Bathroom Tips


Before you start renovating your bathroom there are many aspects you need to think about to make sure you get the final result you are looking for. Here is a quick checklist of the aspects of a bathroom renovation that may need to be addresses, followed by some details to think about as you plan your dream bathroom.

Bathroom checklist:

Layout:
Moving a wall, switching to a pocket door, changing the window, moving the tub. any or all of the above could make a dramatic improvement in the function of the space. But, of course, moving walls or plumbing will also make a dramatic difference in the cost, and some changes may not be physically possible depending on the structure of the house.

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Bathtub:
An alcove tub is made to fit within 3 walls. It has a built-in 'tile flange' which is a lip that rises about an inch so that the tiles go over it and any water that might get past the tiles, grout, caulking will still be stopped from touching the wall. An alcove tub can have a matching 'apron' - the front piece that goes from the floor to the height of the tub or that part can be tiled. If the apron is part of the actual tub then the plumber needs access either through the wall or through the ceiling below to hook up the waste and overflow drain system **Alcove tubs are either right or left hand. That means as you are facing it is the drain on the right end or the left end. A drop in tub is usually set into a platform surrounded by ceramic tile. (Think spa-like situation). However it can be built-in close to the wall if you get a separate tile flange and extra wall tiles to tile the front and end 'aprons'. Some tubs, particularly the drop-in style, have a wider ledge to them than others. When buying the tub/shower faucet make sure that the tub spout is long enough to clear the full width.

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Shower:
If there is space for a separate shower, there are a few options. There are full shower kits that include the base, walls and door. You can have a shower base and have custom glass to create the walls and door or the full shower could be tiled.

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Toilet:
Toilets can be one piece or two pieces (tank & bowl). The low flow toilets are usually 6 litres of water or less, instead of 13 litres. The City of Toronto offers a $60 rebate if you are getting a low flow to replace an older water guzzling model. Only certain models apply for the rebate but they are all well labelled at most stores. Toilets bowls can be round or elongated. In a smaller space the round bowl may be better.

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Sink:
Whether you like vanities or pedestal sinks they come in a large variety of sizes. I suggest you take measurements of what you currently have and decide if you would prefer wider, deeper, higher etc and have approximate measurements with you. Vanities offer storage but can be bulky. Pedestals may make the room feel more spacious but you loose a storage place to hide the extra rolls of toilet paper, etc.

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Faucets:
Most shower faucets now have a temperature-regulating valve in them so that if someone turns on the cold-water tap or flushes the toilet the shower still won't scald you. For basins, faucets can be either 4" -on-centre or 8". This refers to the distance between the hot and cold taps. You want to make sure your faucet choice matches the basin choice. Aesthetically, you should get the same style for both the tub/shower and the basin.

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Storage;
Vanities, medicine cabinets, shelving or other cabinetry are all options. Medicine cabinets can be set in the wall or attached to it. Of course if it is to be inset, there can not be any electrical, plumbing or ductwork in that space. You will need a towel rod or two and you may want a shelf for spare towels. And don't forget the shower space, where will the soap and shampoo sit?

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Tiles:
High gloss tiles are naturally water resistant. Tumbled marble is very porous. Porous tiles need to sealed to make them water resistant. Sealer doesn't last for ever, just like stain on your back deck, it needs to be recoated from time to time. Are you prepared for that extra work?

There is a difference of thickness in wall tiles and floor tiles. There is also a difference in the grout used, sanded for floors, non-sanded for walls. If your floor or walls are uneven a smaller tile is easier to make level and flat. A larger tile can create more waste than smaller tiles.

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Lighting:
"Task" lighting is functional. It should be evenly distributed around the mirror, whether it is above or on both sides. It also needs to light all areas of the room, so you can see clearly even when in the shower which may mean ceiling lighting as well. If you enjoy a long soak in the tub, you may want "mood" lighting as well. This could be as simple as putting a dimmer on the task lighting or using candles. But it could be adding wall sconces or some other secondary lighting.

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Ventilation:
Without proper ventilation the moisture created in a bathroom can lead to mould. Opening a window can work but most of us won't do that during our cold winters. So if you don't have a bathroom exhaust fan you should add one during the renovation. Two things to watch for: CFM (cubic feet per minute) and noise level. Ideally you want a fan to turn over the air in the room about 8 - 10 times per hour. For example, a room 5' x 8' x 8" high is 464 cubic feet. A fan that is 80 CFM will change the air (464/80=5.8) in less than 6 minutes.

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Heating:
Radiant heating under the tile floor is very popular today. If you have radiator heating it may be possible to tap in to that water system and heat the floor, and the whole room. But be aware that the water lines are set in concrete so it adds a lot of weight and the existing structure of the house may not be suitable. Electric floor heating is not intended to heat the room but just take the chill off the tile floor. It requires a thermostat, either regular or programmable.

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Electrical:
Floor heating, exhaust fans and new lighting will all require new electrical set-up. Sometimes it can be added to the existing wiring and sometimes it requires running a new line. Outlets in a bathroom should have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).

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Safety:
Bathrooms are more prone to accidents than other rooms in the house. There are lots of options to keep it safe. Floor tiles with a bit of texture not high gloss and the same for the bath or shower floor. Some things can be added after the fact with accessories and some safety features may be included in the product. Grab bars are not just for seniors anymore. Overall design: White is not always white. Each manufacturer has their own shade so if you are buying a toilet and pedestal sink and want the porcelain to be the same shade then buy from the same manufacturer. If you buy brushed nickel faucets, you may want to buy brushed nickel drawer pulls and towel rods etc.

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As you can see there are many things to think about in renovating a bathroom. Take some time to wander the shops and see what is available out there. Of course, the "big box" stores all have some selection. And the high end specialty stores such as Taps and Gingers do as well. But a great place to look is Tubs - the ultimate bath store. Their 35,000 sq. ft. showroom at 454 Samor Rd. (off Dufferin north of Lawrence) is incredible to just walk through and get ideas. They have aisles of different bathroom set-up from powder room to full spa type rooms.

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Copyright 2007 Jobs By Jane