Zone Your Bathroom, Functionally!

By organizing functional areas around a central space, you give the bathroom plenty of open space no matter its size. While kitchens apply a tried-and-true work triangle, there is no exact prescription for the best bathroom layout.

Space planning all depends on your lifestyle and the way you use the space. However, keep in mind when planning that if you must move the plumbing to accommodate your new design, the price tag of your project will be much higher than if the “guts” of your bathroom can stay put. That said, layout options are more limited when relying on existing plumbing hookups, drains, ventilation, etc.

Here are functional zones you might include in the design:

Vanity. The vanity area includes a countertop, storage and a sink or two. This zone also has a mirror, which is generally in a frame in today’s designs. Mirror walls and large mirror slabs are outdated. In master baths, some homeowners are giving up the double sink to gain more counter-space. On the other hand, dual sinks are useful in family bathrooms where children or other family members share the space and want their own station.

Shower/Tub Combination. The old standby for a full bathroom is still a functional, affordable way to incorporate a shower and tub in the same small space. Ideally, a home will have at least one tub (important for resale), and this traditional fixture fits the bill (and the budget).

Tub. Supersized Jacuzzi tubs are outdated. They’re out there, but who wants to pay the water bill to fill that thing on a regular basis? And you better plan on a separate hot water heater for those pool-sized vessels. Instead, master bathrooms that include a tub are equipped with deeper, smaller tubs that are still built for two.

Feature Shower. Tubs are less commonly used in master bathrooms, and when they are used, they have a smaller footprint and are deeper. Homeowners are choosing to use the floorspace to expand their showers. Forget the old stand shower that feels like walking into a vinyl can. Showers are getting bigger and including seats. At least one of the shower walls is coming down to a partial or half wall and we are putting glass panels on top of that and doing attractive floor-to-ceiling tile. Meanwhile, fixtures have evolved to accommodate the demand to “soak” in the shower rather than the tub.

Spa Shower/Tub Room. Take that feature shower and expand it, then place a tiled, sculptural tub in the middle. What you get is a contemporary space that incorporates the best of both bathing features. The whole space is tiled, and there might even be a fireplace in the wall or a television. Rather than being confined in the tub, you can stand up and turn on a shower head to rinse off. This design is becoming more and more popular.”

Toilet. It’s the most used feature in your bathroom and the one fixture you don’t want to position as your design focal point. The toilet can be tucked behind the entry door, placed beside a vanity alongside a wall and partially hidden, or closed in a dedicated “water closet.” A dedicated room is ideal in larger master bathrooms, and half-walls can help block the toilet space in roomier full baths or masters where an open-air feel is desired.

Remodeling your bathroom is a big deal. There may be a lot of questions you have. Don’t fret, just head over to PlumbTile, where our expert employees will be able to answer those questions and help you decide how you want your bathroom to look. Turn your bathroom into one you only dreamed about, one zone at a time!

Tips for a Kid-Friendly Bathroom

A children’s bathroom isn’t all fun and whimsy—though you certainly can take a light-hearted approach to the décor you choose. A lot happens in the family bathroom: bathing, washing, brushing teeth, playing in the tub. It’s a multi-purpose space that must include plenty of storage, easy-care surfaces, durable fixtures and accommodations for the little people.

It’s easy to get focused on designing a bathroom for little kids, and then in a couple of years, they’re eight inches taller. You can have fun with the design, but think about the fact that your kids will grow up fast, and you might not get back to the bathroom to renovate it when they’re older.

So choose durable, low-maintenance materials and neutral fixtures. Include conveniences that make the bathroom work for children (step stools), but think beyond potty training years.

Consider these features when designing a children’s bathroom:

A right-height work area. Consider lowering the vanity countertop height so children will stay off their tippy toes when reaching for the faucet. Or, for a longer-term solution, maintain the standard countertop height and include a lift-out step in a bottom vanity drawer. When children are younger, they can pull out the step to stand on it instead of having a cumbersome stool in the bathroom, and the step lifts out of the drawer for more storage when children no longer need it.

A toilet that transitions. Look for a toilet with a seat that takes a child from potty training to adulthood. Also, quiet-close toilet seats take the bang out of closing the lid (which parents will appreciate).

Plenty of stow-away space. Kids have lots of stuff, and their bathroom belongings can take over the tub and countertops. The more storage, the better. Opt for over-sized, deep tub niches where toys and bottles can be stored on shelves. If there’s room, consider a decorative toy box to stash towels (and more toys). Built-in vanity cabinets hide clutter rather than open-shelf storage (though bins can contain overflow). To keep the bathroom looking neat and clean, you have to make sure there are places to keep everything.

An easy-access tub. Improve access to your tub by including a graduated step down into the basin, or check out under mount models. Also, spring for an extra hand-held shower head positioned on a working bar. This makes it easier to get shampoo out of children’s hair and easier to keep your tub clean.

Also, faucets with anti-scald valves will prevent hot-water burns and adjustable shower bars will keep children safe as they grow. You want to make a room that is a chameleon that can change and grow as the child ages.

Non-slip, easy-clean surfaces. Test tile before buying it to determine if it will be slippery when wet. Porcelain is extra durable, and textured surfaces are best for avoiding falls.

Hardware that’s easy to handle. D-handle drawer pulls and levers are easier to grab and pull than knobs. Also, towel rings and hooks for washcloths and robes are easier to manage than towel bars. And when hanging a towel isn’t easy, it will end up on the floor. As children get older, a towel bar can replace hooks.

Remodeling a bathroom to be kid friendly can be challenging, especially when kids don’t stay little forever. You want a bathroom that will grow with the children. Head on over to PlumbTile for your bathroom remodeling needs. Our expert employees will be able to not only answer your bathroom questions, but will help you find the right supplies you need to create the bathroom that will grow and change, just like your family.

Convert Your Tub Space to a Shower — the Fixture Shopping Phase

Before you shop for shower fixtures, it’s important to understand the basics of shower controls. What options are there? What will fit your space and budget best?

There are three basic systems for controlling the water temperature and flow rates:

  • Simple single levers or knobs that control both water temperature and flow
  • Combination temperature controls, which can include two or even three extra fixtures
  • A separate thermostatic control valve (temperature only) and flow valve (volume only)

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Imagine a clutter-free space dedicated to luxuriously restful slumber — a room where everything from the flooring to the scent in the air to the sheets is carefully chosen to enhance feelings of relaxation, peace and (yawn…) sleep. You’ve got the blackout shades, now here are 10 little things, from bedtime rituals to smart storage solutions, to help turn your bedroom into the sleek and cozy ultimate sleep cave.

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Bathroom Surfaces: Ceramic Tile Pros and Cons

Often praised for its durability and variety, ceramic tile is a popular choice for bathroom finishes. If you’re drawn to color and texture, this material can deliver on both fronts. But the sheer variety of ceramic tiles is endless, which can make finding just the right tile very difficult.

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Epoxy grout has become more and more popular among tile contractors and builders. I find new benefits every time I use this product. Unlike cement grout, which is made from a cementitious powder mix, epoxy grout is made from epoxy resins and a filler powder. The grout is extremely durable and almost completely stain-proof. Regular grout isn’t waterproof, so unlike epoxy grout, it can absorb water when it’s wet and stain easily. If you’re tired of scrubbing the gunk off of your grout, epoxy grout could be your solution.

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There’s little that makes me crazier than a squeaking shower floor. Because there are so many reasons your floor could be squeaking, it can be tricky to see how to fix it — or if it’s fixable. Your best bet is to prevent squeaks in your fiberglass or acrylic shower base from ever getting started. Here’s what to watch out for.

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Modern Bathroom Essential: Know Your Options for Shower Glass

Glass shower enclosures are clearly a designer favorite, but is the choice of glass always so … clear? There are many options for glass finishes, so it’s worth considering the wide variety of looks and functions you can achieve to get the best fit for your bathroom style and your comfort level.

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The Case for 2 Kitchen Sinks

While the majority of American kitchens have only one sink, the trend toward two is growing quickly in new construction and major remodels. Why would you possibly need two kitchen sinks — that is, if you are in the fortunate position to be able to afford this luxury? In a nutshell, for better kitchen workflow.

Why Having Two Sinks Is So Great:

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5 Trade-Offs to Consider When Remodeling Your Kitchen

It would be great to have an unlimited budget for a kitchen renovation. But the fact is most of us do not. And that’s OK. Compromises of one form or another are part of the process, even for the rare homeowner who enjoys a bottomless budget and expansive square footage.

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