All the Suds on Baths
If your home is more than 30 years old and still has the
original bathroom fixtures (avocado, dusty rose and powder
blue were popular colours in the 60's), chances are they
are in need of repair, or are becoming a 21st century
Most of us know when it's time to fix up the bath - dirty
grout in the shower, leaking faucets, bad plumbing,
fixtures that are falling apart. The key question is where
to start. A bathroom renovation can involve more time,
money and effort than most people realize. It can also
increase the value of your home.
Before starting any bathroom project, consider what you
want to accomplish and how much you want to spend. You can
change everything at once, or just one or two items at a
time. A lot depends on your budget and what you want to
Today, bathrooms have become a place to retreat and relax.
You can choose from a wide selection of whirlpools,
designer fixtures, water- and energy-saving devices and
other indulgences that can improve your mood and bring
calm to a difficult day.
If you can't change everything all at once, but really
need to see the last of that ugly vanity and bathtub
enclosure, start replacing what is most annoying or in
need of repair. This usually includes the fixtures, the
sink, faucets, vanity, bathtub, shower, toilet and bidet,
if you have one.
New fixtures alone can drastically improve a bathroom's
appearance. New faucets can give an old vanity a brand new
look. Floor and wall tiles can add colour and texture.
They are also easy to install and keep clean. Mirrors and
light fixtures can turn a cold, sanitary-looking bathroom
into a warm, welcoming, luxurious room.
Bathroom floors can be tile, hardwood or carpet. Walls can
be covered with paint, wallpaper or more tile. Accessories
can be anything from fancy soap holders to toilet seats
that warm your bottom.
A major bathroom renovation can cost a lot, or it can be
quite affordable depending on what special features and
indulgences you plan to include. Before cutting comers to
save a few dollars, consider that you are investing in the
market value of your home. Most REALTORS would agree that
renovated bathrooms and kitchens have the best payback
potential. In many cases, you can recover as much as 80
per cent or more of your costs.
With all the drains, plumbing, lighting, heating,
electricity, caulking and much more, a bathroom is
probably the most complex room in a house to renovate. It
requires technical expertise and knowledge to do the job
You could do it all yourself or hire various tradespeople
to do different parts of the job. But if you are planning
to tear everything down and start again, your best bet
would be to hire someone who specializes in bathrooms,
co-ordinates tradespeople and can ensure that all parts of
the new bathroom will work in harmony.
Some major bathroom renovations can be a challenge. If you
plan to include a new whirlpool, for example, the existing
flooring may have to be reinforced and existing pipes may
have to be modified to handle the extra water pressure.
Major fix-ups also don't happen overnight. Depending on
what's involved, a bathroom renovation can take several
weeks. If you are using a contractor, be sure to develop a
time line they can stick to before they start the job.
Saving water, energy
While planning your bathroom renovation, considering
introducing water- and energy-saving devices that will
help cut down on your utility bills.
Water efficient toilets, which use about six litres of
water per flush, for example, can significantly reduce
water usage. Conventional toilets use anywhere from 15 to
30 litres of water per flush.
Water conserving showerheads can reduce your water
consumption by 50 per cent or more, while water conserving
faucets can lower water flow to about nine litres per
minute compared to a standard flow rate of 18 litres per
Energy-efficient bathroom fans are sized to fit your
bathroom space. They usually include an on-off switch that
is separate from the light switch so they don't have to
work every minute. Often, they also include a time so they
can be left running for specific periods of time.