Welcome back, once again, for the continuation and in this case, the culmination, of Facelift or Remodel. We have so far discussed Flooring and Cabinetry issues one can encounter when working on your kitchen and or bath. This month we will touch on issues that pertain to the Fixtures in the K&B. That is my true specialty. As owner operator of Aquadecor / Faucets, Sinks, Etc. my family and I are confronted daily with challenges associated with all types of issues related to this. The fixtures (toilets, faucets, sinks, lights etc…) are considered to be pretty much any appliance type device that, most of the time, requires a licensed contractor to install.
Many times the reinstallation of these fixtures are reasonably priced(Depending of course on your selection) and can create a very clear change along with a little paint on the walls can make a small investment a major visual and functional change. Of course, we go back to the original rule- what condition is/are your fixture/s in to begin with. I am taking it for granted for the purpose of this write up, that the homeowner wants to change the fixtures in his or her bath.
TOILET- The first and really quick test you should do before deciding to change out your water closet (toilet), is to measure the distance between the wall behind the water closet and the bolts on the side of the closet. That dimension is called the toilet rough-in dimension. The standard is 12”, and about 95% of the water closets available in the market place today are for 12” rough-ins. Unfortunately, that dimension is not always 12”. Sometimes it’s a little less and sometimes a little more than 12”. There are a few avenues to rectify your problem, in my opinion, only one of them, good. Some of the bad ones first, this should allow you to fully appreciate the last. First, you can have the floor chipped away at the drain area to allow moving the piping over the necessary distance, by a contractor with his chipping hammer. This would allow the dimension to be rectified back to 12”. It would also require additional piping, is expensive, and is extremely messy. Second, you can go on a hunting expedition in search of either 10” or 14” rough toilets that would respectively accommodate your non-standard rough-in dimension. These water closes are far and few between and because of the laws of supply and demand, are very expensive and usually very plain looking. The last, newest and easiest option is to purchase your water closet from a manufacturer that incorporates removable trap ways on their toilets. These toilets in addition to being skirted (are fully draped in the front out of the same vitreous china/porcelain material that conceals the trap way. This feature also makes cleaning the toilet considerably easier ) come with removable trap ways that are standard at 12” roughs. But, as an option these companies offer 10” and 14” removable trap ways that can be used in lieu of the 12” trap that comes in the box. This will accommodate/ adapt these toilets to any of these offset installation requirements. Today, there are several manufacturers that offer toilets with these features, although the pioneer of the technology was TOTO of Japan.
In the flooring section we discussed challenges that may result from different size toilet footprints with regard to tile/stone/wood flooring.
FAUCETS (LAVATORY) - Pretty much what you see is what you need to get. What do I mean? If you are not changing your lavatory sink/bowl or in some cases countertops, you need to replace the faucet you have with a faucet that covers the same amount of holes and that the holes are the same distance apart. The three types available are: single hole, 4” CC, and widespread faucets. The first, as its name sake suggests needs only one hole to be installed into. The 4” CC is installed into three holes, the center of the two outside holes being separated by 4”. The widespread faucet also gets installed into three holes, but the center of their two outside holes are separated by 8” or more. Other concerns to keep in mind, although they are clearly more aesthetic in nature, are to try to match the finish on all the faucetry, accessories, lighting, and door hardware. You won’t believe, if you have these in different finishes, how much of a difference just this makes.
Hopefully this write up has helped to shed some light on what may not always be obvious issues and concerns encountered when working on your kitchen and or bath. Most importantly, I hope this was able to help anyone who is on the fence and undecided about whether to do a complete remodel or just a facelift. If I can be of any further assistance in these decisions or any others regarding your kitchen and or bath, please do not hesitate to contact me at the numbers referenced below.