Bathroom Tips – Modern Bathroom Blog | Modern Bathroom

From design ideas to cleaning best practices, the Modern Bathroom Blog provides tips and tricks for creating or maintaining a beautiful bathroom.

ADA Compliant Bathroom Design

Intended to regulate the construction and compliance of handicapped accessible bathrooms, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that all public restrooms in the United States be ADA-compliant. The most prevalent aspect of ADA compliance is measurement and spacing of various bathroom elements, as wheelchairs and other devices can be cumbersome and difficult to maneuver in small spaces. If you’re renovating a bathroom and would like for it to be ADA compliant, here is a list of the most common guidelines that must be followed. For a complete list, please visit the official ADA website or contact the ADA directly.

Grab Bars

An important thing to remember when it comes to grab bars is that they cannot be replaced by towel bars – if you wish to install towel bars and have your bathroom be ADA-compliant, you must also include grab bars in your bathroom. The diameter of the pipe used must be between 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches, and must be installed between 34 and 38 inches off the ground. As a matter of safety and security, the bars must be round in shape and connected directly to posts or walls. This way, someone getting hurt by sharp edges can be prevented.

Sinks & Faucets

Sinks and faucets in an ADA-compliant bathroom shouldn’t be mounted higher than 34 inches from the floor. Additionally, they should have a knee clearance of 27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep. When purchasing and installing ADA-compliant sinks, be sure to pay attention to the space under the sink: you’ll need a clear floor space and insulated pipes under the sink, so individuals in wheelchairs will be able to use the sink. Faucets should be lever-operated, push, touch, or electronically controlled. Any faucet installed in an ADA-compliant bathroom should be able to be used with one hand without the need to pinch or twist the wrist.

Handicap Toilets

Perhaps the most important part of an ADA-compliant bathroom are handicap toilets. They must have a minimum width of 60 inches, so wheelchairs can easily fit in front of the toilet, and inside and outside the stall. Horizontal grab bars must be installed behind the toilet and on the nearest wall or partition – whichever is closer. When it comes to toilet seats, the height must be between 17” to 19” above the finished floor. The lever for flushing must be placed on the open side of the toiler with the clearest floor space, and mounted no higher than 44” above the floor.

Hand Dryer

Hand dryers are one of the easiest requirements to comply with when it comes to ADA-compliant bathroom design. ADA guidelines require that the provided hand dryers must be either motion activated or touch-free devices. In the past, when push-button activated dryers were popular, these dryers had to be removed in all public areas where you should have handicapped accessible bathrooms. When it comes to bathroom equipment, touch-free is key – those who don’t comply with the touch-free ADA guidelines can be exposed to several fines and other legal repercussions.

If you’re turning an existing bathroom into an ADA-compliant bathroom, Modern Bathroom has an entire line of ADA-compliant vanities, faucets, sinks, and toilets, just to name a few of our ADA-compliant categories. Please visit our website for more ADA-compliant products.

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.

Give Your Bathroom a New Look with a New Vanity

If you only have the budget to make one upgrade to your bathroom décor, choose a new bathroom vanity. Yes, you can install a new fancy toilet or an ultra-chic waterfall shower, but nothing will make your bathroom look fresher than a brand new vanity. Not only are they the focal point of virtually every bathroom, but installing a new vanity is a quick and easy way to give your bathroom an entirely new look. Since not everyone has the luxury of a large bathroom and an even larger budget, finding a vanity that fits your space is key. Here are some tips for choosing the perfect vanity for your space, style, and budget.

Why a Vanity?

While the installation of a new shower or toilet tends to require plumbing experience that just adds to the overall cost, bathroom vanities can be switched out and replaced with relative ease. If you’re somewhat comfortable using basic household tools, chances are you can replace a vanity on your own – without the help of expensive contractors or remodelers. With just a little carpentry experience and a passion for DIY, you can have a new, stylish vanity installed in no time. Before you worry about style or color, start by considering the bathroom space you have available.

Choose a Size

If you have a large bathroom, this step is simple. Since you won’t have as many space limitations, you’ll have a lot of freedom and can easily go for that extra-wide bath vanity with oversized mirrors. If you have a smaller bathroom, you may be more limited with your choices, but this doesn’t mean your bathroom has to suffer. A classic trick for making a small bathroom appear larger is to install a pedestal sink with a simple hanging mirror. Pedestal style sinks work well in smaller bathrooms, as they create the illusion of space without sacrificing valuable square footage. If you need extra storage space, hang decorative fabric around the edge of the sink and discreetly store bathroom items below.

Select a Theme

The important thing about updating the look of your bathroom with a new vanity is to select an overall theme. Since vanities are the focal point of bathrooms, it’s important to explore all your design options before making a final decision. If you’re interested in a more modern flair, art deco or black, lacquered wood are good choices. For those interested in more classic approach, traditional bath vanities come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from farmhouse to shabby chic. Fortunately, many retail stores and websites allow you to preview hundreds of different designs before making a final decision.

Pay Attention to Countertops

As with kitchen countertops, those installed in bathrooms should be constructed of a nonporous material. Over time, moisture can ruin otherwise good-looking countertops made of laminate, natural wood, or other materials. While the majority of bathroom vanities are made of nonporous material, it never hurts to verify – especially if you’re repurposing another piece of furniture as a bathroom vanity. Generally, people choose a bathroom vanity that complements their home. If you’re leaning towards an upgrade in the future, some find it beneficial to upgrade in phases – that way you can mix and match styles until you figure out what makes you comfortable. With a bit of time and patience, you’ll have a beautiful bathroom before you know it.

How to Make Your Own Soap

Making your own soap at home is easy, frugal, creative, and fulfilling. The process can be as easy or as complicated as you’d like, and is the only guaranteed way you can control what ingredients go into your soap, onto your skin, and into your body. Whether you’re looking for a more natural alternative to chemical-heavy commercial soap or are just a crafty person interested in a new creative adventure, making soap is a fun alternative to bar soap or liquid body wash.

Ingredients

The best thing about making your own soap is that you can not only control the scent, but the severity of scent as well. Whether you prefer a slight hint of rose or a strong serving of lavender in your soap, you can easily create it in your homemade soap with a bit of trial-and-error experimentation. As far as ingredients go, most can be found in your kitchen pantry:

  • 24 ounces of coconut oil
  • 38 ounces of vegetable shortening
  • 24 ounces of olive oil
  • 12 ounce sodium hydroxide, or lye
  • 32 ounces spring or distilled water
  • 4 ounces of your favorite essential oil, such as peppermint, lemon, rose, or lavender
  • Wooden or heat-resistant spoon
  • Two-cup measuring cup
  • Stainless steel pot or glass bowl
  • Kitchen scale
  • Thermometer
  • Soap mold, shoebox, or wooden box

Although the recipe calls for 4 ounces of essential oil, you can increase or decrease the amount depending on your preferences. It’s recommended that first-time soap makers follow the above recipe one time before experimenting with the severity of scents.

Note: if you’ve never used lye before, read the safety warnings that are on the back of the box. Remember to wear safety goggles at all time when handling lye and raw soap, and never let lye touch your bare skin.

Mix the Ingredients

Measure 12 ounces of lye, and pour the lye into a two-cup measuring cup. Measure 32 ounces of cold water, and pour the water into a large, non-aluminum container, such as a stainless steel pot or glass bowl. Add the lye to the water, stirring gently with a spoon until the lye is completely dissolved. Be sure to open the windows or turn on your stove’s exhaust fan, as the fumes can be overwhelming. Set the mixture aside, allowing it to cool.

While the lye and water mixture is cooling off, measure the oils: use a scale to weigh out 24 ounces of coconut oil, 38 ounces of vegetable shortening, and 24 ounces of olive oil. Combine the oils into a large stainless steel pot on the stove on low-medium heat. Once the oils are combined and dissolved, remove the pot from the heat.

Once the lye reaches 95-98 degrees Fahrenheit and the oils are the same or a lower temperature, add the lye in a slow, steady stream into the oils. Mix for about 15 minutes, or until your spoon leaves a visible trace behind it. Add 4 ounces of essential oil, mix, and pour the soap into your mold.

Pour & Cure the Soap

If you don’t own a soap mold, you can use a soapbox – just make sure it’s lined with parchment paper. Leave the soap covered, undisturbed, and out of air drafts for 24 hours. After 24 hours, uncover the soap and let it sit for another 12 hours. If you measured and mixed accurately, the soap may have a light layer of white ash-like substance on top. This is harmless and can be scraped away. If the soap has a deep oily film on top or has white or clear pockets in it, it cannot be used and should be discarded.

Once the soap-making process is complete, remove the soap from its casing and cut the soap into bars. Set the soap on top of parchment paper on a flat surface for two weeks to allow the soap to fully dry. Turn the soap over after two weeks to let it dry on the other side. Once the soap has been ‘cured’ for one month, use it in your home the way you would any store-bought soap or wrap it as a homemade present for your friends.

Choosing the Best Paint for Your Bathroom

While replacing bathroom tile or tubs may require a professional touch, adding a fresh coat of paint is an easy way to transform your bathroom without a professional’s help. Picking a paint color for your home can be challenging, and one of the trickiest rooms to design and paint is the bathroom. Given the size and layout of the bathroom, you have to be careful not to choose a paint color that will make the room seem smaller than it already is. If you’re thinking about rolling up your sleeves and painting the walls of your bathroom on your own, keep this advice in mind.

Natural Light vs. Artificial Light

One of the things that makes choosing a paint color so tough is the lack of natural light in most bathrooms. Nothing can alter a paint color faster than the overhead and artificial light that’s so common in bathrooms around the world. In order to choose a color that you know will work well in the space, look at the paint cards and color swatches in the bathroom with the lights turned on and off. This way, you’ll know what the color will look like during the day with the lights off, and in the middle of the night with the lights on full blast. If the color works well in both environments, it’s passed the first test.

Look Down

If you’re completely unsure of what color you’d like in your bathroom, look at your bathroom floor for inspiration. For example, if your bathroom tile has tiny specks of color scattered throughout you may want to consider incorporating one of those colors on the walls. By choosing a wall color that compliments or blends in with your flooring, the room will look more put together. If your bathroom floor is carpeted, you may want to consider removing the carpet in the process- future homebuyers may see it as being outdated and unsanitary.

Pay Attention to Location

Another way to select your bathroom paint color is to let your location guide your selection. If you live in a typically overcast area, using a bright, uplifting color can improve your mood and give you a bit of sunshine in the morning. Similarly, if your home is located near a beach or lake, using a deep blue can accentuate the natural blue tones in the sky and seas surrounding your home. In addition to location, think about what the bathroom means to you – if you primarily use your bathroom to take a relaxing bath, consider using dark greys or light blues instead of bright, energizing colors.

Choose the Right Type

Since many of a bathroom’s fixtures produce running water, it’s not uncommon for a bathroom to get humid from time to time. Unfortunately, not all paint types can withstand the level of humidity caused by frequent baths and showers. When it comes to bathroom paint, it’s important to avoid paints that will develop mold or mildew due to exposure to excessive moisture. Many paint companies, such as Sherman Williams, offer paints that are designed to inhibit the growth of mold and milder in the bathroom. For more information, visit your local home improvement store and speak with a paint specialist.


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