Modern Bathroom Blog

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

Replacing & Installing A New Toilet Seat

Maybe the old toilet seat has cracked, or it looks worn and grimy. Perhaps you’d like to upgrade to something in a different color or style. Whatever the case may be, there’s no need to call a plumber just yet. Replacing a toilet seat is a simple project that you can accomplish with some basic tools. Read below for step-by-step instructions on how to install a toilet seat.

Tools You Will Need

There aren’t many parts needed for a new toilet seat — just the seat itself and some tools you likely have in the garage. You’ll need the following gear for this project:

  • Tape measure
  • Crescent wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Oil or lubricant
  • Hacksaw (optional) 

These tools should be enough for any toilet seat replacement job, even if the original proves difficult to remove. 

How to Fit a Toilet Seat 

The first step is to buy a toilet seat that will fit — before you remove the old one. Most modern commodes come in standard sizes, so you should be able to find a replacement seat at a local hardware store. To make sure, use a tape measure to gauge the length and width of the current seat, then purchase one with the same dimensions.

Remove the Old Toilet Seat

This can be the most difficult part of the process, but even if challenges arise, it’s still an easy job to do yourself. Start by popping off any caps covering the bolts that attach the seat to the bowl. From there, use the crescent wrench and/or screwdriver to loosen the bolts until you can remove the seat completely. 

Depending on the age of the seat and condition of the bolts, the bolts may be hard to remove. In this instance, spritz a little lubricant, wait a few minutes for it to penetrate the threads, and then try to loosen them again. 

If that doesn’t work, use the hacksaw. Starting at the top of the toilet bowl, slide the hacksaw between the porcelain and the underside of the seat until the blade touches the bolts. Then, saw carefully until you’ve cut through the bolts. Clean up any metal or plastic shavings, and you’ll be ready to install the new seat. 

Replacing a Toilet Seat 

Once the old seat has been removed, installing the new one is easy! In most cases, the manufacturer will provide instructions, but if they don’t, the process is similar for all standard seats.

Simply lay the new seat on the toilet so that the bolts go through the holes at the back of the bowl. Then thread the nuts onto the bolts, using your fingers until you can’t tighten them further. Once the nuts are finger-tight, use the crescent wrench or screwdriver to fully secure the toilet seat. Caution: Take care not to over-tighten since this can strip the threads or crack the nuts. Stop as soon as the toilet seat is fixed in place and there is no unnecessary side-to-side movement. 

There you have it! This is a straightforward job that can usually be done in less than an hour, whether you’re replacing the seat of an older toilet or a new one. Speaking of new toilets, if this is an upgrade that you’re considering, take a look at Modern Bathroom’s selection. There, you’ll find a variety of options to suit your needs.

How To Conserve Water & Cut Costs In The Bathroom

There are two reasons it’s a good idea to conserve water in the bathroom. The first is that it could save you money on water bills. Out of all the spaces in the house that utilize water, the bathroom uses the most, which means that reductions here could result in measurable savings.

The second reason is for the environment. Every gallon saved is a gallon that isn’t flowing into the wastewater stream. On top of that, water conservation is important in areas experiencing water shortages.

If you want to save water in the bathroom, there are two primary options: You could modify household habits to waste less water, or choose fixtures that use less water to accomplish the same tasks. Read more about these opportunities below.

Decrease the Water Bill from Bathroom Usage with Water-Saving Habits

A lot of water is wasted simply because of how we use it. For instance, many people leave the water running while brushing their teeth. However, an easy way to conserve water is to shut it off and only turn it on again once you’re ready to rinse. For a family of four, this action alone could save 200 gallons of water per week.

Here are some other ways to reduce your water usage:

  • If you take a bath, plug the tub before you run the water, not after, then adjust the temperature.
  • Even better, switch to a five-minute shower. It can take as much as 70 gallons to fill a tub, but if you take showers that are five minutes or less, you could save up to 1,000 gallons each month.
  • Check for dripping faucets and leaky toilets. A faucet that drips once per second can consume up to 5 gallons of water per day. These fixtures may need to be replaced, or you might need to turn them off tightly when you’ve finished using them. To test for a toilet leak, put some food coloring in the tank. If the water in the bowl changes color before you’ve flushed, consider calling a plumber. 

Try Water-Saving Bathroom Products

Another way to save water is by using eco-friendly products. Look for fixtures that feature the EPA’s WaterSense label; they are designed to use less water than older models. In particular, find toilets, faucets and showerheads that are made according to these specifications. 

  • WaterSense showerheads are designed to use no more than 2 gallons per minute, whereas standard showerheads can run as much as 2.5 gallons per minute.
  • A standard faucet for the bathroom sink might use 2.2 gallons per minute or more. WaterSense faucets save at least 30% by reducing flow to 1.5 gallons per minute or less.
  • By far, toilets use the most water in the home — nearly 30% of total indoor usage on average. If you have a toilet made before 1992, it could be running roughly 3.5 gallons per flush. Toilets made after that date, according to new federal standards, can use as much as 1.6 gallons per flush. A WaterSense toilet, however, will consume a maximum of 1.28 gallons per flush.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to save water in the bathroom — and good reasons to do so. Not only can it cut your water bill, but it’s good for the environment too. To learn more about eco-friendly bathroom furniture and fixtures, check out Modern Bathroom’s selection.

How To Repair Cracked Shower Grout

Wondering how to repair cracked shower grout? It’s a relatively simple process that any DIYer can do. Plus, instead of hiring a professional to fix cracks in shower tile grout, you’ll save money.

Let’s start with the basics. First, why does bathroom grout crack? There are a couple reasons for this. If the grout has been around awhile, then age could be the problem. It might simply be old enough that it has started to crumble. 

More commonly, however, it’s movement that causes the cracks. The walls behind your shower or the floor beneath it may shift a little with time and repeated use, and that bit of flex can cause grout to crack.

Whichever the case may be, it’s an easy fix. Here are step-by-step instructions to show you how to repair cracked shower grout.

Tools and Supplies

First, you’ll need some basic supplies:

  • Grout to match the existing shade and style — choose sanded or un-sanded grout, based on what exists in your shower
  • A grout saw, which is a small hand tool for removing grout
  • A vacuum to clean up fallen grout and debris
  • Grout trowels to apply new grout
  • A mixing trowel and a plastic container if your grout isn’t pre-mixed
  • Rags to remove excess grout once the grout lines are filled

How to Fix Cracked Grout in the Shower 

Once you’ve gathered all the tools, the process is fairly simple: 

  1. Start with the grout saw and go over all areas of the shower where the grout has cracked, using the saw to remove the old grout from the lines between tiles. When you’ve finished this, vacuum the old fallen grout, taking care not to knock any of it down the shower drain. Then, you’ll be ready to install new grout.
  2. To fix cracks in shower tile grout, it’s best to start at the top and work in small sections. If your grout comes premixed, then you’re ready to start. Otherwise, mix a small batch of grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging. Next, apply some of the grout to the grout trowel and press it into the lines between tiles. Use firm pressure to make sure that plenty of grout gets pressed into the lines.
  3. When you’ve re-grouted a small section of the tile, use rags and water to remove the grout film on the tile. If you’re using an epoxy grout, follow instructions on the packaging for cleaning. Epoxy grouts may require vinegar or some other compound to clean.
  4. Take care to do a thorough job washing the grout film. If you allow some of that film to cure on the tiles, “grout haze” could form. This is a cloudy layer of dried grout on the tiles. Change your wash water a few times during the process to make sure that you’re lifting as much excess grout as possible.
  5. This is also why it’s important to work in small sections. If the grout is allowed to cure, then it becomes much harder to clean afterward.
  6. Keep up with the process until you’ve finished the walls. Then, you’ll be ready to fix cracked grout in shower floor The process on the floor is the same as with the walls. However, you may want to place a rag over the shower drain to prevent pressing grout into the drain.
  7. Once all of the grout is in place and the excess is removed, then let it cure. Different grouts have different cure times, so refer to the manufacturer’s packaging to see how long you should wait. When it is cured, apply any sealants recommended by the manufacturer, and you’ll be finished!

Re-grouting a shower is also the perfect opportunity to make any upgrades. For instance, if you’re planning to install a new shower base, or if you want to upgrade the showerhead and faucet, then now is the time to do it.

View Modern Bathroom’s selection of tub and shower fixtures to find the perfect products for your upgrade.

How To Repair Cracked Bathroom Tiles

The cost to repair cracked shower tiles can be quite high — $100 or more depending on how much needs to be replaced and the expenses of this type of labor in your area. Cracked shower tiles are a common problem. As tiles age or take damage over the years, cracks sprout in the grout or tiles. Sometimes, the damage might be the result of an impact — dropping a heavy item on a shower floor, for instance.

Whatever the case may be, cracks in shower tiles will let moisture through the walls or subflooring, which causes damage with time. It’s important to get those cracks fixed quickly. Fortunately, it’s a job you can easily do yourself.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to show you how to fix broken tiles in a bathroom quickly and cost-effectively.

Tools and Supplies

First, there are some items you’ll need to gather before learning how to replace cracked bathroom tiles:

  • Hammer
  • Flat chisels
  • Grout saw
  • Margin trowel
  • Mixing trowel
  • Grout trowel
  • Containers for mixing grout and thin-set mortar
  • Rags or grout sponges
  • A bucket for cleanup
  • Thin-set mortar
  • Replacement tiles
  • Grout

You may also need a drill with a masonry bit if you have narrow grout lines, along with cold chisels slightly larger than the drill bit.

For the tiles and grout, match the colors by finding shades and styles closest to what is present in the bathroom. If there is already sanded grout in a beige shade, then that’s what you’ll want to use when replacing the grout, for example. 

Repairing Cracked Bathroom Tiles

Whether these tiles are in the shower, on the floor or maybe as a backsplash behind the vanity, the process is the same: 

  1. Start with the grout saw, which is a small hand tool that allows you to remove grout lines. Remove the grout from around the cracked tiles.
  2. Once that’s gone, use the chisels in an appropriate size — smaller if you’re replacing smaller tiles and larger to replace larger tiles. Work a flat chisel into a grout line behind the cracked tile. With the hammer, tap the chisel until the tile lifts or breaks away from the old mortar.
  3. This is where the drill, masonry bit and cold chisels may come in handy. If grout lines are narrow, you might not be able to fit a flat chisel into them without damaging neighboring tiles. To get around this, use the drill to make several holes in the center of the cracked tile. Then, use the hammer to drive the cold chisels into the drilled holes. This should shatter the tile, allowing you to lift a few small pieces away. Then, you’ll be able to use flat chisels for the rest of the broken bits of tile.
  4. Next, you’ll notice a layer of mortar beneath where the tile used to be. Again, use flat chisels to remove as much of this mortar as possible. With a vacuum or broom, clean up dust and debris, then it’s time to start installing the new tile.
  5. Mix thin-set mortar according to manufacturer instructions, and use the margin trowel to spread it in the space in which you’ll be laying new tile. Also spread some of the mortar on the new tile, then lay it in place. When the tile is aligned perfectly, press on it firmly to level it and secure it into place. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to know how long to let the mortar dry.
  6. Once dry, repeat the grouting step. Again, consult the manufacturer mixing instructions for the grout. Once mixed, use the grout trowel to smush it into empty grout lines. When they’re filled, all that’s left is to get a bucket of clean water and rags or grout sponges to remove the excess grout. Let the grout cure, and apply any sealants as recommended by manufacturer instructions. 

That is how to fix cracked bathroom tile! It’s a simple job to do yourself. Since the mortar and grout might need a day to cure, it’s also a good time to upgrade bathroom fixtures. If you’re looking for new fixtures, be sure to check out the selection at Modern Bathroom. Whatever style or look you’d like to achieve, we have the perfect product. 

Tips On Creating A Smart Bathroom

Modern houses are quickly becoming smarter with the help of sophisticated gadgets, equipment and “home helpers.” For instance, now you can access the security system and thermostat simply through a smart phone. 

Today’s homebuyers are clamoring for the latest in technology: Over 77% of millennials are seeking properties with smart innovations. The increasing demand has led realtors, manufacturers and renovation experts to find more elaborate ways to incorporate devices into the home. Well, what better place to start than a room you use daily: the bathroom. 

The contemporary bathroom is more than just a toilet, sink and shower. From grandiose add-ons to creative aesthetics to eco-friendly features, there are endless ways to upgrade your restroom that add value and appeal. Whether you’re focused on functionality or staying on trend, here’s how to incorporate smart bathroom technology into the next renovation project. 

Where to Start

Investing in a room you use multiple times a day can have benefits beyond visual aesthetics. Integrating some of the following smart bathroom ideas can help decrease the utility bills and ultimately increase your peace of mind. Whether you have a master or half bath, space does not need to be an issue. It’s time to think smarter. 

If the toilet is your throne, consider opting for a model that will deliver the royal treatment every time you sit. Some modern toilets feature seat warmers, LED lights, self-cleaning technology and motion sensors. If you really want to make a difference in the lavatory, temperature-controlled bidets and automatic dryers will change the way you go — no toilet paper required.

Conserving water goes beyond turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth. A smart fixture can reduce water consumption through programmable timers and spouts that moderate the flow. You could even implement the touchless technology often found in a public restroom. 

Whether you hop in the shower or prefer to soak in the tub, automated systems can make the bathing experience extraordinary. Set water to the perfect temperature, shine LED lights, play music from the shower head or use air jets to mimic a spa. Some sensor panels even allow you to save multiple user preferences on the same device. 

Smart bathroom technology goes beyond the standard appliances. Certain mirrors now come with demisters to avoid a steamy or foggy view. Some are compatible with smart speakers. Others take it a step further with unique beauty-breakdown technology, weather and traffic reports and news feeds to stay connected while you get ready for the day.

Other smart bathroom ideas include an intelligent scale, which can track your fitness progress, BMI, muscle mass and more. There are also cabinets that can maintain a certain temperature and provide reminders to take any medication.

Modern Bathroom Can Help 

A contemporary, high-tech bathroom doesn’t have to resemble something out of a sci-fi movie. Modern Bathroom has the products and services to set up your dream lavatory. Browse our website to learn more about how to create a smart bathroom, or contact us today. 

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