DIY Disaster Doctor: Bathroom Conundrum


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Brodie Brown of Browntree Inspections in Marietta, Georgia (via The Money Pit). Courtesy of the ASHI Reporter

This photo might represent the ultimate in bathroom convenience for the multitasker — or an attempt at European styling gone horribly wrong.

If you’ve done any international travel in the last 30 years, chances are you’ve encountered a bathroom in which the shower is completely open, and the floor is the shower pan. Overseas bathrooms with open shower designs, however, take proper drainage and venting into account.

The bathroom design in this photo, however, is nothing but a collection of moisture and functional problems waiting to happen. And a showerhead installed right above the toilet? There is such a thing as too much multitasking! At best, this is a (very) poorly conceived attempt at making the most of a small space.

If you’re facing the challenge of fitting a full bath into a super-small space, look to fixtures that exemplify Euro styling gone right. Among the many contemporary space-saving bathroom solutions are petite corner sinks, toilets with tightly tailored bowls and flat-top tanks, and curved quadrant shower units that save at least a square foot of space compared to traditional units. And accessorizing with low-profile faucets not only keeps things in proper scale but opens up the visual space in your tiny toilette.

Also, remember that proper venting is key to the comfort and structural integrity of a bathroom of any size; otherwise, mold and other moisture-related problems will have you tearing apart your mini remodel before you’ve had much of a chance to use it. For the best bathroom ventilation plan, purchase a vent fan that includes humidity sensing technology to keep it on until all the moisture is out. Broan-NuTone has two new ENERGY STAR qualified models that work particularly well: the Ultra SilentTM Humidity Sensing Fans and the Humidity Sensing Recessed Fan/Lights.

Can I Treat This Myself?
Unless you’ve earned a Ph.D. in DIY with an emphasis in plumbing and HVAC, stick to the fixture-selection part of the project and hire a qualified bath remodeler to help you plan and install space-saving elements.

Tom Kraeutler delivers home improvement tips and ideas each week as host of The Money Pit Home Improvement Show, a nationally syndicated radio program. He is also author of My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. You can also subscribe to Tom’s latest home improvement podcast or free home improvement newsletter.

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