Tag Archives: bathroom remodel

blue-bathroom

Updating Your Bathroom – A New Year’s Resolution.

Sure, Greg and Brandon of G&C Plumbing and Heating can come by and fix your leaky robin’s egg blue sink. And, they can come back and reseal your pink toilet. Later, they’ll be back over to stop the water from leaking through the bright yellow tile in your tub.

But, why not get cracking on your New Year’s resolution list and have Greg and Brandon rip all that “nostalgia” out to update your bathroom to a century where they actually still manufacture the parts that make up your sink, tub, and toilet. They can turn your bathroom into your favorite thing in 2018.

G&C Plumbing and Heating are bathroom remodeling experts

Although Greg can talk for hours about the engineering genius behind Victorian era toilet bowls, the master plumber understands the frustrations of living in antiquity which is why he has a general contractor’s license!

“I wanted to be able to provide customers the plumbing expertise required in bathroom remodeling projects, from start to finish,” said Greg about why he felt the license was important to his business. “As a plumber, I am able to see the bigger picture in a bathroom remodel and save customers some money by taking out the middle man. Brandon and I do all the work ourselves and call in experts for detailing and carpentry work.”

Benefits of having it done right the first time

The guys understand what works in a bathroom. From selecting and installing proper tile that you won’t slip on, to determining the best placement for vanities, tubs and toilets; the guys understand the mechanics behind each aspect involved in your bathroom.

The guys think about function when designing a bathroom. From custom shower doors that prevent water from escaping, to installing a handrail in a shower to prevent injury, and installing outlets that shut off if an electrical item falls into water; they think about all of that for you.

The guys focus on efficiency. From installing efficient toilets and shower-heads, to selecting tubs that fill with less water, this know-how can save you some green on water bills. Heat exchangers and more efficient water heaters can save on gas bills. Timers on bathroom fans, better lighting, or a glazed window can save on electricity bills. G&C Plumbing and Heating totally gets this and can get it done right!

Happy New Year!

If you’re ready to ditch the pink tile and those crazy glass flowers holding up your 50-year-old vanity mirror, give Greg and Brandon a call. They’ll be honored to make honest and helpful suggestions to create the bathroom of your dreams in 2018!

shower head

Showerheads and Water Conservation

To round out our showerhead blog earlier this month, Brandon Sheck, Plumbing Wonder and Brilliant Bathroom Remodeler from G&C Plumbing and Heating, is following up on his dad’s impressive knowledge of showerhead history with some input on water conservation and water conserving showerheads on the market today.

WaterSense and the Showerheads

According to the EPA, showering accounts for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use for the average family. To help with water conservation, the EPA developed the Watersense label in 2006 as a voluntary program for manufacturers. “The EPA provided specifications for water efficient products and if a manufacturer meets those specifications, the product is eligible for third-party testing, and then rewarded with the right to put the WaterSense label on that product,” said the Brandon.

Standard showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute (gpm). Watersaving showerheads that earn the WaterSense label must use no more than 2.0 gpm. “The WaterSense label is also supposed to ensure that the products provide a “satisfactory shower” that is equal to or better than conventional showerheads,” said Brandon.

A “satisfactory shower” is determined by a showerhead’s water coverage and spray intensity. To compensate for using less water, which naturally results in less intensity, “showerhead designers found it beneficial to aerate their sprays to compensate for the smaller holes in the showerhead,” said Brandon. This resulted in some showers feeling more like a mist then a spray which can feel “less wet.” “Although, some people actually enjoy the misty feeling, so it’s become a bit of a personal choice when selecting a water conserving showerhead,” said Brandon. The following are a few he suggests to clients when they are remodeling their bathroom and want to incorporate a Watersense Certified showerhead:

Nebia
“The device uses a water dispersion system adapted from the agricultural industry to release a thick mist,” said Brandon who stresses that this showerhead may not be for everyone because even the website describes the Nebia as “akin to stepping into a cloud.” But, if you are looking for maximum water conservation, the Nebia uses just .75gpm on its normal setting and only slightly more on its high-pressure setting.

High Sierra
This is a more traditional water conservation showerhead found in many of the newer bathrooms today. The Sierra has a pivoting head which allows people to focus the water where they’d like. “With only a 1.5gpm, this low flow showerhead feels a lot like a traditional showerhead, but with some serious water conservation,” said Brandon.

Speakman Retraction
Another traditional design, this retraction showerhead pulsates to simulate the feeling of high pressure. “It does a good job recreating the traditional showerhead feeling,” said Brandon. The design has a single function spray setting that concentrates water pressure with a turbine-powered engine. It is also WaterSense Certified at 1.5gpm.

Delta Showerheads with H2O Kinetic Technology
“These showerheads make a wave pattern which simulates the feeling of being splashed to create more pressure,” said Brandon. Inside the showerhead, water is channeled through a series of chambers that generates velocity and sculpts the water into a wave pattern. “The good news is, there are no internal moving parts inside the head that will break or degrade over time,” said Brandon.

Personal Choice

The showerheads above each provide a unique shower experience that some people might enjoy, and others may not. As for Brandon, he’s a fan of that traditional shower feeling that delivers maximum spray intensity and a satisfying wet feeling. If you want to learn more about the various showerhead options out there, give the guys at G&C a call and they’ll gladly give you their two cents on any questions you have. And, if you are thinking about remodeling your bathroom, G&C can take care of the whole thing for you!

closet

That’s a Crazy Place to Put a Bathroom

“Why don’t we turn the closet into a bathroom?” Jane* nudged her snoring husband in the second-floor master bedroom of their hundred plus year-old farm house as the Eureka moment struck her. “YES!” She nudged him harder and he rolled out of bed, assuming it was his turn to feed the baby. “What?” John* asked, scratching his head and realizing the baby was sound asleep. “Turn the closet into a bathroom,” Jane pointed to the closet nestled close to the dormer framing and abutting their daughter’s room.  Her face lit up as she imagined not walking downstairs, multiple times, during the night to relieve herself. John looked over at the closet. There wasn’t even a gable there. “That’s a crazy place to put a bathroom.”

Fast-forward a few months…

“Well, that should do it,” said Greg Sheck, Master Plumber and Miracle Worker from G&C Plumbing and Heating, as he brushed the last of the construction dust off Jane’s dream bathroom tile– built where her small closet once stood. Jane smiled as she admired the full shower, sink, toilet and snazzy design. John stood slack jawed. The baby squealed.

*This is a true story, with real customers whose names have been changed to protect their innocence and marriage.

“Older New England homes are so awesome, but they often lack amenities that homeowners look for today, namely more bathrooms,” said Sheck who works with his son Brandon to help customers find creative and unique ways to bring their gorgeous old homes into the 21st century without destroying their timeless charm.

“Jane and John have an amazing antique home, but it only had one bathroom. A hundred years ago, even having one bathroom was considered upscale,” said Sheck. “Brandon and I are plumbers and contractors, not everyone knows that, and we enjoy helping people like Jane and John upgrade their antique homes to meet their needs. Sometimes that requires creativity and some “that’s a crazy place to put a bathroom” like thinking,” laughed Sheck.

The guys at G&C Plumbing have installed small and large bathrooms in many older homes, and new. Jane and John’s bathroom was a favorite project of theirs because it showcased their appreciation of the old world and their flair for trendy design.

“Because we didn’t disrupt the floor plan, the second floor maintains that antique feel. The bedrooms are close to one another and there is a common hallway area that is so representative of an old farm house,” said Sheck. “Around the corner in the master is this bathroom that packs a big punch in a pretty small space, but from out in the hallway you’d never know it was there.”

Greg and Brandon helped Jane pick out light and reflective tile and fixtures to make the space seem and feel bigger than it is. – It’s the size of a closet, remember!  Also, there are no windows because everyone agreed they didn’t want to add a dormer and disrupt the exterior design, so lighting was key in creating the feeling of natural light. “My biggest fear was that I was going to feel like I was, well, standing in a closet,” said Jane. “I don’t.”

If you are looking to add a bathroom or remodel an existing bathroom in your home, but find yourself thinking it’s a crazy idea, call Greg and Brandon and watch the crazy magic happen!

under-the-sink

S -Traps, P-Traps, J-Traps – Oh MY!

“Little Lady, the problem is you have an outdated S-trap. That’s illegal is some states, ya know, so I’m going to have to rip that out and install a P-Trap. It’s probably going to cost you.”

Don’t be fooled by the fancy alphabetical references, sink traps are everywhere, keeping sewer gasses from coming up through your drain. It’s true that some traps work better than others because of their shape, but most are a simple fix for a licensed plumber.

In our final blog about sink traps (because who knew there was so much to say about them) Brandon and Greg Sheck from G&C Plumbing and Heating want you to be in the know when interviewing a plumber for a job, however small. So, here is the rest of everything you need to know about sink traps…

The S-Trap

Invented by Alexander Cummings in 1775, the S-Trap was crucial in the success of indoor domestic plumbing. This simple S-shaped piece of plumbing solved the problem of sewer gasses traveling back up drains and into homes by providing an internal trap. Problem was, the S-shape tended to get clogged, required an overflow, and could easily siphon dry even when well-vented. So, introducing the…

U-Trap, Turned P-Trap, Turned J-Trap

Originally coined the U-Trap by Thomas Crapper in 1880, (No, we are not making that name up) Mr. Crapper (Yes, we will use that as often as we can) found the U-shape of the drain trap to be more efficient in maintaining a water seal to prevent the escape of sewage gasses into a building. Crapper’s new U-bend also didn’t clog, so, unlike the S-bend, it did not need an overflow. The most common of these traps is referred to as a P-trap or a J-Trap because of the later addition of a 90-degree fitting on the outlet side of the U-bend that created a P or J shape – depending on which way you’re looking at it. These are the shapes of a trap most often installed under a sink. Thanks Mr. Crapper!

Sheck Tip For Turning an S-Trap into a P-Trap

“In older homes with original plumbing (AKA New England Homes) it’s not unlikely to run into an S-Trap. We can easily convert it into a P-trap by adding a four or five-inch horizontal length of pipe on the outflow side pipe and connecting a vent. Venting is the trickiest part of this conversion, but we’ve got your back.” – Grand Master Plumber Greg Sheck who means “tricky” for the average Joe, which he is not.

As Shakespeare’s Plumber liked to say…

A drain trap by any other name, is still a drain trap.

S-Trap, U-Trap, J-Trap, or P, it’s keeping the sewage gasses out of your home or business, but don’t let someone fool you into thinking one letter is any more difficult to fix or install than the other!

 

fish-scales

Bathroom Design Trends of 2017

Brandon Sheck of G&C Plumbing and Heating loves to keep up on bathroom design trends. He in no way considers himself to be an interior designer or anything close, but he is a guy who has developed a mean sense of style over the years of remolding bathrooms with his Dad, Greg. So, just in time for summer, we forced Brandon to once again offer his take on current design trends that the guys would love to help you implement in a bathroom renovation project.

All About the Tile

“It’s really all about what makes you comfortable and happy, but I think some of the coolest bathrooms have tile that is kinda crazy looking when you first see it,” said Brandon to underscore the point that he’s not an interior designer. What he means by “crazy looking” is stylish, and here are some of the stylish tiles Brandon has found to be successful in creating a whole new look in a renovated bathroom:

Patternedpattern
“There are great bathrooms where the tile floors blend into the background,” said Brandon. “But, in some of the trendier designs lately, we’ve seen a throwback to patterned tile. At first my Dad and I were skeptical, but the right pattern does create an artistic look that totally works in the right room.”

Hexagonhoneycomb
“I’ve heard it referred to as honeycomb,” said Brandon. “It’s a big trend and looks wicked cool with a gray and navy blue color scheme.”

 

 

Long and Narrow Subwaysubway
This is perfect for someone who wants to be trendy, but doesn’t want to commit to something as bold as a pattern. “The long and narrow subway tiles just take the coolness of the subway look a bit further. It makes a bathroom look super sharp,” said Brandon.

 

fish-scaleFish Scale
“The first time my Dad and I saw this, we were sure our client would change her mind as soon as we put it up, but it really looks awesome. We were surprised,” said Brandon. “It doesn’t actually look like fish skin, it has a classic Hollywood look to it.”

Nailing the Accent

After figuring out tile, paint colors and a layout, Brandon says it’s the accents (or where your eye is immediately drawn to) in a bathroom that is all the rage in design for 2017. Here are some of the cool things he and Greg are seeing and including in their remodeling projects:

Free-Standing Tubs
“These are where it’s at,” said Brandon. “Doesn’t matter if it’s a vintage claw-foot or a modern soaking tub, people love the freestanding tub look and they look really great in a larger space.”

Cabinets A la Minimalist
“With bold tile patterns and big tubs in the middle of a bathroom, it’s best to keep things in balance with minimalist cabinet shapes and colors when you want to be trendy,” said Brandon. Clean cabinets with simple knobs and handles keeps the space from feeling crowded.

Free-Standing Vanities
A less expensive option to that ‘free-standing’ tub look is the free-standing vanity. It’s a fun way to incorporate a personal design trend into your bathroom. “People are finding really cool vintage vanities at antique shops and we can build entire bathrooms around them,” said Brandon.

Unusual Light Fixtures
We don’t often think of putting a unique light in the bathroom, but it works in 2017. “When you walk into a space with a bunch of neutral colors and then there’s this unusual light fixture, your eye just goes there and it’s cool. It’s also easy to switch out when you get bored or want to change things up,” said Brandon.

Need More Ideas?

Brandon and Greg are more than happy to come out for a visit and go over ideas you have about your bathroom remodel. They are humble guys and will try to suggest they don’t know much when it comes to style and interior design, but don’t let them fool you. These guys know plenty and have seen and worked on enough projects over the years to know what works and what doesn’t. They will give you honest and sound advice about your creative ideas – That’s how they roll.

gandcplumbing-toilet

Replacing John

Last month, the guys gave you some tips on how to tell if it was time to get a new toilet. Our bet is that many of you may have kicked the old throne when you read through the results. Sorry about your toe. The good news is, replacing a toilet is not all that hard, and the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating even offer options on how you can accomplish installation.

Here are their secrets:

“It’s best to have a buddy handy when you are ready to replace a toilet,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg Sheck who works with his son Brandon during such a task. “Lifting a toilet is cumbersome and it’s easier to obtain a level set on the floor when there are two of you.” Greg also recommends having the following on hand, in addition to the new toilet:

Wax Ring, Adjustable Wrench, Channel Locking Pliers, Screwdriver, Towels, Sponge, Bucket, Penetrating Oil, Putty Knife, and Hold-Down Bolts.

So, once you’ve grabbed a buddy and picked out your new John…

Here is option one on how to replace an old toilet:

  1. Turn off the water to the toilet.
  2. Remove the tank lid.
  3. Remove the refill tube from the overflow pipe and drain water from the tank.
  4. Use a rag to pick up any remaining water.
  5. Disconnect the water supply line.
  6. Disconnect the flapper chain.
  7. Unscrew bolts attached to the tank.
  8. Remove tank from the bowl and place on a towel.
  9. Remove the caps sitting on the bolts.
  10. Unscrew nuts with an adjustable wrench.
  11. Rock the bowl a bit to loosen the grip on the floor and place on a towel.
  12. Remove wax ring from the toilet and the floor.
  13. Clean the floor around the drain hole.
  14. If the bolts look rusty, replace them.
  15. Place a new wax ring on the new toilet and carefully position on top of the drain hole. You only get one shot to place it.
  16. Replace wax ring when you miss.
  17. Replace it again.
  18. Take a break and thank your buddy for being a true friend.
  19. Place the new toilet over the hole and gently rock the bowl until it sits level on the floor.
  20. Screw nuts back on with adjustable wrench.
  21. Place caps on bolts.
  22. Place tank on the bowl.
  23. Screw bolts to attach the tank.
  24. Connect the flapper chain.
  25. Connect the water supply line.
  26. Attach the refill tube to the overflow pipe.
  27. Turn the water back on.
  28. Test the new toilet for any leaks.
  29. Find a way to dispose of your old toilet.
  30. Figure out how to pay your buddy back.

Not bad, right? Just 30 simple steps…

Here is option two:

  1. Call Greg and Brandon
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!