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Remodeled bathroom with new tub, sink, and toilet
January 28, 2012

Reinventing Your Bathroom with a Splash On emotional, practical, spiritual, and financial levels, a remodeled bathroom can be a very good thing. Maybe you’re thinking that colorful new wall tiles will lift your spirits when you walk in there each...

More articles on Bathroom Remodeling

An elegant bathroom with large skylights

Opening the roof to open the room

When a bathroom is on the top floor, a skylight that opens up is a popular solution to bringing in daylight and ventilation, especially when wall space is at a premium. Today's skylights, whether they open or not, are better made than those of earlier years, and they’re also better insulated and designed with bulletproof seals (a slight exaggeration) to prevent leaking. Many are engineered for easy installing, with no flashing, mastic, or sealants required.

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Blue lit room with pretty windows

Calling attention to windows

If you're replacing a window, consider making the new one the focal point of the room. Make the replacement a showoff decorative window instead of an ordinary one to fill the opening left by the original. A decorative window, made of acrylic or glass block or stained glass, can be the attention getter in any room, and it's particularly effective in a bathroom, where it lets in light and at the same time provides privacy. Plus you don’t need a window treatment because you don't want to conceal the design. These window units come in a range of sizes, shapes, and patterns, and some can be installed vertically or horizontally, thus offering some variety in placement.

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A bathroom with purple walls and a breezy window

Adding Style and Fresh Air with Windows

A window brings daylight into the room and has the pleasing effect of opening up the space. It's a natural attention getter in a bathroom, whether providing a view of treetops in a second-floor room or a glimpse of a colorful garden from the first-floor powder room. But a window isn't for aesthetics alone; it provides ventilation and fresh air, both key elements for a bathroom.

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A bathroom door with sink in background

Getting Creative with Doors and Windows

If you haven't given much thought to the doors and windows of your new bathroom, think again. A door is more than a way to get in and out of the bathroom; it just may be a design solution if your floor plan is tight on space. For example, special hardware allows standard bifold doors to open and fold flat against the wall instead of taking up precious space in the door jamb. Attractive new pocket doors don't need to swing out into the room and take up valuable space.

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Feet Standing On An Electrical Radiant Floor Warming System

Raves for radiant flooring

Tile is a great floor for any bathroom, but one of its drawbacks is obvious when your bare feet hit cold tile. The best solution to this chilling experience is installing an electrical radiant floor warming system before you install new floor tile. In fact, several manufacturers make low-wattage electric resistance mats that can be installed under just about any flooring material.

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Big bathroom

Floored by the choices

Did you know that a floor accounts for about one-third of the space you see in a room? So no matter what size bathroom you're planning, the flooring material you choose packs a wallop of an impression. Do you want the floor to be the focal point of the room or provide a neutral backdrop for the fixtures and furnishings? If you have a plain-Jane bathroom that can use some visual interest, an oh-my-gosh tile floor may be a tremendous improvement. But if the new wallpaper and cabinets you plan shout, “Look at me!” perhaps a more neutral or subdued flooring is the best choice.

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Faucet with crystal handles

Showdown at the shut-off valves

A shut-off or stop valve controls the water flow to your faucets, so it's a good idea to have them installed for every faucet (one for the hot water and one for the cold). Many homes have them, but surprisingly not all of them do. The valve is important because it stops water supply lines so that when you need to fix a leak, you don't have to shut down the water supply to the entire house. It’s a safety precaution too, so if there's an overflow, you can stop the flow of water to the faucet.

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Hands free faucet

Look ma, no hands!

You know how handy it is to wash your hands at the airport washroom? Well, we think it is, too. It won't be long before the price of those electronic "hands-free" faucets will come down in price and become a popular choice in today's busy family bathrooms. Maybe the cost of water will have something to do with it too, because these faucets are very thrifty. The least expensive one we found costs about $300 (by Delta Faucets), but it's not that easy to install. One of the advantages to the no-hands electric faucets made for residential use is that you can change the water temperature. You can't do that with commercial models, which are set at a fixed temperature. Remember that you heard it here first: Electronic faucets will be playing in your neighborhood soon.

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Riser tubes under a bathroom sink


Choosing riser tubes

The thin flexible tubes under a sink are called supply tubes or riser tubes because they direct water from the main water valve to the sink. The ones we prefer are made of stainless steel mesh and have a polymer lining. They are sold in a variety of lengths and don't rely on compression nuts. They attach directly to the tailpiece of the faucet and stop valve to form a strong and flexible connection.

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Handles and faucet

Getting a Handle on Types of Faucets and Controls

When you’re selecting a faucet, make sure that it’s compatible with the sink you choose. Lavatory sinks are drilled for faucets with a distance of 4 inches (center-set) or 8 inches (widespread) between the hot and cold faucet handles. A single hole accommodates most single-control faucets. Many sinks are also available with centered single holes, and some have no drillings for faucets mounted directly on the countertop or on the wall.

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