Bathroom Remodel in Orange County
I was recently visited a client for a bathroom remodel in Orange County, California and she asked me about universal remodel. Here is what I said:
Don’t just renovate on the cheap when thinking about a bathroom remodel in Orange County. Smart investments save big bucks down the road. Using Universal Design in your bathroom will make life easier, efficient, and make a big difference in living more comfortably and safely for the years ahead. Here’s how:
A comfort height toilet along with a Washlet will really be appreciated.
- Install a toilet that is chair height. These taller toilets make it easier to get on and off. Make sure it’s a quality low-flow toilet to reduce water bills. For added safety and convenience, replace the seat with a washlet. Also install an integrated combination LED photocell nightlight/receptacle behind the toilet. If you need to pee in the middle of the night, this will illuminate your path and increase your aim.
Taller cabinets make life so much easier in your remodeled bathroom.
- A lot of old bathrooms have low counters, making washing, brushing your teeth, and shaving much more difficult as we get older. Install a vanity (cabinet) that has a finished height of 36”. Ideally, the depth should be 24” to allow for larger and deeper sinks, drawers, and under vanity pullout drawers (getting on your knees as we get older to fetch a roll of toilet paper is a killer on the knees! A pullout drawer under the sink – or a separate drawer under the doors – makes it so much easier and safer!). These also extend storage and look great!
Add a second sink to enjoy greater convenience.
- If your current bathroom only has a 1 sink vanity, do the smart thing and make it a 2-sink vanity. Why? Let’s just say the key to a happy relationship is separate bathrooms, separate vanities, or a single vanity with 2 sinks. Use “D” or “U” shaped pulls rather than round knobs for vanity doors and drawers.
Make your bathroom remodel in Orange County look bigger and more spacious with a large mirror.
- A large mirror above the vanity makes the bathroom appear larger and typically makes applying makeup, shaving, etc. much easier and more convenient.
Selecting the right faucets is very important when remodeling your bathroom.
- Use faucets that have larger lever type handles or a single-lever handle that are pressure balanced. Same for the bathtub and/or shower. In the shower, an adjustable hand shower on a pole is perfect for cleaning and washing off after lathering up.
Install a tiled seat in the shower for safety and a more relaxing showering experience.
- Make sure you install a seat in the shower to make shaving legs and washing your body less of an effort. As we get older, standing in a shower and balancing on one leg on a wet surface to bath is dangerous. A seat with a hand shower is so much safer and comfortable.
Consider a low or no threshold shower for your Orange County bathroom remodel.
- Speaking of the shower, make it a low or no threshold (walk-in). That dam that is likely currently in place gets increasingly difficult and dangerous as we age, especially when trying to step over it getting out of the wet shower . . . this can be incredibly dangerous. Also install a shampoo/soap recess near the shower seat so you can easily and safely grab your shampoo/soap while sitting.
Paddle switches are stylish and convenient.
- Install rocker (paddle) type switches with a backlit feature. These can be turned on or off with the back of a hand or elbow. The backlit makes them visible in the dark. Regarding receptacles, make sure there are at least 1 for each sink.
LED recess lights will add warmth, beauty, and make personal grooming so much easier.
- Install LED recess lighting on dimmers for general tasks and wall sconces above the vanity. Why? The LED general task lighting makes cleaning, dressing, and manicuring much easier. The wall sconces make applying makeup and shaving significantly easier (LED lighting alone will cast a shadow on your face, making the application of makeup difficult and likely not produce that picture-perfect selfie). These should be on separate switches or dimmers. Add an LED light over the shower on a separate switch. You will be amazed how much easier it is to see what you’re doing with a light over the shower. It’s also much less expensive on the electric bill vs. having all the bathroom lights on to shower. Have this switch near your shower exit, next to a 3-way switch that turns on the task lighting.
An exhaust fan will help keep moisture from destroying your newly remodeled bathroom.
- Even if you have a window, add an energy efficient 110 Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM) minimum exhaust fan. This will go a long way towards keeping moisture and potentially dangerous mold out of the bathroom. Make sure the fan is on a Humidistat.
Don’t forget about windows in your bathroom remodel.
- If the bathroom window is old or original, replace it now. It’s likely above the shower or tub and after new tile is installed, replacing it in the future runs the risk of damaging the tile and tile underlayment. Do not install a retrofit window! These will leak. I don’t care what anyone tells you, these are cheap, and you will pay dearly in the future for using a retrofit window. A retrofit window is installed by placing directly on the outside of the house with a few screws and caulk around the perimeter. The inside has pieces of self-adhesive vinyl strips to cover the still in place old window frame. Water and moister from the shower will get inside and destroy your walls. Use only a new construction (nail-fin window).
Grab bars for safety – especially if you have mobility difficulties or will be aging in palce.
- Install at least 2 in the shower and 1 immediately outside the shower. Make sure proper solid lumber is used inside the wall cavity for the grab bar screws to securely attach. Anchors and molly’s through the tile or fiberglass will not be strong enough to withstand the forces of grabbing onto the grab bar as you try to stay upright. Don’t purchase the cheapest thing you find. These will likely save your life – install high quality brushed stainless-steel ADA complaint grab bars.
Be smart about your bathroom remodel shower enclosure.
- Use only premium, tempered 3/8” glass. Do not use 1/4” or 5/16” glass to save a few bucks. Your life is worth more than a few saved dollars on the enclosure.
Use only high quality porcelain tile in your bathroom remodel in Orange County.
- Use a porcelain tile that is no-slip on all floor surfaces. This reduces the chance of falls – a leading cause of hospital visits among those 50+.
Consider replacing your hinged door with a pocket door.
- Replace the door with a pocket door. This makes access much easier should a walker be necessary in the future and allows for much better use of the overall bathroom space. If a pocket door is not your liking, replace the door with a solid core door using a lever style handle.