Replace an Old Vanity with a Pedestal Sink
Removing the old vanity and adding a pedestal sink will give a small bathroom the appearance of being larger. For removing an existing vanity, refer to Remove an Old Vanity on.
Put the pedestal base and the sink in place. Making sure that the sink is level, mark the mounting holes with a pencil. If there aren’t any tiles on the walls, check to see if the studs line up with the mounting holes and make sure to catch them when securing the sink.
If tiles are on the walls, a masonry bit is needed to penetrate them. Place several strips of tape on the spot and remark it, and the tape should be able to help keep the drill bit centered. This step should also be used to mount the pedestal to the floor.
Install the faucet and drain line assemblage.
Following the instructions for the pedestal sink you are installing, secure the sink and base using the fasteners provided, and make sure it is firmly set in place.
Once it is set, connect the drain lines and hook up the hot and cold supply lines. Following the manufacturer’s instructions will help to insure the warranty. Most manufacturers will include the mounting brackets and screws.
Never overtighten the screws and bolts. Doing this can crack the pedestal or sink.
Privacy Can Make a Nice Difference
If you are handy, constructing a small privacy partition for the toilet area can add a sense of comfort to your bathroom. Having a separate toilet area allows someone privacy while still allowing someone else to use another area of the bathroom and is a nice feature for a home, particularly if you forgot to lock the door.
When people in a household get up in the morning at the same time, it’s an inconvenience for all, but splitting the bathroom helps to accommodate more than one person. Many newer homes on the market have the sink area in one part of the bathroom with a separate toilet room.
If you can split a bathroom into one and a half or better yet, two bathrooms, you add value to your home. Sometimes this can be done by using a walk-in closet or other space that is already in the house without the expense of adding on to the structure of your home. It is a consideration when figuring whether or not it is to your advantage in the long and short term.
Simple changes can make a big difference.
Install a Crescent-Shaped Shower Curtain Rod
Think about removing the old shower curtain rod and adding a crescent-shaped shower rod. This will add space to the inside of the tub area, taking away that claustrophobic feeling that standard shower curtain rods present. These rods can be used with standard shower curtains so there’s no need to purchase new ones. Shower doors don’t give you more space but these rods do. Even the more upscale posh hotels use them, making for a comfortable bath and shower experience. Pick one up and let’s get down to business.
Remove the shower curtains and straight rod.
Take the new rod out of its packaging and neatly lay everything out.
Assemble the crescent-shaped shower rod on the floor according to the instructions in the packaging.
Measure from the ceiling to the top of the old shower rod bracket. Record that measurement.
Along the crease where the wall meets the ceiling, measure back 3″ from the start of the tub. Mark with your pencil.
From the pencil mark, measure down the recorded distance the old shower rod bracket was from the ceiling. Mark with your pencil. This is where your new bracket should be placed.
Hold the new bracket in this spot and mark where the bracket holes will be with your pencil.
If mounting directly onto drywall, use an awl or nail to make the hole for the plastic anchor. Be sure not to make the hole too big. The anchor should fit tightly after being tapped into place. If you are mounting the brackets onto ceramic tile, you will need to tap through the glazed part of the tile before drilling into it and then the plastic anchor can be installed.
Once all the anchors are in place you can screw the brackets into place and mount the shower rod. Counter space has always been a problem in small bathrooms. Replacing a counter with one that
extends over the toilet tank, for example, can give you much needed space, 2 to 3 sq. ft. in some cases, making it seem as though the bathroom is bigger. When doing this, the vanity top must not interfere with the workable space required should the toilet need repair. Some vanity tops can be hinged to lift if necessary. Others, like granite or marble, could be separate and configured to lift out of place as needed.
You can never have enough mirrors in a bathroom. Not only do they make the space look larger, but are practical when getting dressed and putting on makeup, adding to the reflective qualities of lighting, and letting you see yourself from many different angles.
Good Bathroom Lighting
Lighting in a bathroom is as important as pots and pans are in a kitchen, especially if there isn’t a window. Lighting in a bathroom can emulate daylight and nighttime lighting, which is important to men and women whether preparing for work or a night out. Therefore, placement, intensity, and effect all play a part when choosing lights for your bathroom.
Lighting sconces on each side of the mirror create better lighting, but if that is not possible, mounting a multiple bulb fixture above the mirror will help to illuminate the area in front of it without causing any shadowing.
Showers and tub areas require waterproof lights that keep moisture from entering the electrical components inside the casing. Heat lamps are also an added feature to help you warm up when drying off.
A change in color can make a major difference in the lighting of a bathroom. Small bathrooms should be lighter. This will give your bathroom a sense of space and openness. Larger bathrooms can afford to be darker in color. Be careful with the type of paint you use in the bathroom. A semi-gloss will better reflect light given off by light fixtures and an enamel paint will help protect the bathroom walls from moisture.
Change Out an Old Water Closet
Depending on the bathroom, an old discolored toilet bowl can either take away or add charm to a bathroom. It all depends on its condition. If the bowl is not operating properly, the internal mechanisms may need replacement. However, if it is too far gone, it may need changing.
Before purchasing a new toilet, you may want to consider an elongated bowl. These are roomier, stylish, and can be very quiet when flushed. Some are one piece units, making them easier to handle and install.
To remove the old toilet:
Shut off and disconnect the supply line leading to the toilet.
Flush the toilet to empty the tank of any water that may be inside.
Use a plunger and plunge out of the bowl whatever water is left.
Take the lid off the tank and bail out whatever what you can and soak up the balance of water in it using an old towel or rags.
Remove the tank by unscrewing the two bolts located on each side.
To soak up the water left at the bottom of the bowl and in the curved outlet, stuff it with rags.
Gently lift and remove the tank from the bowl.
Remove the caps holding the bowl to the floor and with a wrench, loosen and remove the bolts holding it in place.
Shift the bowl left to right to loosen it from the flange. If possible, use two people to lift it. Place rags in front of the bowl to catch water when it is removed.
Scrape the old wax gasket off and check the flange for corrosion. A replacement gasket and wax ring can be purchased at your local hardware store.
Replace the old wax gasket and change the flange if it’s corroded. Be careful not to let the wax fall into the drain line. To install the new toilet:
Position the flange bolts facing upward in the flange slots. Make sure the wax seal holds the bolts in place.
Place the bowl over the flange and the bolts through the bowl holes. Firmly seat the bowl over the flange, tighten the bolts, and snap on the bolt covers.
If the toilet is a two piece set, set the tank into place over the gasket and bolt the tank to the bowl, making sure not to overtighten the bolts. Connect the water supply line to the tank and turn the valve counterclockwise.
While the tank is filling up, check for leaks where the tank and bowl meet. In addition, look around the bottom of the bowl and floor. After flusing the toilet several times and when you are sure there are no leaks, caulk or grout between the bowl and floor.
Attach the toilet seat to the bowl using the plastic bolts provided.
Setting the tank in place is much easier when two people handle it.
Maintain, Remove, and Replace Ceramic Tiles
Ceramic tiles are hardened durable surfaces, made of baked clay that is glazed and polished for a shiny glossy or a matte look. Stone, like granite, is sliced from mined areas, polished, cut for a specific use and professionally installed, whereas ceramic tile is easier for a novice to install.
Ceramic tile is commonly installed on shower walls, bathroom floors, and at times, the other walls in the bathroom, as well as the ceiling in the shower. One cracked tile stands out in a sea of ceramic like a sore thumb. So how do you remove individually cracked or damaged tile without destroying the entire wall in the process? Good question.
Find the tiles that are loose or cracked and look for replacements that are the same, or match as close as possible. You may need to try several places before you are able to find a match. Better quality tile may have a stamp on the back indicating the brand name or number. That does not mean that you will be able to find that exact color. Different dye lots have different shadings and sometimes certain colors are discontinued due to style changes.
If you cannot find tile to match what is already there, you may want to place accent tiles where the damaged tiles where. This may require you to remove additional tiles in order to get the design the way you want it or to scatter a few accent tiles on the walls, making it a point not to put them on the same horizontal and vertical grid lines.
First, remove the grout surrounding the tile. Grout helps quite a bit in holding the tile in place. If you try to remove the tile without removing the grout around the tile, the adjacent tile can crack as well. Your local hardware or home improvement store should sell a grout scraper. These work very well.
Removing the tile should be done gently. If you are removing the tile from a wall, try not to rip the paper backing off the drywall. Ceramic tile is much easier to remove from Backer board or cement board than drywall. You do not need to be as gentle when the tile is mounted on plywood or cement board or cement on the floor, but always scrape the grout out before beginning.
Score the tile with a glasscutter, making an X shape and breaking through the glazed finish. Carefully tap and break the clay part of the tile in the scored area, prying the tile out without damaging adjacent tiles. Occasionally you cannot help but rip the paper backing on the drywall. In that case, apply a paint sealer, let it dry at least twenty-four hours before gluing tile on the wall.
Be careful not to damage any of the surrounding tiles.
Use a flat board to align the tile with the other surrounding tiles and use spacers to match the existing joints where the grout is to go. Now you must wait another twenty-four hours to let the glue set before grouting the tile.
When applying the grout, try not to get it all over the place. Make it a point to fill all voids around the tile.
Wait about fifteen to twenty minutes and remove any excess grout that may be on the tile. The best way I found to remove grout without getting a film on the tile is to wipe with a single long stroke, rinse the sponge, and wipe again, repeating the process until all the grout film is gone. Doing it this way will avoid smearing the grout around.
Using the shower or stepping on the grout before it dries completely will weaken the bond and may cause it to fall out or become uneven. You must also give the grout at least sixteen to twenty-four hours to dry.
Wait several weeks before applying a grout sealer. A sealer will help to keep mold and mildew from growing and keep the grout clean. Maintenance should be done annually.
Grouting tiles can be messy. Therefore it’s best to wear rubber gloves when working with grout.
Match Finishes and Styles
Older bathrooms have ceramic wall toothbrush holders and soap dishes, but that’s not so much the case these days. Homeowners are using separate toothbrush holders and soap dishes that sit on the vanity top. The metal finishes in a bathroom should match, including the toothbrush holder, soap dish, towel bar, shower door, toilet lever handle, shower curtain rod, and light fixture(s). This helps to keep things uniform and consistent. Another way to keep things in step is to match the least difficult to replace items, like a towel bar or shower curtain rod, with the more permanent things, like shower body trim or a faucet.
After time, like any other fixture in your home, faucet handles become outdated, tarnished, and just don’t look good any longer. Since faucet handles are subject to constant use, they are likely to eventually show signs of wear. Matching up handles for a vanity faucet and shower is a very simple task that can make a huge difference in the look of your bathroom.
There is a wealth of bathroom lavatory parts on the Internet, from old-fashioned glass faucet knobs and classic porcelain handles, to many different modern-day styles and finishes. Replacing them is simple and makes a world of difference. So think about changing your bathroom hardware finishes and/or faucet handles to match what’s in style today.