New bathroom fixtures are a "must" when remodeling or upgrading a bathroom. Your bathroom is one of the hardest-working rooms in your house, and since a remodeled bathroom can increase your home's value, it's important to take time to think through which features are important to you in each of your bathroom fixtures. Whether you're replacing fixtures one at a time or gutting the room to the studs, consider these trends when planning the project.
Experts estimate that toilets use around 30% of the water that flows through the average home. For that reason, it pays to replace older toilets with more energy-efficient designs. The Department of Energy requires new toilets to use just 1.6 gallons of water per flush, and switching to a unit that meets the State of California's more stringent 1.28 gallon requirement could save your family around $100 a year. Newer model toilets also offer dual flush technology, which allows you to press one button for liquid waste and another button for solid, which customizes water usage even more. You can also choose between gravity feed toilets and pressure-assisted models. Gravity feed models are typically quieter, a good feature for powder rooms in high-traffic areas of the house. Pressure-assisted models are louder but can also be more effective at removing large amounts of toilet paper (something to consider in a child's bathroom). One feature that might appeal to germaphobes: One-piece design. No separate tank means there are no grooves or separations where germs and grime can build up. And if you no longer have young children, think about one of the taller models, where the seat height is 17-19 inches rather than the standard height of 10-12 inches. As your family gets older, the difference in height can add a lot of comfort.
The two most common faucet features to consider are design and flow. If design is your primary concern, you will want to be sure that both the shape and finish of the faucet work with the overall aesthetic of the space. Regardless of the color of the finish, you should also think about the construction of the faucet. Solid brass construction is generally held to be the most durable. Some newer models feature integrated ceramic disks that eliminate hard water buildup that can lead to leaks. Another new feature is PVD finish, which is a means of bonding the finish directly to the faucet so that it is more resistant to scratches, tarnishing and corrosion. Another design option is to change the location of the faucet. Most are mounted to the deck of the sink, but modern designs often include a faucet mounted directly to the wall for a sleeker look.
The other major faucet feature is flow. The Environmental Protection Agency has instituted a WaterSense Program to help consumers choose devices that minimize water waste. A faucet with a WaterSense label uses no more than 1.5 gallons of water per minute. These low-flow faucets sometimes rely on aerators that mix air with the water. You may have noticed that water coming from a faucet sometimes has a white appearance for that reason. Some people prefer a laminar faucet: One that does not mix air into the water. Water flow from a laminar faucet is clear, and some health care facilities prefer laminar faucets because mixing air into the water can increase the opportunity for contamination. If germ prevention is high on your list, you may also want to consider an antimicrobial finish or a hands-free unit that relies on a motion sensor to activate the flow of water.
Shower Head Styles
Options for shower heads have increased dramatically in recent years. If saving money is important to you, look for the WaterSense label. Certified shower heads produce a strong flow of water but use no more than 2.0 gallons per minute. Traditional single-head wall-mounted shower heads are available in a range of styles and finishes, but consumers also have a wealth of newer options: Hand-held units that can be especially useful in showers where children, pets or disabled people bathe; rain shower models that mount to the ceiling and create a gentle, natural overhead flow; and body-sprayers that are affixed to shower walls and provide massage and mist features. Many homeowners are trading in their unused Jacuzzi tubs for larger showers that can accommodate two people at once, often with multiple shower heads.
To manage the more elaborate shower configurations, some consumers opt for a digital shower control device. These digital devices can make shower time even more relaxing. Some devices are handheld and others are contained in a wall-mounted panel. They allow you to customize and preset water temperature, pressure, timing and advanced features like light, sound and steam. They can also allow you integrate multiple shower heads.
For the ultimate in spa-like relaxation, you may want to add a sauna to your bathroom. Indoor saunas create heat in one of two ways. Traditional saunas use a stove or heated rocks, and infrared styles emit heat through far infrared light wavelengths. Indoor saunas can also create steam, which many people find soothing. Keep all the members of your family in mind when planning a sauna. Saunas have minimal risks when used carefully and they can offer health benefits, especially for people with certain conditions.
Whichever bathroom fixtures you want to incorporate, be sure to consider the value of other homes in your area. If you add luxury features in an entry-level home, you may not recoup that investment when it's time to put your house on the market. You may also want to keep in mind that it's wise to invest in durable products that will last and save you in repair costs down the line.
For answers to your bathroom remodeling questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.