Are you ready to start a new bathroom remodeling project?
Whether it’s your first time going through a home renovation or you are still finding dust on the dishes from the previous project; there are a few tips that you should know before embarking on a bathroom remodeling journey.
1. Think About Dust Containment
This should actually be one of your first thoughts when you start a bathroom remodel project. If you have ever completed a remodel of any kind then you will agree – it gets dusty! Everywhere…Dishes…Bedsheets… Homeowners should monitor their air quality even when they aren’t remodeling but that’s a whole other topic. When remodeling, ask your contractor what he has planned for dust containment – just because you are getting a bathroom makeover doesn’t mean your kitchen cabinets have to be sealed off too. Change Your Bathroom® uses the Dust Defense Containment System for all bathroom remodeling services – it’s that important. Some of the contaminants you will encounter during a bathroom remodel are:
- Dirt and debris – even microscopic
- Fine particulates from drywall, cement and sawdust
- Dangerous substances such as silica,
- Potentially asbestos and lead depending on the age of the home
- Mold and mildew
2. Be Mindful of VOCs
Volatile organic compounds or VOCs are gasses that are emitted into the air. Some well known VOCs come from paint, varnishes and air fresheners. VOCs can be toxic to your health in various ways. Not only are VOCs contaminates coming out of your bathroom during demolition and construction but it’s also likely that you are installing new materials that will emit VOCs.
A large, but lesser known source of VOCs is in cabinetry. When selecting a vanity, most home owners choose a custom vanity for their master bathroom. But, regardless if you are choosing a custom vanity or pre-built vanity, ensure that you are getting a solid wood vanity – drawer boxes, drawer bottoms, vanity back, etc. Purchase and install solid wood products in your home.
Other materials such as MDF and particle board will constantly emit VOCs over the course of years. MDF and particle board contain formaldehyde which is the main VOC that will off gas in your home. New items will off gas and then the emissions taper off, however as they break down (especially towards the end of their life) they will still off gas. Natural materials such as solid wood, stone and metals do not off gas or emit VOCs.
In your bathroom remodel, select low VOC paint; solid wood; ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tile; cement board for baking, cement based mortars (one shouldn’t use a premix in a bathroom because they aren’t suitable for that application anyway); glass instead of plastics; etc.
3. Use Epoxy Grout
Most homeowners are familiar with grout – the hard-to-clean stuff between the tiles that always looks good at first. What if I told you that you could have your cake and eat it too? White grout CAN stay white by using epoxy grout. Epoxy grout is water proof and almost completely resistant to stains. Not only that but it’s resistant to harsh chemicals, won’t shrink, crack or discolor over time either. It also does not need to be sealed.
The downside? Epoxy grout is difficult to install and costs significantly more than cement grout. Is it worth it? Did I have all the grout cut out and epoxy grout installed on all my floors? Yes, the answer is yes. I recommend epoxy grout for the floor to all of my clients – especially if they are considering a mosaic.
4. Lighting: Install Enough Lumens!
Have you ever purchased something and when you got it home, it looked different? There’s a reason showrooms invest in lighting – it makes the difference. You can have a beautiful bathroom with dim, yellow lighting and it won’t have the same effect.
The first step is to calculate how many lumens that you need: multiply your room square footage by 80 (ex. If you have a 100 square foot bathroom you will need 8,000 lumens in your bathroom). Now that you know how many lumens you need, you should determine which Kelvin you prefer. 2700K is yellow and 5000K is super blue white. A good medium is 3000K-3500K and some lights even have adjustable Kelvin.
Now you can select your light fixtures and calculate the lumens that each light fixture provides! I love lit mirrors for this purpose! Lots of task lighting right where you need it. I also recommend using dimmers on your fixtures – just so you have options!
Remember, if you are using dark walls or tile that the room will need more lumens than if you are using light colors. Additionally, if there is no window in the bathroom calculate on the upper end of the lumens calculation.
5. Hire a Bathroom Designer to do the Bathroom Design
I know this sounds like biased advice because I am a bathroom designer, but it’s important for many reasons. Not only is it helpful to have a professional with objective eye who can bring your design ideas to life, but also finding a designer who specializes in bathroom designs ensures you have the best finished project.
Since the bathroom is the most complicated room in the house, you need to have design plan done for your bathroom renovation. It’s essential – for you and your contractor. First of all, it’s important to have 3D renderings to see your materials together in your space and secondly, it’s an efficient way to have everyone on the same page. When I started my own bathroom renovation I thought I would instinctively know exactly what I wanted, but when I sat down and put together my bathroom design – I hated it.
I attempted to design my own bathroom so different than anything I had seen that I made it beyond modern and sterile. Color backed panels of glass on every wall….. this was back when glass tile was a fad ok? It wasn’t horrible and probably would have looked cool in a commercial setting but it just wasn’t right for the feeling I wanted my home to convey. So, I went back to the drawing board and started looking at my bathroom with a professional perspective. Reimagining the space, I came up with a completely different layout than the original and after a few drafts, I designed a bathroom that I love to live in…and it’s been featured in a magazine!
Bathroom Design Plans include 3D designs, material selection and specifications, floor plan and detailed elevations for the remodeling contractor. It should be a detailed, comprehensive, ready to install packet when you are done.
When taking on a bathroom remodeling project, there are a lot of factors to consider from selecting the best material for the application: sinks, toilet, tub, tile, shower floor, heated floor, faucets, lighting, mirrors…. You get the picture. We are working towards your dream bathroom – let’s enjoy the process – a bathroom designer can make it straight forward and simple. Time saving and stress relieving! Not just for you but also for the bathroom remodeling contractor!
A bathroom renovation is different than any other remodeling because of the concentration of water-proofing and electrical in one room. Sure, the kitchen has water and power as well but typically you don’t have water pouring onto the floor in a kitchen. Typically, the most complicated part of a bathroom is the shower – or a steam shower if you are installing a steamer – or a walk in shower – additionally complicated, a walk in shower with a heated floor! Ok, I’ll stop. But, to install a curbless shower alone, the bathroom contractor has to recess the shower floor into the floor joists which means potentially reconfiguring or re-supporting the existing joists.
Extra bathroom remodeling ideas
Whether you are doing a master bath, guest bathroom, powder room or just a small bathroom, your bathroom remodel project should be streamlined and straight forward. If it’s overwhelming to tackle on your own – enlist some help in the form of a bathroom designer. Your general contractor will also thank you! Between the plans, information and expertise it’s a big help to you and your bathroom remodeler.
- Are you remodeling your bath because it’s a dated bathroom, leaking or need more functionality?
- Mirror: Choose mirrors that work best for the space whether it is one large mirror or two over each sink. I love mirrors with lights built in because they offer amazing task lighting. Also, add a mirror in your shower for shaving!
- Bathtub: Some homeowners remove the bathtub because it’s in the way of a larger shower and some keep the bathtub because the bathroom layout really calls for one. I always say – do what’s best for you and the house. 9 times out of 10 the new homeowner appreciates a good design with or without a tub. Also think about freestanding bathtub vs drop-in vs under mount.
- Sink: Think about vessel sink vs under mount sink – both can offer style and functionality.
- Faucet: Wall mount faucet vs deck mount faucet. Moving the plumbing isn’t necessarily a huge cost and sometimes a wall mounted faucet can make a large difference in the design aesthetics and ease of cleaning. When purchasing bathroom fixtures buy them through a showroom. Showrooms purchase directly through the manufacture where other online retailers may be purchasing second hand goods. Home Depot’s products are made for Home Depot the same way a Schwin bike at Walmart is not the same Schwin bike you would purchase at a bike shop. I’ve tested big box store faucets vs off brand faucets vs name brand faucets and in the long run there is a big difference!
- Shower head or rain head? Or both? I usually recommend at least a shower head and a wand (for cleaning at least) but a good combo is shower head, rain head and wand. It really depends on your personal preference.
- Flooring: Think about maintenance – I typically recommend a porcelain if you are looking for low maintenance and easy to clean (remember to use epoxy grout!) and a natural stone if you are looking for the natural elements and warmth that comes with natural stone. The good thing about modern technology is the fact that we have a lot of porcelain tiles that closely mimic natural stones, however you can not replace the feel of natural stone.
- Countertop: Granite, Quartz, Quartzite or Marble – these are the most popular materials available and they all have their own pros and cons: Granite is very durable but the patterns can be more speckled than linear. There are veined granites and they are usually premium. Quartz is also durable and being a man made material can be repaired easily. Quartz has different levels and the lower levels can actually stain – especially it’s a lighter color. Typically the stains come out but inconvenient none-the-less. Quartzite is a natural stone that is durable like granite, yet has veining like marble. It’s a good choice and some are budget friendly as well. Downside? While most quartzites are strong, some are soft and porous. Marble is better used in a bathroom than a kitchen! Beautiful, luxurious and sometimes super durable! Some premium marbles that come out of Vermont and the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia are actually very dense and therefore less resistant to staining. But, generally marble is a soft, porous material.
- Vanity: your bathroom cabinet should be natural wood (Not MDF or Particle Board) and should give you storage options! Ask about custom storage such as a hair accessory pull out or organizers. Also think about other storage in the bathroom: Towers or built in medicine cabinets. Depending on how small your bathroom is there are a lot of good options for in wall storage to maximize space.
I know this is a lot of information- I hope these bathroom remodel ideas help and if you have questions, reach out to me for help with your bath remodel project! It will be fun!