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DIY Bathroom Renovation Ideas
Dated: July 8 2021
Radiant Floor Heating
Radiant heat beneath tiles makes them toasty underfoot. But you don’t need to have it throughout your house.
If you want an easy-care floor: Go for porcelain or glazed tiles, and avoid porous natural stone tiles like limestone. Unless sealed vigilantly, they'll absorb drips and spills and become stained over time.
If you want a nonslip floor: Choose tiles with textured surfaces, matte finishes, or sand-containing glazes. Another option: small tiles with lots of grout lines, which offer better "grip" than large tiles.
Control Air Temperature and Humidity
If you have forced-air heating and cooling, make sure to include a vent in the bathroom—where temperatures can otherwise swing hot and cold. For hot-water heat, consider radiant floor heat or a kick heater under the vanity cabinet: This is a small blower unit that converts the warmth from your hot-water-heating system into warmed air for the bathroom. An exhaust fan is also a must. For a master bath, splurge on an ultra-quiet unit and put it on a timer set to run for 20 minutes after a shower. For a family or guest bath, choose a model with mid-range noise level and power—and consider a humidity sensor so that you don't have to rely on kids or guests to turn it on. For a powder room, install a loud fan for maximum sound privacy near public areas.
Unlike clunky over-the-showerhead organizers, a recessed cubby in a tub or shower surround gives shampoo and soap a permanent home and doesn't take up stall space.
Think About Your Storage and Counter Space Needs
Your choice of sink and vanity go hand in hand to determine how much storage and counterspace your bathroom provides: A pedestal sink offers a slim and traditional silhouette that’s ideal for small bathrooms, but it has no vanity for storage and very limited counter surface. A vessel sink is a bowl that sits on top of the vanity—often a repurposed piece of antique furniture—so there’s plenty of room for drawers and storage space inside, but little usable counterspace on top. A traditional vanity offers both counterspace on top and storage space down below.
Separate the Shower and the Tub
If you have the room, consider separating the tub and shower. A freestanding, deep soaking tub is the ultimate luxury, and a separate walk-in shower offers more space and easier accessibility, eliminating the danger of tripping over the tub threshold. Such universal access measures are on the rise; in fact, homes with curbless walk-in showers—where the bathroom floor continues straight into the shower without anything to step over—sell for 4.6% more and 38 days faster than similar homes without them, according to Zillow. If possible, make your walk-in shower at least 4 by 4 feet, which will leave ample room for maneuvering, and you’ll have enough space to add a freestanding bench. And consider handheld showerheads—helpful for washing, they make it easier to clean your shower, too.
How to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing
Arrange your bathroom so that there are no fixtures, and therefore no plumbing, on exterior walls.
Bring pipes up through the floor instead of the wall if it's a first-floor bathroom.
Run pipes in the wall on the interior side of the insulation. If codes allow, use flexible PEX tubing, which doesn't crack at low temps.
Measure your space thoroughly so that you know what size fixtures will fit.
Locate all water shutoff valves so that there are no floods when taking out fixtures.
Make arrangements for a backup bathroom if necessary.
Determine whether to donate or dispose of old fixtures, and make plans accordingly.
Buy plenty of plastic sheeting to contain dust if you're knocking out tile and drywall yourself.
Check recent references for plumbers and other pros you hire.
Simon Gregory Smith was born in Oswego, New York. When Simon was 2, his family headed West to Eugene, Oregon where his parents earned their Masters degrees from the University of Oregon. Simon’s fat....
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