Bathroom Remodel Tips And Tricks
Filtered Water Belongs In The Bathroom
Despite our supposedly robust economy now, purchasing a home is still a huge intimidating investment, which is why less expensive fixer uppers seem to be perennially in style. But once purchased, more work usually begins: renovations. Thanks to complicated plumbing and heavy-duty flooring, most of us throw the most money into renovating our bathrooms and kitchens. No one wants to live in a former college student rental — unless they’re, well, a college student. So, we’re getting down to the basics for a few DIY tips and tricks — or, ahem, “hacks” as they say now — when redoing your bathroom, including a few less obvious considerations that many people don’t even think about.
First, decide your budget and know what items absolutely have to be replaced versus what you just want to replace. If the toilet in your fixer-upper doesn’t work, it obviously has to go, but if funds are a consideration, there’s many ways to save without actually cutting corners. Typically, the items considered in a bath re-do are:
- Bathtub/Shower/or a combination
- Plumbing & Electrical
- Tile (depending on bathroom size)
If necessary, there are ways to save on each of these items, but the main place we encourage you not to skimp is on is plumbing and electrical, which we’ll get to in a bit. But first:
Imagine Your Space
If you opt not to get a design professional (which are very worth the money), it helps to sketch out the size of your bathroom on graph paper to track how much space each item (whether it’s being replaced or not) will take up. If your space is really small, it might even convince you to ditch the tub and stick with a stand alone shower. But either way, you’ll get an important bird’s eye view so you’ll know if your new sink and toilet will fit before you spend a dime on either or their installations.
Worth The Cash
Get a professional to handle redoing the plumbing and electrical. Don’t assume that everything can be a DIY job. You may not be the person for the job, and that’s ok. Fewer disasters ultimately will save money down the road, and maybe even some pain (literally).
More Money Savers
Certainly not every item needs to be purchased new, either. Perhaps that ugly vanity can be upgraded with a new paint job and new hardware or replaced with an antique cabinet. Try buying a vintage or antique mirror for the vanity. Estate sales are full of them, and they look so much more interesting than the standard “builder grade” medicine cabinet mirrors — if it has a frame, even better!
If you buy a place with original details, consider saving that vintage tile. Another way to save is on the tiling. Keep it on the floor – use wood paneling or wainscoting instead of tile on the walls. It’s less expensive than tile, not to mention easier to keep clean. A bonus here is that you’ll not only save on tile, but also on the labor costs (or your own sweat equity) of installing it. Plus, that wainscoting can add a touch of rustic country if left bare, or a festive color splash if painted.
If you’re lucky enough to get a house with one, keep the cast iron bathtub (they’re timeless and hard to come by now, anyway!) but splurge on some beautiful hardware. Instead, install a low-flow toilet that will pay for itself in the long run by saving on future water bills.
Upgrade the Unseen
One thing many new homeowners don’t spend much time considering in a bathroom remodel, though, is the quality of their water. Particularly if your home was built before the 1980s, it likely has lead pipes, and these can corrode and leach into your water if given the right combination of chemical contaminants. Lead is actually bio-accumulative which means that it doesn’t exit your body, so limit your family’s exposure. Elements like chlorine can turn to chloroform in your shower steam, and if you’re a fan of long, relaxing baths, here’s one to make them more anxiety-producing: you’re soaking your skin in chlorine or chloramines (a mix of chlorine and ammonia).
One way to approach an old pipe problem is to replace them with copper, steel, or plastic piping, but there may be some pipes that are harder to reach and cost prohibitive to replace as a result. In that case, Aquasana offers a shower filter that’ll remove 97 percent of the chlorine in municipal water. If you’d like more of a comprehensive approach, a whole home water filtration system offers a perfect compromise. It’ll not only filter water at every tap in your bathroom, but the rest of the house will also reap the benefits. More than “two birds, one stone,” think of it as “several rooms, one system.”
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