Tag Archives: should I remodel my bathroom

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!

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!

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.

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!

modern house, interior, bathroom view

Bathroom 101 – Plain Jane or Fancy John

Welcome back to G&C Plumbing and Heating’s crazy amazing blog series about remodeling your bathroom. Greg and Brandon Sheck can build you a new John that will rock your world – and save you money. Believe it!

Last time you had to think long and hard about what function your bathroom should serve and what upgrades you’d like to include. You considered what kind of bathroom you were fixing up.

You never knew there was more than one kind of John did you?  Masters, family, half, three-quarter, and more – it can make your head spin. But, yours is on tight thanks to the guys at G&C.

Now, it’s time to focus on the type of bathroom you are remodeling, and with your budget in mind (If you need to revisit that blog post before we move on, go ahead) break the range of bathroom remodels down from small scale to big time to give you a better picture of where yours will fit in.

Always keep in mind

No matter how big your budget or which type of bathroom you are planning to remodel your end goal should be to:

  • Update the look
  • Increase resale value
  • Add to your contentment
  • Add functionality, amenities and storage

As with many things – pizza, vacations, jobs – there are basically three levels of bathroom remodeling: good, better and best.

We are going to explore each of these options, but obviously, even if you go with the “good” option, G&C will always give you the best service. You just won’t be paying for all the fancy stuff you would be if you’re going with the “best option.

So, here are the basic cost ranges for good, better and best bathroom remodels with the best service:

  1. The Good John Update. This can run between $5,000 to $14,000 and typically includes a 24-48 inch vanity, low-end granite countertop, and maybe a fiberglass bathtub-shower unit.

    With this option, you probably won’t be moving plumbing around. You’re looking to replace fixtures and other materials with the stuff you priced out at Lowes or the store Greg recommended  you  go to. “You can still get a big impact from a cool backsplash to make things look high-end,” said Greg.

    Other upgrades include new ceramic or subway tile in a bathtub or shower area. Of course this would include a fresh paint job on all the wall space not tiled. Maybe even some trendy wallpaper. “If your cabinets are in good condition, we can do some awesome stuff with them,” said Brandon. Otherwise, some new pre-made cabinetry can do the trick.

    Your lighting, fixtures and finishes should be new but you don’t need to break the bank. Have Greg and Brandon help you find quality stuff so you’re not having to replace them every five years. “A basic bathroom remodel is great if you’re looking to sell your home,” said Brandon.

  1. The Better Bathroom Remodel. This will run between 10,000 to $30,000. It’s a big jump because the options get greater and you get better fixtures. “New features like flooring, a vanity, a sink, lighting, window treatments, hardware, a comfort-height toilet, a 36-inch countertop, a framed mirror that matches the vanity, beadboard on the walls, and a recessed medicine chest,” said Brandon with a bit of excitement.

    You’re also able to make adjustments to the layout in the better range – like a slightly smaller bathtub to make way for a slightly larger shower. When it comes to plumbing, there are moderate adjustments you can make in the better remodel category like moving the faucets or shower, but the toilet will need to stay in basically the same spot.

    “For countertops, you’re looking at a high-grade remnant or custom piece of granite, marble or quartz, and cabinets can be semicustom with high-end finishes – maybe glazed instead of just stained or something made locally,” said Brandon. As for fixtures, upgrade when you can to higher-quality ( all brass parts)  because they will last longer. And tile – go porcelain! “A better bathroom remodel is perfect when you’re planning to stay in your home and you’re limited in the space or footprint,” said Greg.

  1. The Fanciest John Evah. If you have over $30,000 to spend on your throne, let’s do this! At this level, you’re really getting the bathroom you want and are putting some money into your home and making it more enjoyable just for you.

    It’s a full gut job, so be prepared to wait for the greatness because everything will go away, and you’ll put things where you want them, including plumbing. Maybe you need to punch into an adjacent room or the exterior for more room. “Maybe you want a full-on sauna!” Brandon has some awesome ideas. For plumbing, let Greg blow your mind with high-end finishes and parts for showers and radiant floor heating.

    For cabinetry, you are looking for solid wood construction with custom finishes and decorative accent pieces. Your tile can be natural marble, limestone or granite. “The walls can be real wood beadboard with deep molding and windowsill are marble. The fixtures can be anywhere from polished chrome with porcelain handles, Brushed Nickel or even Oil Rubbed Bronze.” Brandon is now doing a sketch of the plans…

    Wow.

And that’s it – the good, better, and best of G&C bathroom remodels. By now, you should have a pretty good handle on what materials you plan to use and what your expected outcome is. Next time let’s consider the final step in the process – timing, and when you should do this.

It’s a thing. You’ll see.

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Bathroom Remodeling 101

Many of you were so pleased to hear that the stand-up guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating could be the go-to guys for a complete bathroom remodel. And, I tell ya, it is incredibly good news. Some of the people you run into while trying to get a project like that done – yikes!

So, now you’re ready. You’ve found your team. Greg and Brandon are your guys. Now what should you start thinking about? What is next?

For the next few months, the guys are going to take you through the process; From start to finish, budgeting to accessorizing. Think of this series as your Bathroom Remodeling 101 class!

First off…

The Budget Break Down

Most people considering a bathroom remodel go about creating a budget backwards.

Typically…

They stand in their bathroom, scowling, and say to themselves: “I am going to finance or scrape together X amount of dollars to fix this #(@!^$% bathroom once and for all.” Then they usually grab a sled hammer and start going to town. If, when it’s all said and done, they don’t end up too many thousands of dollars over their pledged dollar amount, they feel pretty good.

This is backwards, because, honestly, most people who start a remodel have no idea what kind of stuff they need and want to put in into their new bathroom. “You really need to consider the materials you plan to use before you can set an accurate budget,” said Greg Sheck, Master Plumber and bathroom remodeler extraordinaire.

You need to start with a little…

Reconnaissance

Greg recommends you head out to your favorite do it yourself box store or specialty bathroom joint and conduct a little investigation with knowledge provided by the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s – The cost breakdown of a bathroom Remodel:

  • Design fees: 4 percent
  • Installation: 20 percent
  • Fixtures: 15 percent
  • Cabinetry and hardware: 16 percent
  • Countertops: 7 percent
  • Lighting and ventilation: 5 percent
  • Flooring: 9 percent
  • Doors and windows: 4 percent
  • Walls and ceilings: 5 percent
  • Faucets and plumbing: 14 percent
  • Other: 1 percent

Once you realize that things like using tile flooring versus a marble flooring, or die-cast zinc-alloy versus solid gold fixtures can save you, literally, gazillions of dollars, you will be in a better state of mind to pull a number out of your head/bank account to start your project.

Now, you can stand in your bathroom picturing actual material you want to use in your remodel. (Spoiler Alert: Chances are, Greg and Brandon will be able to find the same materials for you at a better cost)

You’ll feel better about the process, probably leave the sledge hammer in the shed, and you’ll be more informed about your decision.

FYI – The National Kitchen & Bath Association puts the national average for a bathroom remodel at about $16,000.

Factoring in the Average

Here’s a couple interesting facts to consider when pulling your more informed, sensible, budget number out of your head/bank account…

  • The total project should cost no more than 5 to 10 percent of your home’s value.
  • Mid-range bathroom remodels, costing about 16K, recoup about 62 percent in resale, while upscale bathroom remodels, costing around $50k, recoup about 56 percent in resale.

Bottom Line

Consider how much you can invest, what materials you want to use, and how that all fits into the current value and resale value of your home…

Now you’re ready to come up with a budget that you can feel more confident about. The best part about working with Greg and Brandon to complete your bathroom remodel is they have the knowledge to help avoid many of those unforeseen expenses that can often pop up mid project, like: “Oh, goodness, we are going to call someone in here and replace all of the plumbing in your home to install that.” As plumbers, Greg and Brandon would be able to tell you that upfront!

Next up, where to splurge and where to save when selecting the materials for your bathroom remodel.