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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.

@eurodalehomes

416.782.5690


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Wanted - Worst house, best street

Wanted – Worst house, best street

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Wanted – Worst house, best street

Toronto, and the GTA as a whole, is on fire. Not everywhere, but there are pockets of raging infernos in the real estate market, unlike ever before in recent history. An October Altus Group study advises that while the first quarter of 2020 was the weakest in 25 years, the pent-up demand for homes created the highest number of transactions in the third quarter – of all time. Prices of single-family homes are climbing at a staggering rate. With prices up 14.4 per cent year-over-year, Royal LePage forecasts that GTA housing prices are poised to rise another 8.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 alone. The single-family lowrise home, the historic Canadian staple, is one of the hottest commodities in every major centre from coast to coast.

Where does that leave you? Think about the old real estate adage, location, location, location – but this time with a more targeted focus. Look for the best, then seek out the worst. The worst house in the best area is where you still have a chance to wedge yourself into this marketplace, where other buyers are afraid to venture.

AFTER
AFTER

BEFORE
BEFORE

“The key to success in this area,” says Chantel Crisp, broker with Royal LePage Signature Realty, “is to come in prepared, with the right team of your own third-party realtor, home inspector or, even better, your own professional design-build firm consultant. This can ensure you have experts looking out for your best interest and helping you see what might be good and bad (read – costly) in a listing.”

Bad can also mean good for you, in that it not only provides you with better odds of a successful offer, but also means you can renovate the home to suit your tastes. You also stand to have a good return on your investment, as there is more opportunity for capital appreciation when it eventually comes time for you to sell the home.

“Be cautious,” Crisp forewarns, “as offers without conditions may be more attractive to the vendor, but also strip the purchaser of any means out if the deal is accepted. Remember, too, an offer without conditions can be lower than an offer with conditions, as vendors will often leave money on the table for a sure thing, versus risk associated with tying up a property with an offer that may ultimately fail, even if a higher number,” she adds.

Crisp speaks from personal experience. She retained Eurodale to design and renovate her new family home, complete with an in-law suite to provide additional income support and help pay down the mortgage. The original home, at time of purchase, was in need of a complete gut, a large two-storey addition and underpinning of the foundation, to work for the needs of her growing family. All new systems and finishes were both needed and welcomed. This approach allowed them to move into the community they wanted to live in, but otherwise couldn’t afford. Secondary suites are an as-of-right housing condition across Ontario and can help enter into a housing type that would otherwise be out of reach for many, without the supplemental income support. It’s a great stepping stone.

Fixer-uppers can be found in any neighbourhood. “Once you narrow down where you want to live, it’s important to keep an eye out for the homes with poor quality or cluttered photos, or no photos at all,” says Crisp. Buyers these days tend to gravitate towards prettier, staged options. So, the opportunity to scoop up a property at a lower price without the competition may be there.

Before purchasing a fixer-upper, speak with your realtor and design-build firm about your vision and priorities. A realtor can recommend the most cost-effective fixes that will make the highest impact on your future home value, to ensure you’re spending your reno dollars wisely. In contrast, your contractor can advise you of real costs to undertake what you are planning before you calculate your offer. Both of these are critical aspects when determining your costs on top of the purchase price.

In a hot market, being creative and resourceful and building a team of advisors can make the difference between sitting on the sidelines or buying your dream home. Visit realtor.ca to find a licensed realtor and renomark.ca, the home of the professional renovator, to begin your search.

Happy house hunting – and may your next offer be the one that is accepted!

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

@eurodalehomes

416.782.5690


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