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Around Our Town...If These Walls Could Talk

Remodeling a Small Bath

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03/01/2006 - Many of our homes have a small bath that does not accommodate a family's needs including storage, light, comfort, updated fixtures, flooring and the list goes on.

So where do you start??

Step 1. Assess your present bath. 

Write down all of your needs.  Do you need to consider ADA requirements?  Then list your wants & wishes.

Do you need to stay in the existing space?

Can you borrow space from an adjoining closet, hallway?

Do you have enough storage space for towels, linens, cosmetics, etc?

Is the plumbing, lighting, ventilation, mirrors, and ventilation adequate and in good working order?

Are fixtures in good condition?  What about faucets?

Is the flooring and counter top worn or outdated?  Easy to clean?

Do you have enough towel bars, grab bars?

Step 2. Determine your budget

A reality check here is important.  Doing a cosmetic facelift is the least expensive route – paint, new light fixtures, countertop flooring, etc.

A major remodel, depending on the choice of materials and work involved, can cost from $10,000 and up.

If you are a do-it-your-selfer that helps with the expense.

Step 3.  Decide on a layout

Keep in mind the space that the cabinet and shower doors require to open.

If possible, avoid having the toilet in the direct line of sight when the door is open.

Can you put in a pocket door or alter the swing of the door to the outside to avoid taking up room in a small bath?  Doors are now available where the sliding apparatus is on the outside of the wall, therefore preventing a tear-out of the wall to insert a pocket door.

Do you want to take out the bathtub and put in a shower?  Look at purchasing a pre-formed shower base.

If you're purchasing a pre-made shower stall, buy it in 2/3 pieces to allow it to go through the door.

Put a stool or bench in the shower corner.

Put a moisture proof light in shower enclosure.

Very important – add a bathroom fan.  They are much quieter than older ones and can be ducted through the roof, out the wall or through floor joists.  Do not duct through the soffits.  Do not rely on an open window.  

The bathroom fan can combine well-placed light, night light and a timer.

Lighting in a bath is one of the most important items to be considered.

Following is information on lighting placement, fixtures and accessories.

-Pedestal sink or vanity top 33/36" above finished floor.

-Mirror or medicine cabinet height is 42/48" above floor and centered above sink.  Be sure height allows faucet to operate.

-Lighting from the sides (sconces) with an overhead light that shines down behind the person is the best lighting for the face.  If possible avoid the usual bar light as it tends to throw shadows on the face.  Locate approximately at eye level and 12" on each side of the mirror.  Fixture should accommodate 100 watt bulb.

For more information on kitchens and baths visit www.NKBA.org web for examples.  Martha Rakestraw, CKD of Kitchens, Etc., Ph. 265-6466, www.wyomingkitchens.com.

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