If you spend each morning dreaming of a more luxurious space to start your day, we understand! In addition to the kitchen, the master bathroom is the second most popular space to renovate because it impacts how you start and end each day. A great bathroom shower makes all the difference.
The bathroom is the first place you go to jump-start your morning and the last place you visit before getting a good night’s rest. It’s important to create a space that’s tailored to your specific needs – from the layout, organization, as well as a look and feel that reflects your personal style.
What’s on Your Wish List?
A new shower is often the most anticipated aspect of a master bathroom remodel. Whether you’re reworking the layout or gutting your space and starting over, there are countless details to consider in order to get it right.
Do you have a tub but you’re more of a shower person?
Wish you had a soaking tub to relax in after a long day?
What shower features would be helpful to you?
The list goes on and on. Luckily, we’ve been there, designed that and worked through all these scenarios to help our clients come up with solutions that are personalized just for them.
Shower or Tub?
One of the most common bathroom layouts we’re asked to change features a huge, tiled bathtub surround and a smaller stall shower.
Tubs can take up a lot of real estate in the bathroom – especially in the 80s/90s/2000s designs of the past. If you’re not a tub person, the tub surround feels like a lot of wasted space. The goal for most of our clients is to enlarge their existing shower.
Curb or Curbless?
There are choices to make when it comes to designing a shower – specifically size and construction:
Do you want a curbless shower – as in no threshold?
Would you prefer a walk-in shower with a curb?
Do you want a glass door or no door – open to the rest of the room?
It’s possible to change to a curbless shower during your remodel, but there are special modifications needed so it requires some investigating. Floor heights are taken into consideration, as well as slope, tile types and overall shower size.
Curbless showers have become popular as more and more homeowners are planning to stay in their homes and age in place. This provides a great solution for any future accessibility challenges. It’s also easier to clean, and you can take a larger format floor tile and run it right into the shower since larger-format tiles are often used throughout the bathroom.
Everyone wants to know how they can make their shower larger. Your bathroom size and layout impacts what you can do, but you have to start with what you want and how you want to use the space.
Heather Wood, owner and designer at Mountainwood Homes, questions: “Do you really need a five-person shower? Showers don’t need to be huge. Think about how you use the space.” She adds, “It’s personal. Usually only one person showers at a time, but sometimes it’s two.”
Selecting Plumbing Fixtures
Plumbing fixtures are the first thing homeowners pick out during the material selection phase. We start with plumbing for practical reasons and to determine the client’s style preferences. Plumbing fixtures have longer lead times; we select these first so we can receive the product and stay on top of the construction schedule. Rough plumbing is one of the first steps after demolition, and we need to have the right parts and pieces ready for the plumber.
Plumbing selections set the stage for the bathroom remodel. Starting at the plumbing showroom allows us to see what our clients are attracted to among all the various styles. The style and finish of the fixtures set the tone, and everything complements them. From sinks, faucets, shower heads, bathtubs, toilets, and bath accessories, plumbing fixtures are an important decision and a sizable investment as part of an overall remodeling project.
Plumbing in the master bathroom and kitchen are the most important because you’ll use them every day. Plumbing in a secondary bathroom don’t matter as much. Keep this in mind as you prioritize your budget and spend accordingly.
Many people are opting for a hand shower in enlarged showers for their flexibility. You can change the head height and they’re also good for cleaning as you can spray hard to reach areas.
Adding body sprays or a rain shower are a personal choice. These options are often considered by couples because you should cater to both people’s preferences. A larger rain shower doesn’t provide hard pressure – it’s more of a drizzle. Rain showers often drip in your face due to softer droplets so if that bothers you, you may want to reconsider.
If you like harder water pressure, go for a different showerhead. At Mountainwood Homes, we take our clients to The Fixture Gallery where they’re able to test the shower head pressure in their interactive showroom displays. Scared to make the wrong choice? Don’t worry – it’s very economical to replace a showerhead. The sizing is universal so it’s an inexpensive item to swap out.
Grohe’s new Tempesta System provides an alternative to conceal pressure balance valve shower combos. This is a great option to not ruin the shower’s tile design. The exposed shower system is very European and attaches to the wall to provide a cleaner look. The fixture has the temperature handle on one side and a diverter handle on the other side. Some versions even have push buttons for temperature and water volume control.
Plumbing Fixture Finishes
There are many choices of plumbing finishes – chrome, satin nickel, brass, bronze, black, to name a few. However, classic polished chrome is the most economical and never goes out of style. However, brushed nickel remains a popular choice.
There are also trends that come and go in the plumbing world. Currently, black and brushed gold are hot, and come with a price upgrade.
The finish should follow suit with the rest of the bathroom. Bath accessories such as towel bars, rings and hooks should all match.
The next selection needed for designing the shower is to select your tile. There is no shortage of amazing tile products on the market to fit your style and budget.
Large format tile is nice for walls. Larger tiles minimize grout and is a more economical way to look like solid surface. We suggest smaller tile on the shower floor if not curbless to provide traction and create slope for the shower train. Big tiles can’t bend, so smaller tiles give you gradual shower pan.
Even if you have a curbless shower, you can install a smaller variation of the bath floor tile. This allows better traction in the shower and looks continual in color.
Radiant Heated Floors
In the Northwest, we love our toasty toes. Radiant heated floors are a luxury, but well worth it on those cold mornings. We’ve never met anyone who said they regretted adding radiant heat.
How does it work? Electric heating coils are set on top of the cement backer board and under the tile. The heat from the floor warms the space from the ground up. There’s a programmable control thermostat on the wall to control the temperature. You can schedule it to turn on at a specific time so it’s comfortable for those chilly mornings.
Radiant heat is likely to heat the whole bathroom. This helps dry out towels and eliminate mold and mildew in the shower.
There are various options with glass shower doors. First you need to decide if you want a door or not. This is determined by the size of your shower and the feasibility. It’s colder if you decide not to have a door since the steam doesn’t stay in. However, it’s easy for wheelchair and accessibility. Bonus! You don’t have to squeegee the door!
If you have a large space to work with, it’s possible to design a hidden shower. This requires a lot of space, but it’s a great option if you don’t want to shower out in the open.
If you’re limited on space, sliding barn doors are a great option. Since the glass door is on rollers, it’s great for a tight space that won’t allow for a door to swing in or out.
Our standard shower glass door is 3/8” thick clear glass. The reason? If you have pretty tile work in the shower, you want to show it off and see it.
Some clients want privacy and like frosted or rain glass.
Wet Room Trend
Wet rooms are a popular trend right now. This is where the shower head is out in the open with the whole bathroom functioning as the shower enclosure. If you’re limited on space, you can have the shower in the room with no glass enclosure. If you have a larger space, it’s common to have a freestanding or drop in tub integrated into the shower area. It doesn’t matter if water hits the tub. You’ll spend more on tile as the whole area needs to be waterproof.
Feasibility of a wet room design depends on how the home was originally constructed. This requires the proper slope to the drainage point. The larger the area, the more difficult this can become.
A bathroom remodel is the time to make a place for everything. This includes shower products! Shower niches are tailored to the homeowner’s needs and require thoughtful consideration.
If you like the linear niche look, it requires framing. Depending on what wall you’re wanting to install a niche, it may require digging into an exterior wall which will cause you to lose insulation space. It’s best to try to do inset niches on interior walls. If plumbing is on a certain wall, you’ll want to place the niche somewhere else. Until you can see what’s going on with the plumbing behind the walls during a remodel, you may need to modify your plan. Niches are easier to design in new construction homes.
Adding a bench to your shower is a smart idea. This allows you options if you’re planning to age in place as you can sit down if needed and bathe. You can add heat like your heated floors to the top of your bench so it’s not cold if you sit down. We advise placing a hand shower near the bench so you can create a zone if you’re unable to move or need extra assistance.
If you don’t have enough space for a shower bench, it’s helpful to install a shaving niche down below to prop up your foot.
These are some of the details to consider with a bathroom remodel. No matter what size space you have to work with, a master bathroom remodel is a great investment for immediate enjoyment. In addition, a remodel can help with potential resale value down the road.
Do I need a bathtub in my home for resale value?
We recommend having one tub in the home for resale value. The tub doesn’t have to be in the master bathroom if you’re truly not a tub person. For instance, we suggest keeping a tub in a guest or secondary bath – especially since kids bathe in a tub.