Bathroom Renovation Top Tips


Bathroom renovation goes a long way towards helping to sell homes. Buyers take a close look at these important spaces, so attention here pays off. Bathrooms come in all shapes, sizes and layouts. Renovating or upgrading these daily-use spaces requires several different skilled trades, and the materials used to renovate or upgrade them are often expensive, so costs can add up quickly. In many of the homes that we visit, some wonderful renovations have already taken place. Then we open the door to a bathroom and are overwhelmed with a potpourri of antique porcelain. Luckily, those dated powder blue, baby pink and green avocado fixtures are generally confined to homes built in the ’60s and ’70s.

Common Bathroom Issues

here are some issues that are common almost everywhere:

  •  Loose tiles in the shower
  • Loose floor tiles
  • Mildew in the grout lines
  • Water damage around bathtub
  • Water damage around baseboards
  • Mold on the ceiling
  • Calcified and slow taps
  • Leaking Taps
  • Towel holder lose or coming off
  • Toilet paper holder coming off
  • Old six-liter style toilets with leaky flapper


Simple Bathroom Fixes

There are ways to improve without committing to major bathroom renovation. Most of the common issues above are actually simple fixes, but many homeowners have lived with these annoyances for so long, they’ve become invisible.

  • A bigger problem is leaking fixtures. These can’t be ignored, or soon it will have mold, stains, and areas needing replacement work. If the tub leaks, that needs to be remedied before anything else is done.
  • If the colour of the tub is the only issue, it can easily be re-glazed in white. This is a cheaper alternative to replacement.
  • If you do decide to replace the tub, or have to move it to address a leak or water damage beneath it due to a leak, then when you have the tub pulled out, it’s highly recommended that the wall be replaced with waterproof drywall. This way, not only are you eliminating the possibility of water penetrating the wall, but the new tile can be installed on a nice flat surface.
  • With the drywall removed, it’s easy to inspect & replace the shower fixture. Is it plugged? If you need to update them, don’t use ‘off brand’ replacement fixtures. Choose a quality name brand type where the new cartridges can be easily found and replaced. While the wall is open, check for leaks. If everything looks good, you can reseal the wall, confident that it won’t have to be opened again.
  • A drywall material labeled “mould free”, sometimes called ‘green board’ for its colour,  is great for use in bathroom areas, but not behind the tiles in showers and tubs. Waterproof wallboard should be used in these areas.
  • Adding a countertop or changing, refacing or painting the vanity can greatly enhance the bathroom look. When fixtures are updated, go for a modern brand name, not a ‘big box’ brand. You’ll get some nice styling. This is also the time to update the handle set as well.
  • Does the exhaust fan sound like a jet taking off? One easy way to check to see if it’s working at capacity is to lay one square of toilet tissue over the intake. It should draw air well enough to suspend the tissue. After installing a new high-volume quiet fan, you will notice an immediate difference from the older models. Once, when installing a fan in a bathroom of a client, the client came in, saying, “I can’t wait to hear how quiet it is. Can you turn it on?” I said, “It’s on…” The new ones are that quiet. Once installed, check to see that the fan air is exhausted properly. If any of this moisture-laden air is exhausting into the attic rather than outdoors, it will end up on the insulation, and this is the start of an enticing buffet for mould.

Dave’s Toolbox TIP: Never delete an existing bathtub from a home. Any family with children still at home will want one. Homes with ‘walk-in’ showers only are harder to sell.



Bathroom Renovation: 10 Tips to Make your Bathroom Seem More Spacious

No matter what changes you make to bathroom fixtures and cabinets, it will always be the exact same size, right? What if you could make it bigger? Would buyers be more interested in your home? We think so, and we’ve put together a few techniques (with thanks to – that can result in a feeling of more space – without the mess, disruption and expense of a major renovation project!

Here are 10 easy tips we like to change the feel of any space:

  1. Go White: We’re talking fixtures, paint, accessories, everything in the room. For dramatic effect, use a soft tone colour on the floor.
  2. Complimentary Tones: Paint your walls in the same colour family as your floors. If your floors are dark, chose a companion colour from the same family, but from the lightest shade on the colour strip.
  3. Bigger Windows & Open Blinds: Not all bathrooms have windows, but if you’re lucky enough to have natural light, take advantage of it! Enlarging a window area really opens up a room, but just raising the blinds and letting the light in works too. Make sure to use bright LED bulbs in light fixtures too.
  4. More Mirrors: A wrap-around mirror works here, as does a full wall-to-wall mirror over the vanity. This might be the least expensive way to really create the illusion of more space.
  5. Floating Furniture: Mounting a legless vanity to the wall not only creates space under the cabinet, but it also gives the impression of a bigger room. Once installed, resist the urge to use this new found space for storage. Keep the airy feel.
  6. Open Shelving: Remove wall cabinets and install a vanity cabinet with open shelves on one or both sides.
  7. Use a Smaller Cabinet: Do you really need all that vanity space? If you have a wall-to-wall unit, check to see how much is just junk storage, and how much space is really needed on a daily basis.
  8. Use Clear Glass: It’s amazing how much larger things look when you are able to see through barriers to the edges of the room. Frosted or opaque glass creates privacy, but also blocks sight lines. When selling down the road, buyers will gain the impression of a larger bathroom if sightlines are not obscured by opaque shower doors.
  9. Big Tiles: Small tiles look great, but close off a room quickly. Bigger tiles have the opposite effect. Go with a light shade here as well.
  10. Recessed Cabinets:  If possible, recess a bathroom upper cabinet into the wall. This will provide an unobstructed sightline in the room, and make it feel more open and airy.

Dave’s Toolbox TIP: Some manufacturers offer Free Lifetime replacements on taps and fixture mechanical parts. When you buy their brand, you can be confident that the parts will probably be available. And, the price will be right for everyone – free.

To sum up, just like the old and well-worn kitchen, if the bathroom, or bathrooms, are a big ‘turn off’ for buyers, they will not hesitate to discount their offer by $10,000 to $15,000 with an eye to putting that money into their new bathroom renovation. Focus on enriching these spaces, and serious purchasers will enrich their offers.