May 24, 2018
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Fall into a bathroom update this year

Photo courtesy of NewsUSA
Photo courtesy of NewsUSA
By Sheila Grant, Special to the BDN

If an outdated, inefficient bathroom is on your to-do list this fall, consider every aspect of the project carefully.

“Some customers are looking for energy-efficient products,” said Lori Witham, Hammond Lumber’s kitchen and bath department manager. “Others are looking for recycled or green materials, or something economical, or maybe this will be their luxurious bath retreat.”

Resale value is a concern for some homeowners; others want to create their dream home regardless of resale potential. Older couples, especially, may choose to do away with a tub in favor of a walk-in shower.

“A real estate agent will tell you not to take out the bathtub,” Witham said. “It depends on how many bathrooms are in the home. If you are remodeling the only bathroom, you definitely need to make sure that it meets all the basic requirements. If you have multiple baths, you can specialize more.”

Witham said oversized showers and soaking tubs are popular. Custom tile showers allow homeowners to individualize, and to fit odd spaces, but they each require additional considerations.

“Make sure the floor structure is going to support the weight, not just of the unit, but of the unit filled with 80 gallons of water,” Witham advised. “Depending on how elaborate they are going to get, with multi-shower heads or whatever, they’ve got to make sure the well and pump will supply the increased demand for water.”

Homeowners also need to be sure the existing hot water heater is capable of generating enough hot water to fill a new soaking tub. Adequate ventilation must be provided to handle the added steam and moisture. Will special plumbing be needed to accommodate the bath unit or a particular lavatory style? Is the lighting adequate? Does the room have enough storage?

“The bathroom is usually not a very large room,” Witham said. “It needs to be planned very carefully.”

Upgrades are best discussed with qualified and licensed contractors, plumbers and electricians during the planning process. Check local code enforcement regulations and permitting needs, as well as asking for referrals for reputable contractors and subcontractors to complete any additional work.

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