Creating the perfect bathroom goes beyond upgrading your fixtures. To really build it right, there are a few standards that you should set. I’m talking about spending your money the right way so that you have a space that is built strong, using better products, and will last for years.
Entering The Planning Stages
Your new bathroom design will likely come from the team of you, your contractor, and your designer. Together, you’ll take into account how you’re going to use the space, who it’s for, and what’s safest for those who will use it.
Of course, your first concern when it comes to renovation is to make sure you’re upgrading the space to work efficiently. But this is also a chance to add a few of your dream upgrades like a tub with jets, or heated towel racks; this is the time to do it. I love a heated floor. Who wants to put bare feet on a tile floor on a cold winter morning?
Many homeowners say that they just want a quick remodel, but depending on the age of your bathroom, I’d consider a full gut. Why? Well, I’ve done a ton of bathrooms over the years where one bathroom remodel gets covered up with the next, and so on. Look at it this way, if you don’t go behind the walls of your bathroom, how do you know your plumbing and electrical are still in good shape? Not all problems will be obvious, and you don’t want to redo your bathroom just to tear it all down in a year if you spring a leak. Spend your money wisely, and only spend it once.
And finally – always remember to get your permits.
Bathroom Layout Standards
There are some general rules you can follow to position your bathroom fixtures in a way that’s comfortable and efficient. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Standard tubs are 60 inches long by 32 inches wide. Make sure you’re leaving enough space around the tub as an activity area for getting in and out.
Walk in shower stalls need to be at least 32 by 32 inches - though if you want a little extra room, you should start at 36. The shower head should be 80 inches high, but if you’re taller, like my son, you’ll want to go higher.
A standard vanity (either a sink set into a vanity, or a pedestal sink) is about 28 inches wide, and 24 inches deep - but you’ll need to make sure you’re also accounting for an activity area in front of the fixture of 40 by 28 inches minimum.
Renovating For Life
If you’re planning to stay in your home for as long as possible, it’s important not just to renovate for today, but for tomorrow, too. That means ensuring you have enough space in the bathroom to maneuver a walker or wheelchair.
Other considerations for wheelchair users are your sinks and vanities. A mounted sink will leave space for users to comfortably wash up and brush their teeth.
However, your bathroom needs to be a large enough space to really account for mobility concerns. You may have to look at expanding your bathroom into a bedroom or closet space. A good contractor or designer can help you make these decisions.
Having a bench in the shower while you’re young can be a nice bonus, but it could become a necessity as you age. If you develop mobility issues, as you get older, you’ll want to install a bench for ease of use, as well as grab bars to make getting in and out of the shower easier.
Safety is an issue no matter your age - choose a slip-resistant flooring to help eliminate the risk of slipping or falling on a wet surface. I like a porcelain tile for its clean look, but you’ve got a lot of choice when it comes to a non-slip tile.
Finally, make sure that the products you choose for the space are mould and mildew resistant, and invest in a good exhaust fan to pull moisture out of the room and properly vent it outside.
I’ve seen plenty of bad bathrooms during my years as a contractor. The effort you put into adding a well-designed, renovated bathroom will come back to you in added value to the home. And who doesn’t like having a nice, long, hot shower now and again?