7 Signs It’s Time to Remodel Your Bathroom

Mariel Loveland
Written by Mariel Loveland
Updated December 17, 2021
A modern minimal bathroom vanity
Photo: New Africa / Adobe Stock

As long as you have the budget, life’s too short to live without the bathroom of your dreams

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If you’ve been looking for a sign to finally pull the trigger on your dream bathroom remodel, this is it. The average homeowner spends between $6,200 and $15,250 remodeling their bathroom, but it’s still one of the best home improvement projects you can do. It has a huge impact on potential buyers and can increase the overall value of your home. In some cases, you’re even looking at a 70% or more ROI

Even if you’re not planning to sell your home anytime soon, there’s no need to flush your dreams of a bathroom remodel down the toilet. Your bathroom may be better off with some updates anyway. Here are some clear signs your bathroom could use a reboot.

1. You’ve Got a Mild Case of Mold

Bathrooms harbor humidity, so it’s not surprising that many homeowners have a problem with mold. You might notice that your wallpaper is discolored or peeling at the edges. Maybe the area around your fan has watermarks. Though you can clean minor mold with bleach, a bathroom remodel can help stop a small mold problem before it becomes a big mold problem.

If you suspect a mild mold problem, consider insulating your bathroom and updating the ventilation system. If you suspect a major mold issue, bring in a mold removal expert for testing and remediation (since it can be dangerous to do on your own). 

2. Your Old Fixtures Are Leaking

Do you have a faucet that won’t stop dripping? It’s not just an annoying sound—it’s a one-way ticket to a mold issue and a high water bill. According to the EPA, the average home wastes almost 10,000 gallons of water because of leaks. These usually include:

  • Worn toilet flappers

  • Dripping faucets

  • Leaking valves

You can save about 10% on your water bill just by fixing the simplest leaks, and the bathroom is a great place to start. Pick modernized fixtures that reduce water consumption. You’ll wind up saving more than when your old fixtures were in perfect working order.

3. Your Bathroom Has Chipped Tile and Grout Stains

A worker installing new ceramic tiles on the wall of a bathroom
Photo: lainen / Adobe Stock

You can repair most chipped bathroom tiles for about $150. This is significantly less than the average remodel cost, but discolored grout is a little tougher to fix. Grout is porous by nature, so it’s vulnerable to staining and mold growth (which does have health implications). You can try to clean discolored grout, but sometimes you may have to replace it altogether. 

If your grout and tile are looking worse for the wear, consider it an excellent excuse to revamp your bathroom floor or shower walls with a fresh new look. 

4. Your Needs Have Changed

Nothing stays the same forever. If your needs change, so should your bathroom. Maybe you’ve had a child or got a pet, and a handheld showerhead would make bath time more manageable. Or your parents moved in, and they would prefer a walk-in shower or tub. Perhaps you never use your bathtub, and you just want more space. A remodel can make your bathroom more functional for the life you have now.

5. Your Bathroom Looks Outdated

Your bathroom doesn’t have to be broken to warrant a remodel. Sometimes it’s as simple as growing tired of your decor. Odds are that the trendiest bathrooms won’t stay trendy forever, and modernizing your space can add value to your home.

Perhaps your bathroom is a relic of the 1970s, with the shag carpeting to prove it. Or your bathroom features the pink and seafoam green color palette that defined the 1980s. Either way, some homeowners may find it charmingly vintage, while others will probably want to gut the whole thing.

6. You Want to Make the Most Out of a Small Bathroom

A frameless shower cabin in a modern bathroom
Photo: Tony Ruji / Adobe Stock

A remodel can maximize your bathroom’s potential by creating more storage space. If you’ve already got a bathtub in another bathroom, you may want to rip out your old tub and opt for a space-saving shower. You can install shelving and create brand new under-sink storage. Mirrors and a fresh coat of light-colored paint can really open up a small space, and new lighting can compensate for a lack of natural light.  

7. You’re Planning to Sell Your Home

High-end bathroom remodels can exceed $25,000, but even a small update can make your bathroom a selling point. Don’t allow a cracked dub, leaky fixtures, and outdated decor to deter buyers. If you don’t have a bathtub, consider adding one for families. Modern finishes like granite (rather than laminate) can have additional appeal. 

Overall, repairs should always come before aesthetic upgrades. Improving the flooring is considered the most favorable investment and comes with an average ROI of 107%. Swapping out your regular tub for a jetted tub has the lowest ROI because most homeowners don’t want the fuss. If you don’t have a huge budget, focus on inexpensive updates like a new coat of paint in a neutral color.

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