When I was in grade school, my classmates and I were taken on a tour of Underground Seattle—a fascinating network of underground passageways and basements under Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle that was once the ground level at the city’s origin in the mid-1800s. On that tour, my 12ish year old friends and I were utterly delighted to see a very old water closet, and learn that the first toilet was invented by none other than a man named Thomas Crapper. We suddenly had permission to use a dirty word!
I have great memories from that tour of amazing, long forgotten facades and spooky, dark rooms that smelled other worldly. But what I remember most from that day is, sadly, Mr. Crapper.
Imagine my disappointment when I later learned that Mr. Crapper did NOT invent the toilet after all, but merely increased its popularity while developing some important related inventions. I guess that’s still pretty cool.
So, thanks to Mr. Crapper and many other visionaries through time, all the necessary elements somehow came together, enabling us to devote a special room in our homes dedicated to personal hygiene.
But in our contemporary world, what would this important room be if it isn’t beautiful as well as functional? Our clients usually want stylish tubs, showers, glass enclosures, tile, faucets, vanities, countertops, medicine cabinets, lights, mirrors, towel and grab bars, and all the pretty soap, tissue, and tooth-brush holders on those gleaming countertops. Oh, and then they need a shower body spray system, diverter valve, shower pan, and other pipes and things you don’t even see.
A typical, modern bathroom is a collection of many elements that when assembled enable it to accomplish its primary goal, and be aesthetically pleasing at the same time. Granted, a “powder room” (with no shower or tub) doesn’t need quite as much, and a “master bath” may need more (a Jacuzzi, steam shower, heated floor, etc.). Couple all these components with the labor involved in installing them and you have a full-blown project. As with a simple kitchen remodel, you need a plumber, electrician, drywaller, tile-man, cabinet supplier, finish carpenter, flooring installer and painter to assemble all these components in order to create your dream bathroom. Perhaps you’re beginning to understand why updating a bathroom is not a cheap endeavor.
If you are remodeling (as opposed to doing new construction) you also must factor in the additional cost of demolition. Demolition (the removing of the old fixtures and tile) and preparation of the space depend on the original construction. Years ago tile and bathtubs were set in “mud” (concrete mortar), so that needs to be removed—a messy and time-consuming task. And, even if the new fixtures are to be placed in the same location, it’s often best to replace the old galvanized pipes because once the new tile is on the wall, you don’t want any problems with the pipes.
Naturally, the selection of the fixtures also has a large impact on the final cost of a bathroom remodel. A quality toilet can range in price from around $350, to Kohler’s Numi™ toilet which costs around $4,000 (and believe it or not, you can pay much more than that on other luxurious commodes if you really try). Similar price ranges are found when purchasing the rest of the fixtures.
If you’re on a budget and want to keep costs as reasonable as possible, please don’t be disheartened. More than ever before, there are beautiful bathroom components and finishes available to fit into almost any budget. We can guide you on how to minimize costs (large format tile is typically less expensive than an intricate design made from small tile since it requires less cutting and installation time). With or without a Numi, we can help you get the beautifully designed bathroom you’re dreaming of.
We want you to live happier in your home! Can we help you? Call us at 425.890.9000 for a quote!