Don’t let your own home be a safety hazard. A few simple steps can help prevent slips and falls.
Ditch your throw rugs. These slippery floor coverings are the No. 1 cause of household falls. If you just can’t part with them in the bathroom, secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or slip-resistant backings.
Put nonslip strips, mats or tiles in your tub and shower to help prevent falls. To combat tripping, secure any loose corners on mats.
Be sure to keep the tub clean to counteract slippery soap scum or mold.
Keep the bathroom floor dry, making sure it has no water on it. A weighted shower curtain will help ensure that no water leaks onto the floor.
Place grab bars or rails in or around the bathtub, shower and toilet. When installed properly and securely, they’ll help you balance as you stand or sit and give you something to hold on to if you do slip. They come in a variety of lengths, textures and styles. (Note that a towel bar or a soap dish isn’t a substitute for a grab bar, as it’s not designed to hold your weight).
Your bathroom should be adequately lit during the day. At night, put a nightlight on the path to the bathroom. Within the bathroom, use a nightlight, or install an illuminated switch.
If your toilet seat is low, consider buying a toilet seat extender or a toilet with a higher seat. That way you can get up safely and with less effort.
Put a bath or shower seat or bench in the shower or tub. You’ll then have a place to sit.
Equip your shower with a handheld or adjustable shower head. You can maneuver it where you want it, minimizing your movement in the shower. Also, you can use it while sitting safely on your bath seat or bench.
Take your time. The more you rush, the more likely you are to fall.
If you’re looking for a bathroom countertop—usually called a vanity top—look for something that will stand up to water, soap, toothpaste, cosmetics, and alcohol- and acetone-based liquids. Replacing a vanity top is a feasible do-it-yourself project since you don’t have to replace the whole vanity cabinet if you don’t want to. Most bathroom vanity tops are surfaced with one of the following five materials.
Granite and marble
Solid surface material
Granite and Marble
Though marble and granite are unrivaled for their beauty, at $125 to $250 per running, or linear, foot (as measured from one end of the counter to the other), these classic materials warrant careful thought. Also, while marble stains easily, granite shrugs off most stains, except grease, especially if the granite is unsealed. If a solid sheet of stone for your countertop is beyond your budget, granite or marble tiles may be substituted at a lower cost.
Cultured marble is less expensive and is made from real chips of natural marble embedded in plastic. It’s available in sheet form and in standard counter dimensions of 19 and 22 inches deep. Cultured marble comes with or without a wash basin molded into it, for $50 to $80 per running foot, installed. Although easy to clean, cultured marble must be well cared for. Once scratched, it cannot be resurfaced. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for what type of finish to apply to cultured marble to best protect it.
At an installed price of $24 to $50 per running foot, laminate offers good value and performance. As a result, it’s the most widely used countertop material in bathrooms, just as it is in kitchens. Various manufacturers market laminates under different brand names, but they’re all based on the same principle—a stack of thin plastic layers bonded together under heat and pressure. Laminate countertops clean easily and are resistant to water and stain. However, laminates can burn, wear thin, and dull over time. Hard blows can chip or dent the plastic, and there’s no remedy short of replacement.
Available in many colors and patterns, laminate finishes range in texture from high-gloss smoothness to a mottled, leather-like look. Dealers usually have a few standard patterns in stock; you can view color chips in the store to order others
Do-it-yourselfers can buy prefabricated laminate vanity tops or have them made to order with a hole for the sink cut where needed. Installing the finished countertop is a fairly easy matter. You can apply pieces of laminate material to an installed particleboard countertop, but a professional will do the job best.
Solid surface countertops offer many of the advantages of stone with few of the drawbacks. Cast from an acrylic resin that sometimes include crushed stone—particularly quartz—solid-surface material demands little maintenance and is extremely durable. Intense heat and heavy falling objects (which shouldn’t pose much of a threat in bathrooms) can cause damage, but scratches, abrasions, and even minor burns (if you leave a curling iron on the vanity top, for example) can be repaired with fine-grade sandpaper. The methods and tools needed for working with this material are similar to those required for woodworking. However, some manufacturers require that a trained professional install their materials.
Solid surface material is available in white, beige, pastels, and imitation stone, usually in ready-formed vanity tops with integrated sinks. Prices range from about $100 to $250 per running foot installed.
As it does for floors and walls, ceramic tile makes an attractive, durable finish for countertops. It’s available in many colors, designs, and textures. Grout lines that trap dirt and encourage mildew are a major drawback, although new grouts and sealers help alleviate these problems to some degree. Costs range from $10 to $40 per running foot installed.
Getting professional results with tile is a challenge for do-it-yourselfers. A slightly irregular look can be appropriate for rustic, unglazed quarry tile, but most other tile varieties demand greater precision. Using pregrouted tile sheets, or sheets of mosaic tile on a mesh backing, makes it easier to space tiles evenly.
As a countertop surface, wood is attractive, versatile, and easy to install. It is, however, especially vulnerable to water damage, and its porosity makes it difficult to keep clean. All hardwood and softwood species must be well sealed with polyurethane or marine varnish. Special care should be taken to seal around the edges of plumbing fixtures so standing water can’t seep in and cause wood rot.
According to HGTV, an atmosphere of personal indulgence, which used to be the domain of day spas, is finding its way into master baths remodels. Limited only by imagination and a project’s budget, standard master baths are turning into customized retreats. The good news is luxury can be incorporated into any design.
“We’re starting to put in more luxurious items,” says Sara Ann Busby, National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) president-elect and owner of Sara Busby Designs of Elk Rapids, Mich.
Unsure about how to describe your desired style? Not a problem. A book like Yes/No Design: Discover Your Decorating Style With Taste-Revealing Exercises and Examples, by Diane Love (Rizzoli International Publications) can help sort through different styles. Paying a visit to decorator show houses, kitchen and bath showrooms and plumbing showrooms provides the opportunity to see bathrooms firsthand and get ideas for your project, says Jessica Clock, a designer with Carmel Kitchen Specialists Inc. of Carmel, Ind.
For master baths, no material is too luxurious or too unusual. “(People) are going over the top,” Sara Ann says. Of course, “over the top” can mean different things to different people. To some, it might mean splurging on granite countertops. To others it could mean going top-of-the-line from top to bottom.
To create a custom floor plan, consider hiring a certified bathroom designer, who will analyze the size of the space and your family’s needs. Some things to discuss with the designer include:
Shower or Bath: The master bath has undergone some changes in recent years. Giant tubs, once wildly popular, have fallen out of favor. Instead, people are choosing custom showers including overhead showerheads, wall-mounted showerheads, hand-held showerheads, shower tiles, rain bars, body sprays and steam showers. “People aren’t spending the time in the tubs,” Sara Ann says. “They can get the same benefit and be in and out in five minutes (with a shower).”
Choosing a custom shower with a smaller bathtub can have a big impact on the layout of a bath, too. “A big tub with a nice surround takes up a tremendous amount of space. We can do a great big custom shower in a lot less space,” Sara Ann says.Source: HGTV