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One of the most common home renovations is the addition of a bathroom. Most older houses were built with no more than one bath; in today’s world, there’s almost no such thing as too many baths. In new construction, the rule of thumb is at least one bath for the master bedroom, one bath for every two additional bedrooms, and a half-bath (toilet and sink) near the relaxation area of the house. If you have fewer baths, that may be why you’re reading this article.
You know whether your bathroom facilities are adequate or not. But there are other questions you need to ask yourself as you continue your inspection tour. Is there an electrical outlet in the bathroom and, if so, is it a ground-fault interrupter (GFI) receptacle? This is a safety device that functions as a second fuse and will, in the event of a fault in the ground, shut off power to the outlet and prevent electrical shock. They’re recognizable by their small, rectangular reset buttons located between the plug receptacles.
Is the water pressure adequate? Run the cold water in the tub or shower and then flush the toilet: If the volume of running water diminishes noticeably, the pressure is low. Do you need a second sink? Is there enough ventilation, or does the bathroom fill with steam and remain damp for hours after every shower? Is the tile around the bath or shower tight or are there signs of deterioration at the corners or at the junction between the tile and the tub or shower base? Use the heel of your hand to exert some gentle pressure on the tile walls at the point where they join the tub or shower pan. Is there any give? Springy tile may indicate the wall has gotten damp and deteriorated over the years. The absence of a grout line and the presence of mold are signs that water may be seeping into the wall cavities.
Are the porcelain fixtures in good condition or is there cracking or pitting? Are any of the fixtures of a certain age? Older fixtures, even if they have age lines, can add character. Pedestal sinks, claw-foot tubs, and pull-chain toilets are cherished by some home renovators.
Examine the floors around the toilet: Irregularities in the floor (dips, discoloration, softness) may indicate leakage that has caused decay in the subfloor or even the structure around the toilet. That will need to be repaired. Examine the floors around the perimeter of the room, too. Like kitchens, bathroom floors require wet mopping and if the joint where the floor abuts the walls isn’t watertight, moisture can be wicked by the walls and produce peeling paint or wallpaper and, over the long term, deterioration of the wall itself.