Bathrooms big or small, new construction, renovation or remodel, all require solutions to addressing the top 10 decisions homeowners need to make before construction begins. Design is a road trip of questions and answers beyond just aesthetics or relying purely on want. Making these decisions ahead of time will be the fastest and most economical journey to a successful new bathroom. 1. Storage: What is needed within easy reach or elsewhere?
Take an inventory of what needs to be within reach at the bathroom counter, while bathing, etc. Determine what cabinetry: vanity, shelving, closet, medicine cabinet will fulfill these needs. 2. Floor: What material suits your family?
Tile is an obvious choice but cork, wood and bamboo are options too. If splashing and water on the floor are a part of bathroom life, hard impervious materials like porcelain, ceramic, stone, quartz or cement tiles are far more suitable than cork, wood or bamboo. These last three can be used successfully in bathrooms when the lifestyle supports it.
3. Lighting: Make-up or Not?
Lighting for make-up vs. lighting for toothbrushing or shaving is entirely different. Location and quality of lamping (color rendering of light bulb and brightness) for make-up application is much different than just slapping up any old light fixture. Faces need to be lit to avoid strange shadows (top & sides) and to make sure the face you leave the house with is what was intended. 4. Sink: Undermount, top mount freestanding or vessel? How Many?
- Under mount sinks make for easy cleaning but they may eat into valuable undercounted storage space.
- Top mount and vessel sinks saves on under counter storage space, but may make the countertop difficult to use and be an extra item to clean around.
- Freestanding offer limited countertop space usually no storage.
Vessel sinks are still in style. Depending on the sink selected the height of the cabinet and countertop need consideration so the sink is at a comfortable height. 5. Bathroom faucet: In wall or deck mount?
Often the sink selection will impact the options for faucet location. Wall mount faucets save countertop space and are certainly cool to look at but do not work with every sink. Deck mount faucets may be fixed by the sink selection due to pre-made faucet holes or may be mounted directly to the countertop.
6. Tub: Necessary or not?
This is a personal decision but also relevant if one is planning on selling the house in the next 5-10 years. Today it is popular to nix the tub altogether but any bathroom potentially used by small children certainly needs a tub.
Space is also a relevant consideration as newer tubs are not as small as some older models and the cool new freestanding tubs require much more space than many drop in varieties. 7. Shower/Tub Materials: Insert or tile? Walls or whole unit?
This decision often has as much to do with design as it does with dollars. Acrylic or fiberglass shower and tub inserts with or without the walls are often much less expensive than using tile. A fully tiled shower, walls and floor will always cost more than using an insert for the entire shower. BUT this imposes big design limitations. Tile lasts much longer and adds value to the home.
8. Ventilation: How To Tackle Moisture?
Bathroom ventilation is necessary to protect your home, investment and inhabitants. Depending on the location of the bathroom: in a basement, on a slab or in a shady area of the home you may need more than just a ventilation fan. In the old days bathrooms were 100% tile because bathrooms are inherently moist environments and tile helps to shed moisture. If you have condensation dripping down your walls after a shower, painted walls are not going to last and this is a problem which needs a solution. 9. Electronics: What do you need for outlets and hiding placed?
Today’s bathrooms have more electronic needs than ever between all the beauty and grooming gadgets. See earlier post for more on this topic.
10. Comfort: Towel warmer or radiant floor?
Broken record alert!!! Radiant floors in a bathroom are not a luxury, but a necessity in northern climates. Nowdays there are much less costly, east to install options than in the past. Rather than hot water tubes new super thin electronic mats can work in almost any location, even on a slab.
A towel warmer is not just a feel good item, think of it as a towel dryer. Avoid the stinky towels and endless laundry with a towel warmer. You need a towel bar anyway might as well have one work for you. Use this Top 10 list as the basis for a bathroom wish list which can be presented to the contractor at the beginning of any bathroom remodeling or building project. A good contractor is going to need every single one of these decisions before he or she can accurately price or begin a bathroom project. Couples can avoid embarrassing arguments by hammering out these decisions ahead of time.
Successful bathrooms are built by design. Making these 10 decisions before the bathroom project begins puts the homeowner in the driver’s seat.