Setting Ground Rules for a Bathroom Remodel

Starting a bathroom remodel can seem like a daunting project. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to make some costly mistakes. As such, it’s important to know the necessary demolition and renovation steps so that you can build a new and improved bathroom With these basic tips, you can begin your remodeling project with the confidence that you’re taking the proper steps in order to complete the process.

Strip It Down

Before beginning your bathroom remodel, you’ll need to clear out your current bathroom. This will require some demolition and removal of large appliances on your part. For example, you’ll need to remove the bathroom vanity, which will require you to turn off the water supply, disconnect any drain pipes, and cut the seal of the caulk holding the vanity to the wall so that you can remove it piece by piece. Removing a vanity can seem like a project in itself, and it’s one of the more important parts of any bathroom remodel. You’ll also need to remove the toilet, which you can do by hitting the base of the tank and the bottom of the toilet with a hammer just hard enough so that you crack the porcelain around the bolts. Once you’ve created some separation, you can haul the toilet out along with the wax ring and you’re all set. You’re also going to need to remove the shower pipe, any remaining insulation, and the tile before you can begin making any additions.

Know Your Home

Once you’ve stripped your bathroom, you can begin to apply your vision of your new and improved bathroom layout. However, make sure to keep it realistic for your home and its function. For example, you’ll want to address questions such as whether or not you’ll need no-slip floors or child-friendly features. If you’re renovating the master bath and you’d like separate sinks and mirrors for you and your spouse, then you’ll need to work this into your floorplan. Make sure you have enough room if you’re going to add a large tub or vanity. It’s important to focus on the parts that you have room for and that you’ll get the most use out of. Make sure to come up with a remodel plan that allows for some walk-around space that will still provide you with everything you need on a daily basis, as your bathroom will surely need to accommodate you comfortably every day.

Know When to Bring in the Professionals

While we’d all like to consider ourselves DIY experts, there are certain jobs that are better left to the professionals. If you don’t feel completely comfortable removing the vanity, then perhaps you should look for some extra assistance, as this is not a task you’ll want to take lightly. The same holds true for installing a new toiler or bathtub. If you’re not experienced or confident in setting these items firmly in their place, then you may want to hire an expert. It’s good to do as much as you can on your own, and nobody wants to spend extra, but there are certain parts of a bathroom remodel that are just better when done by the experts. So, if you’re uncertain on how to install an appliance or secure a certain fixture in your bathroom, then it might be best to do some research on local, experienced professionals.

A bathroom remodel can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Hopefully these tips have been helpful in giving you some perspective on the work that lies ahead. Keep these steps in mind and you’ll be on your way to completing a bathroom remodel.

Getting to Know Your Bathroom Countertop Options

When designing your bathroom, you’ll have to do quite a bit of research on different appliances, utilities, and surface materials before you can begin to renovate. One of the most important decisions during this process will be the one regarding your countertops. Your bathroom vanity countertops not only serve as a highlight of your bathroom’s aesthetic, but they’ll need to withstand the wear and tear that comes with daily life. For this reason, you should make sure you select a countertop that fits with the rest of your design layout, while also making sure to choose one that will be durable and easy to keep clean and maintain.

Stone

It’s very common for people to go with a stone countertop, particularly granite or quartz. This is because they’re highly durable and functional materials, and they tend to have a very polished and elegant look. There are some differences among the range of stone countertop types, so you should understand the characteristics and responsibility that comes with each before making your decision.

If you choose granite, you’ll want to make sure it’s properly sealed before it’s installed in order to prevent deterioration or any harmful buildup. When sealed properly, granite is an extremely durable, resilient, and beautiful surface material. However, you will need to be sure to clean it with the correct products, which means you’ll need to buy cleaning supplies that are made specifically for granite. Also, you’ll want to be sure to clean up any spills on your granite countertop as soon as possible, especially in the case of a spill involving products with high acidity, as these can cause the granite to corrode if not addressed quickly.

Another good stone countertop option is quartz, an engineered stone that’s highly durable and will look great in almost any setting. The main drawback of quartz is that it doesn’t possess the natural beauty of granite, but this makes it easier to maintain. Quartz countertops are less likely than granite to crack or chip, and since they’re not porous, they’re easier to clean. With quartz, you’ll save yourself money and it won’t require the same amount of effort and upkeep, but it is a slight compromise when compared to the unique and natural beauty of granite.

Tile

Another very versatile option for your bathroom countertop is porcelain tile. This material is highly durable and can be fitted to the space on your counter. Furthermore, this sort of tile is very easy to clean and is typically resistant to moisture, so you won’t have the same worries about corrosion as you might with a granite countertop. However, as with granite and quartz, it’s very important that you don’t overlook the value of high quality installation and design.

A crucial part of a tile countertop is the grout, which needs to be sealed properly. Tile is a very reasonably priced option, although one drawback is that the preparation and installation can get rather expensive. However, after the installation stage, you can save yourself some trouble and money in terms of upkeep, as tile is very resilient and can typically be cleaned with basic tile surface cleaning products. Additionally, it will last you very long time with relatively easy maintenance requirements. Also, tile comes in a wide array of colors and sizes, so you’ll have plenty of options when choosing the look you want for your bathroom countertop.

Laminate

Laminate countertops offer an excellent value at a very budget-friendly cost. Laminate countertops consist of hard particle board material sealed with a layer of plastic coating. While this is a fairly inexpensive option that may not provide the same luxurious appearance as granite or tile, laminate countertops are actually a very high quality alternative that can be perfect for anyone with small children or limited time to clean and maintain their bathroom countertop on a consistent basis.

Laminate countertops are very easy to clean and maintain, since they’re sealed with plastic and can be cleaned with a sponge or a soapy towel. Some drawbacks with this material are the fact that it will show scratches and can be difficult to repair if damaged, and it’s not as heat resistant as stone or tile. So, if you use a hair straightener or a curling iron, you won’t want to place those items on your laminate countertop or you might leave a permanent mark. Otherwise, this can be a fantastic option for your bathroom countertop that will help you save some money without making a major compromise in quality. Also, you’ll have plenty of colors and styles to choose from when searching for a countertop surface that will fit the rest of your bathroom’s design.

Hopefully this has been a helpful guide as you search for the perfect bathroom countertop. There are a lot of different materials and styles to choose from, so it’s important to have an understanding of the characteristics and responsibilities that come with each. So, with this information, perhaps you’ll be that much closer to selecting the perfect material for your bathroom countertop. Good luck!

The Master Bathroom: A Guide

Your master bathroom should be different from the rest of the bathrooms in your home. After all, it’s a relaxing and accommodating attachment to your master bedroom. While it’s common for homeowners to crave an element of grandeur in their master bathroom, there are a number of ways to take a simple and budget-friendly approach to its design. Here are some tips for making a statement, while still creating a serene environment that you’ll get the most out of every day.

Prioritize the Shower

When it comes to your master bathroom, the shower should be one of your top priorities. You’ll either be starting or ending your daily routine with a shower, so you’ll want to make it something to look forward to. With this in mind, you should look for a fairly large shower head that allows for consistent water flow and a wide range of temperatures. If you’d like, you can search for a shower head with adjustable settings or a detachable handheld component. Regardless of the type of shower head you choose, the result should be a thorough and relaxing shower each and every time. Additionally, you can look into adding a bench or some easy-to-reach shelves so you can conveniently place everything you need in the shower.

The Other Bathing Option...

While a shower may be a more practical and efficient way of getting clean, sometimes you want a different way to unwind. This is why you should consider a spacious and comfortable bathtub in your master bathroom. Having the option to sit back in a hot bath after a long day can be extremely peaceful and stress-relieving. Look into adding or designing a bathtub with some depth, and make sure that it provides consistent and easily adjustable temperatures so that the water always feels just right. Similar to your shower, your bathtub should have enough surface or counter space to place all of your bathing products close by. Your master bathroom should be functional, but it can also be your place of solace, and if you enjoy a hot bath on occasion, then make sure your bathtub is the perfect fit.

Sink(s) and Mirror

Since you’ll be using your master bathroom to get ready every day, a decently-sized and well-lit mirror is sure to be appreciated. If you’re sharing your master bathroom with your partner, then you might benefit from having a dual-sink vanity so that each of you can go about your morning routine with plenty of space. Consider a bathroom vanity that has a large mirror and plenty of lighting so that you can have a detailed view when you’re shaving, putting on makeup, or brushing your teeth. You’ll want to make sure your master bathroom is well-ventilated, that way you aren’t looking at a foggy mirror after a hot shower or bath. Remember to keep your toiletries close by in baskets or drawers, so all your favorite products will be within an arms’ reach.

Floors

Finally, you’ll want to make sure your master bathroom’s flooring can handle your day-to-day life. Tile floors that can withstand the moisture from water and steam are incredibly important, as mold can grow quickly in this kind of atmosphere. In order to avoid slipping on a slick surface, you’ll want to place absorbent and firm mats outside of your bathtub and shower. Look for mats that will feel good on your feet and won’t slide on your tile floor. Not only should they be aesthetically pleasing, but these mats should be able to handle moisture and provide some traction so you’re not slipping around on the floor in your master bathroom.

Your master bathroom should be set apart from the ‘ordinary’ bathrooms in your home, as it’s meant to accommodate your day-to-day life in the most comfortable and relaxing way possible. While it should be functional, you’ll be very pleased if you put some effort into making it your own little luxurious getaway within your home. With these tips, you’ll create the idea master bathroom that you’ll look forward to using each and every day.

What Type of Shower Base is Right for You?

If you’re midway through a bathroom remodel, you maybe browsing the Web for shower bases. When it comes to shower bases, there are many different types – each with their own unique pros and cons. Some of them are easy enough for an amateur to install, while others should be left to the professionals. From pre-cast to acrylic shower bases, here’s what you need to know in order to choose the right shower base for your bathroom.

Pre-cast Shower Base

This type of shower base comes in various shapes and sizes, and is ready to install right out of the box. Neo angle bases are designed for corner showers, and come with a curb, tile flanges, and a built-in drain pocket. Easy enough for even the most novice DIYer to install, most manufacturers will make custom pre-cast bases that are sure to fit almost any size, shape, and drain location. Note: before you begin installation, read and review the manufacturer’s installation instructions and tips. The entire success of your project depends on a good installation of the base – don’t install them out of level or you’ll be reprimanding yourself later on down the line.

Custom Tile Shower Base

While a custom tile shower base can be built from scratch or built from a kit, it’s time consuming and can be tedious. If you wouldn’t consider yourself a handy person and don’t have a ton of patience, choose the pre-cast base, as custom tile shower bases aren’t the easiest to put together. Made by framing the outline of the shower base with standard 2 X 4 construction, many municipalities will require an inspection before you can install a custom tile shower base. The pros include the freedom to make the shower base any size you’d like, while the cons include having to seal and clean the grout often so as to avoid leaks and mold.

Acrylic Shower Base

Made by thermos-forming acrylic over a fiberglass substrate, acrylic is an extremely lightweight shower base option. Not only is it light and easy to install, but it comes in a variety of sizes and colors. If your old shower base was especially scratched, an acrylic shower base may be the right choice – the color goes a long way through the material so, if you do scratch the surface, it won’t be a different color than the rest of the base. A con to keep in mind: most household cleaners are especially caustic and can cause significant damage to the finish. Since acrylic is more expensive than fiberglass, it’s important to clean your shower without using harsh chemicals.

Fiberglass Shower Base

While fiberglass may be lightweight and less expensive, it still has an attractive gloss finish. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many choices for sizes and colors for fiberglass shower bases as there are with the other options. Since a thin gel coat is sprayed onto fiberglass shower bases, the thickness of the finish may vary from base to base. Additionally, the color is only as deep as the gel coat so scratches and nicks will reveal a color that’s different than the finish. Over a period of time, the finish tends to wear and stain and, once stained, is difficult to clean.

The Risks of DIY Bathroom Renovations

While a DIY bathroom renovation is a cost-effective way to drastically improve the look of an outdated room and increase the overall value of your home, sometimes it’s worth spending the extra cash on a contractor who knows exactly what they’re doing. In the end, poor materials and shoddy construction processes can cost you more money to repair than you would have spent on hiring a professional the first time around. From improper installation to failing to budget properly, here are the top risks of a DIY bathroom renovation.

Poor Materials

One of the most common DIY mistakes is selecting poor-quality materials in an effort to save money. While a professional contractor can determine the quality of a product just by looking at it, it’s much harder for novice DIYers to evaluate the value of products or materials. Purchasing cheaper materials isn’t always the best way to go, as wear will show more quickly and they could even be hazardous, depending on who installed them. Not only will a contractor give you the expertise you need to choose the best products for the job, but they’ll ensure that everything in your bathroom is constructed to be safe and withstand the test of time.

No Fallback Option

If you work with a licensed, bonded, and insured contractor, you’re guaranteed a cushion in case some sort of catastrophe occurs. If a pipe breaks or any other damage occurs, the insurance of your contractor will likely cover all damages. On the contrary, if you’re doing the work yourself and damage occurs, many homeowners’ insurance companies won’t cover operator error. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, if you’re not willing to risk shelling out cash for the materials and any potential damages your bathroom will incur as a result of your limited knowledge, you should consider hiring a professional, licensed contractor to take over the job.

Design Limitations

If you’re choosing to handle a bathroom renovation on your own, you’ll be limited to the current layout of the toilet, sink, and tub. Some DIY jobs, such as replacing a toilet or installing a new vanity, are relatively easy for those with little experience to complete. Unfortunately, half the fun of a bathroom remodel is changing the layout and general look and feel of the room. Unless you have a contractor’s license and understand the intricacies of disrupting the plumbing and electrical lines, you should hire a contractor to take care of the details.

Budgeting Improperly

Like many home improvement projects, there’s a tendency for unforeseen expenses to pop up. Many DIYers will find that their pipes need updating only after they’ve ripped open the floor and, in most cases, such a circumstance hasn’t even crossed their mind. Since contractors have been remodeling bathrooms for years or, in some cases, even decades, they’ll likely budget for the most common problems they’ve come across while working as a contractor. All of the risks associated with a DIY project can ultimately increase the cost of a project so, depending on the magnitude of the project, hiring a contractor may be a good idea.

Improper Installation

Plumbing installation can be tricky since every component must be watertight. If a fixture isn’t watertight, it can cause water damage, mold, and mildew. While installing a new sink faucet may not be difficult, installing a new bathtub or shower takes a certain amount of skill. If improperly installed, not only can these fixtures drain your finances, but they can pose a danger to your family. If you’re not sure how to properly install a faucet or showerhead, you may want to think twice about installing something as large and dangerous as a bathtub.