Protect Your Bathroom Investment . . . and Your Sanity!

3 Recommendations To Protect Your Bathroom Investment (And Your Sanity)

Bathroom Remodeling NightmareHave you heard remodeling nightmare stories shared by family, friends, and neighbors? Was your reaction a vow to never remodel your home? Time has passed, and now you’re considering a major bathroom renovation. Your new vow is, “Those nightmares will never happen to me”. How can you avoid costly, frustrating problems? Let’s follow the “Smiths” and the “Browns” through their bathroom transformations:

“Wish List”

The “Smiths” wanted to remodel their master bathroom, but didn’t think about what they really wanted to include, and how they wanted to feel in their new bathroom. This opened the door for unnecessary features that could squeeze them into an over-budget situation. The “Browns” took the time to define exactly what they wanted — the look, feel, and function. They agreed that their #1 priority was a two-person shower with all the bells and whistles (rainhead shower head, body sprays, adjustable personal shower, a large bench seat, and decorative glass tiles). They could talk knowledgeably with professionals they would hire to help them design and build their new bathroom.

♦ Recommendation #1: Define Your Priorities (Money Matters!)

The “Smiths” relied on magazine articles and TV remodeling shows for information, without testing reality. They did no research about


Bathroom & Kitchen Countertops Pros and Cons (3/3)

Which Bathroom and Kitchen Countertops are Right for You?

We conclude this pros and cons discussion about bathroom and kitchen countertops, talking about concrete, stone, stainless steel, and lavastone. This information, combined with my previous article about your countertop investment will help you make a choice that will give you years of great service and personal pleasure.

Materials: Concrete, Stone, Stainless Steel, Lavastone


Made popular by Fu Tung Cheng, who has written at least one book about the subject.

Countertops-ConcretePros: Concrete can be an exquisite, unique countertop, with an unlimited color palette, and the possibility of inlays or relief impressions. Undermount porcelain, cast iron, and metal sinks can be used with concrete bathroom countertops, and it’s possible to have a one-of-a-kind integral concrete sink as a focal point. Cons: Although there are many step-by-step seminars, articles, and videos showing how to create concrete countertops, they are not a beginner-DIY project; they must be manufactured by an expert. Concrete is a very porous substance and a brittle material, prone to cracking and chipping. It must be sealed to prevent bacteria growth and staining. It can be very heavy, and may require extra-sturdy cabinets — and reinforcement of the structure. (Photo Courtesy of Sonoma Cast Stone)


Bathroom and Kitchen Countertop Pros and Cons (2/3)

Which Bathroom or Kitchen Countertop Is Right For You?

In the first installment about bathroom (and kitchen) countertops, we shared pros and cons about laminate, tile, and solid-surface materials. This segment will talk about quartz (aka engineered stone), wood, composite materials (glass, metal, and paper), and glass, with links to all of the manufacturers’ websites. Whatever countertop material you choose for your home depends on its durability for the intended use, and your investment. We’ve covered the range of investments for all countertops in a previous blog, ” Bathroom and Kitchen Countertops — An Overview”.

Materials: Quartz, Wood, Composite, Glass

Quartz, aka “Engineered Stone”:

Popular brands include CaesarStone, Cambria, Silestone, DuPont Zodiaq, Avanza, HanStone, Okite, Staron Quartz, Technistone, and Viatera.

Some people confuse quartz with quartzite; the two are not the same. Quartzite is a natural stone; quartz is manmade. Pros: Quartz is a long-lasting material, resistant to scratching, scorching, staining, and resistant to bacteria. It’s available in hundreds of alternative colors and patterns to fit virtually every style. Porcelain, cast iron, and metal sinks can be undermounted, which helps maintenance. Cons: Some people don’t like its “too perfect” appearance, and prefer the look of real stone for the same investment. Although quartz is advertised as a green product, most of the products (except Cambria) have to be shipped to the US by freighter, and then shipped to fabricators all over the US using fossil fuels.


Bathroom and Kitchen Countertops Pros and Cons (1/3)

Which Countertop Is Right For You?

There’s more to selecting bathroom countertops than comparing price. To make an informed decision and guarantee years of satisfaction from your investment, this article details the pros and cons for each material, so you’ll get years of satisfaction for your investment. Part 1 of a 3-part series will discuss laminate, tile, and solid surface, with links to manufacturers’ websites.

Countertop Materials: Laminate, Tile, Solid Surface


Popular brands include Formica, Wilsonart, Nevamar, and Pionite.

Countertops-LaminatePros: Laminate is the least-expensive material for countertops. It includes hundreds of alternative colors and patterns to express personal preference and to blend with every architectural style.

Cons: Laminate is easily damaged by abrasive cleaners, chemical stains, and rough treatment. It requires top-mounted or drop-in sink with extra attention needed when cleaning around the edges of plumbing fixtures. (Photo courtesy of Julie Williams Design)


Bathroom and Kitchen Countertops — An Overview

What’s the Best Bathroom Or Kitchen Countertop For You?

Selecting countertops for your new or remodeled bathroom can be an overwhelming challenge, because there are so many different products available, and your investment in countertops can vary by thousands of dollars. Since my book, “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling,” was published, new products have been developed using the latest technology. Knowing your options — the pros and cons of each product — will help you make a good decision. The major factor affecting your selection of the right countertop is your budget. In the list of products below, you’ll be able to see the range of your basic investment from lowest to highest. For all of the products, an 8-foot wide by 25-1/2-inch deep countertop with no side edges (i.e., between two walls) has been used to calculate a reliable target budget. The example countertop is 17 square feet. Final price of your countertop may include custom edges, undermount or integral bathroom sinks, or other accessory items. When in doubt, get multiple estimates from local suppliers and fabricators.


Don’t Be Cheated by “Kickbacks” and “Referral Fees”!

Is Making Money with Kickbacks and Referral Fees That Important?

A custom cabinet manufacturer was upset about a designer who, after referring a remodeling project to him, asked for a referral fee. Unfortunately, getting/giving “kick-backs” is not a new practice. Does this practice bother you? Here’s how it impacts your remodeling investment, and what you can do about it. (more…)