Trade tips for the perfect bathroom
Washroom, Bathroom, Restroom, Lavatory – call it what you will, we all know what a nice one looks like, and we all steer clear of ones that make us cringe. In virtually every project we design and build, there is one, if not more, of these critical rooms in the homes that are being newly created, gutted or updated.
Bathrooms, as with any room in a home, are affected by the four key budget factors: area (size), architectural complexity (spatial design), HAAS (the systems) and the quality of finishes. Some key tips we offer our clients are not typical or standard inclusions in washrooms, but many of our clients wisely opt for these comfortable and stylish upgrades. We will outline them here for you to consider adding into your own spa-like escape at home.
Though many pre-manufactured options now exist, we can create custom shower cubbies to hold shampoo, conditioner, bar soap and razors. Cubbies can be placed to conceal these products, or be a more centralized focal point, depending on your personal preference.
The floor drain
We picked this tip up from our architect friend, Richard Librach. A floor drain, tied to the main stack and installed adjacent to the toilet, is the perfect minor add-on to handle those periodic and pesty toilet overflows. Especially handy in second or third floor washrooms, this can prevent a messy and costly cleanup!
The warm floor
Either electrically (cheaper to install, more expensive to run) or hydronically heated (expensive to install, cheaper to operate), nothing says luxury like stepping onto a warm tile or stone floor in bare feet. Once you go hot, you never go not.
The concealed drain
Under benches, long, linear or tile-covered drains have taken that traditional round grate from the centre of the shower and transitioned it into a showpiece, or concealed it completely for a more sophisticated look. With curbless showers taking a more prominent position in the marketplace, these drains are one of the most evolving aspects of the bathroom as of late.
While not a code requirement, adding a dedicated switch for your bathroom fan is a smart upgrade. We recommend a timer to increase simplicity and save on energy. ‘Set it and forget it’ helps ensure the fan doesn’t turn off when you turn off the light; it also ensures it runs for a good 30 minutes after a shower, and not all day and night, wasting energy. This also helps reduce mould. If you are really low-maintenance, you can put your trust in a moisture-sensing fan that will turn on and off when humidity levels command it. Or, for something smart and stylish, consider an automatic ERV self-ventilating skylight.
Not just any tile
We don’t recommend natural stone for shower floors. Toronto city water is very hard and has lots of iron that will yellow your beautiful Carrera marble in short order. Stick with the manufactured product here. Likewise, if you like to get a little steamy in the shower, a tiled ceiling will help ensure the moisture doesn’t condense on the painted plaster surface. It costs a bit more but provides a more resistant, easier-to-clean surface.
What better way to cleanse the pores than to steam them out? At home personal steam units are becoming more common requests for those looking for the relaxing and pampered spa-like experience.
Eddy home, Alert Labs and similar manufacturers, are producing small sensors hidden, either beside or behind the toilet, that will alert you by text message, email or phone call that there is water accumulating on the floor (from a shower, vanity or toilet), allowing you to act before the issue gets to be a bigger problem.
Especially useful for tankless or on-demand boiler applications and in second-floor bathrooms, a recirculation loop to the vanity sink and the shower helps ensure instant hot water is ready for use and helps prevent water wastage.
Privacy, natural light and fresh air are all plentiful with these awning-style, high-mounted windows.
Not your grandparent’s bidet, these seats or full-toilet systems can supply your water closet with music, night lights, and warm air blowing at your feet and/or your backside. It’s the ultimate luxury to ensure the most luxurious “go” experience.
Single component grout
Premixed, colour-perfect and stain-proof, this grout resists shrinking, cracking and wear and tear and also prevents mould – the nice bathroom destroyer!
Mirror, mirror on the wall
From custom cabinet framing, to lit vanity mirrors, and mirrors with hidden TV screens embedded within the glass, voice and smart mirrors, the conventional mirror – even with your beautiful face in it – is just plain boring! “Hello Alexa, apply a filter to my bathroom selfie!” Thinking of a new bathroom or perhaps overhauling an existing one? As always, I recommend you start your search at RenoMark.ca to find a professional builder to help you undertake the installations of all the new finishes in your project.
|Brendan Charters is a Founding Partner at Design-Build Firm Eurodale Developments Inc., the GTA’s only four-time winner of the Renovator of the Year award.