Budget for the unexpected. Hidden water damage is a common problem in bathrooms, whether from a leaky shower pan or running toilet. “If the floor feels spongy, that's a sign of serious water damage,” says John Petrie, owner of Mother Hubbard's Custom Cabinetry in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Other issues are truly hidden, for example a vent stack inside a wall that you thought you were going to knock down. An experienced contractor will do exploratory work early in the project to sniff out as many issues as possible. “In the case of the vent stack, we'll investigate above the bathroom to see the pipe coming up through the house,” says Petrie. But contractors can't see through walls, so don't expect them to catch every possible pitfall. That's why it's important to build a 10 to 15 percent cushion into your budget. If nothing goes wrong, you'll have a nice little windfall.
athrooms are one of the most popular and commonly remodeled rooms in the home. And since they are a high-traffic space (and one where updates are noticeable), doing so can have a significant effect on resale value. When starting a bathroom remodeling project think about utility as well as design. Bathrooms are often difficult jobs because multiple components must be arranged to fit–and function–in a small space. There's also multiple water elements so doing the project correctly, from plumbing to ventilation, is imperative. Due to frequent use and the resulting wear and tear, bathrooms tend to start breaking down after about 20 years, whether that's a perpetually leaky faucet or crumbling grout or chipping tiles (or all three). On average, bathroom remodels cost $16,724, so your design should be both intentional and strategic in order to secure a high return on investment, as well as to create a functional space. That said, bathrooms are typically small, enclosed rooms so they are also a place in your home where you can play around a little bit with color and texture.
Showerheads, toilets, and faucets have all become more water-efficient in recent years, thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency's voluntary WaterSense program, which labels products that are 20 percent more efficient than federal standards. Our tests have found many WaterSense winners, including low-flow showerheads that deliver a satisfying pulse while meeting the flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute. “You can even have a rain showerhead these days that's low-flow,” says Petrie. As for toilets, several WaterSense-qualified models that use just 1.28 gallons per flush make the recommended list of our latest toilet Ratings. That could save the average family of four 16,000 gallons of water and more than $100 per year if they're replacing older, inefficient toilets, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Choosing a faucet with an aerator can reduce the water flow in your bathroom sink by 30 percent or more.
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