Fix It: Better bathrooms

Homeowners have recently been remodeling bathrooms simply because of the high investment of return.

designerbroom 88 (photo credit: )
designerbroom 88
(photo credit: )
A simple walk through one of the many stores that specialize in bathroom remodeling will show you the new bathroom fixtures, tiles and amenities that are available. Homeowners often remodel to change the layout of space or just to get an updated look. However, homeowners have recently been remodeling bathrooms simply because of the high investment of return. Updating bathrooms can bring in a 100 percent to 125% return of the investment you spend on the remodeling project. If you can afford to completely remodel your bathroom, there are numerous displays setup in these showrooms with endless possibilities on what could be done. Just go to the store with the measurements of your existing space, and they can prepare a computer model of the various options you have. If you are on a limited budget, perhaps some of the following suggestions will help spruce up your bathroom. * Toilets: If you have a working porcelain toilet, this can be left alone. However, if you have one of the contractor special plastic toilets, it is worthwhile to consider upgrading. I personally like the new toilets that hang on the wall and do not touch the floor at all. Although they are still quite costly, they certainly make it a lot easier to mop the floor and keep your bathroom clean. * Sinks: If you do not have a vanity (cabinet below the sink), it is certainly a worthwhile improvement. Why waste the space under the sink when you could easily and neatly store bathroom items? Ideally, if you have the room, select a vanity with drawers to help keep you very organized. * Medicine cabinets: Plan on installing a medicine cabinet with mirror doors above the sink. This allows you to expand your bathroom storage. Ironically, a medicine cabinet should not be used to store medicine, since the damp humid air in them may cause ingredients in pills or capsules to change. * Tubs, Showers and Whirlpools: First and foremost, consider who will be using the bathroom. If it is an elderly person, a shower stall would be much more practical and safe than a tub or whirlpool. If children will be using the bathroom, a tub would be essential. If you have room for both a whirlpool and a shower, you have the best possible arrangement. Always consider installing handrails around the tub and shower to prevent someone from falling and injuring himself or herself. Tiles: If your tiles are in decent shape you may want to add several accent tiles to help modernize the look. The easiest way to accomplish this is to get accent tiles the same size of your existing tiles. Replacing about one tile per square meter (or more) in an average size bathroom can certainly add to your decor. Often the grout between the tiles needs to be replaced and could also be changed without changing the tiles. Using a grout rake (available in the paint department of all better DIY stores), the old grout is removed and new grout (of various colors) can be used. Lighting: Add accent lighting like a low-voltage strip of lights around the top edge of the wall tile. Additionally, many medicine cabinets come with a light kit, which allows for extra lighting above the mirror. Windows: If you still have a wooden window it is advisable to replace it with a vinyl window. Wooden windows absorb water and are not practical in a bathroom. Vinyl is much more insulated than aluminum and can stand up to steam and water very well. Painting: Most bathrooms will have tiling going up at least to the height of the door. The upper wall and ceiling should be painted with anti-mold paint. An exhaust vent could help reduce the amount of humidity in the bathroom and help cut down on the possibility of mold and mildew. Unfortunately, these vents are often not used. Getting into the habit of using it will make the exhaust fan a worthwhile addition to your remodeling project. Chaim Nathan asks, I have seen advertisements for magnetic paint. What exactly is it and is it safe? Magnetic paint contains small particles with metallic properties so it will make any surface painted with it attractive to magnets. You can paint an entire wall or just a strip of your wall with magnetic paint so that you can hang magnets. The new Magnetic Paint by Tambour is completely safe around children, pets and computers. It contains no lead, no dangerous chemicals, solvents, thinners or poisonous wetting agents. Since magnetic paint is not actually magnetic in any way other than to be attractive to magnets, just like steel, it cannot harm computers, magnetic media or pacemakers. Today's Do-It-Yourself Resource is:, which has great tips for virtually any home repair project. Reader's tips and comments are always welcome! The writers can be reached for consultations at [email protected].