When you picture your bathroom remodel, do you see Norm Abram calmly surveying the site and stopping to remind you about wearing your safety glasses? Maybe he’s instructing you about the newest technique to accomplish your project in that loveable New England accent. Not everybody can have Norm on the scene, but who says you can’t channel Norm’s masterful wisdom and ever increasing knowledge to make your bathroom remodeling project better?
Here’s what we imagine Norm might say if you asked him about your bathroom remodel.
Choose the Right Surfaces
Probably the first thing on your mind when it comes to your new bathroom is how it will look. Of course you want it to be a beautiful haven, but don’t start with the aesthetic, start with quality. The look you want is available in many different types of materials, quality levels, and price points. Ceramic and porcelain are each champions in the bathroom in their own right and a quality choice.
High-quality ceramic and porcelain are extremely durable in wet environments and there are many designs and styles to choose from so you’re sure to find something that fits your vision. Consider bathroom tile that is sleek and modern in trendy colors and textures. Or go with a tile that looks like wood or stone to get the look of a luxury material but with the properties of ceramic or porcelain tile. Choose from traditional sizes and shapes like the 12 x 12, or update your look with large format sizes and unique shapes like a large hexagon or rectangle.
Your contractor or tile representative can recommend the right tile for different applications in your bathroom including walls, floors, and shower.
Pay Attention to Water Efficiency
Being smart with your fixtures in the bathroom can save water and cut back on your utilities bill. Look for the EPA’s WaterSense program labels on fixtures. These fixtures are 20% more efficient than current federal standards dictate.
Find toilets that use just over one gallon to flush. That alone can save 16,000 gallons of water every year for a family of four according to Consumer Reports.
Low-flow showerheads and aerating faucets reduce water consumption without making you feel like you’re missing out on anything.
Provide Plenty of Ventilation and Light
The bathroom can be a wet, dark place—perfect breeding grounds for all kinds of bacteria. Widows and fans can help out. The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends a fan that can ventilate 50 cubic feet per minute. That doesn’t take into account larger-sized bathrooms though. If you plan to install a steam shower or have a bathroom over 100 square feet, a 50 cubic foot fan may not be enough. Moisture-sensing fans that turn on and off depending on the humidity in the bathroom are an easy way to clear moisture and save on unnecessary energy consumption.
Light should be a primary concern in the bathroom. You need both ambient and task lighting to make the bathroom functional. Plan for lighting at the toilet, sink, and vanity. Be careful about placement of lighting so you don’t cast shadows on the vanity where the most light is needed.
Each area of the bathroom requires differing amounts of light according to the Lighting Research Center. The toilet area needs just 45 lumens. The sink, about 450. And the vanity needs over 1500. Buy light bulbs that are efficient and produce the right amount of brightness for the area they will be installed in.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
If Norm said it once, he said it a thousand times. The principle applies to more than cutting wood though. Planning and preparation are worth their weight in gold from the beginning of your project to the very end. You’ll save money and time if you plan properly. Don’t rush, take time to know what you want and how to get it without cutting corners.
Plan ahead, not just for your project, but for the future. You may not need a walk-in shower now, but you will appreciate it very much in later years when you don’t have to climb over a lip. Study up on universal design to get the most out of your design now and into the future.
Spend Money Where It Counts
Going cheap will get you nowhere but poised to spend more money. If you invest wisely now, you’ll be getting returns from your bathroom for a long while yet. Once again, don’t start your project thinking about how it will look. Make quality the first priority.
You should also carefully consider the perks of your bathroom. These can add a lot to the budget and may not be necessary, but how often are you going to wish you had splurged on that rain showerhead when you had the chance? If you really want the stone backsplash go for it. The trick with controlling splurges is to prioritize them so you make sure you splurge where it’s most important.
Don’t Buy Online Without Seeing It in Person
You do a lot of your idea gathering and shopping for your bathroom remodeling online. It’s a great resource and an endless fountain of ideas and information. But do yourself a favor and draw the line there. Don’t make your purchases online unless you have seen the product in person. Even then, there are no guarantees.
That lovely mint green paint may come out a little more like lime than you planned for. The size of that tile may not be what you expected. Take a look at it with your own eyes so you can be sure you are getting what you bargained for.
So you can’t hire Norm for bathroom remodeling, but you can glean wisdom from his years of experience so it will go more smoothly. In the end, that’s exactly what Norm would want—you learning something new that will make your project all the better.