7 Bathroom Remodel Ideas That Really Pay Off

Good bathroom remodel ideas aren’t just about saving you money. They’re about helping you start your day off right.

Let’s get real: The first room you stumble into in the morning—bleary-eyed, dazed, and yawning—should be a soothing oasis. A bathroom that achieves those lofty heights? That’s a bathroom you can love. That’s why these most special of rooms are second only to kitchens as the areas homeowners eagerly spend time and money renovating—and that catch a buyer’s eye when you’re trying to sell.
Bathroom remodel ideas: where to begin

But exactly which upgrades are the best, in terms of both usefulness and return on investment? Do you need to start knocking down walls and renovate the entire room, or you can you start smaller?

Before you go nuts installing saunas and rain shower heads, check out this second installment in our series Renovations That Really Pay Off, for some smarter tweaks you’ll be very glad you made.
Reglaze, don’t replace, the tub

“No, no, no—do not put in a new tub,” says Rebecca Knaster, associate broker with Manhattan’s William Raveis. “It’ll cost thousands between the tub and the installation.” Instead, have the tub reglazed for “around $1,500,” which will make it look brand new.

Matt Plaskoff, founder of One Week Bath, agrees that if the shower area “is in decent shape,” it’s best to concentrate on the front part of the bathroom, which “sets the tone for the space.”
Invest in a new sink

Face washing, teeth brushing, gerbil bathing—your sink sees a lot of use. It’s also the very first thing a buyer notices in a bathroom, says Knaster.

“Step 1 for getting the most bang for your buck is a new contemporary sink,” she says. “It will set you back a few hundred dollars and make all the difference.”

Just note whether the bathroom sink you already have is an undermount (where the edge is below the countertop to create an uninterrupted surface) or overmount (where the sink lip comes up over the countertop), says interior designer Randal Weeks, founder of Aidan Gray Home.

An undermount can be difficult to remove unless it’s under a formica top. If the sink is adhered to the surface, the top will also have to go, which quickly drives up the cost. One easy and dramatic sink upgrade Weeks recommends for an inexpensive bathroom remodel is replacing separate hot and cold faucets with a sleek single-handle faucet that starts at $70.
Go for timeless tile

Bathroom remodel ideas in general should appeal to a broader range of people and provide better return on investment. While natural stone is hot, Weeks prefers neutral styles for this reason. Pricey stones are taste-specific, he notes, and can give a busy look that’s a turnoff regardless of expense.

In fact, Weeks says one of the biggest issues buyers consider when making offers is the cost of redoing other people’s “bad choices.” So go for crowd-pleasing features such as bright white subway tiles, which run a mere 21 cents each. The payoff?

“You can add $10,000 of value to your home by selecting timeless elements that won’t date it.”
Upgrade your lighting

It’s not just Snow White’s evil stepmother and the Kardashians who spend lots of time staring into the mirror on the bathroom wall. For most of us, lighting and lighting fixtures are critical elements.

“Dated light fixtures are a turnoff,” says Knaster. “For no more than $100 you can buy a basic but nice bathroom light fixture.”
Install a double vanity

The last thing you need in the morning is a battle with your partner over who gets the sink. It’s no wonder “I’m looking for a double vanity” is one of the most common things heard by Will Johnson, a Hendersonville, TN, real estate agent and founder of the Sell and Stage Team.

A double vanity typically costs between $200 and $800, with installation falling around $220, Johnson says—and it’s a wise investment when you’re undergoing a bathroom remodel. Johnson has clients who “won’t buy a house simply because there’s only one sink in the master bathroom!”
Swap in new fixtures

“Old materials such as bronze can instantly date your bathroom,” says Johnson. To knock out this easy DIY update, simply purchase new door handles, drawer pulls, and towel bars for a bathroom remodel that’s quick, easy, and inexpensive too. A nice chrome drawer pull can cost as little as $3, while a towel bar can average $30.
Get a water-saving toilet

This may not sound like a bathroom remodel idea that will do much—it’s just the toilet! But beyond updating the look of the room, a toilet replacement could save you some serious green. Old toilets use 6 gallons of water per flush, gobbling up about 30% of all residential water in U.S. homes. Go green when you swap out your throne. New WaterSense models using only 1.28 gallons per flush (e.g., TOTO’s Carlyle II 1G toilet) conserve up to 18,000 gallons of water annually. The initial cost of $974 will shave more than $110 per year off a water bill and add up to almost $2,200 over the lifetime of the toilet. Bonus: The latest water-saving thrones actually work.
But skip the bidet

Bidets may be considered the Rolls-Royce of toilet upgrades, but most bathrooms simply don’t have room for them. What’s worse: Most Americans have no idea what on Earth these things are and may even be weirded out by them.

“My personal opinion is that our society is not accustomed to this practice and doesn’t see the extra value in them,” says Tracy Kay Griffin, an expert designer at Express Homebuyers in Springfield, VA. “We haven’t renovated a home yet where we thought it would be a good investment to add a bidet.” Just say nay to the bidet.


How to Hire Bath Remodeling Contractor

Bath-Remodel-Grove-City-Signature-Pearl-Kitchen-Cabinets-Columbus-OH-Semro-Designs-1

We’ve got Everything You Need to Hire a Bath Remodeling Contractor

It’s time for a makeover! Whether you’re buying, selling, or just want to update that late ‘80s powder room a bathroom remodel provides great return on investment. Remodeling’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report shows a nation-wide 65.7 percent ROI for bathroom remodels, while areas like the Pacific region, bring back 76.2 percent. The numbers are on your side, it’s time to stop the bathroom suffering.

Alex, Paul, and Leo share their remodeling expertise to prep you for your bathroom redo. Because you might as well love your loo.

What are the financial benefits of a bathroom remodel?

The bathrooms and kitchen are the primary rooms a prospective buyer looks at when purchasing a home, explains Leo. Remodeling a bathroom, updating its features, and even reconfiguring the floor plan can greatly increase the return on investment of your real estate investment. Besides improving the appearance of the room, shares Paul, you improve the functionality of the room. In addition to the value it adds to the home, a space that accommodates you and your family is important for daily life.

How long does the average job take and what are the most common remodels?

There are typically 3 phases to any remodeling and construction project, shares Leo. The planning and permitting phase, the construction phase, and the punch list finalization phase. The planning and permitting phase varies from city to city due to different procedures in each building department—however, the average time for this phase is 3-4 weeks, he explains.

The construction phase can also vary depending on if the remodel is a straight same-for-same replacement, or if plumbing fixtures and electrical devices are being added or relocated. The average length of a full bathroom remodel—taking into consideration inspections—could take anywhere from 4-6 weeks, Leo shares, citing that the most common updates for a bathroom remodel are tile flooring, tub/shower wall tiles, vanity, counter top, and lighting.

SemBro Designs and Remodeling does a lot of what they call “facelifts.” These jobs are typically completed in five to eight working days, shares Alex, while more extensive bathroom overhauls take longer.

One to three weeks is common depending on the amount of work, says Paul. His clients often start with the shower area, he says, by customizing the plumbing, tile size, setting, and design. New paint is always in order after the shower is done, he says. Next, flooring and cabinetry can be modernized with updated materials. Last but not least, the lighting in a bathroom is very important, says Paul.

How much does the average job cost?

Wouldn’t you know, there is no average job! The remodelers share the ranges of what can commonly be expected.

Most jobs we handle cost between $10,000 and $15,000, shares Alex.

The baseline for a bathroom remodel averages around $3,500, according to Paul. More frequently, a bathroom remodel can cost between $5,000 and $10,000. I personally have been involved in bathroom remodels that have cost $22,000, says Paul.

The average bathroom remodel could cost anywhere from $6,500 – $12,250, depending on size, scope, and materials used, says Leo.

The moral here? Be upfront in your requests about budget and desired outcomes.

What happens from start to finish once someone books your quote with SemBro Designs?

First, we schedule an onsite visit to make sketches, take photos, discuss scope of work, and materials, explains Leo. Then we prepare floor plans, permit applications, notice of commencement and supporting documents for the building department. We then record the NOC and submit the application package to the building department. Once the permit is issued, we perform the demolition. After the demolition we do the rough plumbing, then rough electrical, followed by framing, drywall, plaster, paint & flooring. All in that order. There are several rough inspections that occur in that sequence as well, to make sure things are going as planned. After the walls, floors, and ceilings are finished, we install the vanity, plumbing fixtures, electrical devices, and trim out all of the accessories. From there we schedule final inspections and perform a walk through to address punch list items to complete, shares Leo. When the client is 100% satisfied, the project will be officially completed.

Bathroom remodels can be an enjoyable experience, says Paul. I speak with clients one-on-one by phone before a site visit to prepare myself for what they might need. After inspecting the site, I go over design options with the homeowner, then write out a specific and detailed estimate, explains Paul. Once the estimate is accepted, I send a written contract and we sign. At this point, a collection of 10% of the job’s estimated total is legal and common for a contractor to do. I find jobs go well when a client has done their homework and identifies the materials they want used. This process of material selections by the owner can take some time but is well worth the diligence, according to Paul.

SemBro Designs reviews the request and follows up with a phone call/ email to introduce themselves and set an appointment to meet and discuss a proposal for the requested work, says Alex. The proposal is written and presented to the homeowner during a secondary meeting, and if all is agreed upon, a contract is signed. From there, work is scheduled by the production manager to be completed.

What questions should someone ask before hiring a bath remodeling contractor?

Do you plan on applying for any permits? Do you have the proper insurance and licenses? Do you have before and after pictures of previous projects to preview? You want to make sure they are going by proper procedure, recommends Alex.

How long have you been doing this type of work? May I speak with past clients of yours? Who will be performing the work? How long will the process take? Will you be servicing other jobs at the time as my home? What can I do to make the process easier on you as the contractor? Get all the information you need upfront, suggests Paul, so there are no surprises later on down the line.
What do you wish new clients knew about the process?

I wish more clients knew how long some building departments take to approve a permit. Many people are surprised by the time it takes, although we do our best to communicate the timeline before any contracts are signed, says Leo.

That you get what you pay for, says Alex. And that it’s always best to have a General Contractor handle the management of the job.

Not everything goes as planned, states Paul. For example, after demolition problems like bad framing by the original home builder might be revealed. That needs to be dealt with before contractors can move forward. Another example of the unexpected could be structural water damage from previously undetectable or unnoticeable leaks. A homeowner should be prepared for these possible problems, because the total cost of the remodel will increase due to the additional work that was unforeseeable but is necessary to do a good job.

Any advice about choosing a contractor?

Unfortunately, in Ohio, licensed people will often illegally “rent” their licenses to unlicensed companies, says Leo. Look out for companies where the licensed qualifiers are not present. A second warning sign is a company asking for a large deposit up front. We only require a 10 percent deposit up front; followed by progress payments as work progresses. The key is not to overpay up front so the contractor owes you a substantial amount of work to get caught up, explains Leo. Keep pace with the work as far as payments go and request partial lien releases with each payment to be released from liability for materials or to subcontractors.

Homeowners should always check out the contractor’s insurance policies and their accreditation, suggests Alex.

Investigate the contractor’s past work and clients, recommends Paul. Good, clear communication is very important. If you can’t communicate with the contractor, look for someone else. Also, a contractor that asks for too much money up front is someone you want to stay away from.

Where can clients save money on a bathroom remodel?

Find a contractor that does most of the trades himself, recommends Paul. Although it’s not easily accomplished—because it is difficult to be good at more than one trade—it will reduce the cost of having a general contractor subcontract out to multiple companies to tackle various parts of the project. Price shopping is very important when it comes to the materials. Local retailers are the best places to buy your materials, opines Paul, because you don’t have to pay for shipping costs and there are fewer problems if a return needs to occur.

Select materials that are within a budget you can afford, suggests Leo. The actual rough work and labor will always be more or less a fixed price, but the costs can jump substantially if you select really expensive tiles, vanities, and fixtures are selected.

Alex agrees that when the client purchases their own materials it’s a cost-saver, but warns against doing so without the guidance of a professional contractor.
Where should someone absolutely not cut financial corners in their remodel?

All three resoundingly agree that you should never cut financial corners when hiring a reputable, licensed contractor. Someone who is not skilled can damage your home or your materials, costing you more money in the long run. Do your research to avoid sorrow later.

You’re all set with the questions to ask, are you ready to redo your bathroom and hire a bath remodeling contractor?


From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

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Home Maintenance and Cleaning Checklist for May

kitchen fireplace remodel makes a cosy home

Get your house and yard in good order now, and you’ll be ready to enjoy the summer days ahead

With Mother’s Day and Memorial Day coming up this month, there is plenty of incentive to get those outdoor spaces ready to entertain. From scheduling house painting to organizing your outdoor cooking tools, tick these 10 items off your to-do list so you can get to the good stuff: hanging out around the grill, kicking back on the porch and savoring the season. Let the countdown to summer begin!

Paint or stain your home’s exterior. Longer days and generally milder weather makes May a good month to schedule house painting. If your home has a wood-shingled exterior, replace any damaged shingles and have a fresh coat of stain applied if needed.

Check exterior lighting. Make sure all outdoor lights are in working order, including porch lights, landscape lighting, and motion-sensing security lights. Replace bulbs or schedule repairs as needed.

Get ready for grilling season. Giving your grill a deep cleaning before the start of the season will help it work more efficiently and prevent flare-ups. Clean the grates and interior with a grill brush and wash the exterior with warm, soapy water. Clean and organize your grill tools (tongs, spatula, skewers) and pick up charcoal or propane if needed.

If you have a gas grill, be sure to check the fuel line for cracks, and clean out any clogged burner holes.

Inspect kitchen and bath fixtures. Keeping an eye on these areas can help prevent costly water damage and repairs later on. Regrout or caulk around counters and tile as needed. If you come across any slow leaks, have these repaired as well.

Check safety devices. Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; replace batteries as needed. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace it if necessary.

Get walls dust-free and touch up paint. Use a dusting attachment on your vacuum or an electrostatic duster to clean away dust from walls, paying special attention to corners and baseboards. For a deeper clean, wipe down walls with warm, soapy water after dusting. Rinse with clean water, using a lint-free cloth. Touch up paint as needed on interior walls and trim.

Refresh bedrooms. Rotate the mattresses on all beds and flip over if possible.
Dust nightstands, lamps, headboard, blinds and decor.
Swap heavy duvets for lighter weight bedding for the warmer months.

Deep clean the laundry room. Run the washing machine with specialty tub cleaner (or with vinegar for a natural solution) on a hot water cycle.
Wipe the rubber rim inside the door of the washer and dryer and remove lint from the dryer vent with a vent brush or vacuum attachment.
Clean countertops, mop floors and restock supplies.

Prep picnic supplies. This is the season for alfresco feasts. Be ready for impromptu picnics by sorting through your outdoor dining supplies at the start of the season and keeping a basket of essentials within easy reach.

Your kit doesn’t need to be extensive to get the job done: a cheese knife, small cutting board, bottle opener and blanket, plus a few outdoor dishes and cups should see you through many a picnic.

Add a relaxing porch feature. Make your porch an inviting place to relax and hang out with the addition of a porch swing, rocking chairs or a glider. Too much sun? Crisp white outdoor curtains provide shade and look chic. Just add a tall glass of iced tea or lemonade, and you’ll be ready to savor the season in style.


From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

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Bathroom Mold Inspection Tips

Columbus Ohio Modern Bathroom Tub Glass Shower Design Remodeling Contractors SemBro Designs

The bathroom is one of the most important and most used rooms of any home. Here are some Bathroom Mold Inspection Tips for your Home. Everyone in a given household uses the bathroom multiple times a day which results in plenty of water being used on a daily basis. The plumbing fixtures and high level of moisture make the bathroom a common spot for mold growth which can cause considerable damage once it appears. You should always be checking your bathroom for any sings of mold so you can take care of the problem before it results in major damage. The following mold prevention tips can help you prevent bathroom mold.

1. Use a Moisture Meter: Moisture meters are a very inexpensive investment and they can help you discover areas with high levels of moisture that are prone to mold growth or water damage.

2. Check the Sink: Sink faucets are a common source of moisture that can lead to bathroom mold. Turn on the water to make sure the sink is working properly and check the pipes underneath the counter for any leaks.

3. Check the Toilet: Toilets are another major source of leaks that can lead to significant water damage or mold growth. Inspect the component parts of the toilet to make sure they are attached properly and check around the bowl for any leaks. You should also flush the toilet to make sure it is flushing properly.

4. Check Bathtub and Shower Fixtures: Turn on the water in your bathtub and check for any leaks or excess moisture around the fixtures and tub. Check the outside of the tub as well to make sure it is properly sealed to the floor. Next, turn on the shower and look for any leaks around the shower head.

5. Use Exhaust Fan: Most bathrooms are equipped with an exhaust fan to help reduce the level of moisture. If you take hot showers, you should have the fan on during and after the shower to reduce moisture and condensation.

Moisture is the biggest cause of mold growth in the home which is why it is very important to control and reduce the level of moisture in your bathroom. Performing this mold inspection will help you prevent bathroom mold by identifying and addressing any moisture issues. If you find mold in your bathroom despite your best efforts to prevent it, your next step is to do a bathroom remodel. You can call SemBro Designs for all your Bathroom Remodeling Needs. We are a leading provider of mold remediation services in the Columbus, Ohio area and we use innovative mold removal methods and technology to effectively remove mold in a non-invasive and cost effective manner. We also do full Bathroom Renovations, Kitchen Remodeling and Flooring Installation. Give us a call today 614-853-4448.


From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

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Have the Best Home for Your Family

every home remodel is unique welcome to our nest

For the best home on the block you don’t have to go far.  Make your home the best you know by personalizing it to fit your family, friends and lifestyle in the best possible way. SemBro Designs and Remodeling has been here for years, helping Columbus Ohio homeowners like you discover the vitality and beauty of their own homes.  Voted Best Local Construction Company, Best Contractor and Best Kitchen and Bath Remodeler with the Columbus Ohio Angie’s List for four straight years, SemBro Designs and Remodeling promote confidence in our neighbors and customers.

To have the best home on the block, a good rule-of-thumb is to make sure it is the best to you.  The ones spending the most amount of time in a home are those who should have the most influence over how it functions, appears, and entertains.  If the work you do on your home is purely for showing to people who only visit occasionally, it may not be a look that necessarily brings you comfort so choose your home remodeling changes wisely, knowing the many hours you will spend with them.  SemBro Designs and Remodeling is a pro at helping you envision how your changes will look and feel.  We use a digital imaging software that shows you a before and after view of your home and lets you make changes before your home remodel gets started.

Malcolm Seawell is cooking Quinoa vegetable salad with his sons Cole and Will, at their house in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado.

With all the home remodel options available for remodeling your home, kitchen and bath it can be hard to know where to start!  At SemBro Designs and Remodeling we make sure that you have the professional designer help to gauge what areas of your home need the most work and how to make it all come together into a style that feels perfect for you and your family.  A common complaint from Columbus homeowners is that the kitchen needs an update from an old-fashioned, constricting layout or cabinets that clutter the view.  They also hope to maximize the natural light their kitchen receives and to make socializing with guests while cooking much more comfortable.  Additional Columbus home remodels include room additions for new family members, growing home-businesses, and even outdoor living arrangements.  Whatever your family feels would make their home the best home on the block is important to us at SemBro Designs and Remodeling.


From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

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