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   BATHROOM MAKEOVER  Considerations in Bathroom Remodeling
2011 - Volume 1 Issue 1
Casas Bonitas
Article: Bob Skolnick
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Homes built over twenty years ago allocated less space and less energy resources to bathroom areas. Most of us do not spend a significant amount of time in the bathroom, but the time we spend can be much more enjoyable. The advent of shower systems and jet tubs has enhanced the quality of the bath experience. When taking a bath we can now have a little gas wall fireplace inset unit or elevated floor fireplace to heat the room and create an ambience. The choices of tile, countertops and cabinetry have made today’s bathroom a much more comforting place to be.

    Photo Captions

1.) Contemporary in style with clear glass vessels for his and her sinks, the stylish sink hardware and glass tile work finish this stunning bathroom.

2.) This is a new bathroom addition with beautiful stained glass overlay panels and a claw-foot bathtub.

3.) An elegant Old World bathroom was created by the artisans of Renaissance Woodworks.

4.) This shower offers the ultimate experience with numerous nozzles and showerhead options, changing mood lights and sound.

5.) Gaining in popularity are seamed glass shower enclosures. This was installed in an upper valley home by Southwestern Home Products.

6.) When space is limited, a step in tub provides all the enjoyment of a Jacuzzi tub without the space requirements. Tub and matching wall panels are by Re-Bath.

7.) When remodeling an older home, smaller tubs can be replaced with a tub to shower conversion by Re-Bath.

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New products from companies such as Sonoma Tilemakers and Forza Stone have expanded the opportunities for new looks on wall surfaces in a bathroom. Do not forget lighting. Selecting attractive adjustable lighting in a bathroom adds to the mood. To accommodate these items and indulge ourselves we need to give more space for the master bathroom. This typically requires moving walls, bringing in more utilities and moving drains and fixtures. This is all easy to do if you consult and use a professional remodeler who is well versed in the mechanical requirements of building a larger and modern bathroom. When you make the decision to remodel you must consider the energy usage of a bathroom, next to your kitchen a bathroom has huge energy needs. Making the right investments can save you substantially in energy costs over time.

Older homes were built with a hot water delivery system that was sized to the need at the time. Today we are seeing larger circulation requirements and jet tubes spraying much larger volumes of water. The latest showers offer multiple heads and body jet nozzles and provide for more people simultaneously. These are great improvements and soothing options, but you need sufficient water to run these new self-indulgent “toys.” Today, you do not have to purchase a large and cumbersome hot water heater, nor do you need to allocate valuable space to place it. There are several brands of Tankless gas hot water heaters that heat water on demand. This not only delivers the hot water you need when you need it, but also significantly reduces your energy costs by not constantly keeping a reservoir of hot water waiting to be drawn down. The other new innovation is recirculation pumps with timers or on and off switches. At home when we turn on a faucet, we expect instant hot water.

Lifestyle is a big factor in redesigning a bathroom. You have to determine how it is going to be used. Relocating fixtures is easily done but that can be costly at some times. Putting in a Jacuzzi style tub is going to require electricity. Larger showers are going to mean relocating the drain.Max Goldfien

That’s where you start to look at capacity of everything you have. If you have a 40-gallon water heater and you have a bathtub that accommodates 120 gallons, you have to be prepared for a delay in hot water down the road or you have to do something different.
Dan Diemer

It is imperative to look at the hot water when you remodel. It’s a good time to upgrade the hot water heater, but also, we try to incorporate a recirculation line with a timer switch and pump so you are not just dumping water. The circulation pump doesn’t need to run all the time and a timer switch gives you the option to run it only when needed. Kevin McGinley

Glass Enclosure
Tile + Modular Shower Systems + Modular Conversions

For shower enclosures, the new catch phrase is “Go Frameless”. A frameless shower can be designed for one wall with a hinged door or two or three glass sides with a hinged door. Frameless showers are much more attractive than the old sliding framed doors and they hold their appearance over time. A glass shower enclosure allows you a better view of the tile designs you select. The shower glass is always tempered or laminated. Thickness is typically 3/8 inches and is mitered at the corners, then sealed with silicone. Shower Guard glass is made specifically for shower door use and has a protective surface on the shower side of the glass that reduces residue buildup over time. There is a variety of spring-loaded and self-center hinges for frameless glass doors.

Today there are a lot of choices of wall tile for showers and small glass tile squares for incorporating a design in the tile. You can even have custom murals applied and glazed to the shower tiles. Several manufactures make a full shower system, which has a programmable controller to allocate the number of showerheads and spray nozzles used by each member of the family. Colored lighting options and music are often included in many of these systems. Just remember to push the right button when you step into the shower half asleep in the morning. You may not want to wake up in the morning to AC/DC when you were expecting Michael Bublé.

When you are not able to knock out walls to expand your bathroom or you need to work within a tight budget, then you can work with Re-Bath to remodel your existing bathroom using one of their tub to shower conversions or their wall systems. Re-Bath can do deluxe bathroom remodels as well but they are excellent at working with existing smaller space. They come in and measure your existing layout and then cut wall surface materials to the exact dimensions of your shower or bathroom walls. The product is attractive with multiple style and color options. The solid sheet panels eliminate tile setting and the fun job of cleaning your tile grout lines over time. Also available are numerous options of bathtubs either standard of whirlpool style. They have modular step in showers designed to replace an older tub and shower. Re-Bath has a walk-in style tub that is an option for those that cannot step up and over into today’s larger whirlpool style tubs. This step-in tub is just as relaxing as a whirlpool style tub but requires far less space.

If a customer picks out a tile and says I want to use this on the floor, I take them to the faucet and run a little water over it and often they say, “Oh I can’t have that!” Pat Ganey

On tile and solid flooring, you have to be knowledgeable about what is out there because you can go from a dollar to ten dollars a square foot – just for the materials alone. Bill Murray

One of the things we always ask clients is if they want us to lower the floor in the shower. In most showers there is a 6 or 8 inch curb you have to step over and we will frequently lower both the floor and drain so that you just have a small threshold to step over.Dan Diemer ///
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