Project: Bath Makeovers

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Simple projects can make a huge improvement

Transcript of Project: Bath Makeovers

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    Bath Makeovers No matter how large or small your bathroom is, theresprobably room for improvement. All-out bathroom renova-tions can be costly. Consumer Reports recently found thata mid-range remodel averages $16,552.

    But improving the look and function of your bath doesnt alwaysrequire a full-scale renovation. Smaller projects can yield a dramaticupdate for a reasonable price.

    IMPROVING YOUR REFLECTIONSomething as simple as dressing up a plain, wall-to-wall mirror with adecorative frame provides instant panache for a ho-hum bath. Mirror-framing companies, such as Mirror Makeover, specialize in this quick


    BEFORE AFTERMirror Makeover specializes in dressing up plain mirrors with decorative frames.

    Photo courtesy of AnnSacks Tile & Stone.

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    LEFT: Metro Bath Bar by Tech Lighting,

    and cost-effective solution. Once a professionalmeasures your mirror, a frame is then custom-made to fit the space, which is later profession-ally installed over your existing mirror.

    SEE THE LIGHTProper lighting that provides the ideal illumi-nation and styling makes the whole roomand those in itlook better. Lighting canactually change the mood of the bathroomand it can also help to ensure you have a goodstart and end to your day. Be sure to installample lighting in key areas such as in theshower and near the primary mirror.

    Bathroom lighting can be a very impor-tant part of a remodeling or building project,says Ann Morgan of The Lighting Gallery.Light fixtures can coordinate with the plumb-ing, cabinet hardware and the granite and tilesurfaces in a bathroom. More importantly, thecorrect bathroom lighting is essential for illu-mination and practicability, as well as beauty.


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    projectBEYOND THE CURTAINClumsy curtains and awkward frosted doors can lend a cluttered lookto a bathroom. Sturdy, clear glass shower enclosures offer a modernlook and a larger sense of space.

    A glass shower enclosure can be installed in any shower, says JoeMujadzic of Century Glass and Interiors. There are really no limita-tions as long as it is measured, fabricated and installed by a profession-al glass door installer.

    Mujadzic says from the time of the consultation and final measure-ment for the new glass enclosure, the process takes about 7 to 10 daysfor completion. He also says the cost savings depends on the conditionof the existing shower.

    If your tile is in great condition and if you do not have any issueswith it, your savings can be substantial, says Mujadzic. New showerglass enclosures do not require that changes be made to the showerpan, tile or design to accommodate a new glass shower.

    SAVE WATER IN STYLEToilets are the main water wasters in the home. According to the EPA,toilets account for nearly 30 percent of indoor water consumption.Replacing older, ineffective toilets with new high-efficiency toilets can

    LEFT: Photo courtesy of Century Glass & Interiors.

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    projectdramatically reduce water use. Also, adding an eco-friendly toilet canhelp to update the style of the bath by providing a more contemporaryfeel to the room. Many of the latest, water-efficient toilets availabletake up less space than older toilets, so you can gain several inches offloor space in addition to saving water.

    A new showerhead can yield lower bills, too, for both water and theenergy used to heat it. By replacing an existing showerhead with apowerful low-flow model, homeowners can enjoy their showers whilesaving water and money.

    According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, aeratorsare considered the single most important water conservation deviceyour faucet or shower head can have. They make efficient use of thewater that flows through them, usually by mixing air into the waterstream.

    They can save as much as 50 percent of your water usage andreduce the amount of energy used to heat the water, by as much as 50percent as well.

    If an aerator is already installed on the end of your faucet, youshould be able to read its rated flow imprinted on the side. The ratingshould be no more than 2.5 g.p.m. (gallons per minute). If your aera-tor is rated at more than 2.5 g.p.m., it should be replaced.

    Faucet aerators generally cost less than $10.

    Tub-to-shower conversion overlays, such as Bath Fitter and ReBath, can transformyour old bathtub into a spacious shower that is age-in-place friendly.

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    projectSTEALTH TOILET The patented hydraulic and water-saving technology behind NiagaraConservations Stealth toiletinvolves a remarkable combinationof air and water working in unison,which helps to deliver a cleanerand more reliable flush. BecauseStealth technology maintains pres-sure in the toilets trapway insteadof the tank, it produces a surpris-ingly quiet flush without residualnoise. In addition, the Stealth fea-tures a sleek, stylish design and iseasy to install. The system is alsocapable of functioning efficiently atvarying water pressure levels andhas no expensive parts to replace,providing further savings to thehomeowner.

    Multi-light fixtures are ideal for bathrooms.Photos courtesy of The Lighting Gallery.

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    The Manhattan line of vanity cabinets from Xylem comes with an array ofcountertops including stone, glass and china.

    CHOOSING A BATHROOM VANITY TOPBy the National Kitchen & Bath Association

    If youre looking for a bathroom countertopusually called a vanitytoplook for something that will stand up to water, soap, toothpaste,cosmetics, and alcohol- and acetone-based liquids. Replacing a vanitytop is a feasible do-it-yourself project since you don't have to replace thewhole vanity cabinet if you don't want to. Most bathroom vanity topsare surfaced with one of the following five materials:

    Granite and marble Laminate Solid surface material Tile Wood

    GRANITE AND MARBLEThough marble and granite are unrivaled for their beauty, at $125 to$250 per running, or linear, foot (as measured from one end of thecounter to the other), these classic materials warrant careful thought.Also, while marble stains easily, granite shrugs off most stains, exceptgrease, especially if the granite is unsealed. If a solid sheet of stone foryour countertop is beyond your budget, granite or marble tiles may besubstituted at a lower cost.


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    This marble-topped vanity and stone sink allow the festive small glass tile back-splash to stand out. Photo courtesy of New Ravenna Mosaics.

    Cultured marble is less expensive and is made from real chips of naturalmarble embedded in plastic. It's available in sheet form and in standard counterdimensions of 19 and 22 inches deep. Cultured marble comes with or withouta wash basin molded into it, for $50 to $80 per running foot, installed.Although easy to clean, cultured marble must be well cared for. Once scratched,it cannot be resurfaced. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for whattype of finish to apply to cultured marble to best protect it.

    LAMINATEAt an installed price of $24 to $50 per running foot, laminate offers good valueand performance. As a result, its the most widely used countertop material inbathrooms, just as it is in kitchens. Various manufacturers market laminatesunder different brand names, but they're all based on the same principleastack of thin plastic layers bonded together under