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Bathroom pitfalls ... and how to avoid them

Bathroom pitfalls … and how to avoid them

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Bathroom pitfalls … and how to avoid them

If kitchens are the hub of the home, then bathrooms must be the inflated tires around them. They provide a smooth and comfortable ride until something goes wrong – such as worn treads or a bulging sidewall – and they fail to function as designed. Designers and manufacturers of bathroom products have continually been changing trends to keep us chasing that fresh, spa-like bathroom experience. Society ditched the public baths the Roman’s famously built out of fear of spreading disease long ago. While those oversized public baths may seem like a distant mistake of the past – especially amid our modern-day pandemic, there are other design pitfalls to avoid during your own bathroom renovation!

Here’s a quick cheat sheet …

  • Custom shower pans – we recommend custom fibreglass over the rubber membrane with a dry-pack method to avoid leaks below the shower. If you go with the conventional, do the dry-pack before the drywall work to avoid risk to tears which result in leaks.
  • Check fixture flowrates – and total them relative to your hot water tank or tankless hot water heater/boiler. Some tub fillers have rates of nine gallons per minute, which can knock out a combination boiler or steal an entire tank of hot water in seconds, leaving the rest of the house on ice!
  • Insulate the floor and wall under the tub – to avoid losing the heat from your bathwater in a hurry! Tubs are installed before the drywall, and sometimes these cavities are forgotten, until the first dip in the bath!
  • Add a floor drain beside the toilet. Toilets back up – virtually every toilet has a failure at some point in their lifespan, and this drain can save a lot of mess and associated costs in an overflow or a seal failure.
  • Membrane the walls – green board, fibreglass board and cement board are not perfectly waterproof. Add a membrane, glue on, paint on, no matter the type; it will help ensure you avoid the long-term effects of water creeping behind the tile or slabs on the walls.
  • Cover your fixtures during the work stage – especially the shower floor and the tub. Tools fall, materials grind and finishes are delicate and often expensive. Preserve the new stuff until the job is complete with liquid membranes, insulation and hard surface coverings, so you don’t prematurely dull the shine or marry the finish.
  • Not all mixing valves are created equal – Splurge for a shower valve with controllable temperatures inside the valve, especially if you have a tankless water heater or combination-boiler. Otherwise, you might be left with a lukewarm rinse until you decide to renovate again.
  • Recirculatation lines to the vanity faucet and shower and tub fixtures – will ensure you are not running water long to obtain the hot water you are after – especially for on-demand tankless and boiler systems. Saves wasting time and water – a win-win! Insulate those lines to avoid wasting energy for the winning hat trick.
  • Pick and then plumb – true of all fixtures, but especially for showers, toilets and vanities, as wall-hung units can create different plumbing rough-ins and avoid costly re-run at finish installation time.
  • Potlights – best kept for inside the shower or water closet only, not at the vanity as they create long and dark facial shadows that can make you look old and tired at any time of day. No thanks!

If you want to design, build or renovate your perfect bathroom, remember these pitfalls, and know there is real value in working with a professional to design and create the space. Visit renomark.ca, the home of the professional renovator, to start your search when looking to start your project!

Brendan Charters is a Founding Partner at Toronto design-build firm Eurodale Developments Inc., the 2020 BILD Renovator of the Year.




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Home Improvements: Renos that boost your R.O.I.

Renos that boost your R.O.I.

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Renos that boost your R.O.I.

Illustration by Rachel Joanis

So, you’ve decided to sell your home. That means you’ve also likely tossed around the idea of a home renovation to yield the best possible profit. Here are four home renovations that yield the highest payoff.


It’s the beating heart of the home. This is the most-significant and most-expensive room to renovate, but it also gives you the highest return on your investment. There are a few reasons for this. Kitchens are a pain to renovate, from the inconvenience of functioning without a kitchen for weeks (or months) and the effort required to coordinate or complete the work. That means buyers are often willing to pay a premium for a home with a brand-new kitchen. Always choose quality over quantity – a cheap or poorly done renovation can decrease your home’s value.


Much like the kitchen, bathrooms are difficult to renovate, and many homebuyers will pay extra for the convenience of having it done for them. Spa-inspired bathrooms are a common upgrade in older homes when the bath was considered a utilitarian room versus a feature space. A bigger, brighter bathroom with custom elements, such as vanity and countertops, unique tile work, fabulous lighting and extras like a steam shower, make-up area or a meditation zone can bring in the bucks on resale.

Income suite

An income suite is a biggie – especially in pricey urban housing markets such as Toronto and Vancouver. Young homebuyers often look to tenants to help them pay off their hefty mortgage, and multi-generational households can reside together with greater cost-efficiency and privacy. Look at secondary suites for rent in the area to get a feel for what those units look like, and how much they rent for. This will be a great selling point for your home.

In the current sellers’ market, a fairly-priced home shouldn’t stay on the market for too long. Every homeowner is looking to get the biggest bang for their buck, and the quickest possible sale – which translates to even more money in your pocket. Work with your realtor to determine what renovations make sense in the current marketplace, and for some tried-and-true advice on how to get everything done.


Here are some more tips to help sellers keep their eyes on the prize:

  1. Renovate for your target buyer, not for yourself. Your realtor can advise you on the types of renovations that will resonate with buyers in your area, and of the kind of home you’re selling.
  2. Work with an experienced contractor who’s familiar with the type of work you’re planning. Check out their portfolio, ask for references and contact them.
  3. Before any work begins, ensure your contract stipulates precisely what work is being done, what materials and products are being used, the budget and the timeline for completion.
  4. Do it by the book. Don’t try to save on costs by skipping the permits or taking shortcuts in the work. This will only end up hurting your bottom line, not helping.

Heather Hadden, Principal at Hadden Homes, notable top real-estate professional in GTA is focused on providing comprehensive full-service real-estate support for all new and existing homeowners.

Making you love where you live once again.


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