Renovate bathroom for you, not for resale
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