head and a short shower arm as pictured below can give that really cool illusion that the water is out of thin air.

bathroom remodel checklist
bathroom remodel checklist

The opposite is probably something that you have already seen, nonetheless if done correctly it can still look modern and give your bathroom a unique look. 

bathroom remodel checklist

Another thing that you can do to give your bathroom a new look is modify your shower enclosure, this is the part of the shower that has been sectioned off for showering (seems pretty straight forward, right?). 

Usually the sectioning off is done by a sliding or swinging glass door or in some cases a fixed glass panel. The prices for these shower enclosures vary depending on the size of the glass panel(s) you will need. The bigger the panel, the more expensive it will be. 

bathroom remodel checklist

Glass Panel Enclosure

bathroom remodel checklist

Glass Swinging Door Enclosure

Swinging Glass Door Shower Enclosure

The shower valve and the shower valve trim are perhaps the most important parts of the shower and where most people doing DIY bathroom remodels get confused – you need both to make you shower work! 

So what is the difference between the two – the shower valve is the part of the on off of the shower that you do not see. It is the part inside the wall. While the shower valve trim is what you have on the outside that allows you to turn your shower on and off. 



Step 2. Tiles

When you are researching what kind of tiles you should use for your bathroom, you might start to notice that bathroom tiling is usually separated by where the tile will go as opposed to the type of tile itself. The rationale behind this is that regardless of the type or size of the tile technically you could use it in all three areas – the overall bathroom floor, the shower floor and the shower wall. 

There are definitely certain types of tile that are better suited for each area of the bathroom, however there is a lot of flexibility as to what you can do with each tile. The important thing is to make sure that the tiles you choose for each area are speaking the same language and ultimately complimenting each other. 

bathroom remodel checklist

Statement Shower Floor

bathroom remodel checklist

Textured Shower Floor

Shower Floor

When it comes to the shower floor we need to prioritize safety! To do this, the Ceramic Tile Institute of America developed testing protocols to measure the slipperiness of tiles. This rating is called the coefficient of friction (COF), which measures the amount of friction between your foot and the tile surface. The higher the COF, the greater the amount of friction and the less likely you are to slip.

Glossy big tiles that have little to no texture are beautiful, but can be quite slippery when wet. This makes them somewhat of a safety hazard. Using a tile that is matted or textured can help reduce slipping.   

Luckily, smaller tiles also mean more grout, and grout helps reduce slipperiness in the shower enclosure. It is common practice for tile manufacturers to launch a collection of tiles that are the same but in different sizes, not just so the shower tiles are less slippery but also to make installing a drain easier. The smaller tiles are easier to position around a drain, as opposed to having to cut a large piece. 


Shower walls

When it comes to shower walls, texture and size don’t matter. Esstetic still does though. The important thing to think about with your shower wall is if it complements the rest of the bathroom. You can go bold while still making sure everything is speaking the same language. Check out a few styles below.


How to elevate your bathroom even more?

If one tiled wall isn’t enough, you can always do more. Today’s sleek modern bathrooms have tiled walls not just on the shower wall but all over. Yes, this does up the cost of your project however, it might be exactly what you are looking for.

A more budget friendly way of doing this can be with wallpaper. Some bathrooms will use wallpaper instead of tile on the remaining bathroom walls. This gives the bathroom a similar look while saving you a couple extra bucks. Learn more about the pros and cons of each here.


Step 3. Electrical

Sorry. We had to.


Similar to Plumbing, if you are to make any drastic changes to your bathrooms electrical system you need to apply for a permit and or allow a professional to take care of any of the changes as it relates to moving any electrical outlets, and the positioning of any light outlets or electrical fixtures like an exhaust system. 



When it comes to your bathrooms lighting, you have a lot of options to choose from. The primary sources of light in your bathroom are your: 

Overall lights, the lights that illuminate the majority of the common space

Shower lights, these are the lights usually found in your shower enclosure

Vanity light, the lighting above the vanity. This type of lighting can be wall mounted, more commonly referred to as ‘sconce lighting’, or it can be mounted on top of your vanity’s mirror as pictured below.

You can also have light fixtures in your bathroom as well, however keep in mind the traffic space and how big the light fixture is that you intend to use in your bathroom.

bathroom remodel checklist

Overall Bathroom Lighting

Shower Lighting

Vanity Lighting

bathroom remodel checklist

Sconce Lighting

Exhaust system

A bathroom’s exhaust system is perhaps one of the most underrated parts of a bathroom. A good quality exhaust is crucial to the health of not only your bathroom, but also your home. Most people assume that the primary function of a bathroom fan is to remove odors from the bathroom. But, the more important function is actually to remove warm, moist air from your bathroom. Warm, moist air from your showers not only encourages mold growth, but also can cause damage to the fixtures and surfaces in a bathroom.

Warm, humid air, caused by running hot water for baths and showers, is a perfect environment for mold, mildew, and microorganism growth. Things like wallboard, wall paint, and trim, and even your door aren’t even safe. That’s why it is so important to get a good quality fan to protect your investment and your family.

Step 4. Counter Material

The most common counter materials used for bathrooms are granite, quartzite and quartz. However, there are some differences between these types of countertop materials that need to be considered before making a purchase.


Granite Countertops

Granite is a natural stone that does not contain any synthetic materials or dyes. They are very popular among homeowners due to its endurance, relatively low prices and because it comes in many shades of pink, white, black and gray.

However, granite can be very porous, so most homeowners will have to tidy up on its upkeep to prevent permanent damage to the material.


Quartzite Countertops

Quartzite is a natural stone that can be found in different colors and textures depending on how it was formed. It is resistant to scratches, stains, heat, acids and impact, but not made to be disaster-proof. Quartzite is also less porous than granite so it’s easier to clean by just wiping it with a wet cloth.

Quartzite countertops have such natural beauty to them since they are made directly from natural stone, which gives them a wide away of colors ike white, black, grey, green and more. They are also easiest to find in the market. It’s the perfect balance between form and function.


Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops are man-made materials designed for homes where the family is in need of strong and durable surfaces. They are scratch-resistant, stain-resistant and heat-resistant, but they are still vulnerable to alloy pans or acidic foods like tomatoes.

Remember: resistant is not the same as stain-proof. Whenever you spill some red wine or coffee on your quartz countertop, wipe its surface right away. No natural stone or man-made material can put up against clumsy habits in the long run.

Since quartz countertops are engineered to your liking, there are some ingredients that can be added to form all kinds of different finishes. Some manufactures use pigments to create bright colors, other put floral additives to the quartz, while some others use metal oxides to create gray and black streaks.

Quartz is more expensive than quartzite so it may not be an option for everyone even though it has the highest cost performance among all natural stones used for countertops. 


Step 5. Vanity

When planning out a vanity it is important to take into consideration the homeowners’ needs. Will they be storing towels, medicine, makeup, and or cleaning products? At the end of the day whatever you want to store in your vanity should be taken into consideration when planning out how big the vanity should be and how the storage compartments should be structured.

Open Vanity

Wall Mounted Vanity

bathroom remodel checklist

Free Standing Vanity

How to decide between cabinet doors and drawers?

The most ideal bathroom storage is drawers. When you pull out a drawer you get the best visual of all the items inside the drawer because you are able to access the natural or artificial light from your bathroom that you otherwise would not be able to with just cabinet doors.

The cabinet doors however, are the cheaper of the two options. If you do opt for doors instead of drawers for your vanity you can still install pull out shelves to maximize your storage space.

We can’t forget to mention the hardware of your vanity. The doors and the drawers of your vanity cabinet will need a specific hardware in order to open and close. You have two options: touch and pull, and your regular pull out knobs. 

The touch and pull hardware is a newer, more modern option that works by installing a push latch to the inside of a door or drawer creating a more sleek look where regular pull out knobs become obsolete. Touch and pull hardware is generally more expensive however, depending on what knobs you are looking to buy, a touch and pull option might in fact be cheaper. 



I know this blog was long and I commend you for getting through this checklist of things that are required if you are to take on a full remodel. The goal of this blog post was to highlight some key things that you should be thinking about and making sure that you are asking your contractor or Google the right questions.

At the end of the day you aren’t alone. There are so many resources to help guide you through this process and make sure that you are going in the right direction with your bathroom remodel.

Contractors like us at ICOA Builders are also a really great resource that you can utilize. We are always happy to talk through your remodel goals and help you figure out how to make your dream bathroom come to life.

Reach out to us here at ICOA Builders at  813 – 575 – 4262 or contact@icobuilders.com

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