A Guide to Your Bathroom Remodel in Williamsburg, VA

Here’s everything you need to know about your bathroom remodel (in Williamsburg, Virginia) from costs to planning and execution.

A successful bathroom remodel takes a ton of planning and attention to detail. There is a long list of steps with many moving parts. In addition, a bathroom renovation is a considerable financial investment, so you want to make a wise investment.

While you may think of skills related to detail and planning, the main skill required for executing a successful bathroom design plan is communication. Here’s an example of how poor communication could go wrong.

updated bathroom remodel williamsburg va

Setting Expectations + Communication for your Bathroom Remodel

You give a this photo (above) to your contractor and tell them you want your new bathroom to look like the photo. You’ve picked the tile, countertops, lighting and vanity, so it will look like the picture, right?

But let’s discuss the things that need to be specified in the photo for optimal function and great design:

  • what height should the board & batten millwork be
  • did you specify the baseboard height
  • height of the sconces from the backplate, top, bottom?
  • will the mirror overlap the trim so that it is at the correct height
  • do you want shoe mold/quarter round; should it be white or trim color
  • is the hand towel bar easily accessible; what height should it be
  • how is the tile finished at the entry to the room as well as where does the pattern start and end
  • which direction will the tile go
  • what is the backsplash height and edge profile of the countertop

These are all things that need to be decided, written down in the design plan and communicated to the contractor and subs (via the GC) so that your expectation (idea in your head of what it should look like) is what is executed by your team. This is the value of having an interior designer on your team! Our job is to get the details, know the architectural style, and communicate that to the rest of the team.

This isn’t a dig at contractors. Contractors are an integral part of the bathroom remodeling process, but you need to properly communicate your vision for the space, otherwise they will default to “what they usually do”. And that may not be the same as the vision in your head.

So, let’s execute the design plan you want and love with the help of a great team to insure that your investment in the remodel will last and function properly for many years to come.

bathroom remodel details to get right
Example of specifications for a shower niche

Do You Need an Interior Designer for Your Remodel?

Yes! If you are investing tens of thousands of dollars on a bathroom remodel or renovation, you need to work with a designer for precisely the reasons above. We sort out the details, write them down, and verify them on site with you contractor so that what you envisioned is what actually shows up in your new bathroom.

Our job isn’t just to pick a paint color, it is to educate you. We explain the process, help select the best materials for your investment range (not push you into trends or out of budget), specify all of the important parts of the remodel, and help field contractor questions when they arise.

Lastly, we do create a gorgeous and functional design plan for your remodel so that you are spending your money wisely. We all want a “timeless” space when you upgrade, part of that is choosing what you love, the other part is choosing finishes that won’t date your space.

Want to work with April? Fill out our questionnaire.

Williamsburg va bathroom remodel

Bathroom Remodel Cost in Williamsburg, VA

The cost for your specific bathroom remodel will vary by the contractor you select and the materials you choose. Additional costs will be incurred based on the details such as trim work, tile layout, and if you have to move plumbing/structural elements.

If your contractor has a large team, they have a large overhead which means the cost will likely be more. But with that comes better communication, likely software programs for planning & costing, and multiple contacts if you need to reach them.

Custom builders will be familiar with all of the trades needed to execute your bathroom design and their approximate labor costs.

*Note* In my experience, even experienced general contractors and custom builders don’t have enough $$ in their allowances for what materials cost today- like tile, countertops and lighting. We want to set realistic expectations for these luxuries, so pay attention to whether their bid includes materials and if so, how much in each category. If it includes labor + materials, I usually reserve 1/3 of that allowance for labor and 2/3 for materials, then determine if that is in line with what materials cost.

So how much will your bathroom remodel cost? Let’s price out the most basic materials for a 10×10 bathroom, with a 4×4 tiled shower and 72″ store bought vanity:

Floor tile ($12 sqft) + overage$1,030
Shower wall tile ($12 sqft)$800
Shower floor tile ($3 sqft)$330
Quartz Bench$250
Shower Glass$2,500
Freestanding tub + fixtures$1,900
Vanity Lighting$300
Shower System$1,500
Paper holder/ towel bar$500
Total $16,985

The total comes to $16,985 without tax, shipping, ANY labor or anything else like grout, plumbing rough ins, recessed lighting, art, custom linen cabinetry, floor & shower thresholds and more. This doesn’t include dry fitting your tile for layout, electrical, demo, paint and painting, installation of hardware & plumbing or your general contractor’s fee which is typically 10-20% of the project total (not just materials total).

So where does that put you in terms of overall bathroom renovation cost? For a 10×10 bathroom remodel with Good/Better/Best quality + labor + GC = $17,000 client purchases + $15,000 for subs + $10,000 for GC project management = $42,000.

How did we arrive at this number? Selections made for this bathroom include mid range shower fixtures & hardware from Build.com and tile from Floor & Decor and Tile Shop.

If your contractor sources through a showroom, tile tends to be higher per square foot and marble tile runs around $22-$39 per square foot. If you have custom cabinetry which requires sourcing countertops from a slab yard, the cost will increase by $12,000- $15,000 for materials + fabrication.

These numbers are based in reality and rooted in current project costs in my experience. I encourage you to go to Build.com and begin adding things to a cart or list to price them yourself. Stop by the Ferguson showroom in Williamsburg and look at the fixtures. You will see a difference in look and quality between the lowest priced items and the moderate to higher end fixtures.

Remodels only happen a few times in a lifetime (sometimes only once!), so don’t cheap out on the materials, choose things that you really love and plan/invest accordingly.

bathroom reno selections
Gray bathroom with white marble vanity and gold mirror and lights

Choosing a contractor for your bathroom remodel

Important questions to ask your contractor before signing a contract for a remodel of your home. PS- Always have a contract!

Have a contractor or two come out for a quote to discuss the project.

It’s helpful to have the “Specification Sheets” printed out for things like the shower, toilet and fan so that the contractor can confirm they will work in your space.


  • If the specific items you selected won’t work, they can provide an appropriate alternative as well as cost for installation.
  • Have a contract spelling out what they will and will not do & what they will and will not order, with as much detail as possible
  • Ask for the payment schedule (usually 1/2 down + materials)

Questions to Ask Your Contractor

Here are a list of questions to discuss with your contractor so that you are both on the same page about how they operate.


1- SCOPE vs. COST estimate

  • Who is buying materials? (contractor or customer)
  • Is it a Time-&-materials estimate, or a scope-only estimate?
  • Is Designer/Customer are picking the color palette & finishes; or is the contractor?
  • What date will they need specifics by? (exact products/finishes)


  • What Day are you starting?
  • What’s the length of the entire project?
  • What are work hours per day?
  • Estimated completion date?
  • (Expect additional time, delays happen- mentally prepare yourself)
  • (Also, trust the professionals to handle scheduling and expect things to get moved around- subs will come a day early or late and the GC won’t notify you. This is normal- we have to be flexible as emergencies and schedule changes come up.)


  • What’re your expectations/budget constraints? (Having the items chosen before hand helps communicate to the contractor what you are expecting it to look like from a design perspective)
  • Ask for portfolio and progress photos
  • Website/Yelp/Google reviews?
  • Can you give me Referrals/ References that I can call or see the quality of work?


  • What do you guarantee? How long?
  • If you do need to fix something, are you covering all costs?
  • Quality:
    • What should I expect for:
      • Prep
      • Clean up (daily & after the project)
      • Communication expectations: will it be weekly, after each sub, about progress/expectations; preferred method (call, text) and contact person
      • Final walkthrough/punch list
      • Imperfection threshold: How picky are they about subs work and how picky are you (do these line up)

Considering these items before signing a contract is important. Again the entire project’s success goes back to expectations, spoken or unspoken and whether they are met or not.

Step by Step Process for a Bathroom Remodel

Here is the general timeline we use when planning a bathroom remodel. Some things will move around slightly given the needs of the project and the availability of subcontractor.

This is a guideline- be flexible! You can expect subs to show up a day (or hours) earlier or later than planned. This is normal- schedules get moved around and the GC has it under control.

Often times subcontractors are moving around on multiple projects. Look at it this way, if you urgently needed a sub to come fix a mistake or handle a problem, would you want them to try and move around their schedule for you? Of course!

So we view things in light of accommodating whatever comes up within reason. A day or two doesn’t mean they aren’t a great worker, it means they are willing to move mountains for the success of a project.

  1. Start planning inspiration images for your new bathroom
  2. Make tentative fixture & material selections
  3. Interview contractors & price the job
  4. Hire a GC & sign a detailed contract
  5. Begin ordering materials
  6. GC pull permits
  7. Demo
  8. Structural & Framing
  9. Electrical rough in
  10. Plumbing rough in
  11. Drywall
  12. Waterproofing
  13. Tile/Flooring
  14. Paint
  15. Vanity/Cabinetry installation
  16. Template Countertops
  17. Plumbing installation
  18. Shower Glass
  19. Lighting, Mirrors, Hardware
  20. Final Walkthrough + Punchlist
bathroom remodel mood board williamsburg va

How Picky is too Picky? Normal Renovation Imperfections

When your project comes to a close and you are doing the final walkthrough (of perhaps as part of the renovation is going, i.e. tiling) you may notice imperfections. Whether it’s a dinged cabinet door, countertop spots, the height of the showerhead, or scuffed walls.

How concerned should you be over these renovation woes and what’s the remedy?

This issue is not always straightforward because the idea of a ‘quality’ work can vary between the client and the contractor. Some contractors will notice shoddy work, be it part of their work or an existing condition of the home, but say nothing to the client in hopes they won’t notice and others will call it out and suggest an immediate solution.

Often times, the condition of the home can have a lot to do with how even cabinetry fits, countertop templates and even tile layout because your home may not have completely square walls. Bottom line is that you should address these things as soon as you see them and ask what your GC to suggest a remedy. Dinged cabinets and scuffed paint can be easily repaired and don’t call for a full replacement.

However, things like cabinet hardware placement, showerhead height and tile layout all come back to the expectation you had (with your vision of the space) versus how and when you communicated it to your contracting team. If you didn’t think about it until after it was installed, that’s on you. If you pre-planned and provided it in writing/visual diagram and it was not properly executed (barring any structural reasons), your GC has a responsibility to remedy the problem at his/her cost.

A general rule of thumb for residential remodeling standards is: if it meets code, is not noticeable from 5 ft distance, is not defective, and is within 1/16″ it is considered to meet quality standards.

bathroom mood board

Bathroom Renovation Recap

Here are the highlights when undergoing a bathroom renovation.

  • Gather Inspiration
  • Determine an investment range
  • Create a detailed design plan
  • Interview your GC
  • Select and order all fixtures & materials
  • Remodel Process
    • Demo, Framing, Rough ins
    • Drywall, Flooring, Tile
    • Paint, Cabinetry, Glass, Plumbing fixtures
    • Lighting, Mirrors, Hardware
    • Walk through/Punchlist

Feeling overwhelmed with all of the details? Let April help you navigate your remodel. Fill out our questionnaire.