When it comes to redecorating your home, bathrooms are often the last thing you worry about. Everything else takes priority until your guests ask to use it and then you come up with all kinds of excuses for the state it’s in! Does that sound familiar?
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We often think it’s a really major job to renovate your bathroom and, in all honesty, it’s not easy. But there will come a time when it is essential and you will have no choice. Here are some signs you need to heed.
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Pipes themselves usually have a long life, between 70 and 100 years depending on whether they are copper, brass or galvanized steel. Drainage piping can also last up to 100 years (although plastic drainage pipes last between 25 and 40 years). If you know your pipes are younger than that, you shouldn’t need to worry about them, barring a catastrophe.
Leaking pipes can cause all kinds of problems, from increased water bills, mold and damp to serious structural problems in your home.
If your pipes need replacing, it really is time to call in the plumber as this is major construction work which should never be attempted by an amateur, no matter how enthusiastic!
Mold and Mildew: Mold and mildew are both fungal growths that thrive in warm and damp environments, like your bathroom. Mildew tends to grown on wallpaper and fabrics and is grey or white in color whereas mold is usually black and likes to hide under damp surfaces. Both can cause allergic reactions but certain types of mold can be extremely toxic.
In either case, if you see mold or mildew, it’s time for renovation. Correct installation of sanitary ware, pipes, flooring as well as an exhaust fan will help prevent it building up again.
Toilets are the major reason for bathroom plumbing call outs; usually because of getting blocked and clogged, as well as because the flushing mechanism doesn’t work. Before you decide your blocked toilet is a reason for a complete plumbing renovation, try a plunger, drain cleaner or even a plumber’s snake to save your money.
Depending on the quality of your sanitary ware, it can last a long time. Porcelain / ceramic baths last longer than plastic and so on. Also, you will be able to repair some using bonding agents or fillers if there is only small damage.
However, there will eventually come a time when it needs to be replaced.
The major reason people want to replace their bath, sink and toilet is because of dated styles and colors. Don’t make the mistake of your predecessors and choose a colored bathroom suite. Choose white! It is also worth investing in good quality sanitary ware as a well fitted bathroom adds enormously to the value of your home should you decide to sell in the future.
To prevent potential problems with regards to water leaks and all the ensuing problems with regards to mold and mildew, it is recommended that you hire a professional plumber to install your sanitary ware properly.
Hardware: Chipped, scratched and lime-scaled hardware can date your bathroom as well as affecting water flow. It is always best to invest in good quality taps or shower heads which can withstand being abused by their numerous users and still look new and shiny. A high quality stainless steel will resist rust and be easier to clean if affected by lime-scale.
Water heaters can be considered hardware but are not normally part of a bathroom plumbing renovation. However, it is well worth checking that your thermostat is set at 115˚ F to prevent scalding and to save on your electric bills. Also, check your heater annually to make sure that the cladding or insulation is in good condition thereby keeping the heat in the water instead of the house.
Walls, Floors and Ceilings: The floor is usually the first thing to deteriorate in your bathroom. Even if you have no leaks, your floor will be constantly damp and exposed to water puddles. This will make it prone to peeling up, cracking and splitting. Once this happens, it can develop mold or become a tripping hazard so it’s time to replace it. Try using ceramic tiles if you want to ensure that it doesn’t peel up again.
Walls and ceilings are subject to mildew if your bathroom is damp and they especially like wallpaper. Use tiles behind the bath, shower and sink units and then use mildew-repellent bathroom paint for the remaining walls and ceiling.
A Change in Bathroom Users:
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There are different bathroom needs for different users.
For example, if Grandma is coming to live with you, then you need to consider it might be difficult for her to climb in and out of a bath. Perhaps you will need to install a walk in shower with a shower seat?
If your baby is starting to walk, consider that you will need to put tap locks on so they cannot turn them on whilst you are not looking. You might need extra storage space or handrails for physically challenged visitors.
Whatever the reason, it’s a good reason to renovate.
Conclusion: Once you have looked at the plumbing, sanitary and hardware as well as your floors and walls, and made that decision to renovate, take a moment to think about the environment. It is the perfect time to update everything to environmentally friendly status. Buy a low flush toilet and water saving shower unit. Put time stoppers on your taps. Change all the lights to use LED bulbs. All of these will, eventually, pay back your investment but you will also have the satisfaction of knowing you are helping to save the planet.
Whilst not a small investment, remodeling your bathroom can make it more attractive and functional, increase the value of your home and make it a safer place to live. You will also be happy to respond to your guests’ requests for the bathroom without a sad explanation for its terrible state!