• Remodeling a New Bathroom Shower

    Custom Shower by Fiato & Associates
    Custom Shower by Fiato & Associates

    In every home there are a several places that are used on a daily basis. The kitchen, the bedroom and the bathroom are probably the top three for most people, and for that reason these are the areas that, naturally, we would like to be the most comfortable and functional.

    In the bathroom, one amenity which is absolutely indispensable is the shower. For those who are considering a bathroom remodel , this is an excellent place to start. The shower can very easily be transformed from a nondescript utility where the routine of your day begins, into a comfortable, relaxing sensory experience that you’ll look forward to every morning. All it takes is a little planning and preparation.

    First, you’ll need to establish a budget. There is a wide price range for new showers depending on the type of materials and fixtures you’ll be using. Also, you’ll need to decide if this is a “do it yourself” project or if you’ll be hiring a licensed, professional contractor for the job. Depending on the complexity of the project, many shower installations can be done in just a day or two, but the average cost for a contractor can run from $500 to $1000 per day. As for materials, you can choose between inexpensive pre-fabricated units to more elaborate custom tile designs. Obviously, the price ranges can be very widely because of this, which is why establishing a budget is so important.

    Even pre-fabricated shower enclosures can run from several hundred to a few thousand dollars, but most people who really desire a luxury shower design will opt for either custom tile or quality solid surfaces like cultured marble or Swanstone .

    Ceramic tiles are one of the most popular choices for shower surfaces and can cost from $1.00 to over $4.00 per square foot. For other types of high quality stone tiles the cost can go even higher. Most budgets for tile installations should start at a minimum of $1000, and that would be for smaller shower unit sizes. After you add in the cost of materials you could easily be pushing $2000, however, this is for a modest project. You’d therefore need to take into consideration the size of the enclosure and whether or not you’d be including a tub. A more reasonable expectation then would be closer to $3000 and up.

    There is such a wide selection of shower materials available that it’s highly recommended that you spend some time at a local bathroom specialty store that offers a choice of different tiles and surface materials, in addition to bathroom fixtures. This will give you the best idea as to what your options are, along with some specifics on pricing.

    Although tile is extremely popular for showers, other surface materials may appeal to you as well. Marble slab , for example, is very appealing, however, can require some maintenance and can be subject to wear and tear. An excellent alternative, for those who wish for marble is manufactured – or “cultured” – marble, which is both affordable and luxurious. One of the primary benefits of cultured marble is that it is very low maintenance and long lasting. It is excellent for resisting stains and water penetration as well which cuts down on any mold or mildew issues that sometimes arise with more porous ceramic tiles and grout.

    Another popular surface choice is Swanstone , which is considered one of the top “green”, environmentally friendly , bathroom surfaces by homeowners. It is a manufactured composite that has the look and feel of real stone and comes in wide variety of textures and colors. It is much longer lasting than other types of organic surfaces, therefore it rarely requires replacing. One of the primary benefits of Swanstone is that much more resistant to heat, cracks and stains than materials such as marble or granite. It is also about 20% less expensive than similar surface types, like Corian .

    The finishing touch to your new shower will be the shower fixtures . There are myriad choices when it comes to shower fixtures, and three of the top brands you’ll want to explore are Grohe , Hansgrohe and Koehler . Keep in mind that Grohe and Hansgrohe are two different companies with two completely different lines of shower fixtures and appliances. The shower head is probably the best place to start as it is really the central piece of equipment to any shower. You can even design your new shower with multiple shower heads in mind for an even more indulgent experience. Most new showers can be nicely equipped for in the low to medium hundreds of dollars.

    One last component to your new shower will be the shower door . Here again, there are many different choices. There is clear glass, textured or frosted glass, tinted, mirrored or even sandblasted glass. You’ve got different thicknesses and weights as well. You can have a standard door height or you can choose from a steam shower door which is fully enclosed all the way to the ceiling. Again, your best resource for making this choice will be your local bathroom retailer who can explain the differences, but more importantly show you the look and feel of these shower products and materials.

    Good luck with building and designing your new shower. As always, a consultation with an experienced, licensed contractor is always the best place to start for ideas and estimates.

  • Planning Your Handicap Bathroom Design

    Handicap Shower by Fiato & Associates

    Handicap Accessible Shower Design by Fiato & Associates

    Shower and bathtub access for the disabled, the injured or the elderly homeowner is an important and sometimes overlooked aspect of bathroom design. Those who are faced with mobility challenges require special products and construction that will allow easy access to showers, tubs, vanities, toilets and the bathroom entrance itself. Fortunately, today there are many options available in the form of handicap showers , walk in tubs and handicap toilets for individuals with these types of special needs .

    Wheelchair Access to the Bathroom
    One of the first things to consider is how to allow easy access to the bathroom. If a person is confined to a wheelchair then, in most cases, the doorway or entrance to the bathroom will need to be widened. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Specially Adapted Housing Requirements specify a minimum hallway width of 48” with a minimum doorway width of 36” to allow full wheelchair accessibility. The minimum clear space for a T-shaped 180 degree turn is 36” in all directions.

    Choosing the Right Handicap Shower
    Handicap accessible showers are a great way to create a more comfortable, convenient and safer showering experience in the bathroom, while at the same time providing the homeowner with special needs the ability to be more independent. The ADA has several provision for installing safe shower stalls, including, a shower seat located directly opposite the faucet, a grab bar located within easy reach on the back wall of the shower stall, and a shower head attached to a hose that is 60 inches in length. In order to allow easy transfer from wheelchair to shower chair , there should be no shower enclosures, such as doors, that might interfere with mobility. In addition, the curb should be no more than ½ inch high from the bottom of the shower unit and the opening should be at least 36” wide. There are many bathroom manufacturers, like Swanstone , that offer several choices for your handicap shower needs, as well as grab bars and other fixtures.

    Walk In Tubs for the Disabled
    Bathtubs in general can sometimes be precarious even for the able bodied bather, so it’s difficult to imagine those with injuries or disabilities managing their way in and out of one without a great deal of assistance. That challenge has been solved, however, with the advent of walk in tubs , which make the experience easy and enjoyable. As the name suggests, these types of bathtubs are not designed for individuals who may be wheelchair bound or invalid because they do require that the user be able to walk in and out on their own. However, for those who are feeling the discomfort and limited mobility that accompanies injury, illness or advanced age, walk in tubs offer a safe, convenient and comfortable solution. Some of the more popular makers of walk in tubs include Jacuzzi and MediTub .

    Handicap Toilets
    This is another common household fixture that most of us take for granted, but can become a painstaking experience for those who are physically impaired. A properly installed handicap toilet can make the everyday bathroom visit a much less difficult ordeal, while allowing the user to feel more independent, and ultimately safer and more secure. Most handicap toilets will be 17” high, with grab bars and flush mounted for easy access. Don’t overlook this important element of you handicap bathroom design . Companies like Toto carry an excellent selection of compliant toilet products.

    Don’t Forget the Handicap Bathroom Accessories
    After thoroughly researching and selecting your primary bathroom components, make sure to include many of the fixtures and accessories available for handicap baths. Things like Shower Entry Ramps, Handicap Shower Heads, Shower Commodes, Shower Transfer Benches, Shower Pans, Handicap Shower Chairs, Shower Grab Bars, Shower Seats, Waterproof Shower Mats, Wall Mounted Shower Stools, Bathtub Grab Bars, Suction Shower Handrails, Wall Mounted Handrails, Shower Mats , and more.

    Get it Done Right – Hire A Pro
    For proper design and installation of handicap accessible bathrooms, always consult with an experienced and professional contractor in your area. Most good contractors will offer free consultations and expert advice.

  • Custom Bathroom Vanities

    Custom Bathroom Vanity by Fiato & Associates

    Custom Bathroom Vanity by Fiato & Associates

    If you’re planning a new bathroom remodel project and don’t know where to start, you may want to consider custom bathroom vanities. It is by far one of the best ways to make a huge impact on the look, feel and functionality of your new bathroom. A bathroom vanity consists of a mirror, sink and cabinetry for storing all your cosmetics and toiletries and is probably the most used area of your bathroom. For that reason, it’s important to have a style and quality of design that suits not only your taste, but your usage requirements.

    When deciding between custom bathroom vanities there are several things to consider. First of all, make sure that you’re choosing only from recognized, brand name manufacturers like the ones recommended by our installers. Secondly, consider the materials and make sure that you’re installing products with lasting value. There are a multitude of options for cabinet woods, finishes, stones, marbles, mirrors, hardware and faucets, so it’s important to deal with an installer or remodeling company that can show you a complete variety for your needs. Styles have changed dramatically over the years, so if you’re looking for an updated, contemporary look, you’ll be thrilled with the stylish, sophisticated choices available.

    Do you need more space for you and your partner? Then you may want to consider “his and hers” custom double vanities. This is an excellent solution for dealing with the problem of shared space. Now, you can each have your own sink, mirrors and storage cabinets for personal items.

    While some people may choose “ready-made” vanities to save time and money, they cannot compare to having your own custom bathroom vanities made exactly to your specifications. If you happen to have an unusually shaped bathroom, or if you simply want to make sure you’ll get more out your current living area, having custom made bathroom cabinets is by far the better option.

    Anyone can buy cheap, prefabricated, standard size vanity cabinets to install in their bathrooms. But that won’t do much for the overall appearance and style of your home, and it won’t do much for your home’s resale value either – your bathroom will very much like any that you’re likely to see in any number of generic residential designs. On the other hand, if you decide to invest a little more and go with custom made bathroom cabinets, you’ll be creating a unique living area that you’ll be proud of, and that will impress potential buyers should you ever decide to sell your home.

    Whether you decide to do it for decorative reasons (you truly want a special custom bathroom) or because you have to do it (you have an unusually shaped space and have to make it work) a custom bathroom vanity is the best way to improve the style, functionality and appearance of your bathroom.

  • Choosing the Right Bathroom Tile

    Shower Tile

    Custom Shower Tile by Fiato & Associates

    One of the most dreaded jobs in redoing a bathroom involves the tile. If it’s done correctly, new tile can make the entire bathroom look new, brighter and more in order. If the job is handled poorly, the end result can be a disaster. Redoing the bathroom tile, however, is something that will likely need to be done if a new look is desired.

    There are many different looks that can be achieved by redoing bathroom tile. It’s important to consider the overall desired design and the longevity of the look before picking the tile out, however. Some possibilities include:

    Bright and sunny: Stark white, bright yellows and other such colors in bathroom tile lend themselves very well to a bright and sunny bathroom design style. These can be the easiest of tiles to keep looking clean, too, which gives this option a heads up on some of the others.

    Subdued: Cream colored and even white tiles with no real pattern can work well in any design scheme. Easy to keep clean, for the most part, this look works with dark accessory colors, light accessory colors and more. Rather than making the design statement with the tile, these type of bathrooms have the tile kind of blend into the intended look.

    Themed: It’s possible to use the tile in the bathroom to set the theme. For example, some parents opt to add whimsical tiles to a child’s bathroom. Other possibilities include fish themed tiles, lighthouses, birds and so on. When choosing tile for a theme, it’s a good idea to really be in love with it. Redoing the tile in a cartoon theme for a child that’s 10 and will soon outgrow such things might not be bright, but creating the look when the baby is 1 and siblings are likely can be a great way to stake out a kids’ bathroom as a kids’ bathroom.

    Bold: There are all kinds of options for bold, trend setting tile designs. From dark colors to imported tiles of special designs these aren’t typical in most homes – bathrooms, but they can be more than beautiful. When the tile makes the look, the overall appearance of the room can be fantastic.

    When doing tile work there are two main options for installation. These include professional contractors and doing it yourself. There are pros and cons to both. Those who opt to go with the pros will find the work is generally done quite quickly and it will likely be guaranteed. This can offer a real peace of mind as improperly sealed tiles can wreak havoc on a bathroom’s walls. The cuts of the tile will also likely be quite well done as will the fit.

    Doing it yourself with tile can be achieved, but it will take some time. While it will likely take a novice days and days to do what a pro can in a few hours, if the work is completed following instructions to the letter, the end results can be the same. Before doing it yourself, make sure the job is fully understood and ample time is staked out for cutting, placing and sealing and grouting tile. It will take patience to make sure everything lines up as it should and some trial and error might come into play, as well.

    One of the biggest surefire ways to transform a bathroom’s look is to replace the tile. Doing so can be a fun way to get a newer, updated look, but it does require some planning for a picture perfect end result.