Planning Your Bathroom Renovation

bathroom remodeling torontoA bathroom renovation is an exciting job.  You’re sure to love your new space, and enjoy it for years to come.  You are probably bursting with ideas for your dream bathroom.  However, before jumping into a bathroom remodel, there are some less exciting (but very important) things to consider.  Careful preparation will keep your bathroom renovation on track and running smoothly.

Set a Budget

If your haven’t already done so, you should get an idea of how much you’re able to spend on your bathroom renovation and set a realistic budget.  This will help guide your decisions about what to include in the remodel.  A qualified contractor knowledgeable in bathroom renovation cost can help you set and maintain a realistic budget; fortunately for home renovation contractors Toronto homeowners have many excellent options.

Work Within Space Constraints

Bathrooms are usually the smallest room in the house, but are expected to fulfill a multitude of uses.  There are many exciting bathroom features currently available on the modern home renovation market, but few bathrooms realistically have room for all of them.

Consider how much space you have available, and also the locations of plumbing hookups and electrical wiring.  Use these aspects as guidelines for your bathroom floor plan, or seek the guidance of a competent home renovation contractor.

Contractor Selection

Some aspects of a bathroom renovation are DIY-friendly, but chances are that you will need the help of a professional for at least part of the job.  Plumbing and electrical work can be damaging or hazardous if done improperly, so it may be best to leave these and other jobs up to professionals.

Select a contractor who is experienced specifically in bathroom renovation, and who is licensed, bonded and insured.  Ask to see a portfolio of prior work, and also don’t be afraid to ask for references.  A reputable professional will offer a portfolio and references without hesitation.

Are you currently involved in your own bathroom remodel?  If so we’d love to hear your own bathroom renovation planning tips.  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Kitchen Space Savers

kitchen flooringOne of the major issues with kitchen renovation Toronto homeowners face is limited kitchen size.  Kitchens are required to support a multitude of tasks, and the available workspace in a compact kitchen is frequently insufficient.  Incorporate these kitchen space savers into your kitchen remodel to make the most of your space for a kitchen that is both attractive and functional.

Work Your Wall Space

If you’re working with a compact kitchen, it’s important to use your available wall space wisely.  Hooks and racks provide extra storage without compromising valuable floor or counter space.

Knife blocks suck up a lot of space on countertops, so consider installing a magnetic wall mounted knife rack above your workspace.  Just be sure to install the rack in a place that children will be unable to reach.  You can also store other goods, such as pots, pans and utensils on hooks or racks.

Rethink Your Faucet

If you have a smaller sink, and articulated faucet can be an excellent kitchen space saver.  Articulated faucets can be folded out of the way until they’re needed, so increase your available space.  If an articulated faucet isn’t for you, select a faucet that is taller than it is deep, and in which the knobs and sprayer incorporated into the main console.  Some faucets can be wall-mounted, which saves even more space.

Make the Most of Corners

Corner space is often underused, as corner drawers and cabinets can be difficult to access.  To get better use out of your corners, install a lazy susan.  You can also install specially designed corner stack drawers.

Downsize Appliances

If you generally have a light cooking load, downsizing your appliances can free up a lot of storage and countertop space.  If you don’t often cook for a crowd, a smaller stove, oven or dishwasher may meet your needs without sucking up space.  Also be sure to install a built-in microwave, as a freestanding microwave takes up a lot of counter space.

Reconsider Trendy Extras

Today’s kitchen renovation market offers a lot of extra features that are both practical and attractive, such as pot filling faucets, kitchen islands and appliance garages.  However, if your kitchen space is limited, install these sorts of luxury features sparingly and after careful consideration.  An experienced kitchen renovation contractor can help you identify which features will truly add value to your kitchen, and install them strategically such that they take up minimal space.

If you’re currently involved in a compact kitchen remodel of your own, we’d love to hear your own kitchen space savers.  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Basement Lighting

basement remodelingBasement lighting is an important aspect of any basement remodel.  You’ll want to install adequate, even lighting that lights the entire basement effectively.  There are some special considerations for basement lighting, so you’ll want to choose your lighting carefully.

Special Considerations for Basement Lighting

Your basement is unique from most other rooms in your house in that it has no windows, but is also a fairy large space.  Therefore, you’ll want lighting that is bright and also distributed throughout the space. Additionally, most basements have a relatively low ceiling, so you’ll want to install lighting that doesn’t take up too much vertical space.  For example, pendant lighting may not be the best option for basement lighting.

Can Lighting

Can lighting consists of a round fixture, or can, that is installed above the drywall of the ceiling, meaning that the trim of the fixture is flush with the ceiling.  The bulb is then placed within the can. There are many trim options for can lighting, meaning that it can be customized to your finished basement’s décor.  Can lighting can be installed on both sides of the basement spanning the length of the wall such that the entire basement is evenly lit.

Track Lighting

For the track lighting method, light fixtures are attached on a continuous track that contains electoral conductors.  This is unique from other forms of lighting, which rout to individual light fixtures. Track lighting has several benefits in that it is easy to install, effective and versatile.  Light fixtures can be evenly dispersed throughout the track, or instead focused in particular areas.  Track lighting is an excellent choice for larger spaces that require ample lighting, so it is an ideal choice for finished basements.

Safety First

Any kind of electrical work, including lighting installation, can be very hazardous if done improperly.  Serious or even fatal injury can occur during installation, and an improper install poses a fire hazard.  Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a professional if you’re inexperienced in electrical work and always make sure that contractor’s work get inspected by ESA inspector. This little step that most contractors try to skip will save a lot of trouble down the road.  Fortunately for basement finishing Toronto homeowners have many excellent contractors available. Are you currently undertaking your own basement finishing project?  If so, we’d love to hear about which type of lighting you selected.  Give us your own thoughts on basement lighting in the comments section.

Basement Heating

basementUnfinished basements are used infrequently, and ambient heating coming from above typically keeps the temperature above freezing.  However, finished basements used as living areas need to be kept much warmer.  Due to our cold climate, many Toronto finished basements require some additional basement heating.

In some cases your main HVAC system may be modified to also heat your basement.  This requires additional duct work, and is probably best left to a professional basement finishing contractor or HVAC contractor.  However, if expanding your existing heating and cooling system is impractical, there are other additional basement heating options.

Electric Heaters

Electric heaters are typically the easiest and cheapest to install of all basement heating options, although they cost more to operate than many other options.  However, if you only require occasional heat or are heating a small area, electric heaters can provide comfortable and cost-effective heating.

Direct-Vent Gas Heaters

Because of our cold climate, for finished basements Toronto homeowners may require more efficient, even heating.  Direct-vent gas heaters are energy efficient, and provide constant, thermostatically controlled heat.  Direct-vent gas heaters use natural gas as an energy source, and distribute heated air throughout the room with a fan.  A pipe exits the rear of the heater, and penetrates an exterior wall to vent exhaust gases and intake combustion air.

Fireplaces

Fireplaces can provide both a cozy atmosphere and cozy warmth, although it’s important to select the right kind of fireplace for your basement heating needs.

Wood-Burning Fireplaces

Most standard wood-burning fireplaces suck lots of hot air out of the room, so aren’t necessarily efficient.  Airtight wood-burning fireplaces can provide a reliable heat source, but must be regularly tended and can be a bit messy, so they’re not for everyone.

Direct-Vent Gas Fireplaces

Direct-vent gas fireplaces provide a view of the flames, and produce radiant heat.  Some direct-vent gas fireplaces also have a fan to circulate warmed air, producing a more consistent heat source.

Ventless Gas Fireplaces

Ventless gas fireplaces release combustion products directly into the room.  This makes them more efficient and easier to install, but they can deplete the room’s oxygen supply and produce hazardous fumes.  This is particularly hazardous in basements, which are smaller and have less airflow than your ground floor.  We recommend avoiding ventless gas fireplaces in basements for these reasons.

Radiant Heating

If you will use stone or tile for your finished basement’s floor, you can install a radiant heating system.  A radiant heating system will not only warm the floor, but can also increase the overall temperature of the room, which can eliminate the need for an additional heat source.

When evaluating your basement heating needs and installing some of the more advanced heating options, it may be best to seek the help of a qualified professional.  Fortunately for basement finishing contractors Toronto homeowners have many reputable home renovation professionals available.

Was basement heating a factor in your recent or upcoming basement renovation?  If so, we’d love to hear your viewpoints on the best basement heating options.  Please give us your input in the comments section.