Welcome back for the third, and hopefully, final installment of Beginning Your Bathroom Remodel. In the first two posts, we have covered measuring your room, tub/showers, and vanities. In this post, we will talk about toilets, storage, and shower doors. I’m hoping to wrap this series up with this post, but I have been super long-winded about this so far. Sorry about that. Let’s get to it then.
The section you have all been waiting for, right?! It’s hard to get excited about picking out a toilet, but maybe these tips will help you narrow the selection quicker. And selection there is. Lots of potty choices out there.
First thing to do is measure the rough-in from the wall to the center of the bolts on the existing toilet. 12” is most common but some older homes have a 10 or 14” rough-in. If you plan on the new toilet to replace the old without changing the plumbing (money saver), then pick the same rough-in as the old toilet.
Preferred minimum width for a toilet is 30”. If you don’t quite have that much space, there are some narrow designs or one piece toilets that may fit your needs. These tend to be more expensive so beware.
Most toilets come in a standard round shape or the elongated oval. Elongate bowls are a couple of inches deeper from front to back and, therefore, are more comfortable. They do take up a bit more room. Standard space to allow in front of a toilet is 24”, so measure to be sure you have room. Should you be slightly short on depth space, consider a one piece toilet or a wall mount toilet. They typically have a shorter depth, but can be real budget breakers.
Another feature you will notice on toilets is that some are chair height. Initially built higher for ADA compliance, they have become popular for comfort. They are 2” taller than standard height toilets. I am short, so this wasn’t a big deal to me. However, tall people seem to LOVE these.
Toilets come in an array of colors. These can really set your bathroom design off, but I am always cautious. First, because they can be three or four times as expensive as the white versions and because I wonder if they will date the bathroom in the future. Think back to the pink and blue from the 60’s and the mustard yellow and pea green from the 70’s. I didn’t splurge for color, but that’s easy because white is popular now. Will that be dated too? Probably. I’m going to think of it as a classic choice.
Now is a good time to make sure you have a spot for the toilet paper holder to go. Hate to get to the end of your plans and find out you don’t have a spot.
Storage is an important part of your bathroom’s functionality. Think about all the items you need to store in your bathroom. Now think about the storage you have so far from your vanity selection. Do you need lots more storage such as a linen closet cabinet addition (and do you have enough space for that)? Consider shelves or closed cabinets above the toilet.
Personally, I don’t like anything sitting on my granite vanity top, so I think mirrored medicine cabinets are the best invention ever. My husband was not a believer until we put one in the upstairs remodel and he was quickly converted. He never knew he couldn’t live without it!
You can install it yourself as long as you are handy with minor framing. You do have to cut a hole in the wall and frame the cabinet to secure it. Be sure to pick one that has all metal construction. Some of these are made of plastic which seems questionable to me. The last thing I need early in the morning is a medicine cabinet falling out of the wall at me! I used the Kohler Verdera collection for both of mine and they have great quality. Mine has a magnifying mirror attached on the inside. Great feature. Make sure to look for ones with slow close hinges.
For shower storage, I recommend installing shower niches or cutouts in the wall. It prevents me from having to buy racks to hold all my shampoo and stuff. Very handy. If you opted for the kit shower, surround, or onyx system, niches or ledges are sometimes included in those as well.
So, you decided to put in a shower. Super! You’re going to need doors on that thing. I personally prefer doors to shower curtains, but curtains are a great economical option. My only issue is they make the room feel smaller and you know I have small bathrooms, so that won’t do for me. If you are doing a tub and shower combo, you might consider a curtain. Sometimes shower doors make a tub feel very cramped whereas a curtain can be pushed out of the way to feel more open. Another decision to make.
Should shower doors be for you, I would go with glass. Yes, they make less expensive plastic ones. We had some growing up and they got gross – fast. I’d rather have a pretty shower curtain than yucky yellow plastic, but it’s your call. I’ll talk about glass here, because I didn’t even look at the plastic ones.
During your rough-in process, make sure your walls are square. I know this sounds obvious, but chances are yours are not. They cannot cut glass at an angle so if your walls aren’t square, the glass doesn’t go in. You have a little room with a frame, but if you are doing semi-frameless or frameless, there is no room for error. Make sure they are square.
I just mentioned the three types of glass doors: framed, semi-frameless, and frameless. Framed doors have metal around each panel and are water-tight. They are the least expensive and most forgiving to install. Semi-frameless has a metal header at the top and the glass walls have metal at the bottom. There is no metal in between the glass pieces, along the wall or under the door. Less water tight and slightly more expensive. Frameless is put together with metal brackets to hold the glass panels. More of a water deflector and those brackets are expensive.
Fun thing we learned on our first bathroom remodel. Shower doors can suck even when you have them custom installed. We chose a neo shaped shower and got a hard lesson. To do this shower in semi-frameless, they had to install heavier glass on the sides since one piece of glass and one bolt through the floor supports the entire weight of the door. Heavier glass is expensive. The company we hired had trouble getting the angles of the shower right. Nightmare. I still can’t talk about it. The lesson is, glass enclosures for neo shaped showers are twice as much as for square ones.
Glass doors come with clear or frosted glass. We stuck with clear to make our room appear larger. Doors can open in and out (called a swinging door) or slide along a track. Swinging doors need enough clearance to open and close. Most of them have room to open into the shower, but it should have enough room to open out as well. Sliding shower doors are a great space saver especially if the shower is a rectangle.
You will need to know the metal finish you want to use in your bathroom. The frames are ordered in your finish to match.
Glass doors can be ordered from home improvement stores, but I wouldn’t suggest it. You would save a little money but have to figure out how to haul the glass (or pay more for it to be delivered). That’s before you even tried to install it. When I priced doors at a home improvement store, the sales guy recommended that I go to a glass company and have them do it. They aren’t that much more and installing glass is trickier than it seems. I watched those professional glass installers have the worst time trying to fit my glass. If we had to do it, it would have been a disaster. If you are confident in your abilities or your contractors – go for it! I accept my limitations on this. For our second bathroom remodel, we are doing everything ourselves – except the shower doors!
I wanted to touch on a couple of other expenses that you should think about while creating the layout for your bathroom. The first one is tile installation. I love tile and recommend it completely, but you should be prepared for the installation cost associated with it. The rule of thumb is you will spend the same amount on installation as the tile cost. I just wanted to give you a heads up on that. A tiled shower, base, and floor will run you about $1000 to install around here. Unless you are a tile master! We hope to be on our second bathroom. Wish us luck!
The second thing worth mentioning is plumbing changes. I’m sure you’ve heard this before but I can’t stress it enough. Moving plumbing, electrical, and drywall puts a damper on your budget quick so be mindful of the changes.
Well, I feel like I have gone on and on about this. If you stuck with me, I hope there was some useful tips for you in there. Everything is an education and my first remodel was for me. I wanted to share some of what I learned in hopes that it would help you too! Or at least save some time.
Funny part is, this is just the first part to remodeling. Next would be choosing the tile. I typically wait until the tile is chosen before I order anything. Just in case my plans changes. After selecting the tile, I order everything and get started tearing out the bathroom.
There you have it. Figuring out the layout of your bathroom remodel. I created a free printable that goes with this post. An information sheet to write all your details. You can access it by signing up for my weekly newsletter in the sidebar. Please contact me with any questions or leave a comment below. You can find me at [email protected]. Better yet, send me some pics of that remodel. I LOVE before and after pics!