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Five Steps to a Successful High Tech Bathroom Remodel

Technology improves your lifestyle with convenience, rapid access to entertainment and all of the creature comforts modern families expect. Homeowners dream of completing a high tech bathroom remodel project, with ambitious plans to create a convenient, comfortable space. These five steps will help you tackle this home improvement, resulting in a smooth, affordable bathroom renovation that includes all of the high tech features you desire.

Step 1 Determine the Desired Features to Include

Modern bathrooms have gone high tech in many different ways. You can include a waterproof television for your long soaks in the tub, or wire in speakers connected to your iPod or home stereo system. Entertainment options rival any other area of the house, as long as the devices and equipment are manufactured for optimum durability and exposure to water.

Saunas and steam showers provide the ultimate spa experience, and require a bit more planning than your typical bathroom fixtures. Some shower rooms or high tech taps and faucets offer an upscale, personalized experience. All of these features require special building materials or methods to work properly and dependably.

Heated floors and heated towel rails give your bathroom that extra level of comfort, and are quickly becoming a must have for today s bathroom remodel projects. Does your space have the room for radiant flooring? And can you install heated towel rails according to local building code? These questions must be answered before your bathroom renovation begins.

Step 2 Consult Your Budget

Adding high tech gadgets and gizmos to your bathroom remodel might seem like a good idea, but if you re working on a limited budget you need to set some priorities. Invest in good quality plumbing fixtures, flooring and bathroom furniture before allocating your cash for a waterproof television or luxurious steam shower.

Some of the high tech options can be quickly added at a later date, while others require extensive wiring and plumbing work. Consider roughing in the technology during your bathroom remodel, and plan to save for those options over time.

Another good money saving option is to buy last year s models, as opposed to the most recent models. You can often find older models offered for a generous discount. As long as the products received good reviews and come with a valid warranty, this option works well for gadgets and fixtures. Radiant underfloor heating design has remained steady, and retailers generally offer these products at a steady price point.

Step 3 Look for an Experienced Contractor

Bathroom renovators should know how to handle plumbing and electrical, as well as general construction (framing, drywall, windows and doors). Not every local bathroom remodeling company will have experience with high tech additions, and it s important to find a contractor with some experience.

These products and methods of installation differ from the typical inclusions. And installing a TV, stereo and heating system in another area of the house does not expose you to the same conditions and concerns. Because of the moisture levels and unique challenges of including technology in your bathroom remodel, an expert installer is required.

Talk to retailers and ask for installation recommendations. Be sure to obtain a list of current references, and check them to ensure the products have held up over time. Having high tech gadgets in the bathroom is fairly new, so you may have trouble gauging the long-term reliability. But with a few phone calls, you can certainly rule a contractor in or out, based on the reference.

Step 4 Go Over the Details and Fine Print

You need to review the details of your bathroom design, as well as the specs for each high tech inclusion. Maintenance requirements, repair procedures and operation may be different for electronics used in the bathroom, and steam showers are much more complicated than your average shower enclosure.

Go through the owner s manuals for each feature, including radiant floor heating and heated towel rails. Ensure the installation procedures follow manufacturer recommendations, and keep all of the necessary paperwork on file. Most of these high tech features have a decent warranty, and you ll want documentation in case something happens.

Carefully read through your contract, with an eye out for any warranty on installation. Understanding the fine print is important in a home improvement project, especially a renovation that involves technology.

Check the payment details, specifications on feature models and any substitution clauses. In some cases, contractors reserve the right to substitute when a certain model is unavailable. This could result in another brand or model of television, stereo, bathroom fixture or heating fixture being installed. Discuss this with your contractor if you re uncomfortable about substitutions.

Step 5 Be Prepared For Change

Remember that renovations are fluid projects. Changes and alterations often occur as you move along, and a high tech bathroom renovation is no exception. Your dream design may be deemed unfeasible once the existing fixtures or structure is removed. The detection of mold or a necessary retrofit could blow the entire budget, and push off the high tech additions. Almost anything can happen, even with a well thought out design and the best contractor on your side.

Budgets change, plans change and needs may even change as you move along. If you have second thoughts about the layout or design of your new bathroom, speak to the contractor immediately. Alterations can be expensive at this point, but it s much more affordable to make changes now, rather than ripping it out later. This is especially true when wiring and plumbing are involved. Moving the steam shower to another location or upgrading to another model may not seem complicated, but either of those changes can mean major work for your contractor if left too long.

Complete your high tech bathroom remodel in a decent period of time and within budget by following these steps. Plan well, manage your priorities and finances, hire the best contractor, pay attention to details and remain flexible throughout the process. This type of bathroom renovation will substantially improve your lifestyle and property value, and let you take advantage of today s technology.

Posted by: diana
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