Master Bath Expansion

By: Danny Lipford

Master bathroom vanity with mirror

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These empty nesters eliminated an unused bedroom to create a new master bath complete with walk-in closet. The 36-square-foot existing master bathroom was entirely too small, and the decades old pale blue and white color scheme wasn’t helping the look of the room either.

Messy bathroom before the remodel

The tight quarters made demolishing the old fixtures a slow go but soon what was originally the entire master bathroom became her vanity. And although his vanity is slightly smaller, it benefits from the natural light of the new glass block window from U S Block Windows.

New ceramic flooring and cabinetry also helped to update the look and function of the new bathroom. The custom shower with built-in seat and walk-in closet at the end of the bathroom, not only look great but really fit the homeowners needs. Two entrances to the walk-in closet means easy access to the custom shelves, shoe racks, and much needed hanging space.

Producer's Notes from Allen Lyle

Look at most of the homes built today, and you’ll notice something that most floor plans have in common. The master bathroom is large, typically containing a separate bath and shower, double vanities, and often walk-in closets. Compare that to designs of 40-50 years ago and you can’t help but wonder, what were these people thinking?!?!

I can completely empathize with the homeowners of this house. My master bathroom is about as small as theirs was at the beginning of the job. How can you possibly call an area no bigger than a closet the “master” bathroom? Nonetheless, it was a common practice, which is why this is a common remodeling project.

The real gamble though, is taking up a bedroom to expand the bathroom. As far as getting a return on your dollar if you sell the house, chances are not good, especially if you are reducing a three bedroom home down to two bedrooms in the process. If you have no intention of moving again, then the point may be moot. The comfort level of a larger bathroom far outweighs the value that could be potentially lost on the real estate.

Acrylic Block Window

If, however, you are planning to renovate and, in the near future, sell, then consider adding on to the home rather than encroach into an existing room. Yes, it will cost a great deal more, but you tend to recoup your dollars plus a substantial percentage on a re-sell.

Pocket doors, let’s just say I think of them as a necessary evil. They’re great in situations like we had on this project, but for every pocket door I’ve seen, there has been another one that needs repair. They simply aren’t as durable as a standard swinging door. Of course, improvements have been made over the past 20 years, but I still have issues with them.

Repairs can be easy, if you know the trick. You have to remove the door from the pocket, in most cases, and it’s as simple as removing the two vertical trim pieces that are on the pocket opening that keep the door from swinging loose. Once they are removed (carefully, using a razor knife and stiff putty knife to pry it loose from the frame), the door can be swung away from the frame and the door rollers lifted off the top track.

The acrylic block window really was a great accent for this bathroom. But since it’s a fixed window, it emphasizes the need for adequate ventilation. Bath fans are extremely important to a home, not just for removing odors, but to remove excessive moisture. Bath fans are rated by their CFM (cubic feet per minute). The Home Ventilating Institute recommends bathrooms have a fan with 1 CFM for every square foot of bathroom space to properly ventilate it. Larger bathrooms that have hot tubs, separate showers, etc. should have fans with an even larger CFM rating.

Also, make sure your fan is drawing air properly. Here’s a simple little test you can do to make sure: Hold a single square of toilet tissue next to the grill of the fan when it is on. If the fan is working the way it should, the tissue will be held tightly in place against the grill.

Check out some of the new fans out there. Some are so unbelievably quiet and energy-efficient. Nothing like the old noisy clunkers of the yesteryear.

Other Tips From This Episode

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Paint Brushes

Paint Brushes

If you’ve shopped for paint brushes lately, you may have discovered that it’s always a chore picking the right brush for the job. The average home center literally has hundreds of brushes in every imaginable size and shape. The width of the brush relates to how wide the workspace is you’re painting, but it’s important to remember that there only two types of brushes: synthetic bristle brushes and natural bristle brushes. Those made with natural bristle are great for applying oil based paint. Latex paints require a synthetic bristle brush. The reason you don’t want to use a natural bristle brush for latex paints is because the water in the paint will be absorbed into the natural bristles and they’ll become so limp you won’t be able to paint properly. (Watch This Video)

Best New Products with Danny Lipford:
SmartSeeder

SmartSeeder

If you have a small or medium yard, or even if you have a larger yard with some bare spots, you’ve probably been applying grass seed by hand and you’re probably seeing inconsistent results when it comes to coverage. It makes sense that by using a seed spreader you can cover your lawn more evenly but SmartSeeder goes a step further. It’s actually a handheld broadcast spreader that’s already pre-filled with grass seed so not only can you can spread seed accurately now you don’t even have to buy the seed and the spreader separately. That alone will save you a few bucks. Because the product comes with the grass seed already in the spreader it’s ready-to-use so it saves time. Each container covers 900 to 1800 square feet so you can use the little shaker cap as needed for small areas and to fill in bare spots or use the spinner bottom to cover the entire yard and then refill it as needed. The pre-filled spreader is available at The Home Depot for $10 to $12.

Around the Yard with Tricia Craven Worley:
Garden Pathways

Garden Pathways

There are many materials you can use to create a garden path. Whether you want a concrete path or maybe some stepping stones you’ll need to consider the “look” you’re trying to achieve and the function the path will have. The type of material you choose will most likely designate the method of installation. One method is to lay down a plastic liner such as a plastic weed barrier and then add a layer of gravel on top. The plastic will prevent the gravel from working in its way down into the soil. The same thing can be done with mulch. If you choose to use pavers you’ll want to use a layer of sand and soil, lay out your desired pattern and then plant a ground cover that can be walked on in between the pavers. (Watch This Video)

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Master Bath Expansion