Home remodeling experts say many homeowners are choosing to stay in their current homes for a longer amount of time instead of buying a new residence.
That means they are spending money on remodeling projects such as updating their bathroom.
Steven Gaulke, owner of Taurus Construction in Cary, says he recently has been flooded with bathroom remodeling projects.
“I think people are deciding to stay where they are living for a while, and they just want to upgrade what they have,” Gaulke says.
Homeowners typically are spending between $8,000 and $15,000 on a bathroom remodel.
At the high end is the removal of an oversized bathtub or Jacuzzi and the installation of a larger, more elaborate shower, Gaulke says.
“They are really making [the master bathroom] more of a retreat,” he says. “They figure if they have a tub in the hall bathroom, they can eliminate the tub in the master.”
Don Domanus, general manger of Mega Home Improvement in Algonquin, agrees, adding that in bathroom projects, “The big thing is open space.”
Domanus says many homeowners in recent years have been eliminating soffits, large bathtubs, Jacuzzis and other fixtures in order to gain more space in their bathrooms.
With the open space, homeowners are installing larger walk-in showers; decorative, elevated, legged vanities; open shelving; and linen closets for a “neat, more modern look,” he says.
The oversized, walk-in showers often include decorative tiles, seating, recessed shelving, multiple shower heads and hinged doors. Hinged or semi-hinged doors are preferred rather than shower doors with frames and tracks because they look nicer and are easier to clean and maintain.
Domanus also says toilets and vanities are being built in taller dimensions for added comfort and ease of use.
Many who choose to stay in their homes as they age are remodeling to add amenities approved by the American with Disabilities Act, experts say.
Walk-in tubs and showers that are large enough to fit a walker if necessary are on that list of amenities.
Larry Burley, owner of Burley Remodeling in McHenry with 25 years of experience in the construction industry, also encourages homeowners to add handicap bars to tubs and showers that may be needed as they age.
All In The Details
Popular bathroom fixture materials today include pewter, brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze, Domanus says.
Additionally, the finishes on the lighting, towel bars and faucets often match the exposed plumbing valves, he says.
Instead of cheaper, unattractive, white plastic PVC piping showing under stylish open shelving and vanities, homeowners now want pipes and drains that match their high-end details.
“[They] look as nice as the faucet in your sink,” Domanus says. “It all looks nice and clean and neat.”
Domanus also has seen more decorative mosaic and glass tile trims combined with larger tiles in customers’ showers, on the walls and on the floor. Instead of 6-by-6-inch or 8-by-8-inch tiles, he sees homeowners selecting 12-by-12-inch or 14-by-14-inch tiles.
Burley, meanwhile, encourages folks to install large tile on a 45-degree angle.
“If people want to spiff it up, it looks a little nicer,” Burley says.
In lighting, it’s trendy to place decorative sconces next to framed mirrors in place of large sheet mirrors with overhead lighting.
And cabinet finishes are a darker java or mocha color, while flooring is lighter, Domanus says.
Trendy counter choices include Corian manufactured stone tops and sinks in unique colors. Corian is a more affordable product and available in 75 shades, Domanus says, noting that many people are steering away from the ordinary, lighter-colored countertops in favor of unique, more personalized styles and colors.
Another quality countertop is Zodiac, a manufactured quartz that shines like granite without the maintenance, Domanus adds.
Shaun Pohlman, owner of Pohlman Bros. Remodeling in Algonquin, has been in the family business for almost 16 years and finds he is installing more porcelain countertops these days, which are more durable and affordable than natural stone.
He also has been installing decorative pedestal sinks and more efficient toilets for his customers.
DIY projects from the experts
When remodeling a bathroom, Pohlman recommends using cement board rather than dry wall behind tiles because it is more water resistant and less likely to grow mold.
Similarly, Burley recommends using epoxy grout in a bathroom project because it lasts longer and is waterproof, even if it may cost a little more than traditional grout.
Pohlman recommends do-it-yourselfers on a budget visit a local home store to jazz up their bathroom.
“You can find a lot of good deals at the Home Depot or Menards to upgrade your bathroom, bring it back to life,” he says.
Pohlman, Burley and Domanus offer these DIY projects for area residents to update their bathroom:
Larry Burley, Burley Remodeling in McHenry:
• Add a two-toned, textured paint to the wall
• Replace flooring by laying a one-piece vinyl floor piece
• Spice up the shower with a new shower curtain with a rounded shower bar
Don Domanus, Mega Home Improvement in Algonquin
• Change the light fixtures
• Change out the toilet
• Install new cabinet hardware
Shaun Pohlman, Pohlman Bros. Remodeling in Algonquin
• Regrout the shower/tub
• Replace an old vanity with a new one
• Change the paint color mc
This ongoing Home Design series is dedicated to inspiring McHenry County residents to rethink, redesign and renovate their homes one room at a time.
August: Master bedrooms