Bathroom reno Q&A

Friday Feb 24th, 2017


Bathroom Reno Q&A

Thinking of starting a bathroom renovation? There’s a lot more to consider than just what kind of tile and sink to pick out.

1. What should homeowners know or consider before starting their bathroom renovation?

Initially, you should assess if you really “know your style.”  Make sure you get an idea and awareness of the style that you like. Look for various ideas and pictures online and then share them with your renovator. If more than one person is involved this can get more complicated. Either come to a compromised design style that is a hybrid of the two or designate the space as someone’s specific while planning the next project for the other person (just in case you can’t come to an agreement).

Is this bathroom your style? Have an idea in mind of what you want before you start planning.
Once you know your style, focus on your renovator. A good renovation at its core is about trust and quality. I cannot stress enough the importance of working with a renovator who has integrity and who will stand by their work. One scenario I would point out is that if a renovator proposes a cash deal without a tax invoice, then the integrity of the project is already compromised. Often you don’t know what is really being done behind your walls – so you need to be sure you can trust your renovator.

2. What are the most common problems you run into when renovating bathrooms? How do you solve these?

A well-planned bathroom with a professional, reputable renovator should be a seamless experience. However, it is possible that “hidden issues” could be experienced. These occur mainly due to what is lurking behind your walls and depend on the age of your home and how well it was built. Typical issues can be outdated insulation methods, shortcuts taken by a previous renovator/builder, hazardous materials (mould and asbestos) and water damage. Sometimes if there are any indications of trouble such as venting issues, corroded plumbing, non-waterproof tile shower/tub surrounds etc. then be sure to do a complete gut of the bathroom first. When done by an expert, this approach should result in a zero problem bathroom that adds value to your house and functions perfectly for many years to come. If you do encounter hidden problems, be sure that your renovator shows you clearly what the problem is and explains the issue in a way that is understandable. Your renovator should provide you with clear relevant options so that you can make an informed decision.  

3. What are some tips for designing a small bathroom?

Build a custom shower with glass from floor to ceiling. Showers can take up a lot less space than tubs so if you are able to part with the tub, consider the shower.
Curb-less shower stalls open up the floor space and create a larger/open feel.
A super quiet fan is also important as loud noises will make a small space feel more cramped as noise bounces off the walls.
If you have space in your walls to build a toilet tank, consider a floating toilet to increase legroom. If you can’t do this you could also look at adding some shelving above the toilet tank.
Consider a floating vanity to free up space.
Install recessed lighting and open up walls.
Consider installing a pocket door or barn door to remove the lost space reserved for the door swing.

4. Are there special considerations when it comes to renovating condo bathrooms?

Condos need to be carefully evaluated before doing any work. Firstly, consider the board rules and regulations of the condo as these rules add to the complexity of the bathroom project. For example, if the bathroom space is structurally connected to another condo’s walls, it’s possible that there is plumbing that cannot be altered. There may be options that appear to be ideal at the start but result in problems later in the process.  

Another important condo bathroom consideration is the importance of good lighting – usually, condo bathrooms have no windows or natural light. As it can be impossible to add a window, use natural light bulbs to mimic natural light. Also, consider bright lighting in the right places such as around mirrors with the use of dimmers to provide a customized and optimal lighting experience. Finally, don’t forget everything you want in the bathroom will need to make its way via the elevator or stairs and around the corners to get to your bathroom.

5. Are there special items that can be installed to help with water saving?

To save water, we recommend you look into installing the following items:

If you don’t require a tub, don’t go for one, as baths tend to take up much more water than a shower. You could consider installing a steam shower to relax rather than the use of a bath. A large shower with a steam unit for relaxation can help to save water.
Install water-efficient shower heads or Low flow shower-heads. These reduce water usage and savings are claimed at approx. 20%.
Install water-saving faucets or faucet aerators. These reduce water flow to the faucet and savings are claimed at approx. 30%.
Install water efficient toilets like dual flush and/or low flow toilets.

6. What trends are becoming popular in bathroom renovations in 2017?

Organic materials such as stone, wood and other materials which have a unique texture and look are growing in popularity.
Different metals like brass or gold tones are starting to come back.
Floor heating is increasingly popular.
Replacing tubs with large showers and steam units is trending.
Freestanding streamlined tubs are on the rise.
Floating vanities and toilets are increasingly popular.
Also trending is to create an overall bathroom experience. Consider the following:

Steam showers with essential oils – some steam showers are available that come with essential oil add-ons.
Entertainment – media systems built into the bathroom.
Special mood lighting – consider using indirect lighting with playful colours.

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