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FAQs for Bathroom Design Webinar

Make the most of your space: Transform your bathroom to meet your needs

Q: What is the average cost for a bathroom renovation?

A: Bath renovation costs vary widely and will fluctuate based on room size, fixtures and even where you live. A very rough, and widely used, estimate is that full bathroom renovations start around $15,000, but you could spend a few thousand less than that or, of course, significantly more.

See also: What a winning bath looks like.

Q: How can I estimate the cost of a bathroom renovation and establish a budget?

A: The best way to get a more accurate estimate for your space and goals is to contact a professional remodeler or designer. You can find professionals at the NAHB (National Association of Homebuilders), AARP's CAPS program or NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association).

Q: What elements, such as room size, fixtures, etc., do I need to consider before starting a bathroom renovation?

The NKBA offers a free guide to planning a bathroom, including what you might need to consider and how to budget. It can be download from its website or you can call 800-THE-NKBA (843-6522) for more information.

Q: Where can I get more information on the products you showed in the webinar?

A: Here are some suggestions:

  • Pocket door hardware: Consider the lever handle by Hewi, available from Hafele. The unusual hardware is from Splash Galleries.
  • Acrylic grab bars: Visit Great Grabz.
  • Faucets for arthritis sufferers: Delta has a touch-control faucet.
  • Bathroom consoles with toilet paper storage: This could be done with custom or semi-custom cabinetry. (The image depicted in the webinar is an older product from American Standard.)
  • Water-saving, dual flush toilets: Most manufacturers offer these now, including the flush example from Toto and the wall-hung example from Duravit. Reasonably priced options are available at home improvement stores.
  • Hand-held showers: There are many. Alsons and Delta each offer showerhead with second flow control at the head, which is useful. Kohler makes a flip spray head. Check your local home improvement stores for reasonably priced alternatives.
  • French door shower enclosures: Try Delta's safe bathing systems. It makes a no-threshold version. Other manufacturers make them, as well.
  • Trench drain: Infinity Trench accommodates tile over the drain.
  • Hooks: Use Kohler and Hewi products.
  • Grab bar molly bolts: We recommended Wingits.

Next: Recommendations for arthritis, wheelchairs, tiling, etc. >>

Q: How can I renovate a small bathroom to accommodate someone with arthritis?

A: While specific design will depend on the person's mobility, you want to consider factors such as toilet height, wall and shower handrails, faucet heights, and towel hooks. An occupational therapist (find one through or a remodeler who specializes in accessible spaces should be able to help customize your plan.

Q: Are there set standards or dimensions to follow for Universal Design?

A: Even a small bathroom can be modified to improve accessibility. There are various resources, including the AARP Guide to Revitalizing Your Home and online sites, to help you get ideas (search for "universal design"). You could also start by discussing your project with a CAPS contractor. These are builders, designers and architects who can help you remake your home to meet this type of need.

Q: How can I design a wheelchair-accessible bathroom with a shower?

A: The Center for Universal Design has an installation guide that can be downloaded. The guide includes information on shower sizes, water control, fixtures, drains, etc. It is a good starting point for answering these questions. After reviewing the guide, consider hiring a professional to discuss your specific situation and needs.

Q: We are renovating our bathroom. How much of the room should be tiled, and how far up the wall should the tile go?

A: This varies. In wet areas, the tile should extend at least to the height of the water source (shower head or tub spout). Tile can be used decoratively as well, according to your tastes and budget.

Q: We are replacing tile in our bathroom. Should I use the existing size (very small) or chose a larger size?

A: This depends on personal preference. The trend today is larger format tile with 12’x12’ or 13’x13’ being the most common.

Q: What alternatives to tile could I consider?

A: Corian and other solid surface materials make tub and shower surrounds. Sheets of these materials can be used in custom applications. These should be installed by a contractor to be sure the surround is water tight.

Q: Does cork work well on a bathroom floor?

A: Please check with the manufacturer as water can be an issue.

Q: Can I put tile on top of other pre-existing surfaces, like cultured marble?

A: Some companies offer systems that can be installed over existing surfaces, or the existing surface can be changed in color. But tile-over-tile is not recommended.

Next: Recommendations for showers, steam rooms and more. >>

Q: Can you explain more about the coefficient of friction that was mentioned in the webinar?

A: The coefficient of friction (COF) is a rating system used to document the slip-resistance of tile. The higher the COF, the more slip resistant the tile is. Many tile manufacturers label their tiles with this and other information such as scratch resistance, breakage, etc. Ask your tile supplier for this information. There are also a number of sealants available to reduce the slipperiness of a tile; your tile supplier should have information about these sealants.

Q: Can I install a steam room in my home? Do I need a specially trained contractor?

A: Two companies I have worked with are Mr. Steam and Thermasol. When making your choice, an important comparison is energy use. A licensed contractor will be able to advise you on installation.

Q: How do I decide whether to install a higher toilet?

A: Most people find that the raised toilet height makes it easier to sit and stand. But for shorter people, a raised toilet may seem a bit high. Try sitting in a desk or dining chair to see how it feels to you. A powder room is probably the best place for a comfort height fixture.

Q: How do I eliminate thresholds into the bathroom itself, i.e., to make the bathroom entrance wheelchair accessible?

A: In most cases, it is not difficult to remove the raised threshold and design a flush transition. This can generally be accomplished with what is called an overlap floor transition reducer, which can be used with various types of flooring.

Q: Is it really possible to have a no-threshold shower that contains the water? What if I want a door on the shower?

A: No-threshold showers are very successful when done right, and are often done with doors. Proper design and installation is imperative. You should extend the water barrier in the subfloor beyond the traditional application and examine the direction and distance from the water source.

Q: How is a wall-hung toilet installed? How does maintenance differ from a traditionally installed toilet?

A: The main differences involve the waste pipe location and the depth of the wall. Each wall-hung toilet is different, so the installation instructions would be the best source for a more detailed answer. The access to the system for maintenance or repairs is typically through the wall mounted flush plate, but an access panel can also be created. Use the wall-mounted flush plate as an access point to maintain the toilet system. You may also create an access panel for installation.

Q: Real estate agents often say it is hard to sell a home that has no tub, only a shower. Is that true? Also, California law requires a tub in one bathroom. Are there other states with similar laws?

A: If your house has more than one bathroom, then you can convert the master bath to a shower, leaving another bathroom with a tub.  Please check with local real estate agents for any state codes or requirements that mandate tubs in bathrooms.

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