story by Janice Henshaw –
With the real estate market so hot, is it still a good idea to renovate the bathroom if you plan to sell your home soon?
Michelle Holmes and Erin Mackenzie (Holmes Realty) agree that money spent on updating the kitchen and bathroom before a sale results in a good return. “Clean, white, and bright” bathrooms are a plus, says Michelle. Cabinetry with storage space is preferred to a pedestal type sink. A floating cabinet with motion sensor lights underneath is an excellent choice, added Erin, along with bright light fixtures or mirror lights for shaving and other bathroom activities.
They agreed that bathtubs are less popular now than they used to be except in high-end spa-like bathrooms. Glass walk-in shower enclosures with tiled walls, rain showerheads and a bench along with heated floors are all features that make a bathroom stand out.
It sounds like a win/win situation to enjoy a nicer bathroom and to have it appreciate if you plan on selling your house. If it’s all a go, how long will you vacillate on the decision to renovate? Well, for me, it took an earthquake. I was soaking in a hot bath one chilly winter day when suddenly, the water in my tub started to move in waves. Then it got more frightening; the glass doors on the tub began to waver and bend in their metal frame. I didn’t know whether to stay put and enjoy the surf or try to get through the doors before they shattered. Luckily, the quake stopped. I phoned for a bathroom reno the next day.
After an interminable wait, the renovation day drew near. To save money I removed the toilet and, with quite a bit of effort, carried it out to the backyard. When I arrived home that night, I could hardly wait to see the progress. There was none; they had not shown up. No message either. My white toilet reflected the light as it sat like a lonely statue in my back yard. So, a word of caution … if you’ve pulled a toilet, remember to use the washroom before leaving work. And always have a spare wax seal.
If your budget can handle it and you have no wish to learn home improvement skills, then don’t bother putting yourself through the trials and tribulations of a bathroom reno. You can just call a reputable local firm like Hook & Hook Designs or Seaside Cabinetry & Design and sit back and relax while they wave their wand and create design and artisan magic. But if your budget is tight, then why not do what you can to lower costs? Here are some “non-professional but been through it myself” ideas to consider.
Remove old wall tiles, carpet and wallpaper. Turn off the water lines and remove the toilet and sink. Buy new cabinetry and hire a plumber to hook up the sink – or perhaps you have the know-how to do that too? It can for some of us be a frustrating bit of work lying on our backs in a small space to remove the old faucet and then trying to line up the new taps. It’s no problem if you don’t mind being upside down and backwards!
If you are going to install a new water-conserving toilet, ensure that it has a decent flush (you can’t save water if you must flush it twice!) and a new wax seal. Now we get to another fiddly bit: repairing dents and holes in the walls; they need to be filled with drywall mud, sanded, and the walls cleaned before sanding. A great look will emerge from newly painted walls, ceiling, the trim and door. To avoid being a bathroom acrobat and a visitor to the emergency room at your local hospital, buy a decent quality non-slip bathmat and install a strategically placed safety bar or, even better, two. On another safety issue, I discovered that bathtub glass doors must be removed if you wish home support assistance. They are dangerous to grab onto if a bather is unsteady on their feet.
Another do-it-yourself project is to replace the flooring. Check and repair any areas of the sub-floor that have started to rot due to water leakage. Now might be the time to buy an electric underfloor heating kit to really make your bathroom cozy. The bathroom floor is continually subjected to humidity and spills, so choose flooring that is impervious to water and is as non-slippery as possible. Textured ceramic tiles are an elegant choice and they are easy to mop up. Smaller tiles require more grout, so their lines help reduce slips. Tiles can be cold on your feet but not if you add underfloor heating. Another popular and cost-effective choice is waterproof sheet vinyl flooring, tiles or planks.
Shopping for mirrors is an amazing experience – and you can hang it yourself. Some have very cool lights and even TV reception! Other items that I saw in high-end bathroom stores included a gorgeous, hammered copper bathtub ($15,000) with a black matte tub faucet ($2,000), a crystal chandelier ($1,000), an Italian Murano glass sink bowl ($1,200), and a polished nickel faucet ($1,800). I was also impressed by the $1,700 Toto Tornado flush toilet that comes with a remote control, deodorizer, heated seat, warm air dryer, auto open / close lid, and air-in wonder wave. I will let you figure that one out!
To finish off your bathroom, treat yourself to an online or in person visit to Flush Bathroom Essentials in Sidney. (The bathroom candy store!) Owner Laura says even if you can’t afford or don’t wish to renovate, you can always give your bathroom a new look with countertop accessories or fresh towels in a different colour. She adds that they carry all sorts of hardware, such as heated towel bars, wall-mount magnification mirrors. space save trolleys, and many other specialty items.
When you are sitting on your luxurious new throne, or a no-frills-but-works-great new toilet from Home Depot, here’s a few words to ponder on for the new year: “The first step to better times is to imagine them.” (Chinese proverb). These words can also be applied to bathroom renos. Have fun imagining in 2021!