Q: How much does bathroom remodeling cost?
A: Cost depends on many factors: size of the room, quality of materials, etc. The national average for a master bath remodel is in the $15,000 to $20,000 range. If you are working within a set budget, it is best to share this information with your designer. It will be much easier for them to make recommendations regarding materials and options. If you are planning a major remodel involving plumbing or electric renovations, or there are unknown conditions that will only be apparent after the demolition, it would be wise to allow for an additional 10 percent for changes or add-ons. Probaths will make sure your bathroom remodel fits your budget!
Q: How long does bathroom remodeling take?
A: It will depend on the details of your design and the availability of materials and fixtures. Most bathroom remodels include removing the bath tub and/or shower plus replacing the toilet, vanity and flooring. If the bathroom remodel is more extensive, the entire room may be rearranged and/or enlarged involving concrete floor cutting, removing and rearranging walls and the ceiling.
Q: Is a bathroom exhaust fan a requirement?
A: The building code does not require exhaust fans if the bathroom has a window. We recommend that every bathroom should have an exhaust fan to remove humidity from the bathroom during baths and showers. Humidity that builds up in your bathroom will damage everything it comes into contact with. Many homeowners will notice issues with the walls, ceiling, and fixtures only after it has reached the point of needing repair. The humidity will be removed if you run your fan during your bath or shower. You will notice the mirror will not fog over, nor will anything else in the bathroom suffer from the moisture.
Q: What are my shower material options?
A: There are a few options for shower surrounds. If you choose tile, you have a variety of sizes, shapes, materials, and accents from which to choose. Ceramic and porcelain will be less expensive than marble or travertine, which also need to be sealed and require more maintenance. Many showers are dressed up by installing a decorative listello or glass mosaic accent. If having a tile shower floor installed, a mosaic of 2×2 or less is most common.
Q: What are the differences between bathtub materials?
A: The most popular choices for tub materials are gelcoat, acrylic, enameled steel, and cast iron—and they all have their pros and cons. One of the least expensive options, gelcoat is a resin material applied to a mold, then backed with fiberglass. It is also less durable than other materials and must not be cleaned with anything abrasive. Acrylic tubs are made from thicker plastic, and are shiny, durable, and much lighter than metal tubs. Due to acrylic’s flexibility and heat retention abilities, many manufacturers use it to mold whirlpool and air baths. As with gelcoat, acrylic tubs should not be cleaned with anything abrasive. Enameled steel is the least expensive of tub materials and consists of a stamped piece of steel finished with porcelain. Enameled steel tubs are easy to maintain and are resistant to most chemicals and abrasive cleaners. Cast iron is one of the most expensive tub materials and is made from melted iron poured into a mold. These tubs are extremely heavy and are more labor-intensive to install. However, they are also extremely resistant to chemicals, denting, and scratching.
Q: How important is lighting and ventilation in my bathroom?
A: Lighting a bathroom properly requires more light than you may think. Ideally, you should have a moisture-proof light above the shower and/or tub, overhead lighting for the room (which provides your down light) and wall sconces at the mirror to provide even lighting for your face without casting shadows. Unfortunately, this is not always possible to achieve due to layout and space restrictions.
More often than not, a vanity light is placed over the mirror above the sink, and can usually be installed with the shades facing up or down. Ventilation fans are available with both night light and room light in addition to the fan. These are ideal for bathrooms that can be well-lit with one center light, and the fan motor should be sized based on the square footage of the room. A timer switch can be installed for the fan to ensure all of the moisture is removed from the room and the fan doesn’t get left on by mistake.
Q: How can I avoid forgetting to turn of the bathroom exhaust fan?
A: The loss of electricity and conditioned air that you paid to cool or heat can be frustrating. The simplest cure is to install a timer switch. There are various options. The best ones will have several buttons for time options from a few minutes to half an hour. Be sure that the timer switch is rated for twenty amps in order to match your exhaust fan’s requirements.
Q: How do I chose a new toilet?
A: Toilets can be challenging to pick out for your new bathroom. They are not like cars that can be taken for a test ride. In fact, most big box stores have them displayed on high shelves making it even harder to decide. Go online to narrow your choices and then visit a plumbing showroom. Most showrooms will have toilets where you can inspect them and they will also have experts on staff to explain your options.
Q: How much space does a double vanity occupy?
A: A double sink bathroom vanity cabinet needs to be at least five feet wide to provide enough space for two people to use the area at one time.
Q: What is frameless glass?
A: Frame-less glass refers to the various shower enclosures made with either 3/8″ or 1/2″ glass. This thicker glass is tempered and safe for bathroom remodeling use. It is strong enough to be used to make dividing walls and doors. The glass comes in many variations to satisfy different design options. Frameless glass shower doors and enclosures are customizable, enabling you total freedom in your bathroom shower designs.
Q: What type of tiling can I select for my bathroom floor and shower?
A: Traditionally, bath showers were built with ceramic tile made specifically for bathrooms and kitchen back-splashes. Today the choices are limitless. Bathrooms are being remodeled using numerous types of stone, ceramic, porcelain, metal and glass tile depending on the design’s style.
Q: What does it take to rearrange my bathroom floor layout?
A: The original layout in some bathrooms is so bad that the only cure is to start over with a new floor plan. Before demolishing the bathroom that has irritated you for so long, be sure to work out all the details of your new layout and design. A bathroom layout needs to be a balanced mix of practicality and style. Arranging the features so that you are showing off a beautiful shower or a vanity with its unique faucets, counter-tops and mirror will create both style and function. If budgeting is a concern during your bathroom remodeling planning stage, be sure to consider plumbing placement. Arranging your new bathroom floor plan to require minimum plumbing changes will have a positive effect on the cost of your bathroom remodel.
Q: What is involved with replacing a bathroom shower?
A: In order to replace a bathroom shower, you need to start by setting up protection for the bathroom itself and the floors and walls leading from the bathroom to outside to remove the old shower. It will also be necessary to set up dust containment walls as necessary to protect the rest of your home from the demolition dust. If your home was built in 1978 or prior be sure to follow the EPA guidelines for lead-safe work practices. The older your home is the higher the chance that there will be old lead paint that will be disturbed by demolition. Lead paint dust is the leading cause of lead poisoning in America according to the Environmental Protection Agency. You can download a booklet on the EPA lead safe work practices on the EPA website. Removing the existing bath tile can go quickly or come off one chip at a time depending on the original installation. As the tile is removed it needs to be bagged in small amounts to prevent tearing of the bags and removed. The resulting tile and mortar tear out will be very heavy. The weight will exceed the ability of city garbage trucks to lift the bucket in your alley, so never throw the old tile away in the alley. After the old bathroom shower is removed repairs can be made to the walls, floor, and plumbing as necessary. You will want these things to be perfect prior to closing up the walls and installing the tile. The next step involves installing the new bathroom shower walls and floor. The walls need to be backed with a concrete board for long life any drywall product will decompose if it is exposed to moisture over time. The floor will need to be built to slope at least 1/4 inch per foot for proper water drainage. Both the walls and floor will need to be waterproofed prior to installing the tile. There are several methods to waterproof the shower depending on the situation. The main thing is that the shower must be waterproof without the tile. If you depend on the tile to hold back the water it will fail sooner or later. The final stage is installing the tile, grout and sealer afterwards. Depending on the situation the tile may be applied directly to the cement backer board, or a mortar backing may be applied by the installer to create the perfect shower wall. The sealer will need to be applied after the bathroom shower has had ample time to dry.
Q: Are there ways to make a bathroom feel larger?
A: The look and feel of a small bathroom can be effect by a number of design choices. A complete remodel of the bathroom allows you to move bathroom features in order to maximize the space you have available. If you are not rearranging your bathroom there are still a number of design choices that will improve your bathroom.
Your existing bathroom vanity may be taking up a lot of visual space. Depending on the available storage for your bathroom, you have several choices.
If the vanity is your only storage available to your bathroom, you may want to replace the vanity with a cabinet and counter top in a lighter color. You could also refinish the existing cabinet if it is in good shape. A lighter color will take up less visual space and help your bath feel larger.
If storage is not a problem you may want to consider a pedestal sink. They come in a wide variety of designs and colors. Many of today’s pedestal sinks have features such as towel bars and or shelving below them. A pedestal sink will take up much less space than any vanity cabinet and can add a great deal of style and spaciousness to your bath.
Another way to gain space in your small bathroom is by choosing a compact toilet. There are hundreds of choices in toilet models. the two major styles are in the bowl shape. A round bowl toilet will not stick out as far into the room and save you more space.
Bathroom lighting is another thing that effects hoe spacious your bathroom may feel. Windows, skylights, and light fixtures all can contribute to a more spacious feel to your bathroom. If your bathroom is poorly lit it will be sure to feel like a cave.
Sometimes existing bathroom windows are being overly shaded by bushes or trees and can be brightened by simple pruning of the landscaping. Windows can be added in a more major bathroom remodel or a tubular skylight can be added any time to brighten your bathroom without breaking the bank.
The final consideration will be color. To make a small bathroom feel larger avoid large areas of dark color. Dark color tends to move forward in your field of view, causing things to appear closer causing your bathroom to feel smaller.
Q: Will a wood floor work in my bathroom?
A: Wood flooring can be a beautiful addition to bathrooms that don’t have a lot of moisture in them on a daily basis such as a guest bathroom or powder room. There is always the chance that you may still have water issues in these bathrooms, but no more so than other areas exposed to dishwashers, water heaters, and laundry equipment. In my own home, I installed wood flooring in both my guest bathroom and kitchen. We have a tub shower combination in the guest bathroom that does get used on occasion. We have not had any wood floor issues in either area. We came close to damaging the floor in my walk-in closet due to an overflowing washing machine in the adjacent laundry room not long after the wood floor installation. After taking care of the flood, I invested in a low-cost moisture sensor that shuts off the water to the washing machine if water reaches the floor under the machine. These leak detectors with emergency shut-off valves can be used in other areas of the home such as under the kitchen sink, dish-washing machine, and hot water heater.