By Patricia Loga

Dear Renovator,

We are looking to renovate our washroom but are not sure which products would be best. We are currently a family of four (two adults and two children) and are looking to make this our forever home. We’d like to convert the tub to a more accessible shower but are concerned about the aesthetics. Do you have any tips about where to start?

Dear Homeowner,

When you are beginning a bathroom renovation, there are a few key considerations which need to be thought of before you select your fixtures.

The first is to have a professional assess your washroom and the condition of its current plumbing. Occasionally, with some older houses, as soon as you open up a wall you may find mold. Taking care of this issue is pertinent to the wellbeing of your home and family. Once that is resolved, there are many ways to make a washroom more accessible yet stylish.

Below are some of our favourite suggestions:

  1. Many homeowners are now installing tile shower bases that are flush with the floor, rather than something you have to step into. These bases make entering and exiting the shower easy at any age, but they also give the washroom a clean, modern, feel. Our favorite product for this is Wedi, because the company has many different sizes for shower bases and uses materials that are 100 per cent inorganic, and are therefore 100 per cent waterproof ‒ so you won’t have to worry about mold. However, if a flush-to-the-floor base is not possible with your current configuration, Fleurco does a wonderful textured base which will provide that anti-slip element at a low threshold of three
  2. Grab bars have also become a recent trend with many companies providing them in an assortment of colours to match their shower fixtures. You’ll no longer have an industrial-looking bar in your shower but rather something that compliments the design and is also practical.
  3. Benches are another feature which can make your shower more accessible. Depending on the size of your shower, you can install a folding bench to allow you to shower while seated. If space is a concern, a corner bench can be made from the Wedi waterproofing and then tiled over to give a finished look.
  4. When it comes to fixtures, the sky is the limit. Some homeowners like to install jets alongside their shower to provide a bit of muscle relaxation, while others prefer to install a steam shower. The health benefits attributed to steam showers make them an amazing option for anyone who is looking to grow old at home, and their installation is not complicated.

Homeowners are often primarily concerned that their showers are accessible, but there is a plethora of ways to make your entire washroom stylish and accessible (for example, the use of chair-height toilets). Visiting a showroom and discussing your vision with consultants will help you uncover all the possibilities that exist to help you create that forever home.

Patricia Loga is a Showroom Consultant for Emco Express & EMCO Corporation,
Ottawa. Sh has a keen eye for design as well as a Bachelor’s degree specializing in marketing and management. “The key to great design,” she says, “is capturing the spirit of the client and the essence of the space”.