Bathroom & Kitchen Renovations

Thinking about renovations

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

When it comes to working with a general contractor on your bathroom or kitchen, you need to make sure that the two of you are on the same page. Renovations can be a complicated profession.

It’s sort of like going in for surgery: you don’t want them to replace the wrong hip! Make sure the two of you agree on what needs to be done, how long it will take and, of course, make sure you establish a high-end / low-end price range so that you can know roughly what to expect.

If the contractor you’re working with says that he can’t give you a general price quote (which, you’d be surprised, sometimes happens) that’s a very bad sign.

It’s fine if he can’t give you an exact quote down to dollars and cents, but as mentioned he should at least be able to offer a rough price-range.

Conceal the Toilet

Conceal the Toilet

Ask a bathroom designer what his or her best tried-and-true tip is, and this is what you’re likely to hear:

The reasoning is simple. Oftentimes, the bathroom door is left open, meaning you or any guest in your home walking by will see the toilet — which, come on, isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing thing to look at.

If you’re hoping for a spa-like vibe, putting the john front and centre in the design can sort of kill the mood as you’re transitioning into the room.

So, what should you make the focal point? Anything but the toilet.

Don’t Forget to Consider Lighting

Potlights and open space
Large empty open kitchen with living room with balcony doors and windows.

Don’t think you can install a few lights and call it a day…

Because bathrooms are sometimes small and/or dark and filled with mirrors (which complicates how light bounces around), lighting requires careful thought and placement.

The simplest way to light a bath is a single diffuse light in the centre of the ceiling. Have a bathroom that’s already pretty bright? A pair of wall sconces should be sufficient.

Thinking about ceiling-inset down-lights (aka Potlights)? Place with care: avoid installing directly over light-coloured countertops (since those will reflect the lights), and place close to the wall over a vanity to maximize light when looking in the mirror.

If you spend a lot of time applying makeup, consider vertical fluorescent light fixtures on either side of the mirror.

Get Rid of Popcorn Ceiling. Now.

Very few things date a space like a popcorn ceiling—and not in a charming way.

They’re difficult to repair, hard to clean, and catch dust easily; but despite all these cons, their popularity exploded beginning in the late 1950s because they made easy work of finishing ceilings and hiding imperfections.

When it comes to removing popcorn ceiling from an older home, there are three popular ways to take on the challenge: scrape, cover with a new layer of drywall, or skim coat with plaster to create a new textured ceiling.

Smooth Ceiling near Oakville is a prime example of an efficient popcorn ceiling removal operation.

popcorn ceiling

Don’t Throw the Baby Away with the Bathwater

The point of your bathroom remodel might be a fresh, new look, but some things are easier to replace than others.

For example, in older homes, wall tiles may have several coats of concrete, and maybe wire lath. The difficulty in removing these can cause labor costs to skyrocket.

Instead, you might want to keep the vintage tiles and spend your time and money elsewhere. Besides, vintage finishes such as tile can be a cool feature.

Newly remodelled bathroom

Add Outlets, You’ll Need Them!

You don’t want to get to the end of a renovation and realize you’ve forgotten to consider the electrical outlets.

Think of these outlet errors: you have to plug your hairdryer in across the room, and can’t see yourself in the mirror from there. Or, you’d like to keep your electric toothbrush charging at all times, but neglected to install an outlet in the medicine cabinet.

Or, you share your bathroom with your spouse, but only installed an outlet on one side of the vanity.

Kitchen: Consider the Appliances

When it comes to renovating a kitchen, you must consider the appliances in the overall remodelled design.

For instance, if you long for a large commercial range, be aware that the weight of the appliance may require additional construction to brace the floor underneath it. Hoods come with installation specifications for a certain size vent duct.

In an older home, you may be required to tear out part of the walls or ceiling to reroute or upgrade the ducts.

Outstanding Kitchen

Don’t Go Crazy over Tiles

Forget the endless stacks of tile samples your contractor will show you: you need only remember a few key varieties.

The types of tile that are particularly hardy, long-wearing, and timeless in the bath—in shower stalls, on floors, and on walls—are porcelain, glass, natural stone, cement, and, of course, subway tile (a type of ceramic tile so popular we’re counting it in its own category).

The options become a lot simpler once you whittle down to these time-tested options; then choose a colour and a shape and go from there.

I recently wrote a post about the different types of tile here!

install floor tiles

Add an Island (If You Have Room)

Some kitchens aren’t big enough for an island. Don’t install one unless you have at least 36 in. of clearance all the way around. A clearance of 42 in. is better, and 48 in. is ideal.

If you do install a kitchen island, be careful what goes into it. Remember that an island also requires electrical outlets (usually one on each side) to meet code.

Think about Your Grout

How to choose the right grout for your bath? Answer this series of questions:

  1. Do you want the grout to stand out, or blend into the tile?
  2. Is the grout in a high splash zone, or a fairly dry place? (If it’ll be getting wet a lot, as in a shower stall, opt for synthetic grout; go for cementitious grout everywhere else).
  3. Will dirty grout drive you crazy? (If so, avoid white.)

Kitchen and Bathroom Renovations in Hamilton

Always talk to your contractor to be sure you continue to be on the same page regarding your remodelling operation. A renovation is a massive undertaking, so talk often, and don’t be afraid to speak up.

Bearder Construction
Hamilton, Ontario
(905) 870-0157

Bearder Construction