If you plan to give your bathroom a facelift, upgrading your bathtub or shower gives you the most value for your investment. A well planned bathroom and shower remodel project will pay big dividends aesthetically and financially.
In fact, next to the kitchen, the master bathroom is one of the primary factors in selling a house. The number of options available for updating these deceptively simple fixtures can be daunting, so selecting an expert bathtub and shower contractor to walk you through the process is essential.
So how do you go about choosing the right Contra Costa County bathtub and shower installation company for your job?
The best way to start is by doing a little homework on the nature of your specific project.
Decide What Bathtub and Shower Services You Need
Because bathtub and shower projects come in many shapes and sizes, it is important to have a basic idea of what you want and the kind of work involved before hiring a contractor.
Do you need a brand new bathtub or shower, or does your existing fixture simply need to be refinished or lined? What bathtub and shower design style do you prefer? Do you intend to keep your existing bathroom floor plan? What additional skill requirements may be necessary for your job (for example, tiling, plumbing, electrical work)? If you intend to keep your existing bathroom design, what are the exact specifications of your current bathtub or shower?
Basing your bathtub and shower replacement options on an accurate assessment of the available space is crucial, and can save time once a Contra Costa County building contractor is brought into the picture.
Your answers to these questions should take several factors into account. The first is functionality: will you actually use all the features of the upgraded bathtub or shower you are considering (for example, whirlpool jets or aromatherapy shower fixtures)? Are there specific circumstances that necessitate a specialized bathtub or shower feature? Bathtub features can increase the price of a fixture from $200 to $10,000, so it’s important to take inventory of what your needs are, set a practical budget, and stick to it.
Size is another important consideration. Select a bathtub or shower large enough to relax in comfortably, but not so large that it leads to needless water usage. Is the bathtub or shower you're considering intended to accommodate one person or two? Is it a realistic fit for the size of your water heater?
Color and finish are also important. Do you plan to remodel the other elements of the bathroom, or are you looking for a bathtub or shower that will integrate seamlessly into your existing design? Prefabricated bathtubs and showers come in a variety of colors and finishes, but if you have a bigger budget or a full-scale remodeling project, custom built bathtubs and showers allow you to optimally match your fixture to the space.
You should also take into account the material from which your new shower or bathtub is fabricated.
Bathtubs can be made of porcelain, cast iron, fiberglass, marble, acrylic, and wood, and each material varies in price, maintenance, and durability. Fiberglass bathtubs and acrylic showers insulate well, are less expensive, and can be easily molded, but are more susceptible to fading and surface damage than harder materials. Wood bathtubs offer rustic charm, but also may require more work to maintain. Cast iron bathtubs and showers are durable and better at maintaining water temperature, but they are also significantly heavier and more expensive. Marble is attractive and durable, but can be expensive to purchase and install.
Prospective contractors in major Contra Costa County cities such as Concord, Richmond, Antioch, Walnut Creek, Pittsburg, San Ramon, Danville, Brentwood, Martinez, and Pleasant Hill will be aware of the pros and cons of specific materials and designs, and can also help guide you through the process of selecting a tub that meets your requirements.
You’ll find that bathtub and shower contractors often perform a variety of bathroom remodeling duties. Many are qualified to install new plumbing, faucets, and toilets, tile walls and floors, paint, and even perform minor electrical work required for installing new bathtubs and shower systems. Some are dedicated to specialties such as refinishing bathtubs or designing and installing new shower doors.
If you’re looking for a simple installation, then a custom-design contractor will not likely be the most economical option, nor would a refinishing specialist be the best qualified. It’s up to you to decide which contractors have the experience to best meet the needs of your specific project.
Develop a Budget for Materials and Labor
Once you have a better idea of the nature and scope of your project, you can begin developing a budget. Visit a home improvement store in major Contra Costa County cities like Concord, Richmond, Antioch, Walnut Creek, Pittsburg, San Ramon, Danville, Brentwood, Martinez, and Pleasant Hill, or your local home improvement store in Cowell, Hercules, Hilltop Mall, Moraga, and Port Chicago. You can also perform a web search to look at the available options and prices for the kind of bathtub and shower you want.
What bathtub style do you prefer? A few common design options include freestanding (claw foot or legged), built-in (standard shower and tub combination), soaking (deeper tub), or specialty fixtures such as a whirlpool. What kind of finish do you like? Options include solid colors, granite appearance, marble appearance, and tile appearance.
As you look around online or in your local Contra Costa County home improvement store, keep a comprehensive list or spreadsheet detailing estimated materials needed, sources, and prices. Include peripheral material costs in addition to the actual fixture, such as tile and caulk. A detailed budget and price list will prove useful when negotiating with prospective contractors.
Upgrading Your Shower or Bathtub Rather Than Replacing
If you are planning to simply upgrade your existing bathtub your options include refinishing and lining. Lining consists of placing a heat-molded lining over your bathtub, then affixing it with adhesive calk. Refinishing is simply etching the porcelain to produce the smoothest surface possible using standard acid etching or “greener” but more expensive acid-free etching. If your existing bathtub or shower works well, refinishing or lining can give it a brand-new feel at a fraction of what you would pay to replace it entirely.
Look for Licensed Bathtub and Shower Contractors in Contra Costa County
Look for Contra Costa County contractors that possess both the necessary experience and contractor’s licenses for the specific type of work you need. All Contra Costa County bathtub and shower contractors are required to be licensed by the California State Contractors License Board.
The CSLB offers 43 different license classifications, including glazing, plumbing, and tile. You can verify a prospective contractor’s current license on the CSLB website. Licensed Contra Costa County bathtub and shower contractors service all the major Contra Costa County cities, Concord, Richmond, Antioch, Walnut Creek, Pittsburg, San Ramon, Danville, Brentwood, Martinez, Pleasant Hill and the smaller cities and rural areas.
The contractors you’re considering probably have a portfolio of previous projects for you to browse, which will offer a good indication of the scale and style of work they have completed. In addition to this, you can request references from previous customers. Portfolios and references go a long way in providing you the information you need to make the best decision about a bathtub and shower contractor.
Obtain Shower and Bathtub Replacement Permits, If Necessary
Under the California Building Code, no building or structure can be altered, repaired, or improved without obtaining a permit. Codes vary greatly by city and county, so you can get more information about your specific Contra Costa County bathroom and shower project on the CSLB website, which details requirements by city and county.
In addition, your licensed Contra Costa County bathtub and shower contractor can assist you in determining whether your project requires a permit and how to obtain a permit, if necessary.
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