We’ve come a long way since colonial times when family members took turns bathing once a week in a large tub in the kitchen. Even just 70 years ago, a three-bedroom house with one bath was common. Then about 40 years ago, an extra half bath snuck into the average home. Today, new homes are built with a bare minimum of two full baths and it’s certainly not uncommon to see three or more.
If you’re tired of waiting in line to get in the shower or you have high-maintenance teenagers who camp out in the bathroom for hours on end, maybe it’s time that you carve out some space for another full bath. According to Remodeling magazine, the midrange cost of adding a full bath to your one or one-and-a-half bathroom home in 2003 was $15,519. The resale value of that remodel is $15,418, an excellent average return of 95 percent.
Henry Ford once said you could choose any color Model T as long as it was black. In the 1940s, you could choose any color bathroom fixture, as long as it was white. The standard bath had a white cast iron tub, a white toilet, a white pedestal sink, and a white or white and black checked floor. Today, baths have been transformed. They aren’t just rooms where you go to clean up, they are showpieces-no less decorated than any other room in the house.
If you have a very tight budget, you are going to have to choose elements for your new bathroom wisely. You can easily spend $65 for a toilet, or $365. You can shell out $199 for a tub, or $5000 for a topof- the-line steam shower.You can pay $99 for a cultured marble vanity top, or 10 times that for polished granite. In fact, the average price of an upscale bathroom addition with a whirlpool tub was $38,134 in 2003, according to Remodeling magazine. Its resale value is $32,272, an average return of 84 percent.
Everyone has a different vision of what the ideal bathroom should look like. But there are universal elements you must consider when outfitting one. They are:
Tiles: Most folks want a ceramic tile floor because it looks solid, is easy to maintain, and is durable. That’s the easy part. The hard part is finding the exact tile for your bathroom floor. Finding the right color tile is even more difficult than finding the right color of paint from one of those massive paint chip displays in your local home improvement store.
Toilet: Most homeowners today install low-profile toilets that make the average-sized bathroom feel a bit larger. But you might not be able to go the home improvement store and just pick out any model that you like. That’s because in many parts of the country, low-flow toilets are mandated as water conservation measures.
Tub: Tubs are made of fiberglass (the least expensive and least durable), cast iron (the heaviest), and acrylic (generally regarded as having the most durable finish).
Vanity/sink: The two main options for washing up in your new bathroom are a pedestal sink and a sink set into a vanity. Everything else being equal, you should consider storage in your investment and resale equation because folks always want as much storage as possible. That doesn’t mean you must automatically rule out a pedestal sink. Instead, match it up with an oversized medicine cabinet, a large linen closet, or perhaps even another storage cabinet in the bathroom.