Category Archives: Remodels

Accord Smooth

Imagine a Bathroom WITHOUT Caulk

We apologize if you just dozed off at work in a dreamy haze while picturing a pristine shower – forever bright and new with absolutely no possibility of peeling, dingy, discolored, squiggly caulk lines ever. So sorry. Not sorry!

Wake up! This scenario is possible. However, although the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating are all about empowering their customers to tackle weekend projects, this is not one of them. You’re going to need to call Greg or Brandon to make your caulkless shower dream a reality.

“It’s a big seller for our bathroom remodeling clients,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg Sheck. “These shower systems are truly a no brainer, they look amazing, and are completely maintenance free.” The guys use the Accord and Ensemble systems from Sterling which is a Kohler Company. Check them out here.

sterlingThe innovative design of these caulkless shower systems installs directly into wall studs using interlocking wall clips. A full-size shower measuring up to 60″ x 36″ x 77″ and can be installed without the usual 24 hours needed for caulk to dry before use – saving both time and money. “The materials used in these systems are top-notch with no chipping, scratching or peeling,” said Sheck. Other features include:

  • An optional 12″ x 16″ seat for optimum comfort.
  • Optional grab bars.
  • Water management system.
  • Larger, deeper shelves able to hold twice as much as other standing shower units.
  • An easy-to-clean, high-gloss surface capable of repelling water and dirt.

“We recommend these systems for every bathroom remodel, these shower systems will knock your socks off,” said Sheck. Call the guys at G&C Plumbing and heating today to make your caulkless shower dream a reality!

bathroom-colors

Seven Bathroom Palettes

Brandon’s Suggested Color Schemes

Brandon was chatting with a client the other day about an upcoming bathroom remodel and he noticed a trend. “As we discussed materials, she kept asking me what colors I thought she should use,” said the All American Wrestler turned All American Plumber.

It’s not really his specialty, but being the courteous man of service he is, he made suggestions: White Paint, Grey Stone, Warm Wood Cabinets, and White accent pieces.

By the time the conversation was complete, Brandon had casually offered color palette for his client to visualize and start collecting accessories to compliment.

“She said to me, you should really write these ideas down, I think they would be handy for your clients,” said Brandon who refuses to acknowledge that he’s good with putting colors together, but admits that he and his Dad, Greg Sheck, work with some very talented interior designers and he’s just listened to what they have to say.

That really sums up the core value of G&C Plumbing and Heating –  They listen. So, for the client who asked:

Brandon’s Seven Favorite Bathroom Palettes

Creams and White

“Bathrooms aren’t traditionally very colorful spaces because they are mostly about function. We like to use natural lighting when possible so clients can get ready in a bathroom without looking like they’re in an interrogation room,” said Brandon. (When creams are mixed with white, the combination brings out the peach in skin tones and negates that washed out look an all-white bathroom can sometimes create)

Creams and Taupe

Continuing with the idea that a bathroom will be a primary space to get ready, shave, and put on makeup, Creams and Taupe, again, work well with the warmth of skin tones. “I think Taupe adds depth on walls and accents in stone or tile,” said Brandon.

Pale Blues and White

“This is how you create that spa feeling – especially when you use some nice stone,” said Brandon. Pale blues can look traditional or modern depending on the shapes and lines you select.

Coastal Blues and White

“We live in New England, why not bring the ocean a bit closer to home,” said Brandon who likes this look with mosaic tiles.

Black and White

“You can’t go wrong with black and white, it can be modern or traditional, but it’s always functional,” said Brandon who shrugged when we suggested you can add pops of color such as red or teal. “I guess so, but why would you?” Touché, Brandon. Touché.

Grays and White

This was the color combo Brandon suggested to his client who prompted us to write this blog (We asked if we could use her name, but she’s shy) “This is trendy, and it’s a nice update,” said Brandon. It’s easy too because you let fixtures (sink, tub, shower, and toilet) serve as the white component and then a variation of grays everywhere else. “Dark cabinets make the combo look deluxe and light cabinets look more modern. If you ask me,” said Brandon. (We did)

Grays and Neutrals

Varying shades of the same color, such as a warm gray provides visual interest while keeping a bathroom unified and soothing. “It makes an impact without being overwhelming,” said Brandon who we’ve never seen overwhelmed. Big and multiple mirrors or reflective glass tiles break up the monochromatic space to keep it from feeling like a sad man’s cave.

Humble – That’s Another Core Value

“We work with and recommend some great interior designers who can do a much better job explaining all of this,” said Brandon.

True…

But, a big thank you to the client who asked Brandon about his opinion on color schemes – you’re right, this list will be very helpful for others wondering what colors they should use in an upcoming bathroom remodel with G&C!

insulation

Bathroom Remodel 101: Let the Savings Continue

Long ago, bathroom remodeling was straightforward: A remove-and-replace job of installing new fixtures, some tile, and paint. Today, the savings reaped in the insulation, sealing, space heating, and infinite bliss in your newly remodeled bathroom go way beyond the straightforward improvements to core elements of the infrastructure.

Whether you are doing it yourself or hiring the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating, there are so many ways to save energy, money, and happiness during your bathroom remodel and renovation. Let’s look at…

Insulation and Air Sealing

Admit it, you hate stepping out of a nice hot shower into a freezing cold room with ice like floors. It’s ok.
“People are more sensitive to the temperature in the bathroom than in any other room in the house,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg Sheck about his experience in working with customers in creating a renovated bathroom that not only saves money, but your sensitive toes.

“Sealing air leaks and providing good insulation is the most important step remodelers can take to improve efficiency and comfort,” said Greg who recommends either blown-in fiberglass or cellulose insulation unless space is an issue, then rigid foam with a high R-value per inch is best.

Luckily, energy codes for new construction in most states require R-19 insulation in exterior walls and R-30 in ceilings, but good insulation makes sense anywhere. If the room is being expanded or replaced during your remodel, be sure to insulate them well.

“A low-permeability vapor barrier should be installed on the inside surface of the framing before any insulation is installed,” said Greg. This helps prevent moisture from condensing in the wall cavities, where it can rot the wood framing.

Other places to insulate:

  • The shower walls
  • Under the tub
  • Cavities surrounding tubs and showers

A Sheck Tip on Sealing

Make sure all junctures in the framing are sealed to prevent air leakage. This includes all plumbing penetrations through the walls and floors, especially the hole in the subfloor around the tub drain. I like to use a high quality foam.

Space Heat

“I have been in some pretty old, or poorly finished bathrooms, where people had to crank up the heat in the whole house to warm the bathroom. That’s nuts!” Said Greg.

If you didn’t incorporate a new heating system with your bathroom remodel, radiant heating panels on walls or ceilings to radiate heat on demand can keep objects warm and feel ever so nice on your toes.

So Toasty

The savings make you feel all warm and toasty inside don’t they? I know – it’s so nice! Next time we’ll wrap up this awesome bathroom remodeling series with a look at some seriously unique bathrooms and the comments Greg and Brandon have about them. It’ll be good summer reading!

Bathroom remodeling offers a wide range of opportunities to conserve energy, water and money.

Bathroom Remodel 101: Let the Saving Begin

Bathroom remodeling offers a wide range of opportunities to conserve energy, water and money. Greg and Brandon Sheck at G&C Plumbing and Heating also believe a stellar remodel can improve personal comfort which can have a big impact on your happiness which can motivate you to get to the gym which might lead you to finally dropping that extra ten pounds which will allow you to live years longer. Basically, your bathroom is the fountain of youth.

Ok, we’re just speculating on the fountain of youth part, but after completing a bathroom remodel with G&C, the guys guarantee you will save some green on energy and water (and Brandon is willing to bet a President Grant that you’ll be happier too)

Let’s look at the ways you will save with your newly remodeled bathroom. It’s a long list so we’ll break the savings up in two blogs because we know it’s summer now and the last thing you want to do is read some big long article while you’re out in the boat trying to catch dinner.

Water

Up to half the water consumed in a home is used in the bathroom. “Conserving water saves money in two ways: by reducing the amount of water used in your community and by reducing the energy used to heat it in the home,” master plumber Greg. More energy is used for heating water than for any other household purpose, except maybe heating and cooling.

By replacing worn out faucets and shower heads, the average family can save roughly 17,000 gallons of water per year which is about $60-$100 on energy and water bills.

Older toilets can use 3.5, 5, or even up to 7 gallons of water with every flush. “Federal plumbing standards now specify that new toilets can only use up to 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF), and there are high efficiency toilets that use up to 1.28 GPF,” said Greg.

How quickly a low-flow toilet pays for itself depends on how many times you flush each day and your geographic location. Here’s a fun game to play with the kids this summer while you’re rowing them around in the boat looking for the best spot to fish:

To calculate the yearly savings, multiply the estimated number of flushes per year by the difference in flow (in gpf) by the water rate per gallon.

Sheck tip on water heating:

If your remodel makes water pipes accessible or involves installing new pipes, insulating hot-water pipes is an easy and inexpensive way to reduce heat loss.

If you’re digging out old plumbing, a new water heater may be appropriate if the existing one is old and inefficient, or if more capacity is needed. Quick-recovery, gas water heaters can save 30% over less efficient equipment. Instantaneous water heaters–tankless units that heat only the water needed at the fixture are another great money saving option.

Lighting

If you were nicking your face during every shave in your old bathroom, lighting could have been a problem. You were probably spending a fortune on Band-Aids. The right lighting in your new John can help.

Sheck tip on daylighting:

A skylight placed between rafters should have a light well that is insulated to the level of the walls and flared at the bottom to spread light around the bath. Clerestory windows (skylights with vertical glazing) are more energy-efficient than horizontal skylights, since the roof above them can be insulated, though they still allow some heat to escape through the glazing. Light pipes, which consist of a bubble on the roof, a light pipe to the ceiling, and a domed fixture inside, are the most efficient option for directing natural light into a room.

Bulbs

The lightbulb has come a long way. Just changing out those old incandescent bulbs to energy efficient options can save you bundles. Here is a handy chart from Energy.Gov to fill you in on the savings.

savings

Next time, we’ll cover the savings reaped in the insulation, sealing, space heating, and infinite bliss in your newly remodeled bathroom by G&C. If you have any questions, comments, or are interested in more Sheck tips, give Greg or Brandon a call – they’d love to hear from you.

For now, go catch a big one for the grill tonight.

blueprint

Bathroom Remodel 101: The Timeline

How long is all this going to take? Am I going to be out on the streets showering in the sprinkler for months while my bathroom is being remodeled?  

Greg and Brandon of G&C Plumbing and Heating get asked this all the time: how long will this renovation take? It’s a good question and one you should think about when planning your bathroom remodel. If you’re planning to have 20 people stay at your house over the holiday’s you might not want to schedule the remodel anytime around that event. It sounds simple enough, but you really should expect a month or two of planning and picking out materials and finishes even before hammer meets the wall.

I have clients who like to do their own research and prepare their budget before even contacting us,” said Greg.

Once all of your homework and preparations are complete, you should expect two to four weeks for construction, depending on the scope of the project. “If we are doing a full remodel, expansion, and all new plumbing that needs to be taken into consideration when building out a timeline.”

Bottom Line

The guys at G&C pride themselves on sticking to their word. If they say a project will take four weeks after going over your plans, budget, and materials, they will do all they can to stick to their plan because they understand just how hard it is to live in a house with a non-functioning bathroom. They are people too!

So, to figure out your timeline, decide which level of remodeling your project falls into. Refer to our Plain Jane or Fancy John blog to help you decide. Greg suggests not getting too carried away with planning before reaching out to a professional for help.

To get a bit of a visual of the situation, Lee Wallender, a home renovations expert, provided this handy chart for what he would consider a small bathroom remodel in his article on about.com. This would fall under the G&C category of a “Better Bathroom Remodel.”

The timetable assumes everyone showed up on time, didn’t work on the weekends, and materials were readily available. It also assumes you didn’t change your mind about something in the middle of the remodel – Greg suggests that can really slow the process down.

Enjoy!

TASK ALLOTTED TIME (DAYS) NOTES
Demolition 2 Tedious work that may take longer if bathroom is on a second story or otherwise difficult to move materials out of.
Rough Carpentry 2 Optional: You may not need any carpentry if the underlying structure is in good shape.
Plumbing Rough-In 1-2 Plan on the full 2 days or more if you are moving services like tub and toilet.
Electrical Rough-In 1-2 A good professional electrician can move swiftly, so it would be unusual for this to go more than a day.  Rough-in means to run the electrical lines but stop short of hooking up the final connections.
First Inspection 1 The first inspection prior to buttoning up the work with drywall goes fast and should only add one day to the total timetable.  However, since scheduling inspectors can be a problem, this may slow down the remodel by a week or two.
Insulation .5 Insulating a bathroom should go very fast, as only one or two short walls are involved.
Hang Drywall 1 Drywall may be begun the minute insulation is up.
Finish Drywall 2 Finishing means applying joint compound, letting dry, sanding, and sometimes repeating.
Paint 1 Painting a bathroom while it is still in its bare state is relatively simple and fast.  Except for the ceiling, no masking is required.
Final Inspection 1 Like the first inspection, final inspection itself does not take very long–perhaps less than 20 minutes for each inspector.  However, scheduling the inspector may slow down your work.
Tilework 2 Optional: you may not be doing tilework, but like drywall, there is the applying/drying cycle that takes time.
Cabinetry 1 There tends to be minimal cabinetwork in bathrooms, so this should go quickly.
Flooring 2 Plain vinyl floor could go down in a morning; tile, engineered wood, and the like will take longer.
Hookups, Fixtures, Etc. 2 Hooking up toilet, sink, etc.
Miscellaneous 1.5 Allow time for contingencies.
TOTAL 23

We hope this time frame example is helpful in figuring out when is the best time in your busy lives to get a remodel rolling. Of course, this is only an example of an average remodel, be sure to chat with Greg and Brandon to get a more customized plan for your project. They are happy to help!

bathroom-floor-image

Bathroom Renovation 101- Flooring

Grand Master Greg from G&C Plumbing and Heating was put on the case last week to talk flooring. Specifically, what floors work best in bathroom renovations. The people want to know – what are the advantages and disadvantages of the different kinds of ‘tile’ you can put in your bathroom.

“Well, the list is really endless when you are thinking about style, price, and functionality. But, it’s a bit like a Rubix Cube to find the best fit for each bathroom, so let’s take a look at the best options,” said the Grand Master.

Vinyl Tiles
“Inexpensive and easy to install, vinyl tiles have come a long way since you stood on them in your grandma’s kitchen,” said Greg. The material is popular because of its safety, comfort and durability. And, you can’t beat the price starting at $.95 per square foot!

The only negative Greg can think of, “That feeling that you installed something that is made to look like something else.”

Which is…

Ceramic Tile
“There are so many types of ceramic tile with different shapes, sizes, and textures, you can really do pretty much anything. And by selecting a tinted grout you can get even more creative” said Greg. Prices start at around $1.09 per square foot.

Like vinyl, ceramic tile is waterproof and durable but feels more solid. “It can feel colder than vinyl, but a nice radiant floor can solve that,” said Greg.

There are no notable downsides to ceramic tile, according to Greg, unless you pick out a slippery one, but the grout can act as a non-skid surface.

Stone Tiles
“Limestone, marble, granite and slate, and stone tiles are available in colors that range from creams to blues, reds, greens and golds and textures just as numerous including cleft, tumbled, sandblasted, etched and flamed variations – if you can afford it, stone tiles look amazing,” said Greg. Stone floors are by far the most expensive.

“They are also a bit needy,” said Greg and require more maintenance than ceramic tile with regular cleaning and sealing.

Downsides in addition to the price – Stone is cold and tends to be slippery. This can be solved by having the stone textured by sandblasting or buy purchasing naturally textured stone, such as slate.

Now here are a few you wouldn’t normally consider.

Wood Floor Tiles
Not for the faint of heart, or those willing to let kids have a big tub in the bath. “Once water penetrates the finish, it will stain—for good,” said Greg who recommends the wood parquet tiles be carefully sealed around the room perimeter and at all other joints with at least two coats of polyurethane.

“This is not for your family bathroom, but maybe a super awesome powder room,” said Greg.

Linoleum Floor Tiles
“Retro is in,” said Greg, and linoleum is made of linseed oil, cork powder, wood flour, ground limestone and pigments giving it the power to naturally inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. Average cost per square foot: $4.

“Installation is simple with click-in-place plank designs and it looks great but is sure is pricy” said Greg.

Cork Tiles
“Finished cork tiles are great,” said Greg. They’re warm and feel nice on your feet. They also come is a variety of colors. Average cost: $2 per square foot.

“If you purchase unfinished tiles, expect to protect them with two coats of polyurethane,” said Greg as a possible downside.

Glass Tiles
“This is about as big of a statement as you can make,” said Greg. Installed right, a glass floor will hold up well and can resist slips if textured or installed with lots of grout joints. Prices vary all over the place here.

Enjoy floor shopping. Next we’ll close out our Bathroom 101 series with thoughts on timing (specifically how long it takes to remodel and why) and efficiencies you should expect to find with your new bathroom.

Happy remodeling!

fixtures

Bathroom Remodeling 101 – About These Faucets

The guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating had a question from a reader last week inquiring about the importance fixtures, especially faucets, play in the over look, feel and price of a bathroom remodel. So, let’s look a bit closer at faucet choices.

Shall we?

Also, let the guys know if you have any other specific questions about this remodeling business and we’ll put our best minds behind finding answers for you.

Here’s the low-down on faucets

There are about a gazillion to choose from.

You can buy them on line, at big box stores, and plumbing supply stores and the options are different at each shopping location.

“Shopping at big box and online stores vs. plumbing supply stores adds another layer of ‘fun’,” said Greg Sheck, master plumber at G&C. “The big difference is in the quality of the products. Many of the faucets in stock and on display at the big box stores are mid-grade quality, AKA plastic, with a bit of brass.”

Plastic faucets look nice in the isle and sell fast with little commitment because they’re cheap. But, as you can imagine, they don’t last very long, causing customers to return a few years later for another faucet – It’s almost like these big box stores plan this…

“Plastic is tough to use long term in plumbing because once calcium deposits or corrosion occurs, the product is basically ruined, said Greg. “We do our best to hook customers up with best prices on professional grade products so you don’t have to change out your fixtures every few years.”

That would be annoying.

So, work with Greg and Brandon to get some quality stuff and save your weekend three years from now for a good ball game or a nap.

Now, let’s talk faucets. Real faucets. We’ll look at the simple pros and cons of each and you can determine which will work best in your remodel.

First up…

chromeChrome
Pretty much everyone’s house can, and possibly does, have a chrome faucet – somewhere.

Pros: it’s pretty inexpensive, easy to clean and maintain, and you can match a bunch of styles with chrome.

Cons: It does show water spots and finger prints.

 

 
Brushed Nickel FinishBrushed Nickel
If chrome is not in your neighbor’s bathroom, brushed nickel probably is. It’s everywhere and just a little more expensive then chrome.

Pros: It’s basically indestructible, doesn’t show wear, fingerprints, or water spots. It’s easy to clean, easy to find and easy to match with accessories and other fixtures.

Cons: It doesn’t really stand out and not ideal if you’re looking for a big statement piece.

 

Polished Nickel FinishPolished Nickel
This is a bit darker than chrome and can actually change color based on the light. It’s awesome for modern, contemporary and eclectic styles.

Pros: Easy to clean and has a durable finish.

Cons: It is more expensive and can be hard to find matching accessories.

 

 

Polished Brass FinishPolished Brass
This is one of Brandon’s favorites and gives a cool vintage look. It’s that mid-century modern wonder that looks amazing in modern, traditional, and eclectic bathrooms.

Pros: Super durable, easy to clean and find, and a breeze to match with accessories.

Cons: More expensive than chrome and brushed nickel and is not going to blend in if that is what you’re looking for.

 

Satin Brass FinishSatin Brass
It’s bold without being too showy. It’s the next big thing for traditional, modern and contemporary bathrooms.

Pros: Satin brass provides an accent color and won’t show fingerprints and water spots.

Cons: It’s expensive and can be hard to find.

 

 

oil_rubbed_bronzeOil-Rubbed Bronze
For a traditional look and feel without having to do the everyday chrome and brushed nickel this is your material. Oil-Rubbed Bronze provides a great traditional, Tuscan or Mediterranean look.

Pros: It’s durable and won’t show water spots or finger prints. Also easy to clean, find, and match with accessories and other fixtures.

Cons: It’s pricy, but that’s the only disadvantage we can think of.

Copper FinishCopper
A cool statement piece that Brandon loves, copper looks awesome in Tuscan, farmhouse and even industrial-modern styled bathrooms.

Pros: It cleans and heals itself with natural antibacterial properties. Meaning, if you scratch it, the scratch will disappear on its own – freaky, but cool!

Cons: It’s not all that durable and the unique nicks and scratches it develops makes it hard to match other fixtures.

Satin Bronzesatin-bronze
Picture a faucet between copper and oil-rubbed bronze. It’s the safe route if you’re drawn to that look, but don’t want to make the commitment to such a statement.

Pros: This is an install it and forget about it faucet – Durable, easy to clean and maintain. No spots or fingerprints

Cons: It can be hard to find and is more expensive.

 

Satin Black FinishMatte Black
Batman’s bathroom has matte black faucets – They are wicked cool.

Pros: Easy to clean and coordinate with bathroom accessories.

Cons: Batman is rich and famous. These faucets are hard to find and expensive.

 

 

White FinishWhite
For a modern or farmhouse look, white faucets make an excellent statement.

Pros: Easy to clean and doesn’t show water spots or fingerprints.

Cons: They are usually made out of porcelain which is pretty fragile and can chip. Porcelain is also pricey.

And, that’s the low-down.

Hope this helps clear up what can often be one of the biggest decisions in your bathroom renovation. If you have other questions or concerns about your bathroom faucet choices, or any other fixtures, give the guys a call – they are happy to help.

Would you look at that…

Greg just got a call from a client wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of the different kinds of ‘tile’ you can put in your bathroom. Looks like that is our next assignment!

Thanks. Keep the questions coming.