Today’s Bath, Part 2

By: Danny Lipford

Completed bathroom.

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In this special two-part episode Danny oversees the transformation of a cramped bathroom that has changed little in decades into a master bath and closet/dressing area that perfectly balances indulgence and practicality.

Pink bathroom before Brown bathroom before
The two bathrooms before our Today’s Bath Updates.

We started the project with a very dated, very pink master bathroom, a small, bland, poorly designed guest bath and a good sized, wide open master bedroom to expand into. Our designer Cheryl Kees Clendenon looked at all the rooms and met with us to discuss how to get the most out of the space available. The new plan called for a large luxurious master bath with custom shower and whirlpool tub with plenty of room for a walk-in closet.

Today's Bath bathtub.

The crew demolished both baths so they could start from scratch and basically re-built almost one quarter of the home. When it was all said and done the master bath was transformed into a tranquil retreat.

The space we added allowed us to create a peaceful alcove for the whirlpool tub complete with a wonderful tile treatment on the surround. The multiple shower heads in the custom shower will really create a comfortable shower experience. By adding a new window to the room, we’ve flooded the space with natural light which helps highlight the beautiful nine-foot double vanity along the outer wall.

Today's Bath vanity with candles.

In the guest bath we moved the entrance 90-degrees to the left and created a world of difference. The new vanity, flooring and fixtures really updated the look.

Learn more about this project at Today’s Bath, Part 1

For more information visit our Today’s Bath mini-site

Producer's Notes from Allen Lyle

Countertops

More and more homes are making the upgrade to solid countertops, whether they are a man made solid surface like Corian® or Zodiaq®, or a natural stone like granite. These surfaces certainly have a richer look and are much more durable than your standard laminates from days gone by. However, be sure to look carefully at all your options. While the solid surfaces do look great, they also cost more.

If your budget simply won’t allow a solid surface of stone countertop, you do have a really nice alternative. Nearly all of the laminate manufacturers have developed a textured or etched style laminate that not only looks like stone, but has a texture that can really fool you. These new laminates have a wear-resistance that’s three times the industry standard, so it’s a heck of a lot more durable than the laminates you remember as a kid.

Check out the online sites of both Wilsonart and Formica for some really cool options. As with any countertop surface the price depends on how much you need and the type of edge treatment you choose, but generally this material will run about $25 per square foot installed. Of course, if your budget will allow it, go for the solid surface!

Tile Treatment

Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of tile surfaces. It’s not that they don’t look good or wear. In fact, it’s one of the most durable and affordable surfaces on the market. The problem I have is with the dirt and grime that accumulates in the grout. The tile is non-porous, but the grout will soak up anything. But this project is making me re-think my hesitation. It looks great.

The travertine used, and the mixture of large tile with small finger-sized pieces makes this suburban bathroom look like something you’d see in a Beverly Hills mansion. The concern over the grout on the floor is easily addressed by sealing the grout properly. Normally, you want to wait about 30 days after installation before cleaning and sealing the grout.

As for the grout in the shower and bath areas, sealing it is also a good idea. However, you have to be careful when applying sealer on this type of stone. With glazed ceramic, sealers won’t really affect them. But, if you get a sealer on travertine or any other kind of stone, like tumbled marble, a sealer can discolor it. So be sure to wipe any excess sealer off immediately.

One other tip, don’t use vinegar to clean your tile, no matter what some installer may have told you. Vinegar is an acid and it will etch or pit your stone and erode the grout, so you will eventually wind up re-grouting everything in the not too distant future.

No Plumber Needed

The multiple shower heads are great for a shower of this size. Imagine my surprise when I went to test them and only got the slightest drizzle from two of the three fixtures! If you are doing any type of new plumbing work, this could happen to you. Don’t call the plumber yet and chew him out! This is actually a very common happenstance.

Whenever new plumbing lines are installed, small bits of trash and debris will often find its way into the lines. The first few times you turn on the water, this debris can lodge itself into the aerator or filter of the plumbing fixtures resulting in very little water able to escape the fixture. All you need to do is remove the aerator, if this is a faucet issue, or, in my case, remove the shower head and clean out the debris.

While the head is removed, or the aerator of the faucet, turn the water on and let it run for a minute or two to help remove any more debris. Once you’ve done this, in most cases you’ll have a properly functioning fixture.

Other Tips from This Episode

Cleaning Window Screens

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Cleaning Window Screens

An easy way to clean dirt off of window screens is to put them in a kiddy pool filled with water and a little dishwashing soap. Use a soft synthetic fiber broom or brush and gently rub back and forth over both sides of the screen before rinsing them off with a garden hose.

RubberStuff Landscape Mulch in planting bed.

Best New Products with Danny Lipford:
RubberStuff Landscape Mulch

RubberStuff Landscape Mulch is a made from recycled tires and won’t decompose, blow away, or float away in a heavy rain. It comes in a variety of colors and is nontoxic to pets and plants. RubberStuff Landscape Mulch is available at The Home Depot.

Measuring mulch depth with tape measure.

Around the Yard, Tricia Craven Worley:
Proper Mulch Depth

For mulch to be effective against weeds, it needs to be applied at the right depth. When applying finer ground mulch, put it about 2” to 3” deep. For more coarse types of mulch, such as bark, apply between 3” to 5” in depth. Don’t put mulch too close to the base of trees or shrubs and fertilize before putting it down.

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