Ren­o­vate bath­room for you, not for re­sale

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Leanne Brownoff

DEAR LEANNE: We are ren­o­vat­ing our mas­ter bath­room. We want to make changes for us now, but plan to sell in a few years. What are the best bath­room changes for now that will also pay off later?

AN­SWER: There are many things to con­sider when ren­o­vat­ing for the sale of a home. When it comes to the bath­room, prospec­tive buy­ers are in­ter­ested in clean­li­ness, low main­te­nance, es­thet­ics and lux­ury items — in that or­der.

When you ren­o­vate for the pur­pose of sell­ing, the goal is to make changes that will in­crease the value of the home and the sale will ex­ceed the costs in­curred. As you move up the pri­or­ity list of the prospec­tive buyer, the reno de­ci­sions be­come more chal­leng­ing and costly.

Clean­li­ness and low main­te­nance are uni­ver­sal re­quire­ments, re­gard­less of the fu­ture buyer. How­ever, es­thet­ics (decor and de­sign) and lux­ury items are re­ally a per­sonal choice.

You have no guar­an­tee that some­one will like what you se­lect.

Since you plan on liv­ing in the home for a few more years, I sug­gest you fo­cus on the cur­rent home­owner’s life­style and in­ter­est.

If you choose a lux­ury item, choose it be­cause you want to ex­pe­ri­ence it. If your bud­get can af­ford it, en­joy it.

As I men­tioned, clean­li­ness and low main­te­nance are the top pri­or­i­ties.

Se­lect floor, coun­ter­tops and tiles that look fresh and clean. Stone tiles are a pop­u­lar choice in bath­room floor­ing. They are durable, easy to clean and of­fer a Euro­pean or spa feel.

Look for stone or porce­lain tiles that of­fer a non-slip sur­face, yet are not rough on bare feet. The more rus­tic and rough the stone is, the more dif­fi­cult it is to clean and the more un­even and un­com­fort­able it is to stand on.

Stone and tile floor­ing comes in a va­ri­ety of colours. Be care­ful in se­lect­ing the lighter creams and off-whites.

The colour vari­a­tions can make a floor ac­tu­ally look dirty, even when it isn’t. Take sev­eral sam­ples home and place them on your floor. You’ll soon see how they look in your space.

Se­lect a grout that also is easy to main­tain.

Grout is por­ous and there­fore needs to be sealed. Darker grout is more for­giv­ing than lighter grout in terms of dis­col­oration over time. If you se­lected a floor pat­tern with black and white porce­lain tiles, for ex­am­ple, use a black grout rather than a white one.

When it comes to your tub/shower sur­round, the larger the sur­face area of a tile, the eas­ier it is to main­tain. Over­size tiles have fewer grout lines than a small mo­saic tile. With tile main­te­nance it’s not the tile sur­face that takes work, it’s the grout. Keep your grout lines to a min­i­mum and your main­te­nance level will be re­duced.

Re­place any dated, chipped or stained Ar­borite. Stone coun­ter­tops such as gran­ite or quartz are pop­u­lar, but more costly than the new lam­i­nates or tile tops. From a re­sale per­spec­tive, gran­ite and quartz hold greater value.

Once the new sur­faces have been se­lected, you can move into the more per­sonal decor op­tions.

Re­mem­ber, these would be items that you would like to en­joy over the next few years, but may not be as im­por­tant at re­sale time. A cold stone floor can be cosy and invit­ing when un­der­floor heat­ing pads or coils are in­stalled first.

If you have plate-glass mir­rors, you may wish to re­move these and in­stall in­di­vid­u­ally framed mir­rors over each sink.

If stor­age is not an is­sue, built-in sink cab­i­nets can be re­moved and ex­changed for up­dated pedestal sinks. The de­sign va­ri­eties of these sinks in­clude glass, metal, ce­ramic, stone and even con­crete, depend­ing, of course, on your over­all de­sign.

Soaker or jet tubs, steam show­ers, walk-in show­ers equipped with mul­ti­level spray-heads all be­come lux­ury choices that cre­ate a lit­tle vacation ex­pe­ri­ence right in your own home.

Ad­di­tional con­sid­er­a­tions are the Euro­pean-style toi­let and bidet (not to men­tion uri­nals) that boast big style while con­serv­ing wa­ter.

Taps can range in style and price, adding a de­sign touch equiv­a­lent to jew­elry for an out­fit.

Light­ing will most likely be changed in your project. Look for light­ing that pro­vides bright, not glar­ing, light by task sites (sink and mir­ror) and am­bi­ent light­ing over the tub for a more re­lax­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Keep the light­ing de­sign true to the room’s decor so the over­all ef­fect is con­sis­tent.

The fi­nal ad­di­tion to con­sider for your new bath­room is me­dia. Small, flat-screen TVs and mu­sic cen­tres are very pop­u­lar — so you can fol­low the stocks on CNN while brush­ing your teeth, or lis­ten to your favourite mu­sic while steam­ing in the shower.

The choices for your reno project are ex­ten­sive. Al­ways let your bud­get be your guide. And if you plan on liv­ing in your home for the next few years, sat­isfy to­day’s home­owner first rather than chas­ing the one in the fu­ture.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

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