Bathroom Remodeling: Why Select Plumbing First?Bathroom remodeling requires you to choose plumbing first.

Bathroom remodeling involves hundreds of decisions, and at least 100 steps in the process. Everything in your bathroom is placed around the plumbing. Locations of a shower, tub, toilet, and sinks are important to achieving ultimate safety and function — and a beautiful new bathroom. Here are some guidelines to help you:

  • Minimum size for a one-person shower is 30″ x 30″  (6.25 sq.ft.). 36″ x 36″ (9 sq.ft.) is better, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association Guidelines.
  • Minimum size for a two-person shower is 48″ x 48″ (16 sq.ft.), but they can be as large as 96″ x 96″ (64 sq.ft.)
  • Your toilet should have a minimum of 15″ on both sides of its centerline, and a minimum of 24″ from the front edge of the toilet to any adjacent objects.
  •  Tubs should be placed so there’s easy access. For maximum bathroom remodeling safety, there should be grab bars on the tub and/or on the walls (there is a wide selection of beautiful grab bars available!). Tubs come in standard sizes:
      • 32″ x 60″ ]
      • 32″ x 66″ ]
      • 32″ x 72″ ]   One Person
      • 36″ x 60″ ]
      • 36″ x 66″ ]
      • 36″ x 72″ ]
      • 42″ x 60″   ]
      • 42″ x 66″   ] Two Persons
      • 42″ x 72″   ]
    • 48″ x 72″   ]

A tub will have a big effect on your water consumption. You may need to increase the size of your water heater, or add an on-demand water heater. Also, if you’re adding a whirlpool tub or air bath, it must have a dedicated 15-amp GFI (ground fault interrupter) circuit for safety.

Questions To Help You Make Decisions

If your bathroom remodeling involves an addition, or borrowing space from an adjacent room or closet, you’ll have more flexibility in your choice of products. Answering the following questions will help you make preliminary decisions, and the dimension allowances below will give you guidelines.

  • Do you want to include a soaking tub or a whirlpool tub?
  • Do you want a two-person shower, or do you prefer a generous one-person shower
  • Do you want two sinks?
  • Do you want a separate toilet room? (This requires a minimum of 36″ x 60″ (15 sq.ft.)
  • How much storage do you want for personal-care products? (calculate how much you have now, and multiply by a factor of 1.5x – 3x)
  • Do you want linen storage?
  • Do you want storage for back-up rolls and boxes of tissue?

The recommended order for selection of other products for your remodeled bathroom, after you’ve chosen the plumbing:

  1. Cabinetry
  2. Finish materials: walls, floors, countertops and backsplash (tile, stone, etc.)
  3. Lighting and ventilation
  4. Accessories

If you know what you want, or if you don’t know what you want, you might need the help of a professional bathroom designer who’s been trained by the NKBA. They can help you define your bathroom space and suggest appropriate products, to help you stay within a reasonable budget.

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