When Mountain Top-area native Kathleen Sigda remodeled her main bathroom last year, she did most of the work herself. Her husband, her father and even her 7-year-old daughter pitched in, and she left the plumbing work to the professionals.
Even though the job took about five months, she is pleased with a more spacious bathroom and roomier, tiled shower with its glass wall and a more environmentally friendly commode.
That’s the way many new bathrooms are going.
Many homeowners are taking out their smaller shower and installing a walk-in shower with the seat and glass doors, said John Regnosky, owner of Endless Possibliities Kitchen and Bath, Dallas, formerly Creative Kitchen Refacing. “A lot of people are going with clear glass as opposed to a shower curtain and instead of a sliding glass door.”
Shower walls now are mostly tile, and rain showers or body-spray showerheads with massage are in, he added.
“Everybody’s going with the rain shower,” Regnosky said. “It’s installed in the ceiling, and the water comes down like rain.”
Kristie Vaccaro, showroom manager at R.J. Walker’s Wilkes-Barre store, which sells plumbing, heating and cooling supplies, agreed rain-shower heads and body sprays are popular, and some customers go with heads that shoot water from the walls, depending on how many heads the customer chooses.
Want to sing along to some tunes in the shower? You can buy a showerhead with a wireless speaker that pops in the middle and connects to your wireless device that will channel your playlist or the radio.
“They also sell tubs like that, too,” Vaccaro said.
She said the store sells a lot of materials for tile showers and all-glass shower doors.
Regnosky said another trend is to separate the main vanity sink cabinetry from the toilet with a wall for a semi-private effect, and some are putting in recessed lighting in the shower and waist-high, or kitchen-height, sinks and counters in bathrooms. The counters are 36 inches high instead of 30 inches.
“It’s the same with toilets,” Regnosky added. “Before you felt you were sitting on the floor. (Now it’s) 1.28 gallons per flush, vs. the old style, which is a few gallons. Everybody’s going green now.”
Vaccaro said there are dual-flush toilets, with flush options of 0.9 gallon for No. 1 and 1.6 gallons or 1.28 gallons for No. 2.
As for the cabinet fixtures, nickel stainless hardware still is popular, Regnosky said.
“Twenty, 30 years ago, everything was gold or polished chrome. Chrome and polished brass are out.”
Also in is Venetian bronze, which is a bronze color with light amber tones brushed throughout the finish.
“Brass is obsolete,” Vaccaro said. “Brushed nickel is still good. There’s a new color out — champagne bronze chrome.”
Vaccaro said many of the wall mounted, free-standing cabinets are popular.
“We actually did not replace the cabinets, the upper and lower,” said Sigda, who now lives in Warrington, Bucks County. “We replaced the faucet and shower fixtures.”
She liked the cabinets and waist-high sink she already had, and the cabinet and drawer knobs were more like antique bronze.
But she had a cubicle stall shower before she had it turned into a shower that spans the length of the wall — nearly 8 feet. She also had the commode replaced with one that uses less water and is “the right height.”
The shower’s glass wall is one large piece of glass that is long enough so there is just a 3-foot opening at the back end. To shower, one walks around the glass to get in. The shower head is stationary but can alternate between regular shower and massage.
“We left the plumbing to the professionals,” Sigda said. “I’m not practiced in that. We left the sloping of the shower floor to the professionals so that it would drain correctly.”
Sigda, a stay-at-home mom, said she took her time with the project, which is why it took so long from demolition to remodeled bathroom.
“We knocked down a wall,” she said. “The sink was separated from the shower by a wall. A door would be closed to the commode and shower.”
Now, without the wall, more natural light comes in through the window.
She said her husband, Jack, her father, John Merges, and daughter Kaitlin, then 7, helped with the demolition.
“I did have help when we gutted the room” Sigda said. “They helped me break a wall down, and we broke down the support that was in the wall. We had to rip up an old floor and took out the inside of an outer wall to insulate.”
Overall, Sigda said, the decisions on the bathroom project were pretty easy, and she doesn’t remember any snags.
“Nothing broke; nothing really slowed us down. I was just lucky to be home to take my time to do it.”
And she not only was very happy with the way it turned out, she also saved money.
“I think it cost in materials and labor, plumbing and glass, grading of the shower floor, about $8,000,” Sigda said. “I saved at least $3,000 to $4,000 by doing the labor myself, albeit slower.”