Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bathroom Remodel in One Day!

Don't hassle with a bathtub & shower renovation when you can have a professionally installed acrylic bath liner in about one day. Sunshine Patio is your source for affordable, convenient, clean and durable Bath Liners!
Bathroom Remodeling Using Acrylic Liners
Bathroom remodeling is quick, easy and beautiful with acrylic liners. Acrylic liners are the smart bathroom remodeling option because they are the alternative to completely gutting your bath system, costly bathtub refinishing, and time consuming shower replacement. For most home improvement projects, acrylic liners can be installed in one day so instead of waiting for weeks for that beautiful new bathroom, you can enjoy it immidately. Best of all, acrylic bath liners can save you thousands by saving you from an expensive remodeling commitment. 
Benefits of Acryic:
1.Easy to clean
2.Will not stain, chip or peel
3.Comes in a variety of colors and styles
4.Economical remodeling solution
5.Installs in about 1 day

Tips For Purchasing And Installing Bathtub Replacement Shower Pans

Bathtub replacement shower pans, the foundation for all tub-to-shower conversions, provide a base for stone, tile, or marble. They are the basis for converting any old bathtub into a functional, appealing bathroom feature.Property owners choose to replace bathtubs for various reasons. Where ADA compliance is an issue, upgrading to a shower allows owners to add important features like balanced-temperature mixing valves that have levers that can be easily grasped, vertical safety bars, adjustable-height shower heads, and barrier-free entrances. For many, bathtub is less safe and less practical than a shower and lacks features like benches, shelves, and foot rests.
Superior product lines offer several important features. The pans are UL-listed and offer drains made of PVC, cast iron, or ABS to assist with code compliance in any locality. They also offer either barrier-free or single-curb entrances. In addition, they resist mold, odor-causing bacteria, and mildew and provide leak-free protection. Finally, they are pitched one quarter-inch per square foot toward the drain, preventing standing puddle that could cause slippage and therefore liability.The first step to installing a replacement pan is to remove the old tub and surround using a reciprocating saw or a diamond saw, depending on whether the tub and surround was made of acrylic or tile. Then, saw through the drainpipe and remove the old pan. Mark the drain hole on the subfloor and note any tile overlap on the floor. Remove the pan and use a hammer and chisel to remove any tile that extended under the pan.
The builder should next attach the strainer to the drain hole. The subfloor should be vacuumed so that all debris is removed. The floor may have to be shimmed to insure a level surface. Once that is complete, the builder should install the new pan and evaluate the level. The pan should be attached to studs with galvanized screws.After installing the pan, the builder should connect the drainpipe and strainer via a compression gasket and then add the screen. The final step is to install cement backerboard, and then tile or other material can be added to complete the job.
Bathtub replacement pans are ideal for large jobs including hospitals, senior facilities, student dorms, hotels, and condos. The pan can be installed quickly and, if pans are uniform in all stalls, the tile can be precut. For owners, replacing outdated tubs can add both functionality and value to any property.

How To Find The Leak In Your Shower Or Bathtub?

As the owner of Rocky Mountain Bathrooms I've diagnosed a lot of leaky showers and bathtubs over the years. Lots of relationships with customers have started with a phone call from an exasperated customer who has been suffering water damage from a shower or bathtub for years and is ready to fix it once and for all.
I'm going to show you how we go about diagnosing a leak. Leaks let you know they exist by water appearing and pooling, soaking or staining something. It could be a ceiling below, the floor next to the bathtub or shower or even in a hallway floor outside the bathroom. While the proof does let you know that you have a leak, don't read to much into the location. I've seen ceilings get water damaged not from the bathroom directly above them, but from a bathroom above them and 50 feet on the other side of the house. Water has a funny way of running down hill and finding the path of least resistance, it can leak from one area and run all the way to another place before it shows itself.
The first rule is not to jump to conclusions. Think logically of course. Bathroom directly above water damage, could be that bathroom is the culprit, but keep an open mind don't get to narrowly focused yet you could be on a wild goose chase and you don't ever want to start tearing open walls and ceilings until you are reasonably positive you are in the right place.

Rule #2 is the mind will play tricks on you. It's very easy to associate circumstances and confirm circumstances in your mind. I can recall one particular problematic leak that the homeowner swore was related to running the shower. The ceiling was damaged directly under the shower upstairs and they connected in their minds that every time their son who took a shower after work in the afternoon it would leak, but it wouldn't leak any other time. If someone took a shower in the morning it wouldn't leak. Well it turned out it was a plumbing vent pipe unrelated to the shower that went right up next to the shower and through the roof of the house. The roof around the vent pipe was damaged but the roof was configured in a way that rain wouldn't cause much water to get into the hole, but that winter we had a big snow storm and every day after it got warm the sun in the afternoon would melt the snow that had accumulated around that vent pipe and it would leak down and run all the way down that pipe and pool in the ceiling below the bathroom. It would take it 3-4 hours and sure enough it would coincide with about an hour after their son took his afternoon shower. So be careful what you assume and what you associate, the mind will try to find ways to confirm your suspicions.

The final rule is to confirm your suspicions. You must always test your suspicions. And think about how you are testing it, make sure the way you are doing it isolates any other possibility. This is the only way to truly find the leak. You must do isolated tests of each suspicious item one at a time.
So lets take a typical shower or bathtub with a tiled surround and either a bathtub or a fiberglass shower pan. You've got a leak of some sort showing up either outside the tub/shower and you've observed and eliminated that it isn't the kids splashing water over the side at bath time or water leaking out the shower door.The culprits are: 

1.The tile surround, which could be the grout, the corners or the connection where the tile meets the tub or the shower pan.
2.The drain, which would be the drain itself or the overflow in the bathtub
3.The valve in the wall.
4.The plumbing connections in the walls such as the hot and cold feeds to the valve and then the connection of the valve to either the shower head or the tub filler.
So we have only 9 individual things that it could be. So that at least makes it easy. 9 Is a lot but if we are systematic we now have a list and a process to find out which one it is.
Lets start with the drain.
Start with examining the drain itself and the area around the drain, are their any cracks is the drain loose or nice and firmly seated? Get in there and step around it, put some weight on it see if a crack shows up that you didn't see until you put some weight on it. If you see anything like that you might have your culprit right there. But like I said don't jump to conclusions we must test, test, test!

Let's isolate the plumbing that is attached to the drain. We need a rubber hose running to a water source not in the shower or bathtub (remember we need to always isolate our tests, you can't run the shower or tub valve to test the drain without running the risk of the problem is really the valve right?) Most home improvement centers will sell different types of rubber hosing by the foot. You can purchase a length of it that will be big enough to go over your vanity faucet aerator. So get your rubber hose and stick it into the drain and run the water for 15 minutes. Come back and see if you see your leak appear where ever it has always shown up. If it usually doesn't show up for an hour, wait an hour. If you see your leak, it's the plumbing attached to the drain and you are done testing. No leak, now it's time to test the drain itself, take your rubber hose out and run the water into the shower pan or tub and do your wait and check. If you get your leak it's something to do with the drain itself, or that crack you found. See how easy this is.
Now lets say no leak yet. Well, now we know that it's not the drain or the drain plumbing let's now move onto the valve and the plumbing in the walls. If you have a leak before the valve you would have a leak all the time. So obviously we don't have leak in the hot and cold water lines attached to the valve in the wall or you would know it by the constant leak. If it's a tub, lets test the tub filler, since we know the drain is not leaking, just turn on the tub filler and fill the tub. Let it run for 15 minutes and check. If you see your leak you've got a leak between the valve and the tub filler, there is probably a copper elbow or a joint that is broken. If you didn't find your leak let's check the tub overflow while we are at it. Close the drain and fill the tub up to the overflow and let it overflow into it for 15 minutes. Find your leak? It's the overflow connection where it is attached to the tub. 

Okay let's check the shower head plumbing. The shower head is connected to the valve by a copper pipe all we need to do is plug the shower outlet and turn on the valve, this will pressurize that pipe in the wall with water. To do this you will need to take off the shower head and cap the shower pipe stem with a threaded cap you can buy. Or remove the entire shower head and stem and insert a threaded pipe with a cap into the elbow in the wall. However you do it, just plug it and turn it on for 15 minutes, the pipe will be filled with water under pressure and now if you find your leak it's the connection of the valve to the shower head. 
Okay if you still haven't reproduced your leak it's pretty easy from here, you've eliminated everything else but the tile surround which by the way is usually the number 1 or number 2 most likely cause of leaks. So from here all you need to do is turn on the shower head and aim it at the walls, now this is not scientific and will not usually result in a very accurate locater of the exact spot. A better way is to take your rubber hose, hook it up to the shower head stem and hold that hose over each wall for 10-15 minutes apiece until you find your leak. This way you will know for certain exactly where it is. Examine the tile, look specifically at the grout, do you see any hairline cracking or missing grout in the area? That's usually all it takes. Press firmly is it spongy? 
The final thing to do is after you think you found your leak, is to wait a day and try it again. Double check it and make it leak again. Stop now and think about it, make sure you have it positively isolated. If you do all that and you are systematic you should now have found your leak!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The 15 Point Checklist Before Starting a Bathroom Renovation

bathroom renovation is an exciting task. But before jumping to choosing the latest tile or bathtub design, there are some less exciting things to consider so your project turns out just the way you dream it. Because renovating a bathroom can be overwhelming, time-consuming and costly, we prepared a simple 15-point checklist to make sure that your project stays on track and the renovation runs smoothly.
1. Budget
If you don’t know already you should work up an idea of how much you want to spend on your bathroom renovation. Setting a budget will help guide you as you make decisions about what to include in the remodel. Once you’ve figured out what you can spend and substracted the amount allocated to labor, you’ll have a clearer sense of what you can spend on tile, fixtures, and extras.
2. Time
Many people assume that if they are remodeling a small bathroom it will only take a few days, or anyway it will take much less time than a larger one. This is not necessarily the case. Depending on how many items you are changing in the bathroom your contractor will have to go through all the same steps as a larger bathroom. However, planning refers not only to defining the duration of the renovation works but also certain intermediate steps such as ordering and purchasing tiles, fixtures, custom-built vanity or cabinets to make sure they can be delivered when your contractor needs them.  Planning time is also crucial for those with only one bathroom in their house as they will have to make arrangements where to take a shower and use the toilet while the bathroom is taken apart.

 3. Works sequence

When it comes to bathroom renovation by completing the job in a specific sequence you can save yourself from a lot of clean up time and mistakes. Whether you are demolishing sheetrock or simply repainting, you always want to start at the top of the room. Remodel your ceiling first, walls second, and floors third so you can prevent damage to your new components.

4. Hidden problems

If you are doing a major upgrade to your bathroom consider doing a “full gut”. When done by a professional with expertise you end up with a zero problems bathroom that will function flawlessly and add tremendous value to your home for many years to come. Depending on the age of your home and how well it was built the biggest hidden problem you may encounter is water damage, so look for structural deficiencies in the floor framing, not properly vented plumbing, old corroded plumbing, non-waterproof tile shower/tub surrounds, etc.

5. Design style and functionality

When first starting out start by thinking about the look you want for your bathroom. There are many factors to consider like paint color, tile choices, vanities, showers, tubs, faucets, etc. It can get overwhelming very quickly so start with some research. You can start to piece together elements that you like into what will become the final design of the bathroom or you may choose a design item you want to feature in the bathroom and then work the rest of the bathroom design around it.Design should work hand in hand with functionality so consider who will use the bathroom and how, consider an eventual resale of the house and also take a moment to think how the bathroom design will fit in with the rest of the house.

6. Measurements

There are 3 major limitations which really make size matter in bathroom renovation: the overall size of the bathroom (usually the smallest room in the house), the location of existing plumbing pipes and electrical wiring and the typical standard dimensions of bathroom fixtures. Therefore make sure you have the correct measurements and specifications when you go to the store. More frustrating than trying to shop without measurements is to end up purchasing stuff that doesn’t fit.

7. Contractor

Hiring a contract for a conceivably DIY job? Well, yes, that is a smart thing to do given the complexity of the job and difficult operations involved (electrical, tiling, plumbing, etc.). Therefore do not overlook the advantages of hiring a contractor and save yourself a load of misery and time.

8. Plumbing fixtures and features

No renovation is complete without remodeling or repairing fixtures and features, which could very well make a separate checklist themselves: shower, bathtub, toilet, bidet, sink, faucets and shower heads. You should also update or repair your mirrors and shower doors. You can also change the look of your bathroom very easily by changing out door handles, drawer pulls and the hardware for your shower doors. If you have the budget a new set of shower doors can completely change the look of your room.

9. Cabinets, storage and shelving

Planning cabinets, shelving and storing solutions is a tricky problem in most cases. In small, irregular shaped rooms like the bathroom, it is even more so. They need to be functional and accomodate all your stuff while keeping everything easily reachable, they must fit into the available space and make the most of it and on top of it all, they need to look stylish.

10. Walls and flooring

Virtually any material can be used to surface walls and floors in the bathroom as long as it’s waterproof, either naturally or by means of an impervious finish. Depending on your budget and style, ceramic, marble, and granite tiles make handsome and highly durable flooring and wall surfaces for baths. For flooring additional options may include cement (painted or stained), sheet vinyl or vinyl tiles which are inexpensive and look better than used to. Whatever your choice, always mind another key criteria for choosing your bathroom flooring: durability and slip-resistance.

11. Lighting

A bathroom can be rendered impractical or downright dangerous without adequate lighting so plan for design lighting that is functional and also creates atmosphere. Plan for maximizing natural light first, whereas for artificial light it is adviseable you should have least 4 watts of incandescent lighting per square foot.

12. Accessories

Although apparently insignificant in the bigger picture of the overall project, no remodel is complete without new accessories. And surprisingly enough, the small stuff like new towels, wash clothes, soap dishes, mirrors, towel racks, bath mats do add up to the final bill. If you are on a budget, new hand towels will be better than nothing.
13. Ventilation
Ventilation is crucial in a wet room like the bathroom. It is also a tricky task which needs good planning: choosing the right fan, the right position for its installation and dealing with the electrical wiring. Poor ventilation can leave your bathroom damp, mouldy and can even harm your health. A well-ventilated bathroom, however, isn’t just a healthy bathroom. Continual airflow can also prevent both the decay of any wooden trim or fixtures and the saturation of building insulation.
14. Going green
Even if you personally don’t care about going green one way or the other, the market is trending toward this so it’s something to consider. And there are many budget friendly options for adding a green touch to your bathroom: a low flow toilet that uses less water and saves you money in water bills; low-VOC or no-VOC paints; vanities made from sustainably harvested wood; recycled glass tile surface countertops, etc.

15. Final clean

The final clean should include a thorough cleaning of all cabinetry, inside and out, ductwork, walls, floor, windows, and light fixtures. Although often overlook in the planning phase, in the case of a major renovation you may want to consider contracting a cleaning service which means additional costs that impact your budget. If you feel up to doing it yourself, you may need to add a day or two to your initial timing.

Monday, May 27, 2013

6 Contemporary Bathroom Design Ideas

The sleek, minimalist style of a contemporary bathroom features a streamlined, uncluttered look with an emphasis on textures, materials, lines, lighting, and cutting edge design. The overall color tone is generally neutral - whites, blacks, creams, earth tones and grays. Some people like to include a color highlight (such as painting a wall in an accent color) to make the room "pop" without disrupting the overall clean simplicity of the contemporary bathroom.
An important component of a contemporary bathroom is consistency of design. This is not where you want an eclectic look. So whatever materials appeal to you, everything should work together to create a sophisticated modern space.
Design #1-Brushed Metal
Metal is often used as one of the major components of a contemporary bathroom design, especially brushed metal. It's a popular material choice for people who want a strong, urban edge to the look of their bathroom. Metal can be used as an accent material for bathroom hooks, shelving and towel bars, or it can be used as a major theme for the sink, shower and bathtub. Popular metal for contemporary bathrooms include nickel, brushed steel, stainless steel and chrome. Many people who choose contemporary bathrooms like metal because it coordinates very easily with a wide range of other design elements.
Design #2-Fabrics and Textures
Fabric and texture can be used to attractively offset a contemporary bathroom design that features a lot of metal.  Fabric and texture can also serve to soften noise levels in a metal bathroom. Material such as batik, linen, cotton velvet, raw cotton or waffle-textured cotton can be used for towels, bathroom rugs or shower curtains. Just be wary of patterns, particularly busy or intricate fabric patterns, because everything needs to harmonize with the overall look of sleek simplicity.
Design #3-Natural Stones
Natural stone is another popular material that lends itself to contemporary bathroom design, especially in large, oversized stone tiling for the floor that continues up the wall and the interior of the shower. Natural stone in muted earth tones such as gray, taupe and warm browns give the bathroom space the tranquil feel of a resort or spa. 
A contemporary bathroom design with natural stone walls and oversized tiling can be offset by a bathroom suite with strong, clean shapes, and by installing sleek mirrors.
Design #4-Wall-Hung Appliances
If your bathroom walls have been checked for sufficient sturdiness and strength, you might consider choosing a wall hung sink basin/vessel and a wall hung toilet, which will enhance the modernist appearance of a contemporary bathroom. The wall-hung installation clears floor space and simplifies bathroom cleaning
Design #5-Free Standing Bathtub
You might also want to consider a free-standing bathtub. Free-standing bathtubs are more commonly associated with the vintage bathroom look and familiar "claw foot" bath, but there are many streamlined, extremely contemporary free-standing bathtub designs available, and choosing the right one can create a striking, contemporary bathroom design element.
Design #6-Lighting
When it comes to bathroom lighting, recessed lighting, sleek sconces, and track lighting are logical lighting options for a look that both highlights and integrates well with contemporary design. Strip lighting over areas like the bathroom sink can serve as task lighting. 
Some people like floor lamps in compatible materials such as brushed metal, or in a bold color such as turquoise.  Others take a different approach and choose a pendant chandelier to highlight the spare and spacious-looking design of the rest of the bathroom space. Whatever your preference, the key idea to bear in mind is that lighting for the contemporary bathroom is an essential design element as well as a practical necessity. 

Tone and Textures

It's not uncommon to create attention-commanding focal points in compact spaces. This powder room vanity is crafted with smooth, flaxen veneer and is topped with a cast bronze basin and patina counter. Recessed lighting around the large mirror illuminates any reflection.
Designer: Lori Carroll, Lori Carroll & Associates, Tucson, AZ
Salt harvested from the Himalayan Mountains is unlike any other salt, unique in both its majestic beauty and in the benefits it provides. If you add pure and natural Himalayan salts to your bath you will notice the difference immediately. When mixed with water, these salts create an environment that mimics the most ancient seas on Earth, bringing the magic of the Himalayas right into your own home. When you soak in a Himalayan salt bath, the minerals and nutrients in the salt are delivered to your cells in the form of “ions”,  making it easier for your body to absorb and utilize them. Himalayan bath salts can improve the texture, tone and appearance of your skin, combat water retention, promote sinus health, prevent muscle cramping and soreness, regulate sleep, and even decrease stress.

Hacienda-Style Bath

This guest bath features a custom miniature sideboard topped with a rich red travertine counter and copper vessel sink. Rich shower draperies and handmade tiles add to the charm of this space, showing that patterns used selectively as accents will not overwhelm a small room.Designer: Leslie'Ann Cohen, CKD Leslie Cohen Design, Cardiff, CA
Hacienda Style:
In the distance, steam is streaming from Volcán de Fuego, the imposing and still active "fire volcano." The air is filled with the scent of tuberose, and all around are the gentle sounds of water splashing from a tributary of the El Cordoban River and from fountains in the courtyard. Five thousand acres of hillsides beyond are covered with fig, guava, walnut, pine, mango, and pistachio trees as thick as rainforest. Butterflies drift between intricately landscaped flowergardens.
There are many places around the world that define tropical serenity, but it is hard to imagine anything better than this hotel in Mexico, the Mahakua Hacienda de San Antonio. The grand 19th-century hacienda in the western state of Colima was built between 1879 and 1890 as the manor of a successful plantation (which at its height produced world-renowned coffee). Last August, Amanresorts founder Adrian Zecha took over the hacienda under a ten-year management deal and fine-tuned everything, opening it to the public in October. This sprawling, 66,000-square-foot mansion, with its vibrant colors (pink on the outside, apricots, reds, vivid yellows on the inside), romantic arched courtyards, and singular, handcrafted furnishings, may truly be one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Everything about this casa grande is luxurious, starting with the sense of space, including the 26 bedrooms with 15-foot vaulted brick ceilings and generous bathrooms. Even the furniture is oversized, adding a note of fantasy and glamour. Suede lounge chairs, intricate Mexican silver mirrors, hand-loomed carpets and tapestries--each room is different, all with sublime views. One side of the house faces the volcano (best view, not surprisingly, is from the Volcano Suite); the other side overlooks the formal gardens, designed to resemble those of Spain's Alhambra Palace (corner room 23 is tops). French doors and windows graciously facilitate the vistas. Volcanic stone fireplaces in each bedroom come in handy at night, when the 5,000-foot elevation brings on a chill, even in summer.
The public rooms are similarly massive and packed with exquisite details—the large statue of a bird constructed of silver from Guadalajara, the hand-carved table with inlays of silver talismans, the gilded 18th-century mirrors.
Immediately surrounding the house are 470 acres on which to wander. In addition to the fruit trees, there are ornamental plants from all of Central America that attract a wide variety of birdlife. And the pool is on an epic scale—115 feet long. It seems conceivable that even if all the guests plunged in at once they could swim laps without touching.
Being surrounded by all of this space and all of this beauty has a lulling effect—it's difficult to imagine leaving the grounds. But for those who do want to venture out, excursions are quickly arranged by the deft household staff, led by managers Char and Henry Gray (formerly of Amandari). Enriching possibilities include a visit to the pre-Columbian 120-acre archeological zone (15 miles from the hacienda) and horseback riding on the adjacent ranch (which grows coffee and organic vegetables for the kitchen). Or there's the visit to the neighboring town of Comala for the afternoon ritual of listening to the dueling mariachi bands in Los Portales, the lineup of outdoor restaurants across from the main square—you buy the margaritas, the restaurants spring for the botanas, or hors d'oeuvres. (The best restaurant bet: Fundador, the one closest to the main road.)
Mostly, though, days here might be spent wandering the gardens with Lupita, the naturalist-in-residence, trying to swim an entire length of the pool, dining on Australian chef Craig Wheate's delicious fusions of Asian (he was previously chef of the Eastern & Oriental Express train) and Mexican cuisine. On nights when there are few guests, dinners are held in the blue-and-white Mexican-tiled kitchen—an intimate, rewarding touch.
On your last day, the thought of leaving is excruciating. One reason, of course, isthe arduous trip back to the airport (a two-and-a-half-hour drive north to Guadalajara or nearly two hours southwest to Manzanillo). But the real reason is separation anxiety—parting from the ease and perfection here, the sensory euphoria induced by just looking around.
Room rates: $750-$1,400, including meals and airport transfers.
Municipio de Comala, Colima, Mexico; 52-331-34411; fax 52-331-43727; e-mail:

Small Spa Retreat Bath

This bathroom was constrained by bedrooms on either side, so it wasn't possible to increase square footage. To make the space feel roomier, white marble tile and several mirrored surfaces wrap the room. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets add height, while a glass shower wall eliminates the visual barrier of a shower curtain or doors. Rich wood tones add warmth and create balance.Designer: Keri Davis, CKD, Keri Davis Design, Lake Oswego, OR
The bathroom is usually the first place you visit in the morning, and the last stop before bed. Since the bathroom is where we spend a good amount of valuable time, why not turn it into a relaxing spa retreat type getaway?
Since some bathrooms are small and remodeling is expensive, changing the mood is as simple as re-decorating, changing the lighting, or even applying a small amount of paint. Spa retreats are known for their relaxing colors, soothing smells and calming environment. With a few supplies, or trip to the local home decor store, you can bring the essence of a spa retreat right into your home.The first thing you want to do is get rid of excess clutter. Spa retreats have a sense of organization; so in order to feel that way at home, don't have bottles and products lying about the bathtub or the room. The best use of money would be in storage, because that helps eliminate clutter without getting rid of everything useful, such as electric appliances or extra towels. Serene Retreats tend not to have an abundance of decorations, which in turn create the 'Zen' that we all go searching for.
The color palette of the bathroom should be peaceful, and most people opt for warm browns, beiges or cream colors. These colors allow the room to appear as though it was wide open and clean. If you prefer to have color in your spa retreat, choose earth colors to lighten up the room no matter what the size. Paint colors can open up a small room, or even lighten up a room without natural light.Colors have a calming effect. Tones in a soft blue tends to be relaxing and cooling, cream is inviting and warm, and sea greens create a soothing experience. Keep bathroom accessories, like towel racks, mirrors or sink top decorations to a minimum. By having only a modern simplistic amount of accessories, the room takes on a spa retreat-like atmosphere, in that it is visually calming and clean.
If your bathroom has no access to direct or natural light, skylights are an option to bring in sun throughout the whole day. Skylights brighten up the room with natural light, and are also a decorative feature perfect for you own spa retreat. If light fixtures already exist in the bathroom and are adequate, tone down brightness by changing to a softer light bulb, or find upward facing light fixtures.The final steps to creating your very own spa retreat are to add decorations that calm and sooth you while you relax. Add candles around the tub or sink top, have a basket of bath salts nearby and add a bath pillow to the tub. Aromatherapy is also a great way to unwind. Lavender and vanilla scents are great together, as well as juniper or eucalyptus oils.
Everyone can use a little rest and relaxation, but can't always find the spare time. By making your very own spa retreat in the bathroom, you can spend every day unwinding in the comfort in your own home.

Zen Escape Bath

The size of this room called attention to an eyesore: an off-center, aluminum-framed window. A floor-to-ceiling Shoji screen took care of that by concealing the flaw, while letting light through. A 7-foot framed mirror, hung horizontally, spans the entire length of the room and reflects the ladder towel rack, which adds storage without taking up floor space.
Designer: Holly Rickert, Ulrich, Inc., Ridgewood, NJ
Our clients wanted to achieve a peaceful zen-like bath, which was to be used as an escape from their demanding workday. To create this effect we used marble tile, multiple mirrors, stainless steel fixtures, and lots of glass.  We also balanced this feeling with the functionality of the bath.
We crafted a custom, curved, marble sink top and a shower seat, to match the marble wall and floor tiles, with a hand held spray for bathing in comfort.  We placed a large mirrored medicine cabinet above their vanity.  To maintain natural lighting, we replaced the old window in the shower with a new window with obscure glass for privacy.

To protect the window and to increase privacy during showering, we fit white polywood shutters inside the marble window surround, an ingenious solution to the moisture problems often  encountered with a window in the shower.
Bath mats must be soft, quick-dry and comfortable. On the rare occasion that I can stand in front of the bathroom mirror and apply my daily moisturizer and make-up, I prefer to pamper my feet. They deserve it, and so do I. Because my bathroom also doubles as a nightly bath space for the kids, I need something that can not only cushion my knees during bath time, but something that can withstand the splashes and high-traffic from the kids.To store bath towels I have a stand with a large basket that rests on it. We have great bath towels that compliment the color scheme of our bathroom, so I like to show them off. I roll them up and place them inside the basket for show and to keep them accessible.

Simple and Small Bath

These homeowners wanted to "keep it simple and do it well." This cherry and limestone bath replaced a tiny, cluttered space meant for guest use. The curved-front vanity maximizes usable space with two deep drawers on double extension drawer slides.Designer: Gary Hentges, Hentges Construction, Inc., Urbana, IL
A while back we posted a fantastic mix of beautiful and relaxing bathroom design ideas on Freshome, which turned out to be very popular. Whether you are looking to redecorate your small bathroom or design one from scratch, today’s post will offer some quick tips on how to do so and as a bonus, plenty of photographic inspiration! You probably wonder how can one make a small washing room functional, without compromising in aesthetics. Well, the 30 photos we gathered in the list below guarantee that combining practicability and visual harmony is possible and not so difficult after all. Taking inspiration from the small bathrooms in this post could be the first step in assessing your upcoming project.
You must think of each and every element in your bathroom and how it interacts with the available space. Does any of them occupy a larger surface than necessary? In order to maximize a small washing room, there are a few things you could do. Removing the feeling of clutter can be achieved by replacing the vanity for a pedestal sink. Choose a cool tall sink that matches the overall style of the interior and enjoy the extra space. Buying a small bathtub is also a great solution, especially when there are so many chic models out there. Large floor tiles, as well as light color paint on the walls give the feeling of space, whereas dark hues inspire crowdedness. With these simple ideas in mind, we invite you to go through the amazing photo collection below and share your own tips and tricks for designing a perfect small bathroom!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

His-and-Her Bath

The use of continuing horizontal lines, a large, frameless mirror, and well-placed task lighting helps to create the illusion of a larger space. The marble-clad dividing wall lends modesty to the toilet area, while creating a recessed storage opportunity. A must in every small bath, the shower has a curbless entry to eliminate demarcation of the limited footprint.
Designer: Gary Hentges, Hentges Construction, Inc., Urbana, IL
Some couples may find that a his and her bathroom is a solution to their problems. His and her bathrooms separate many of the shared fixtures and furnishings in the bathroom so that each person has their own. Common items include vanities, medicine cabinets, shower systems and even toilets.
The biggest (and most obvious) improvement in a his and her bathroom is personal space. Each person has their own area that they can use however they see fit. This should hopefully reduce the amount of fights you and your beau have regarding differences in hygiene and organization. The shower especially becomes a little nicer as each partner can now have a shower that works for them. Separate showerheads will certainly come in handy if one person is taller than the other.

Overall, his and her bathrooms are a great idea if it can fit in both your space and budget. Homes with two toilets and dual shower systems may require more water volume (and hot water) to adequately supply each station. In addition, your current bathroom may not have the square footage to allow for two of everything.The bottom line is his and her bathrooms shouldn’t be necessary…unless a couple cannot compromise, or have the funds to turn their space into a luxury suite. If you are interested in transforming your space into a shared room, here are some ideas:1.separate vanities
2.monogrammed or labeled apothecary jars (storage)
3.his and her bath linens (will mark which is which)

Bath design Day at the Beach

These homeowners opened up their space by getting rid of two small closets and adding task and ambient lighting to help create the illusion of a larger room. Little width remained after incorporating the tub and toilet, so a shallow cabinet was incorporated. Our favorite detail? The playful "dry riverbed" of stones in the floor.
Designer: Erica S. Westeroth, CKD XTC Design Incorporated, Toronto, ON
It has been a clinch to live by the beach, relax and bask in the sun for that golden tan you have been dreaming about while enjoying the sea breeze to your heart's content. But many people do not know the perils of living by the beach. Metal appliances, house and bathroom fixtures can easily get rusty and that is just one of it.
Sewage Pipe DesignSince sand can be powdery at times, it can be dispersed by a flush of water and you need to have a bigger pipe diameter in order to do this. Use at least 4 inch sewage pipes as minimum diameter for floor drains plus about 1 to 2 degrees of pipe slope from your regular local standard. 
Foot Bath
This is the most critical part of the design to avoid sand congestion inside the drainage pipe line. Have a separate concrete basin where you can wash your feet from the sand that may be on your feet. Raise the drain hole about an inch higher than that of the floor so that the sand can settle at the bottom of the basin and not inside the drain pipe. In most cases foot baths are only used in swimming pools, but why shouldn't we use it for the convenience of our homes.
Water pipe Line and Fixtures
It is advisable for you to use those made of copper, brass or plastic material if you are living near the beach since sea breezes can also cause rapid rusting amongst steel components. It would be a waste if you would be using a steel pipe embedded inside those oven-baked Spanish tiles that had to be imported from Europe and then after a year or two have them taken out the waterline system or the embedded fixture because the pipeline has gone rotten due to the accumulation of rust. 
Drying Area
Also make sure that a small drying area inside the bathroom is available for you or guests to hang bathing suits and trunks after use. This can be a very convenient drying area because you can hang your gear after rinsing, just in case you are still planning to take a dip later on.

Rich, Asian-Inspired Design Bath

This homeowner wanted to bring her home out of the 1980s with contemporary Asian design, so the powder room vanity was inspired by a Japanesekaidantansu (stepped chest), which contributes fluidity of design in the cramped quarters. The use of rich and dark colors makes the walls of the small space recede.
Designer: Debbie R. Gualco, Co-designers: Denae C. Baggs, AKBD & Leah C. Pugh, CKD, Reynolds Gualco Architecture & Interior Design, Sacramento, CA
An Asian bathroom design is inspired by the influences of the Far East. These influences include the spas and bath houses of Japan and the use of bamboo and pine to create a rich and luxurious look. The walls can be painted with Chinese symbols and characters symbolizing peace, prosperity and wisdom. The room incorporated elements of Feng Shui , or positive energy, and there may also be a Bonzai tree or rock garden that forms the base of the spa or garden tub that you install in your Asian themed bathroom.
There are many different design ideas and elements that are available for an Asian inspired bathroom design. Finding them does not take much by way of effort. You need to locate sources, be it books, magazines, TV or the internet to draw upon to understand what constitutes an Asian designed bathroom. The choices available are endless and they are only limited by your imagination and budget. Imagination can be overcome with inspiration, unfortunately budget requires certain considerations be made in order to accomplish the look you want at a price you can afford.
Look for Inspiration
To begin, find inspiration online for the various Asian style bathrooms. You will find through this process the things you like and dislike. Many of the pieces can be taken from other rooms in your  home. Make sure you take a complete inventory before deciding how to design your Asian Bathroom. 
Ask any friends or relatives who have completed an Asian inspired bathroom for their thoughts and ideas. You may also want to take pictures of a recently Asian designed bathroom to see what inspiration you can take away for your bathroom design.
The Cost of Materials 
You will need to determine the cost of your materials. This requires a trip to the home improvement center. You may also look to check out an antique store or center and look online for any estate sales that may have many of the items that you are looking for. You can spend several hundreds of dollars to achieve the desired look and style for your Asian inspired bathroom or more, depending on the type and quality of material that you purchase. 
The best way to determine the true cost of your Asian inspired bathroom is to look through books and magazines to see what type of material is used and look these items up online. This will give you the best estimate to work with when costing out the materials for the construction of your Asian bathroom. 
Installation Considerations
When considering the remodel of an existing bathroom into an Asian style one, you need to determine the best approach for the installation. Working within your budget, seek professional assistance in order to properly build, construct and make your Asian bathroom dream a reality. Only consider doing the renovation yourself within your skill set and ability and try not to take on more than you can do.

Big Idea for Small Bath

A few things all old house lovers are familiar with: Drafty windows, less-than-perfect plumbing, squeaky floors—and small bathrooms. While new home baths have nearly doubled in size over the past 30 years, old home bathrooms average about 5- by 8-feet. Not to worry, though: You can combat the claustrophobia by scaling down to physically save space. (Pedestal sink, anyone?) And, with the right colors and lighting, you can create the illusion of a roomy bath.
Here, we dig into the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) Design Competition archives to deliver great ideas from Certified Kitchen Designers that you can use in your next remodel.
Space Saving Solutions
It's often the smallest spaces in our homes that get shortchanged. Speaking for all of the tiny quarters out there, it's high time that we banish that theory and give them the style they deserve. Here are five clever ideas to get you started.
Bold Lighting and Mirrors
A bronze light fixture with an outdoor influence highlights the bold-framed mirror. Next time you're in a home-improvement store, check out the indoor and outdoor lighting aisles. You'll find great looks without ponying up a lot of dough.

Built-In Drawers
Pedestal sinks are ideal in small baths because they take up less space visually than a cabinet. However, a shortage of storage often makes them less appealing. Builder Chris Fisher of Tulsa, Oklahoma, placed two small drawers on either side of this sink. The drawers are both functional and pretty. They are painted the same color as the walls, while the trimwork is stained chocolate like the ledge above. A tile countertop mimics the flooring.
Woodwork Wonders
Breaking up wallspace with tile or wood adds interest. Here, wood paneling covers two-thirds of the wall. A gray wash finish is paired with a deeper chocolate-stained ledge for a rustic look; the ledge holds accessories.

Don't Be Conservative With Color
Instead of a neutral hue, try a more festive tone in a small space. This shade of terra-cotta blends nicely with the wood in the room. The window helps keep the space from looking too dark. When going bold with color, always test it out first. Buy a sample, and see how it works on a small area of the wall. Remember, light can change the look of the paint throughout the day.

2 Solutions Of Worn Out Bath Tubs

What do you do with a washed-up bathtub? You could replace it with a new one, but that's not an easy proposition. Most tubs are set in an alcove or corner, lapped by the flooring and wall finishes to create a watertight seal and tied down in at least two places by plumbing. If you're ready for a full-scale bathroom remodel, replacing the tub makes sense. If you're not, you're looking at creating a real mess and spending $2,000 to $3,000 for little visual change. But two better options are available to price-conscious homeowners with tubs in need of a face-lift: tub liners and tub refinishing. Both add years of life to an existing tub at a fraction of the cost of full-scale replacement— and in a fraction of the time.
Tub Liners "Some people collect art, others collect old cars, but my boss collects tubs," says John Heckenlaible, marketing director for Re-Bath, a Mesa, Arizona—based company that has been making tub liners since the 1970s and today is the nation's largest franchiser of tub-lining products, with almost 100 installers in 47 states. Another national company, Luxury Bath Systems of Bensenville, Illinois, has its own collection. With these old tubs reliner companies create exact molds, which they use to make liners that fit tubs perfectly, wherever they're installed and whatever shape they're in. 
Here's how the process works: 
A local installer sends precise measurements and photographs of the tub to company headquarters. The company identifies the model, pulls it off the shelf and with a sheet of 1/4-in. ABS acrylic—the same material football helmets and airplane windshields are made of—vacuum-forms an exact mold of the tub. The result is a 35-lb. liner that slips over the tired tub like a new glove. To install it, the local rep cleans the old tub with denatured alcohol, removes the drain and overflow and trims the liner so it fits snugly against the walls. Then, using a combination of two-sided butyl tape and silicone adhesive, he attaches the liner to the old tub. He finishes up by installing a new drain and overflow, and caulking the seams. Once the liner is delivered, which can take four to eight weeks, a single workman can install it in six to eight hours, and the homeowner can bathe in it that same evening.
Tub Refinishing 
Reglazing, or refinishing, a worn-out bathtub is a more site-intensive process, calling for chemicals that are hazardous enough to require a respirator and special protective suit for the technician who does the work. "Basically, a refinisher turns a residential bathroom into a spray booth for a few hours," explains Mike Grampp, who runs a thriving 11-year-old tub refinishing business in Richmond, Kentucky. 

The first step in reglazing involves masking the surfaces around the tub to protect from overspray and properly venting the bathroom to extract the toxic fumes. After he has removed the caulk, the refinisher swathes the tub in hydrofluoric acid, a highly toxic agent that not only dissolves what's left of the porcelain glaze but also etches the surface so the new finish will adhere. 

Next, the refinisher washes away the hydrofluoric acid, installs new caulk and dries the tub with the help of a fan. He then sprays on two coats of a fast-drying epoxy to promote adhesion of the finish coats. To finish, he gives the tub a cleaning with a tack cloth to remove any dust particles or insects, and then sprays four applications of a polyurethane finish coat with sanding in between. Finally, the refinisher polishes the tub. The whole process takes a single technician about four to six hours, depending on how extensive the repair is, but the tub needs to cure for a minimum of 24 hours before the water is turned on.

Which is for You? There's no question liners are more durable than refinished tubs. Indeed, Re-Bath shows off the resilience of its product in its San Jose, California, showroom by banging them with a hammer. But liners also cost much more -- they run $800 to $1,000 installed. Plus, you'll be given a sales pitch to install panels of acrylic wall liners around the tub. The panels come in as many as 20 colors, with marbleized varieties, too, and run about $150 for an 8-ft. model. Refinishing a tub, on the other hand, costs $200 to $450. Although most customers choose white, refinishing is available at a slightly higher price in virtually any color that paint is, compared with the five or so colors (generally white, almond, biscuit, gray and black) most liner companies offer. The Reglazing Company, in Lubbock, Texas, charges $195, while Surface Doctor, a Colorado Springs, Colorado, refinishing company with 120 franchisees throughout the U.S., charges an average of $345. "We're rarely the cheapest in town," says Chuck Pistor, president of Surface Doctor, "but with no barriers to entry, anyone can say they're a refinisher, and you often get what you pay for." Pistor, in fact, acknowledges that fly-by-night refinishers have tainted the industry's reputation: "People hear stories that it peels, or it won't last," he says. "We have to explain that there are differences among refinishers, and that it's a great product if it's done with the right materials and techniques." Liners have their drawbacks, too, particularly with regard to esthetics. Some people like the clean, simple lines of the liner look, but if you've got an older tub with some character and definition in the skirt, liners have a hard time replicating them. In addition, liners are plastic and they look plastic. And if there is leakage around the liner and water gets under it, it can be squishy and smelly, and difficult to deal with. Warranties vary widely for both products. Grampp Tub Refinishing offers a 5-year limited warranty, while dealers for Luxury Bath Systems are all over the map, offering 3- to 10-year to lifetime warranties. Surface Doctor offers a 5-year warranty on its refinishing, but, says Pistor, "It'll last 10 to 15 years if you take care of it." Warns Luxury's president Davis Glassberg, "Be skeptical of a company that's only been in business six months offering a lifetime guarantee. Also, read the warranty on your contract. What they are covering is just as important as the terms of the warranty. An unconditional warranty is a lot better than a limited one." Both industries shy away from working on fiberglass tubs, and most liner companies won't do jetted tubs, nor will they line claw-foot tubs. Chipped, dented or even rusted-through tubs are no problem, however, but be prepared to pay more if repairs are necessary.
Tips for Picking a Company You'll find refinishing and tub lining companies in the yellow pages and on the Internet, but the best advice is to act as you would when hiring any contractor -- by asking lots of questions. First of all, get recommendations from friends and neighbors. Also obtain references from the salesperson (and check them!), and find out how much training the installer has had (Re-Bath requires a nine-day course). "Word-of-mouth is our best advertising," says Davis Glassberg, of Luxury Bath Systems. "Ask how long the company has been in business, too," he adds. If you're considering a tub liner, determine whether the company has your exact tub model before you sign a contract. Call the headquarters where molds are made if you don't get a convincing answer. Also avoid companies that use PVC liners. They are less expensive, but they tend to yellow with age, and they are thinner than acrylic. Because there's no regulation or certification of this industry, ask for product-safety data sheets on adhesives and any other chemicals that will be used. Different refinishers use different chemicals, and you should be skeptical of any claim that the solvents are "safe." They may well be after they've been washed away or once they have dried, but make sure the refinisher ventilates the room thoroughly, and cautions you to stay away from the work area until the fumes are gone. If you follow these suggestions, you will get a safe installation as well as a tub that looks brand-new.
Where to Find It: American Bath Co. 
Box 2741 

N. Babylon, NY 11703 

800/615-8066 Grampp Tub Refinishing 

330 Moberly Ave. 

Richmond, KY 40475

859/623-4796 Luxury Baths Systems 
232 James St. 
Bensenville, IL 60106
800/822-7905 Re-Bath 
1055 S. Country Club Dr. 
Mesa, AZ 85210
800/426-4573 The Reglazing Company 
5228 34th St. 
Lubbock, TX 79407
806/797-1000 Surface Doctor
Box 25535 
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Saturday, May 25, 2013

How to maintain a safe bathroom?

Thousands of people are injured in the bathroom each year from slips, falls, and scalding from hot water.  This makes the bath one of the most relaxing and pleasurable places in the home yet one of the more dangerous.  While not all accidents can be prevented, simple precautions can be taken to minimize risks and maintain the safety in one of the favorite rooms in the home.
Following are guidelines offered by the National Kitchen and Bath Association on rules to
follow for keeping your bathroom safe:
  • Be sure that slip resistant flooring is used in all areas of the bathroom. While most materials are slippery when wet; slip-resistant flooring materials help to eliminate many falls and reduce the risk. Any water on the floor should be wiped up as soon as possible to maintain safety.
  • Eliminate steps leading into tub or shower areas. If possible, try to surround a tub with a platform where you can sit down prior to entering or exiting the tub.
  • Select shower doors carefully. Always use shatterproof glass in shower enclosures. Also, if the door is hinged, make it open into the room instead of into the shower. In the case of an emergency, this allows easy access into and out of the shower.
  • Install proper faucets. Pressure-balanced and temperature-controlled valves are recommended in the bath and shower to prevent scalding. Also, install faucets in areas that are easily accessible from outside the tub or shower. Avoid having to stretch or reach for the water control.
  • Add benches and grab bars. Installing them within shower enclosures and near the entrance of a tub greatly decreases the chance of accidental falls.
  • Install emergency shut-offs for whirlpool tubs. Make sure that the shut-off can be reached from both inside and outside the tub area to ensure maximum safety.
  • Maintain safe distances between water sources and electrical switches. Use ground-fault circuit interrupters on electrical receptacles. They shut off when a hazard, such as moisture, is sensed.
  • If children are present in the home use cabinet locks. The bathroom holds many poisonous household products and prescriptions. Always place locks on cabinets where these substances are stored.
Consider these safety tips in your home today and especially when planning a bathroom remodel in the future.