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Bathroom Remodeling Space Considerations

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Before putting pencil to paper or downloading your bathroom design software, take into account space considerations that will help you design the best possible bathroom.
  1. Serious Bathroom Layout Problems

  2. First think about the big bathroom layout issues. Examples of what might be considered big:
    • Current bathroom configuration has only a bathtub; you want a shower or bathtub/shower combination.
    • Strangely placed fixtures such as a toilet near the door.
    • Not enough cabinetry.
    • No fan.
    • No ground-fault current interrupter (GFCI) outlets. GFCI outlets automatically cut off power if there is a danger of shock.

  3. Towel Racks and Tissue Holders

  4. Oddly enough, these details are often left to the last, and consequently not enough wall space is available for them. Make sure you leave enough wall space for towel racks. What about the toilet tissue holder? Know where it's going?


  5. Mechanical

  6. If you can congregate all of the water-related functions (shower, bath, toilet) in one area, you'll have a much happier plumber and you'll save money, too. It's often called a wet area or wet wall. A wet wall is not an absolute must, but if you can incorporate it into your design, you're better off.


  7. Cabinet Placement and Sizing

  8. Most likely you will be dealing with 3 different sizes of cabinets:
    • A 24" to 36" wide modular sink base.
    • A 12" wide to 18" wide drawer base. This will usually be the largest of the cabinets and often has 3 or 4 drawers.
    • A 12" to 18" vanity base.
    • Or...how about doing away with the "box" entirely and install a pedestal sink?


  9. Electrical

  10. According to the electrical code and good commonsense, you will need at least one GFCI outlet within 3 feet of the sink basin. Others may be installed, but the one over the counter is a must; theory is that people shouldn't be stretching cords across bathrooms to use blow-dryers. Depending on the length of the counter, you may need to install more than one. All outlets in bathrooms should be GFCI, and all must be wall-mounted (i.e., none face up in countertops).


  11. Locate Toilet Away from Door

  12. Nobody wants a toilet right by the door. But keep in mind that the building code may require at least a 30"x30" area of clear space in front of the bowl (measure from center of bowl). Also be sure to keep 18" between toilet and walls; allow 14" between toilet and cabinets. Other than a simple one-for-one replacement, you will need a permit for plumbing work. Finally, allow one inch between back of the toilet and the wall.


  13. Sink Placement

  14. Plan for at least 30" clear space in front of the sink. If you're lucky enough to have space for double basins, allow 30" minimum (measured from the center of the sink) between the two basins.
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