How to Find a Contractor in Northern Virginia

Bathroom renovated

It’s often said that bathrooms are the most neglected part of any house renovation, and even designing, plans. Even if you were one of those people who did like a luxurious feel to the room, you may end up reading a ton of articles online and still get the layout wrong, purely because there is no absolute right way to structure and furnish a bathroom. Even some of the most prominent and general tips on modeling a bathroom might not particularly work for yours, due to its relative position within the house and a general jarring of themes between the two spaces.

So what’s the solution? Well you certainly need to gather as much information off the internet, since there is a lot of great information out there, such as this one. However, you also do need a personal expert who will hang around during the remodeling and guide you in the little things that make or break such as ‘Do those curtains go with the rest of the room? Does the mirror look out of place over there?’ etc.

So while we can’t match the hands on feel a bathroom contractor can provide, we can certainly provide critical insight on how to go about finding and hiring this contractor. The first thing to look at is, obviously, financial constraints. You’re going to want to limit your choices to the personnel within the financial bracket. Speaking beyond this only criterion, it is worth shelling out some extra money to get a private expert rather than from some sort of home improvement and remodeling agency. This is because agencies have their own agenda, and try to drive home some generic ideas or a certain taste they’re instructed to provide. Individual consultants are more likely in this regard to offer relative tips that will suit your bathroom in particular.

You would also be looking at someone with a pleasant personality. Renovations usually take a few weeks, and the expert you hire should be someone you get along well with. However great a contractor might be at his job, it just doesn’t make sense to hire someone who has a dour demeanor or snaps at your every doubt. This is probably where the agency scores over individual contractors, as a reputed agency will insist on its employees behaving in a courteous manner on home visits at all times, whereas a private expert is not bound by such hierarchy. But at the end of the day, it is not tough to imagine that the majority of the latter are well mannered people by default, so that is not much of a problem.

Of course, talking to people who have gone through the same service always helps. People are always willing to share information on how great or bad they found a particular service, and obtaining lists of previous customers is pretty easy. You could also talk to your neighbours and friends who redesigned their bathrooms recently, and get their feedback on what they thought about their respective contractors. Another good way to evaluate the contractor’s merits is asking for a list of his/her references and calling some of them for information on the success quotient of the previous projects done by the contractor.

Looking for bathroom contractors

Equally important is finding out the professional status of the contractor. This obviously involves making sure their working license is legitimate and updated. Checking their insurance status to make sure they have adequate insurance claims, such as employee compensation, is also a good idea. Further, the BBB is a great place to start your research. It provides information on every kind of business to the consumers, as well as tons of unbiased reviews on the quality of service provided by each contractor.

These measures, as well some proper research on the internet of course, can help you find the right contractor for your bathroom. It’s important to remember that the bathroom, being the smallest room in the house, also tends to be the one where any mistakes in the layout tend to be sharply visible and stick out like a sore thumb, making it all the more essential that you get the right person for the job.

Here’s a great list to start you research in finding a contractor.

Designing Your Bathroom Space

Bathroom Design

Everyone dreams to have a luxury and customized designed bathroom. However, it may be practically difficult to covert dream into reality when time comes due to various technical aspects of bathroom designing. We have covered some of the important aspects of bathroom design, which will help you to design your bathroom in a more effective and efficient way.

Setting your budget:

Of course one of the most important aspects is to set your priorities and your budget. You can’t expect to make detailed plans and hire a contractor without understanding your budget constraints. You can start by understanding your needs, such as the number of people who will use the bathroom and the time duration you plan to stay in the same house or before you plan a remodel. Also look for discount deals, economies of scale and various payment options (advance VS 90 days credit). Try to keep the process simple and always create a provision of 5% of the total budgeted cost.

Do you need a professional?

Money will be one factor and you would want to hire professional for most part of the work only if you can afford it. At the same time, however, you may also want to critically analyze your own skills before making any final decision. Of course you would require construction workers to fulfill the task but here we are talking about other professionals, such as bathroom designers. You can design your bathroom yourself if you believe to have the essential skills. Help from internet and designing magazines can be handy in such situation.

Hiring a contractor:

You will always need to hire a professional contractor for at least some part of the work, such as construction. However, it is necessary to carefully choose only those contractors who have good track record. At the same time, never forget to sign an explicit contract. The contract should clearly include items such as the nature and scope of work to be completed, the time duration and payment terms. If the same contractor is also your supplier, you may also need to include warranty terms in the contract.

Bathroom Sketch of Layout

During construction:

Now your construction or remodeling has been started and you must feel good about it. However, the scenario is usually opposite in real life. This is because of the fact that you will need to face certain limitations during the construction phase. Firstly, it is quite possible that you won’t be able to use that bathroom during this time period. Secondly, you will have to host various labors and workers which can be a headache in itself. It is therefore necessary to agree upon a set of rules before the start of the work. You may want to limit the sound of music played by workers or restrict their activities in a specific area of the house. At the same time also set terms related to schedule and timetable of the work. You may also need to make arrangements for toilet and bathing area during the course of construction phase.

Some other tips:

It is always desirable to go with the trend and have fancy and luxury items. But at the same time you also need to understand your personal requirements, preferences and financial constraints. Always consider a wider range of options and alternatives for every step. For example, you can choose countertop material from a vast range of natural stone, laminate, solid surfacing, glass and quartz surfacing. Similarly, various different options are available for flooring, walls, sinks, showers and faucets. Always choose according to your preference (colors or material), the type of users (kids VS adults), durability required (short term VS long term) and budget.

Another important aspect, which is often neglected, is that of bathroom safety. People often go for highly fancy but slippery flooring or other material which can cause physical damage, especially for kids and older people. Always try to have slip-resistance material, especially for flooring. Similarly, consider other bathroom safety tips such as proper lighting, arrangements to adequately dry bathroom floor, adding grab bars and installing temperature controlled valves.

Still need more ideas? Check out some design photos from contractors in the Fairfax/North Virginia area here.

How to Choose Bathroom Countertops, Flooring, and Walls

Choosing counters, flooring, and walls

Choosing perfect materials for your bathroom would be a challenge. You have to select the best quality materials, should be quite attractive, and with a good price value. You would have to consider the pros and cons of each material you would choose and of course if it would meet your desired taste for design. Here are some choices you might want to consider on choosing bathroom countertops, flooring, and walls.



This is a very hard type of rock which is light-colored, granular and phaneritic in texture. It has been one of the choices because of its beauty and ceaseless selection of patterns and colors. Because of its patterns, you would surely find one that would fit your disposition. Maintaining it would be minimal because of its hard and scratch resistant feature. It is impermeable to humidity or damage from a hot material. When you talk about quality, it simply lasts longer. The only thing is, this is the most expensive choices for countertops and you would really need to hire a professional so it will be handled properly.


Another tough and abundant in minerals would be Quartz. It is harder than granite, certainly resistant to moisture, bacteria and stains, and a variety of installation options can be chosen. It is also costly and might show fingertips and smudges if not properly installed which would require you to wipe frequently or when necessary.


This is made from clay that was hardened y heat permanently and shows a decorative glaze. Tiles are resistant to heat, scratches, moisture, and stains. It is also inexpensive and can be easily replaced if damaged. You can even customize it depending on your choice of installation and pattern, but it can be difficult to clean and can also crack or chip. 

Also, click here to check out this great idea book on Houzz, which showcases different bathroom countertop materials.




This synthetic organic substance or plastic consists of polyvinyl chloride and has been the most popular choice for bathroom flooring. It can be installed easily and you can choose among the many different styles available. The thing is, vinyl tiles tend to come up which can be resolved by using a sheet vinyl though it is more difficult to install. Despite its downside, it is still popular because it’s cheap and its style and texturing is fancy.


This is a good choice for bathroom flooring, but you have to allot more budget to it. You will not worry about moisture problems. You might reconsider since it is cold and is slippery. If you would really insist in choosing stone then you would need to have it textured by sandblasting or opting for slate which is a naturally textured stone. 

Engineered Wood

This might not be amongst the top choices, but it is better due to its dimensional stability. This would also be a good option because its plywood base would hold up against moisture. It looks fantastic since the top layer is real wood if you would prefer a wood-looking bathroom. 


Tile board

This looks like a ceramic tile and comes in comes in x 4 ft. x 8 ft. that would enable you to install it in no time. They look surreal and has a coated surface that resists moisture. It is affordable but as time goes by, if you get used to it, you might clearly see that it’s not that close to ceramic. 

Paint swatches


You would be inspired if you choose paint since you have different options and you can choose whichever color you want. It would be easy and can be done in no time, but you got to be careful with getting a flat or matte surface paint. Having a glossy paint is not necessary, you just have to go with eggshell and satin work for holding back small measures of moisture. It would be better to prime the walls first by using a mildew-inhibiting primer. 

Bead board

This only provides partial covering on the wall, but can be painted with semi-gloss paint that would protect the lower parts of the wall from being damaged by moisture. You can easily work this out since you can buy panels that are 8 ft. long and 4 ft. wide. This would also give you that traditional look you desire.


Choosing a Bathroom Layout for a Renovation

Deciding on a proper layout for the bathroom involves not just the texture and color, but also the intricacies of which piece of bathroom furniture goes where. The quintessential bathroom may primarily require nothing apart from utility, but some fine art and decoration would certainly not go amiss. In fact, it adds much needed aesthetics to the entire surrounding, one of the hallmarks of luxury.

The most important thing to consider in this context would be the impression you want the bathroom to give the instant you walk in. Given the only times one is likely to be in here is early morning or late nights i.e. in other words, times of extreme tiredness, the décor should spell ‘Relaxation’. A cool dark theme will do the trick, but it is extremely important to note that the texture should again go in tandem with the master bedroom that the bathroom is a part of. Stepping from the bedroom into the bathroom in a half-asleep state should not be a cruel shock but rather, a smooth transition in continuity.

bathroom layout blueprint

With independent bathrooms such as those in a hallway passage, however, there is a ‘go nuts’ license when it comes to the theme. In both cases though, it’s obvious that furniture and their relative positioning is the trump card. For starters, the main wall mirror attached to wash basins and associated cupboards for cosmetics, should be the first thing you lay eyes on as you enter the bathroom. In a similar vein, the actual lavatory should be at the far corner, well away from the bath or tub, if you’re planning to put one in.
Ventilation is equally important as positioning, and the vent and exhaust go directly above and behind the lavatory. While this can be filed under necessary, windows and curtains (filed under luxury) could transmit added gloss to the whole room. This obviously becomes rather imperative if you’re incorporating a luxury bathtub. A sunken bath, with a small fireplace behind to keep the setting warm, overlooking windows that offer a beautiful view, is becoming quite the rage in upper class households now as a great way to relax and beat off stress. Additional facets of class could come in the form of decorative murals on the walls, artistic wall hangings or assorted chinoiserie.

The shower is probably one of the most important pieces of any bathroom fabric. A separate shower chamber within the bigger bathroom is not something you see in many bathroom designs, but it’s highly recommended. This not only makes sense from a floor-draining point of view, but simply looks so much better from an aesthetic point of view as well. A compact bathroom simply makes much better sense.

Apart from these individual entities, there is a broader level to be addressed. Space is an important issue. Most bathrooms are tucked away in a corner of the master bedroom, and as such, end up with agonizingly small space. But a larger, well lit bathroom is definitely the way to go. Further, the shower, tub, closets etc combined should not take up more than 40 percent of the floor space, with plenty of well-tiled floor to walk and move about. A cramped bathroom is no fun, and renders the rest of the carefully decorated room completely and utterly irrelevant.

In summary, a well decorated bathroom, with plenty of space and light, ensures this is not the only room in the only room in the house neglected in terms of luxury and grandeur. For more great ideas, check out this amazing bathroom makeover.


Live in Virginia? Check Out this Bathroom Remodeling Guide

Bathroom Paint

Remodeling a bathroom may seem to be a simple job at first but when you get to that situation, you will realize how it can be tiring and complicated. There are just so many things to consider and plan and it is kind of impossible to get through it without any help from others. This guide will provide you a bit of help that may be very useful in your remodeling project:

  • Always take into consideration what lies ahead in the future – it’s true that you can’t tell what the future may bring but there are things that will certainly happen like kids growing, you getting old, and the wear and tear of your bathroom surfaces and fixtures. Many accidents can happen inside the bath and so it is very wise to think of safety measures like installation of grabs and using less slippery tiles. This will come in handy when you reach the age past your prime or whenever you get sick. Also, pay attention to the durability of materials that you will use in a particular area. For example, porcelain is good on walls and floors but is not advisable for sinks since frequent use may cause chips on the porcelain cover. Instead, the use of stainless steel can prevent possible discolorations and chips.
  • Budget wisely – remodeling can be expensive and it’s okay to cut costs on some materials to limit your expenses. However, you must be generous on materials that are frequently used like showers, faucets, sinks, and toilets. Inexpensive materials with low quality will easily wear down and this will cause you to bring out more money.
  • Consider any possible cost and add some extra – it is easy to compute for the total cost of materials to be used but surely, unexpected expenses will arise. To give you an idea, installing a new showerhead in a different area will also require you to change your pipeline positioning. To do this, you need to open your walls and ceiling. This alone will cost you additional labor, new pipelines if needed, and of course new tiles to patch up the opened area.
  • Do not forget the lightings and vents – when remodeling, many of us prioritize the look and layout of our baths that we forget the essentials. A humid place provides good conditions for molds to grow and we don’t want them growing in between tiles, ceilings, and windows. That is why exhaust fans or vents are very important in a bathroom, especially when you have heaters. There are also sensors available that turns on or off depending on the air humidity. If you have extra budget, consider installing one in your bath.

Cut remodeling costs

As for lighting, many think that the bigger the bath, the more bulbs it need. However, adequate lighting depends on the number of divisions. A solo bulb can light a big room if it has no divisions while a single bulb in a small room with three areas will not be enough. Each area requires a bulb because light is obstructed by dividers or walls. Having vertical lights in your vanity area and cabinets is advisable.

  • Consider possible water consumption of the bathroom fixtures you want to add – there are several water-conserving products available now and using them will cut your bills in the future.
  • No matter what, do not rush the process – have a plan and review that plan three times or more. Take note of the smallest details from the ceiling, lights, walls, curtains, tiles, colors, sinks, cabinets, mirrors, tubs, and many other more. Try to imagine what your bath will look like after applying your ideas and have it sketched or drawn to give you a better insight before actually doing the remodeling.

Looking for another great source? Check out ‘Read This Before You Redo a Bath’ by This Old House, click here.