Lessons from Bathroom Remodel

elzdvsMarch 25, 2012

I haven't returned to this site since I finished a remodel on 2 full baths and 1 half in November. The information I gathered here was invaluable, so I thought I would return the favor. Here are some lessons, I, a layperson, learned...

Lesson 1: Don't buy cheap light fixtures. The Quoizel sconces I purchased online not only look cheap in person, but one of them came apart when I changed the bulb. I can't get it back together, so now I'm about to spend what I saved on an electrician.

Lesson 2: In my opinion, Toto toilets are not better than top-of-the-line Kohlers. Our only toilet to clog since November is the Toto, and it has a weird bowl shape that prevents a good seal with a plunger.

Lesson 3: Make sure your towel bars and other hardware install by screwing a plate into the wall, then attaching the hardware. The hooks, etc. that install with one or two exterior screws will wiggle loose.

Good luck! I hope this helps!

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I'm happy with my cheap HD light fixtures. Like the looks and the price. I did have an issue with a bedroom light that had aluminum wires - issue as in charring. When something from China has that little Underwriters' Laboratory mark on the box it doesn't mean a darn thing. And it's nearly all from China now, even most of the high end stuff. I open the boxes in the store now.

My one Toto is flushing fine - I did have to position the flapper just so with a rubber band on its bracket so the flapper would seal.

Plates in the wall- ha! Now I put the towel bars on the studs, with 3 1/2" screws. Because I have kids who think the house is the gym. Cut the bars to the length you need; you can also use curtain rods and brackets, or closet hanger rods on brackets.

Obviously, mileage varies. ;) Enjoy your new baths.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 6:53PM
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Could you please share the exact toto model you purchased? Thanks

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 12:05AM
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good point on screwing towel bars into studs - especially if you have kids! I don't anymore so I"m sure i'll be ok - unless I fall or something and attempt to use it as a grab bar. Then not only is the wall in trouble, so am I - lol!

light fixtures - geeze. I'm gonna be buying some new ones - probably at Lowe's. I'm really tired of stuff made in China and poor quality and outright dangerous stuff! i can't even buy my dog a toy anymore w/o reading the fine print!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 2:54AM
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Toto Guinevere Elongated 1 Piece Toilet MS974224CEFG#11 Colonial White

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 7:30AM
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My baths aren't totally done (GC is gone...and we haven't insisted because it means not paying the final amount) but my biggest mistake was choosing a sink without measuring what it would look like in the counter. It was on sale and it is too small! It isn't the end of the world, and fortunately it is the hall bath, not the master, but every time I look at it, I am annoyed.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 8:42AM
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My Toto is the Eco Supreme - the round bowl is the most compact one piece toilet I could find but for the Kohler Rialto which got bad reviews and you have to buy a special $70 wrench to change the seat! The Rialto is discontinued now I think.

Here is a link that might be useful: toto eco supreme

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 9:48AM
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If you don't want fixtures from china, then think about shopping for some made in usa. I bought some from Hubbardton Forge for my bath. They are beautiful, you can shop for deals and NOT junk from china. The $$ difference for one or two fixtures is not huge over stuff at hd.
There are lots of other made in usa companies, too. If we just take the time and have a commitment to buying US made, stuff will start being made here again.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hubbardton Forge

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 11:49AM
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Olychick, seriously? Yes, those are beautiful lights.

Looking at the prices of Hubbardton Forge at the closest retail store to me, the least expensive sconce that I could use in a bath is $180. From Lighting Direct, it's $156. HF also makes $180 toilet paper holders. Which is really...I don't even have words.

You have to understand my remodelling budget is $1000 per bathroom. It gives me one "splurge" in each and so far that hasn't been the lights.

I can get something that looks close to that light from HD for about $30. Not as solid and hefty in the hand, maybe not quite as graceful. But as long as it has copper wiring, it will do.

Most of the lights and lamps in our house are made in America. But most of them are forty years old or more. Some eighty, my grandmother's. I would MUCH rather buy American and I'll pay a premium for American goods but I can't afford that much extra - is there a light manufacturer who's not aiming at the luxury trade?

Here is a link that might be useful: HF at Lighting Direct

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 12:28PM
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I'm sorry, I really didn't mean to be suggesting something crazy for your budget...my thinking is the $150 would be amortized over the years it would last without needing replacement vs. something that comes from china and might rust out, or the finish fails in a short time and need replacing yet again. It was a suggestion about how to avoid supporting chinese goods. And your reasons for not are exactly why it gets harder and harder to find decent stuff made here. I'm sure there are other companies that make lights in the US and are probably more reasonable, I just happened to know of HF and didn't think to check exactly how affordable it could be. I bought only one of their ceiling fixtures and am so happy with it. And I agree, that is a ridiculous price for a tp holder!!!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 3:21AM
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I replaced the lights in the kids' bath and the powder room ten years ago with inexpensive HD fixtures, and they've held up fine, no rust at all inside or out - I just took down and remounted the one in the kids' bath so I could paint - ten years of steamy showers by four children - no corrosion, no signs of overheating or sparking.

They look good, fit my style, and I would keep them even if I got a windfall.

The thing is, I am glad that there is high end design and there are people who have a lot of money to spend - I can look at a beautiful room and think, is this possible DIY? What less expensive materials will give the same effect? And then there are low price imitations of the high end goods and some of them are quite pleasing.

The sixties were more egalitarian as far as housing construction (our house is 1965 and would have been upscale in its time) but oh, what ticky-tacky, very utilitarian, no- style light fixtures. You would have seen the same lights in a house a third the size. It's a light - what more could you ask?

Well, now the answer is safety, style, American-made, and low-priced. I hope they're out there!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 9:59AM
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For our master bath the perfect sconces were $18 from HD (lowes has them at the same price.) They are great.

The 2nd bath could not find sconces that fit the look less than $60 each. Yea the kids get sconces for $120 and ours totaled $40.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 8:35AM
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Forgot to add....

Never assume anything is straight or level. Even with new construction. This is important when tiling.

Consider if you need two fans for the size of the bathroom.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 8:41AM
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More lessons learned:

Make sure you specify or approve the location of the shower valves, outlet, etc before they tile around the rough.

Make sure you test how you want your towels to hang before you let them drill into you tile to install the towel bars (my hand towels ALMOST hit the countertop, had I not checked this first).

BTW my Toto clogs periodically.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 8:12AM
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