Checklist of Essentials for Planning Bathroom Remodeling in Virginia

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

You have a vision for your new bathroom complete with the fixtures, features and decor options to complete the room. Planning for bathroom remodeling in Virginia allows you to achieve that vision with minimal fuss and hassle. Follow this checklist and get a handle on the essentials for bathroom renovation.

1 — Form a Budget

The very first step in your renovation project involves setting a budget. All figures are preliminary at this point, but forming a budget that outlines how much you can afford and how far off your vision may be from that figure helps.

Jot down price estimates, based on rough figures gathered through your research. Consider the type of finish you require and think about any features you’re willing to splurge on. Use this initial budget to consider your financing options as well.

2 — Understand the Sequence of Events

Almost every bathroom renovation follows the same sequence during the construction phase. After all contracts have been signed, designs approved and permits applied for, the actual renovation starts.

Demolition comes first, including any removal required. Repairs and reconstruction bring everything behind the walls and under the flooring up to date. Basic framing and structural works comes next, followed by plumbing, electrical and major fixture installation (tubs, showers). Drywall and flooring installation close up the room, with toilet, sink and vanity installation bringing things together. Paint, lighting installation and other finishing steps complete the room.

3 — Read the Applicable Building Codes

You should understand the building codes that apply to homes in Northern Virginia. The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Codes applied in many cases of new construction and structural renovation, but homeowners should also check with the county for any specific limitations and requirements.

4 — Measure It Up

Get out your tape measure and record the dimensions of your space. Take a look at the length and width of the room, as well as ceiling height, door opening and door height. Record specific window locations—measure the height of the window frame from the floor, as well as the width and height of the window.

Keep these measurements handy when shopping for showers, tubs, toilets and vanities. And use them to obtain contractor quotes for your bathroom remodeling in Virginia. Prices and schedules depend on room size and accessibility.

5 — Consider the Condition

Have a look at the existing condition of your bathroom. Is the wiring up to code? Are you depending on aged plumbing or less reliable plastic couplings and valves? Assess the condition of your fixtures and inspect the tub, sink and toilet for cracking, splitting and any other signs of decay.

All substandard electrical and plumbing elements will need to be upgraded, which pushes the budget up. Mold or mildew need to be completely removed and any building materials with mold or mildew growth should be replaced. It helps to discover some of this before the project begins, although you should expect to find more once the contractor starts demolition.

6 — Find a Reputable Contractor

Finding an experienced, knowledgeable and reliable contractor can be intimidating. Ask your friends and family for recommendations and visit contractor websites for information, testimonials and contact details. Book appointments to have your preferred contractors visit your home to inspect the jobsite and ask each of the companies to bring samples. Viewing fixtures, tiles and other bathroom elements in natural lighting allows you to make better decisions.

Planning for bathroom remodeling in Virginia can be fun. Read through this checklist and get started on this project to transform your home.

Top Four Apps to Help With Your Virginia Bathroom Remodeling Project

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

Tackling a Virginia bathroom remodeling project can be hard work. You have countless decisions ahead of you, along with several to-do lists, receipts to pay and schedules to coordinate. Whether you’re embarking on the DIY route or hiring a Virginia contractor to handle the work bathroom remodeling requires dedication.

These top four smart phone and tablet apps are designed to make the job easier, and include essential tips, tricks and tools for all things involved in a bathroom renovation.

Evernote — For Overall Project Organization

Used by people around the world, this handy, free app provides access from almost any device (smart phone, tablet, laptop or desktop) and syncs automatically. Use it to make notes about the project, keep track of your budget and even organize clippings from your favorite web pages.

Evernote allows you to share notes, making communication between homeowner and contractor a breeze. Store copies of emails, receipts, bill of ladings and any other paperwork in digital format for quick reference. This app does it all and comes with a seamless, easy to follow interface. It’s the mother of all organization apps and can be used for everything from bathroom remodeling projects to trip planning and taxes.

Houzz — For Design Ideas and Decorating offers a plethora of design ideas for any style and budget. With high res images and stats from manufacturers and designers, this one-stop quick link to the popular website is indispensable during the design stage.

Browse the free app in your spare time and create an “ideabook” specifically targeted on your Virginia bathroom remodeling project. This virtual scrapbook allows you to store images of plumbing fixtures, flooring, vanities, room layouts, window treatments and paint colors that suit your tastes.

Having the Houzz app on your smart phone or tablet allows you to bring those images along while shopping, making sure you get exactly what you want every time.

Wunderlist — For Keeping Track of Your Lists

You may not be a natural list-taker, but renovation projects bring out the maniacal lister in all of us. Use Wunderlist to keep all of these handy reminders in one place, and revel in the cross-platform design and instant syncing across multiple devices.

Wunderlists allows you to create countless lists, crossing off each item as it’s done and rearranging things as priorities change. Print off the list to tack on your fridge or keep the app open on your desktop for fast access. Share your Wunderlist files with anyone, including the contractor, supplier and all others who need to be kept accountable during the renovation project.

Home Design 3D — For Creating the Ideal Room Layout

You’ll find a selection of home design apps suitable for your device, and many of them are free. Home Design 3D comes with a small price tag, but this app allows for eye-catching 3D viewing that surpasses the competition.

Design your new bathroom layout, including fixtures and furniture, and then view. This feature makes it simple to experiment with different layouts, and allows you to share the overall vision with your contractor once the final design has been hammered out.

Use your smart phone and tablet, along with these four essential apps to enjoy a smoother Virginia bathroom remodeling project. Organization, accountability, design ideas and layout are simple with the help of technology and the creative minds behind these apps.

Three Questions to Ask Before Renovating Virginia Bathrooms

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

Virginia bathrooms come in a wide range of sizes, styles and layouts. If you’re planning to renovate the bathroom, be sure to go over these three important questions and achieve the size, style and layout that perfectly suit your lifestyle.

1 – What Do You Appreciate About the Existing Bathroom?

Take a long look at the current state of your bathroom, and make a list of the positives. Maybe you appreciate the size or how the windows bring in plenty of natural light. Perhaps you like the flooring or can’t imagine a bathroom without your existing shower. Note all of the features that fulfill your needs and wants right now, and ignore everything that you would like to change.

This type of list helps your bathroom renovation contractor to envision the ideal design. Some of these elements may need to be changed over the course of your remodeling project, but noting each positive allows you to move toward an improved space.

Be as specific as you can, and think about each element of the room, including:

  • Layout
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Lighting
  • Countertops and Vanities
  • Storage
  • Paint colors
  • Flooring
  • Location in your home
  • Trim and architectural details
  • Tiling

2 – Who Will Use the New Bathroom?

Once you’ve thought about the features and made note of all the existing positives, it’s time to think about function. Consider who will use this space, and when. Is it a powder room reserved mainly for guests and quick bathroom breaks? Or are you planning to renovate the master ensuite, used mainly by a couple? Perhaps you’re renovating the family bathroom, used by anyone and everyone in the immediate vicinity.

Determining who will use this space allows your Virginia bathroom contractor to design for adequate space and function. A busy bathroom needs plenty of floor space and features made for a crowd, such as double sinks, extra large closets and a walk in shower. Virginia bathrooms with limited use or aimed for a more intimate experience should be designed with that function in mind.

You may also need to consider accessibility, depending on who will be using the new space. Flooring, door width, vanity height and shower and toilet design can be altered to create enhanced accessibility and a more comfortable experience for all those using the room.

3 – Where Will You Store Bathroom Essentials?

Most people spend plenty of time deciding on the plumbing fixtures, flooring and décor during a bathroom remodeling project. Storage remains the most overlooked element of modern bathrooms. Think about where you’ll keep bathroom linens, toiletries and cleaning products. What else does your family regularly store in the bathroom? And does the new layout accommodate?

Plan for more storage than you need, as this area can easily be used for overflow. And consider creative storage solutions to take advantage of unusable space. Narrow cabinets, open shelving and other types of storage help to make the most of your remodeling, and provide valuable storage for today and into the future.

These three questions help homeowners to plan better Virginia bathrooms, taking into account their tastes, function and storage needs. Talk to your contractor about each answer and expand from there.

Tips on Creating an Accessible Shower with Your Virginia Bathroom Remodeling Project

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

Accessible shower room with circular drain

Installing an accessible shower makes sense for many families, especially as we age and struggle with physical limitations. These tips help when your Virginia bathroom remodeling project involves a tub conversion or the construction of a barrier-free shower room. Make the most of your home improvement investment by designing a truly accessible shower.

Understand What Barrier-Free Actually Means

Construction specs differ based on the experience and understanding of the contractor. When you ask your bathroom renovation contractor for a “barrier-free” shower room, he/she may design and install an attractive, modern shower room without fulfilling that all important label.

Standard shower rooms include a tiled lip or ridge around the outer walls of the shower, often 4 to 5-inches in height off the ground. This may not seem like a big issue, but that slight lip can be very difficult to manage for those with mobility issues. And that’s where a “barrier-free” shower room comes into play.

This shower design often has glass or tiled walls, much like a standard shower room. It may or may not include a door–true walk-in shower rooms use a dry passage to avoid the need for a door, but this design requires more floor space and significantly greater materials. Your contractor will seal the bottom and side edges of the walls to minimize leakage, and should help you choose a shower style that suits your needs and limitations.

In order to contain water and create a safe bathing area, a barrier-free shower uses trench drains or strip drains around the outer edges of the shower. Some trench drains may have a slight ridge–much like an s-bend–to help deter water runoff. Others are merely a long, narrow drain cut into the floor and topped with a stainless steel or heavy duty plastic grate.

How Drainage Comes Into Play

Your accessible shower needs to be designed with purpose, in order to be fully functional and meet current safety standards. Drainage makes a difference.

Shower rooms have a tiled floor, and generally come with a tiled lip around the edges. Transform this standard shower room into an accessible shower by removing the lip from the entrance and installing a trench drain. But remember that the floor must slope to the drain.

Your contractor may include another drain along the rear wall of the shower, with the floor sloped that way. In that case, the entrance trench drain is merely a backup. Other designs allow the floor to slope toward the entrance trench drain. Circular drains in the middle of the shower room also work, although runoff can pose a safety issue.

Talk to your contractor about which style suits your Virginia bathroom remodeling project, taking into account the space and existing conditions.

Think about investing in an upgraded trench drain that includes LED lighting to indicate the presence of water. This helps to reduce the risk of falling when slippery conditions exist, and also adds a bit of modern style to your new bathroom.

Be sure to add grab bars and accessible storage for toiletries. A detachable shower head makes the most sense, and easy access to towels is vital to creating a comfortable environment.

Installing an accessible shower in your bathroom makes sense, and adds to your property value. Be sure to handle this aspect of your Virginia bathroom remodeling project well, in order to achieve the functionality and appearance you need.