The three key words to keep in mind when fixing up a bathroom are, in order of importance: clean, new-looking, and waterproof. Nothing turns off house shoppers more quickly than a mildewed, poorly-caulked shower or a visibly worn toilet seat. The room should look as if it hasn’t been occupied by anyone except your pathologically fastidious housecleaner. Replacing fixtures such as tubs, toilets, or showers is necessary only if they have failed or are ugly to the point of distraction. That said, a few inexpensive upgrades can make a big difference in this small but oh-so-important room.
This chapter covers all of the mandatory items for your bathroom checklist, including fixtures, sinks, showers and baths, and surfaces. You’ll also find lots of tips and tricks for easy upgrades and for making what you have look and work its best. A little money and a lot of elbow grease can beautify almost any bathroom, turning what could be a major liability into a hardworking asset for your home.
Like cabinet hardware in the kitchen, accessories in the L. bathroom (towel bars, toilet paper holders, hooks for bathrobes and the like) are little things that do a lot to tie the look of the room together. Replacing them is a quick and easy task with instant payback. Just be sure to take the time to level and secure everything properly, lest you end up with listing hooks, or towel bars that start to pull loose after a couple of weeks.
When shopping for new accessories, choose a style that complements the general decor of the bathroom, as well as the faucets, cabinet hardware, and light fixtures. To eliminate or minimize touch-up work on the walls, measure the trim plates or decorative covers of the existing accessories, and choose new products with plates of the same size or larger. Matching accessories will have the greatest impact toward a unified look.
Whenever possible, anchor accessories into wall studs, for the best holding power. If there’s no stud where you need one, use self-tapping drywall anchors to hold the screws. These anchors have a little drill-bit tip that gets the anchor started, and aggressive threads for holding tight to drywall. You drive them in with a drill and standard Phillips-head tip.
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