Four Common Toilet Problems (& How to Fix Them)

Overflowing, constantly running, and sweating toilets can be an annoyance for homeowners and renters alike. Sometimes you’ll have to call a professional plumber for a quick fix, but there are quite a few toilet problems you can fix on your own. Whether you’re on a tight budget or are a DIYer at heart, sometimes it just makes sense to roll up your sleeves and take control of the situation on your own. From phantom flushes to leaky seals, here are some common toilet issues and how you can fix them with your own two hands.

#1: Phantom Flushes

If you hear your toilet begin to spontaneously refill in the middle of the night or when not in use, it’s not a ghost- it’s what plumbers refer to as a phantom flush. Caused by a very slow leak from the tank into the bowl, the problem is usually caused by a bad flapper or flapper seat. If you think your toilet has this problem but want to make sure, you can run a quick diagnostic test. To do so, add food dye to the tank after all the water has stopped running. Wait ten minutes and check the bowl water- if it’s colored, you do in fact have a leak. Replacing the flapper and flap seat is easy- replacements are available at most hardware stores. When purchasing a replacement be sure to take the old one with you to find a replacement that matches correctly.

#2: Bowl Empties Slowly

Also referred to as a weak flush, a bowl that empties too slowly is usually the result of clogged holes underneath the rim of the bowl. You can use oversized toothpicks or a wire coat hanger to poke gently into each flush hole to clear out any debris. Be careful not to scratch the bowl while cleaning. If the problem persists even after this cleaning, a muriatic acid wash may do the trick. Mix one part acid to 10 parts water and use a funnel to carefully pour half the solution down the overflow tube in the toilet tank. You should hear fizzing right away. Be careful of the fumes- open a window, and run the fan. Let the acid work its magic for half an hour and pour the rest of the solution down the tube. Wait another half an hour and flush the toilet. Note: if you have a septic tank, do not do this. You’ll have to disassemble the toilet completely and do this process outdoors.

#3: Overflowing Water

If your toilet is about to overflow and your usual trick of shutting the lid and crossing your fingers won’t work, there are a few things you can do. As soon as the water level starts rising, reach into the tank and prop up the fill valve (or the ball that floats on top of the water.) This should stop the flow to the toilet, avoiding an overflow but, in case it doesn’t, keep a plunger nearby. If the overflow is caused by a clog there are several tools available. A force-cup plunger is more effective than a standard plunger for cleaning minor clogs and, for serious clogs, purchase a closet auger. Insert the end into the drain hole and twist the handle as you push the rotor downward. Be sure to use caution, as scratching the bowl could leave unsightly, permanent scratches.

#4: Leaky Seals

A standard toilet has at least five seals and, unsurprisingly, each has the potential for leaking. In each case, the solution is to identify the broken seal and, depending on the level of damage, either tighten it or replace it. A break of the largest seal, located between the tank and bowl, will be the most obvious, as water will shoot out from underneath the tank with every flush. The others won’t be as noticeable, as they’re smaller. Regardless of the location or type of seal, they’re all replaced the same way. Drain the seal, remove the tank, turn the tank upside down for better access, remove the seal, and pop on a new one. In some cases, tightening the bolts or mounting nut is enough to stop the leak. Try this method first and, if the seal is still leaking, replace the seal altogether using the above steps.

Tips for Converting a Tub to a Shower

If you’re thinking about converting your outdated bathtub into the luxurious walk-in shower you’ve always dreamed of, you’re in good company. According to the American Institute of Architects, bathrooms without bathtubs are growing in popularity. In fact, 60 percent of homeowners preferred stall showers to tubs in a 2013 survey. However, there’s a caveat: most real estate agents recommend keeping at least one bathtub in your home to preserve its marketability when you decide to sell your home. So, before you take a sledgehammer to your bathtub, here are some tips for making the process as seamless and affordable as possible.

Measure the Space

Not all showers will fit in the space that’s being occupied by your bathtub, which is why it’s important to measure your bathroom as precisely as possible. Most tubs are 60 inches wide, which is a great width for a shower. Unfortunately, many homeowners typically run into an issue with the depth. You’ll want to aim for at least 32 to 34 inches from the finished tile wall to the future glass shower door. To comply with the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s guidelines for bathrooms, you’ll also need to have a finished ceiling height of a minimum of 80 inches and a shower that’s at least 30 X 30 to comply. It’s also important to record the toilet location- a distance of 15 to 18 inches from the center of the toilet to the shower door tends to be comfortable.

If the measurements of your future shower don’t fall in line, you’ll likely need to put your shower in a different location of the bathroom, which will probably require the services of a professional contractor and/or designer.

What about the Shower Door?

Many DIYers forget about the shower door until it’s too late. To avoid the headache that comes along with that, figure out your shower door situation before you plan the renovation. Ask yourself a few questions: where will you put the door in your new shower? Does it interfere with the bathroom vanity or toilet? Will there be enough room to get in and out of the shower with the new shower door? If the walkway from the vanity or toilet to the shower is too tight for a swinging shower door, there are other alternatives available on the market, including glass block walls, sliding doors, and retainer walls. Tip: if the bathroom floor is going to get wet outside the shower, choose a slip-resistant material for the floor.

Take Your Time with Fixtures

Shopping for bathroom fixtures can actually be a lot of fun, as long as you take your time and do your research. Research your options, and keep an eye out for specials and possible out-of-the-box combos. Many first-time DIYers may feel pressure to purchase all their bathroom fixtures and accessories from the same brand, which isn’t a necessity. In fact, many professional designers mix and match fixtures from a few different companies. Since bathroom fixtures are mostly chosen for their aesthetics, as long as they all look great together they’re fair game. Tip: if you’re building a custom steam shower, it should be constructed by someone with at least five years’ experience with vapor proofing.

Lighting & Tile

The key to a polished-looking shower is to consider your lighting and tile options from the very beginning. Make sure to include lights inside your shower, not just outside or around it. Depending on the size and overall design of your shower, one, two, or four lights might look best. When you remove the tub to make room for the new shower, take the opportunity to make sure the light system you chose can be installed like you had planned. Finally, don’t install the tile until you have the finished light sources already in place. Otherwise, it’s difficult to know how any lippage might look, as the lights of a shower are often quite close to the wall which will showcase any mistakes you made while installing tile.

For more information about your lighting and tile options, check out Bathroom Lighting: A Guide and Decorative Tile: A Guide.

How to Prepare Your Home’s Plumbing for Winter

Whether the deep freeze of winter is right around the corner or still a couple months away, there’s no time like the present to prepare your home’s plumbing system for the cold, winter months. If you don’t prepare your home for a drop in temperature, water can freeze and break pipes, causing significant damage to the walls, ceilings, and floors of your home. At best, the damage can be inconvenient. At worst, destructive and costly. As a good preventative measure, use this checklist to prepare your home’s plumbing for the winter weather that’s right around the corner.

Fix Leaks

If you currently have a leak in your home, it’s best to get the leak fixed before the first snow of the season, as even the smallest leak can turn into a huge problem when the temperatures drop. If you’re already aware of a leak, this step is easy. But if you aren’t, take a walk around the interior and exterior of your home and check for leaks or pools of water, just in case. If you wait for the water to freeze before getting the leak fixed, the damage to the surrounding pipes will be more significant. If your pipes are insulated, you can still check for leaks by feeling for any moisture that may have been soaked up.

Set Your Thermostat

If you leave your home, set your thermostat to 65°F or higher. If you’re out of town for more than a few days, set your thermostat to 55°F or higher. While it may seem wasteful, you’ll incur much more expense repairing the damage from a burst pipe than you will on the extra heating. Since prevention and planning are the two key ways to protect your plumbing throughout the winter season, this preventative measure should not be skipped under any circumstances. While you’re at it, reduce the water temperature of the water heater. Chances are, you can the thermostat down a few degrees and still have enough hot water for normal day-to-day use.

Drain & Disconnect Hoses

The pipes outside your home are exposed to the most extreme temperatures; therefore, they’re at the greatest risk for freezing. Since they’re the most susceptible to damage, extra measures should be taken to protect your exterior plumbing. You should drain the water from your sprinkler supply lines and swimming pool before the weather gets too cold, but remember: don’t pour antifreeze into the lines, as it’s dangerous to humans, animals, and landscaping. Next, disconnect garden hoses and put them into storage. Close the inside valves and open the hose bibs so the water can drain out. Then, leave them open so any remaining water can expand without breaking the pipe. For more information, learn How to Prevent Bathroom Pipes from Freezing.

Don’t Forget the Interior

While outdoor pipes are more susceptible to damage, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to your indoor plumbing. While keeping the thermostat at 55°F is a good preventative measure, you should also add extra insulation to crawl spaces, basements, and attics, check windows and doorframes for drafts, and keep windows and air vents that are located near water pipes closed. While you’re at it, feel for drafts around the chimney case or flue and repair these as soon as possible. If the outdoor temperature is extremely cold, allow cold water to drip from the faucets to keep the line from freezing.

Watch for Warning Signs

Even if you’ve taken every precaution, it’s still possible for one or more pipes to freeze. Keep an eye out for reduced water flow, as it’s often the first sign of a frozen pipe. Check faucets before you go to bed and again in the morning to make sure the flow and water pressure have remained consistent. If a pipe appears to be frozen, you can take steps to thaw it. Thawing can be done with a hairdryer, heating pad, or a portable space heater, but use caution when operating these near standing water. If you suspect a frozen pipe but are unable to locate it or thaw it, call a plumber immediately.

How to Clean Your Bathroom…Naturally

Whether you’re trying to minimize your carbon footprint or are concerned about the effect harsh chemicals may have on your family’s health, switching to natural bathroom cleansers is a great choice. Although there are tons of “green” bathroom products available in stores, in most cases it’s cheaper and more effective to make them on your own. And, chances are, your kitchen cupboard is already stocked with many of the ingredients. From cleansers made with grapefruits and lemons to vinegar and baking soda, here are some of our favorite natural and homemade bathroom cleansers.

Grapefruit & Salt Tub Cleaner

If your bathtub has unflattering rings or rust that won’t go away, try this grapefruit/salt combo on the grime. All you’ll need is one grapefruit and ¼ cup coarse kosher salt. One medium to large grapefruit will clean your entire bath or shower from top to bottom, including the fixtures. Depending on the space and severity of the grime, use a half a grapefruit or more than one grapefruit. Once you’ve cut the grapefruit in half, sprinkle the top liberally with salt. Wet your bathtub, and sprinkle the remaining salt around the bottom. From there, use the grapefruit to scrub around the tub, making sure to “juice” the grapefruit over the fixtures while picking up spare salt along the way. Once you’re done, rinse away the pulp, juice, and toss the grapefruit in the trash.

Baking Soda & Vinegar Tile Cleaner

To make a daily-use tub and tile cleaner on your own, all you’ll need is baking soda, lemon juice, salt, dishwashing liquid, and vinegar. Mix ¾ cup baking soda, ¼ cup lemon juice, 3 tablespoons salt, 3 tablespoons dishwashing liquid, and ½ cup vinegar in a large bowl. Mix together and pour the mixture into a plastic container. When you’re ready to use the cleanser, simply shake and/or pour a small amount onto a rag or directly onto the area to be cleaned. Scrub and rinse with a wet rag. Note: if you’d like the cleanser to smell like oranges, lemons, or your favorite scent, add ten drops of essential oil once the liquid has been mixed.

Baking Soda Air Freshener

If you’re tired of using bottle after bottle of air freshener, try adding a simple, natural scent to your bathroom with a basic baking soda-based room freshener. All you’ll need is a mason jar, ½ cup of baking soda, essential oil of your preference, and a tapestry needle. Simply pour ½ cup of baking soda into the Mason jar and add 8-12 drops of essential oil of your choice. If you’re unsure about how much essential oil you should be using, start off by adding less oil. If it’s not strong enough to scent the room, add more. Poke holes in the lid with the needle, and you’re good to go. If you’d like to improve the look of the Mason jar, glue some pretty, designed paper to the top of the lid or tie a bow around the neck of the jar.

DIY Foaming Hand Wash

Finally, if the frequent trips to Bath & Body Works are breaking the bank, you can make your own DIY foaming hand wash using unscented castile soap, coconut oil, and essential oils. Here’s how: add 2 tablespoons of castile soap and 2 teaspoons of fractionated coconut oil into an empty foaming soap container (if you don’t have one on hand, they’re available for purchase online), add 10-15 drops of essential oil, and fill the rest of the bottle with water, leaving enough room for the pump to be inserted. Screw on the pump, shake gently, and say hello to your very own DIY foaming hand wash. Note: the holidays are right around the corner, and this makes a great, homemade gift for virtually any friend, family member, or co-worker.

Incorporating Travel into Your Bathroom Décor

Bowl of Trinkets

With limited luggage space, it isn’t always easy to bring back everything you see while overseas. Fortunately, small souvenirs can have just as much of an impact. If you’d like to trigger travel memories or inspiration for future trips, place a small bowl of trinkets or small mementos from your travel on the countertop of your bathroom vanity. If they’re shells, fill the bowl with sand. If they’re tiny packets of matches, place the bowl next to a beautiful candle. This idea can work for virtually every bathroom, even those where space may be an issue.

Vintage Suitcase Décor

Suitcases are a traveler’s must-have staple, so what better way to include travel in your bathroom décor than with a repurposed vintage suitcase? Search for a hard case suitcase at your local thrift store, put on your thinking cap, and get a little creative with the possibilities. Although this will only work in a large bathroom, you can repurpose a small suitcase as a place to keep your extra hand towels and spare soap sets. If your bathroom is on the smaller side, consider cutting the suitcase in half, decorating it as you wish, and hanging it on the wall.

Postcard Wall Art

While postcards may seem like a thing of the past, they’re perfect for travel-themed décor. Because they cost virtually nothing to buy, they’re quite easy to get a hold of. Start your collection with a postcard from nearby, and gradually build up your collection as you travel around the world. If you don’t have the patience to wait for your collection to grow naturally, visit thrift stores or browse eBay for postcards you can purchase. Once you have a decent collection, create a decorative piece of wall art and place your favorite postcard in the middle.

Travel Photography Books

Instead of leaving a messy pile of magazines in the bathroom, why not place a couple beautiful travel photography books on a table near the toilet? If you traveled to Germany and fell in love with Dresden, find a book that’s focused on the architecture of Dresden. If you love tropical destinations, find a book of tropical underwater photography. Regardless of the type of book you choose, remember to save the expensive books for a coffee table, as items in the bathroom can be damaged by water, hairspray, makeup, and humidity.

Map Shower Curtain

If you love to daydream in the shower, a map shower curtain is the perfect way to incorporate travel into your bathroom décor. Although shower curtains are more functional than decorative, they’re a great way to add a bit of personality to your bathroom without taking up any additional space. When it comes to map shower curtains, there are many variations available on the market. Spend some time browsing online and find the map shower curtain that’s right for you.

Plane, Trains, and Automobiles

Similar to the postcard wall art, this decoration idea will take some time, as you’ll have to collect the tickets from planes, trains, buses, and other modes of transportation while you’re on vacation. Once you have a decently sized collection, choose your favorites, buy a frame, and create your own piece of art. If all of your tickets are from the same state, country, or area of the world, incorporate a map of that area into the piece of art. It’ll be a nice reminder of the places you’ve been, and will act as an inspiration for your next vacation.

Halloween Decoration Ideas for Your Bathroom

With Halloween right around the corner, you may be searching for the perfect way to take your household decorating to the next level. Whether you’re throwing your annual Halloween bash or want to decorate a bit for the kids or grandkids, the bathroom is an often an overlooked space for decorating. Although it will catch many off guard, your guests and friends will enjoy being greeted by a bit of Halloween cheer when they enter your bathroom. Think outside the box and try one of these spooky ideas for decorating your bathroom this Halloween.

Stage a Murder Scene

Depending on the age of your guests, this may be a bit too scary- so proceed with caution. If your guests aren’t frightened very easily, staging a murder scene is an easy way to scare those who enter your bathroom. Simply purchase a cheap shower curtain, find an old towel, and use a mixture of acrylic paint and red food coloring to create the “gore”. Hang the shower curtain and towels outdoors, and get to work. Splatter the paint on the shower curtain so it looks like streaks of blood and, for an added effect, add a pair of hand prints to the curtain. Once dry, place the shower curtain and towel in your bathroom, and add some leftover “gore” to the mirror.

Spider Egg Sacs

Petrify your friends and family members when they open the bathroom door, only to be greeted by these home-made creations hanging in your bathroom. This inexpensive, yet effective, scare is an easy Halloween DIY project you can do with your kids. All you’ll need is a foam egg, white batting, white stocking, plastic spiders of various sizes, pushpins, and a glue gun. To make the eggs, wrap a foam egg in white batting, pull a white stocking over the ball, position the plastic spiders inside, between the batting and stocking, and use the hot glue gun to glue larger ones on the outside. Then, use the pushpins to hang the creepy eggs from the ceiling.

Toilet Paper Hands

What’s creepier than someone else’s hands holding the toilet paper roll? These “magic” hands appear to cradle your precious toilet paper, and is actually quite simple for you and your family to create on your own. All you’ll need is an old pair of mittens, aluminum foil, and a few scraps of fabric. Stuff the aluminum into the fingers of the mittens to give them a shape- for “fatter” fingers (or bigger gloves) wrap the aluminum in the fabric scraps first for some extra thickness. When your “hands” are complete, place them on either end of the toilet paper dispenser, add a brand new roll of toilet paper, and your helpful hands are good to go!


Following the theme of disgusting and creepy decorations, what’s grosser than a hoard of cockroaches running around your bathroom? Probably nothing, and that’s what makes this a great choice for creeping out your guests. You can purchase a handful of hideous roaches at virtually any Halloween store. Once you do, dab a small amount of removable-adhesive to their bottoms and stick them onto your bathroom floor, wall, ceiling, or vanity countertops. Arrange them in a way that looks realistic whenever someone turns on the light. Sit back, relax, and wait for some screams!

Decorated Pumpkins

Last but not least, you can’t go wrong with some nicely decorated pumpkins. If you don’t have time to set up the roaches or the resources to stage a murder scene, a nicely carved or decorated pumpkin is a super easy way to bring a bit of Halloween spirit into your bathroom. Whether you carve scary faces or paint a black cat directly onto the pumpkins, they can be displayed on the vanity, the edge of the bathtub, or on top of the toilet tank. Since flowers are always a beautiful addition to any bathroom, you can even carve a pumpkin and use it as a DIY vase for your freshly cut flowers.

5 Creative Uses for PVC Pipe in the Bathroom

If you’ve recently renovated your bathroom and have leftover PVC pipe, don’t toss it out or throw it in the attic. Aside from the functional uses of the pipe, like irrigation and plumbing, there are more creative ways to use it around the home. It’s one of those ordinary construction materials that’s cheap to buy, simple to find, and easy to work with; therefore, it’s the perfect material for a variety of DIY projects. With some creativity and a little bit of elbow grease, you can create a smart storage solution for your hairdryer or a chic succulent planter. Here are some of our favorite creative uses for PVC pipe in the bathroom.

Hairdryer Storage

If you live with a woman, or are one yourself, chances are there’s some hair devices stored throughout your bathroom. Whether it’s a blow dryer under the sink, a hair straightener on the counter, or a curling iron in the cabinet, you can use old PVC pipes to keep them safe and well organized. The shape of a PVC pipe connector makes it the perfect place to store your hair dryer or flat iron. If you’d rather not stare at ugly, white PVC pipe, paint the pipe your favorite color or design it so it blends in with the rest of your bathroom’s décor.

Bathroom Mirror Frame

Do you have a mirror in your bathroom and want to refresh its look without spending tons of cash on an expensive frame? You can take a PVC pipe, cut it into rings, and make a frame for your mirror. You can use pipes of different thicknesses and sizes, and mix and match different colors for a more bohemian look. Decide the layout before you cut the pipes, and don’t forget to sand the edges before gluing the pieces together and creating the frame. The only materials you’ll need are a hand saw, PVC pipe, and adhesive. For a step-by-step guide, check out the Better Homes and Gardens’ tutorial.

Countertop Organizers

If you’re anything like the rest of us, your bathroom countertops are likely cluttered with toothbrush tubes, makeup supplies, and other bathroom accessories. Fortunately, old PVC pipe painted in a bright, beautiful color is an easy and cost-effective way to organize your bathroom countertop. Simply use a hand saw to cut the pipe in random lengths, spray paint them in your favorite color, arrange them in a manner you’re happy with, cover the bottom with cardboard, and voila! You have yourself an effective and unique way to store and display your bathroom necessities. If you end up liking this storage option, you can use it in the office or kitchen, too!

Succulent Planter

Succulents or fresh flowers displayed on a bathroom vanity countertop are not only pleasing to the eyes, but it can help improve indoor air quality. Since succulents tend to have shallow roots, the DIY pots don’t have to super long in order to get the job done. Choose the best option for your space- long pipes are ideal if you have a lot of vertical space on your counter, while shorter PVC pieces can easily be substituted for pots or vases. To take the personalization a bit further, use a sharpie or spray paint to decorate the DIY pots or planters.

Bath Toys

If your child loves playing in the bath (and you don’t mind the “mess”) you can use PVC pipe to build them some unique toys to play with while in the tub. Simply get some PVC pipe elbows and T’s, fix them to the wall with suction cups, and arrange them in different ways. Since the suction cups aren’t permanent, your child can easily move them around whenever they want something new. They can create a complex snake shape, pour water in from the top, and wait until the water falls out of the bottom.

Company’s Coming! Clean Your Bathroom in Five Steps

For many homeowners and renters, cleaning the bathroom is their least favorite chore- one that’s often put off until it absolutely must be cleaned. But, what happens when your in-laws call to say they’re on their way and you don’t have the time, patience, or products required for the deep clean your bathroom deserves? If you’re crunched for time and your housekeeping reputation is on the line, here are some tips that will make your bathroom sparkle in minutes so you can put on a pot of tea and welcome your mother-in-law with open arms.

1. Remove Any Countertop Clutter

For best results, start at one end of the bathroom and make your way to the other side, removing anything that’s cluttering the countertops along the way. Toss any eye wrinkle creams, toothpaste containers, or mascara tubes into a bucket or container and place the container under the sink. If you think your visitors will take a peek behind the shower curtain, organize the shower caddy and remove any shampoo or body wash containers that may be sitting on the edge of the bathtub. While you’re at it, empty the trash can and straighten any hand towels you may have hanging for guests.

2. Dust and Sweep

To get rid of dust, especially in hard-to-reach places, grab a duster with a long handle and remove any cobwebs or visible dust accumulation. If you, your partner, or your children blow-dry or straighten their hair on a daily basis, there’s probably a lot of hair that’s accumulated on the floor. Instead of sweeping the hair into a dust bin, which often takes more time than it should, run the vacuum across the floor until the hair is gone. To save time, vacuum the area outside of the bathroom and any carpet in the living room or family room while you have the vacuum available and/or plugged in.

3. Alka-Seltzer in the Toilet Bowl?

Believe it or not, dropping a couple tablets of Alka-Seltzer in the toilet bowl is a quick and easy way to get rid of nasty toilet bowl rings- even if they’ve been neglected for a while. While the inside of the toilet bowl is important, don’t forget to clean under the seat and along the sides- areas where prying eyes may take a peak if they’re on the nosy side. This doesn’t have to be a complicated task- simply spray the outside of the toilet with all-purpose cleaner, and wipe with a clean cloth. If you have air freshener handy, spray a couple puffs into the toilet bowl before you close the lid; whoever uses the toilet next will be pleasantly surprised by the scent.

4. Pay Attention to the Mirrors

Since whoever uses the bathroom will likely look at themselves in the mirror while washing their hands, make sure that soap scum and toothpaste aren’t staring right back at them. Spray the mirrors with glass cleaner and rub in circles to prevent unsightly streaking. Then, use the same cloth to wipe over the rest of the vanity and the sink to pick up hairs, powder, and toothpaste residue. Grab a sanitizing wipe and focus on the faucet handles, the wall behind the faucet, and any light fixtures.

5. Focus on the Aesthetics

Now that your bathroom is (relatively) spick and span, at least to the naked eye, you can focus on sprucing up the area with flowers, candles, or air freshener. Although the space may be clean, certain smells may linger- especially if someone used the restroom a few minutes before your surprise visitors knock at the door. If you have a garden, run outside and pick some flowers and display them neatly on the vanity countertop. If you don’t have access to fresh flowers, light a candle or spray a few puffs of deodorizing spray to neutralize the odor.

Now that your bathroom is ready for visitors, take a second to survey the rest of the home. After all, a clean bathroom won’t matter much if the beds are unmade or the kitchen counters are cluttered with empty cans.

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.


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.


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 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!