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Bathroom Remodeling Frequently Asked Questions
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement

Where should I begin when remodeling my bathroom?

The design of your new bathroom is where you should start your planning. Sometimes it is a great idea to hire a bathroom designer to help you optimize your limited space. The bathroom designs shown on TV and in magazines may work well for someone else's set up, but only those who see your bathroom up close and in personal can create an effective design.

If you do plan to design your bathroom yourself, make sure to think about the amount of time you spend in your bathroom each day and use this as a way to rate what needs to be upgraded the most. For example, the more time you spend, the more space you need. To add to your comfort, consider knocking down a wall and creating more room.

Keep in mind that an estimated 80-85% of what you put into your bathroom remodeling, you get back when you sell. In addition to more space, think about installing fog free mirrors, heated floors, or a beautiful whirlpool.

Is re-glazing a bathtub a cost effective solution to replacing a tub?

If you are not limited by budget, replacing your tub is the best option. New tubs will last for long periods of time and offer magnificent visual appeal. However, re-glazing is a wonderful alternative for those that are concerned with budget. It is easier to do and saves you the cost of having a new tub installed. You will have a fresh new look with half the hassle, however, re-glazing will typically last a mere 3 years before you need to do it all over again.

How do I remove old ceramic tile?

If you are removing damaged tiles and replacing them, you will need to use a pointed tool to scrape out the surrounding grout. Next you will need to use a hammer to chisel out the damaged tile. If you take your time and work slowly, you will be able to keep the surrounding tiles in place. Lastly, remove the layer of adhesive, clean the area, apply a new layer of adhesive to a new tile and set it in place. You can then grout around the new tile.

If you are planning to retile the entire floor, you may want to first consider tiling over the existing tile. If this is not an option, follow the steps above for removing each tile.

For ceramic tile on walls, you have two options. If you are working with a plaster wall, it is best to chip away at each tile individually. However, if you are working with drywall, it is sometimes easier and faster to remove large sections of the tile-covered portion of drywall from the studs.

How do I replace a toilet?

Several steps are involved in the replacement of a toilet.

1. Turn off the toilets water supply. Then flush the remaining water down. Make sure the bowl is empty.
2. Use an adjustable wrench to disconnect the supply hose to the tank. Also remove the nuts from the flange bolts on both sides of the toilet.
3. Now you can remove the tank. You may need to remove the elbow if your tank mounts to the wall.
4. Set the old toilet on some rags and watch out for loose water.
5. Clean up around the floor and closet flange.
6. Take your new toilet and press a wax ring around the drain hole.
7. Place the new toilet on the closet flange and make sure that it is firmly seated.
8. You must then tighten the flange bolts. Be careful not to over tighten the bolts. Too much tightening may cause the toilet bowl to crack.
9. If it is a two piece system, you must put the new tank on the bowl. Place the rubber gasket flange between the tank and bowl and then tighten the bolts.
10. You can now turn your water supply back on. Make sure to check for any leaks at this point.

What are the different types of bathtubs?

Choosing a new bath tub is one of the more exciting remodeling decisions. This is your chance to get rid of that old, uncomfortable rectangle tub and upgrade to something rejuvenating, something massaging, something more like a whirlpool tub or a soft bathtub. Maybe you simply wish to improvement the look and feel of your old tub by covering it with a new shell.

Bath tubs can either be freestanding or built-in. Freestanding tubs come in several styles. Some are sleek and some are classic. Built-in tubs can be your common tub/shower combination or even a modern style with additional computerized features.

Enameled cast iron bathtubs are probably the best type of tub you can get. They are extremely durable with a lastly finish. However, they are also very heavy. If you are looking for the durability of cast iron, without the heaviness, you may want to invest in an acrylic tub that is reinforced with fiberglass. Also, certain tubs are made of just fiberglass, but the finish tends to fade over time.

In addition, steel tubs are also common. Steel tubs are sprayed with an enameled coating making them look very similar to cast iron, but the enamel often chips off over time. However, they are significantly lighter in weight compared to cast iron.

How do I remove mildew from bathroom ceilings and walls?

Mildew is a thin, black or white, growth produced by mold. It needs moisture to grow, so often times you will find it developing in moist areas such as the bathroom. As the mold grows, it causes considerable damage including musty odors, discoloration of fabrics, and stains on walls and ceilings.
Improper ventilation is the number one reason why mildew will start to grow in bathrooms. It is extremely important to air the bathroom out with a window, install a vent, and use fans to circulate the air.

To remove mildew and prevent it from growing, make sure to wipe down the walls, ceilings, and the shower curtains after taking a shower or bath. There are several chemical sprays that are made for mildew removal. It is important to keep things clean at all times.

How do I fix low water pressure?

Low water pressure can be the result of several different things. It may be related to a clogged pipe, blocked in-line devices, corroded pipes, low water volume, and low delivery service. It is important to determine the cause of the low water pressure in order to have your plumber attack the proper problem.

If the problem involves the in-line devices, try removing the faucet aerator or showerhead and then rinse off or replaced clogged and corroded screens. You may also want to check out the angle valves under your sinks. Often you will notice corrosion in these areas. You can open the pipe up by chipping away at the debris in that area of the pipe.

If you are still receiving low water pressure, you may want to consider increasing pipe sizes, increasing the size of the main supply line, or installing a booster pump. A professional plumber will be able to tell you what your best solution is.

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