|Although often the smallest in terms of space, your home's bathroom(s) are arguably the most needed rooms in your entire home. Making your bathroom functional and beautiful requires some forethought and planning. Here we run down some of the must-haves for the modern bath that you should consider for your own bathroom. While some of these must-haves are best installed during the initial construction of your home, many of them can easily be added later on and can save you tons of money over the cost of future repairs while helping keep your family safe.
Cut-Off Stop Valves at Every Faucet and Fixture (and Access Panels)
Our first must-have will save you a lot of heartache in the future if you have a plumbing problem. Stop valves are used to cut the flow of water to a fixture in the event of emergencies so that you can repair the problem without shutting off water to the entire home. All of your fixtures, faucets, and showers in the bathroom, kitchen, basement, and laundry room should have cut-off valves or stop valves installed. And while the stop valve is a necessity, if you can't get to the valve it's useless - which is why you need access panels for the valves to allow for quick access.
Thermostatic Shower Valves
Temperature control in the shower is very important, especially if you have children or elderly folks living in your home. A thermostatic valve in your shower, oftentimes referred to as a thermostatic mixing valve or tempering valve prevent thermal shocks or scalds by controlling the temperature of the water that passes through them to a temperature that you select (between 60 and 120 degrees) and a flow rate of ½ to 10 gallons per minute (also at your discretion).
Hand Shower for Bathtub
Another must-have for those with small children, the elderly, handicapped, or others with limited mobility due to injury or illness is a handy hand shower. While many showers often come equipped with these useful hand showers or pull down shower heads, most bathtubs or whirlpools do not - but this wonderful add on can help you do a myriad of tasks from shampooing the family pet and cleaning the tub to rinsing your hair properly.
Grab Bars in Needed Areas
One of the leading causes of injury in the home are due to falls in the bathroom. Grab bars reduce the risk of injury in the bathroom and are very nominally priced and easy to install (just anchor to the studs in your bathroom's wall). Grab bars are optimally place in the tub area, shower area, and toileting area. A grab bar can support the weight of the average adult who loses their balance or slips in water - and if they prevent just one fall, installing a grab bar is money well-spent. Again, if you have elderly people living in your home, this is a definite must-have.
Bath Fan for the Shower
Notice how your bathroom mirror fogs up while you're in the shower? It is this same type of annoying moisture that is your first clue to what comes next: mildew, mold, warped wall, peeled paint, sagging wall paper, rotting wood, and damaged insulation. Sound expensive? Avoid these expenses and the repair work involved by making sure that your bathroom(s) is properly ventilated with a bath fan installed directly at the source of the moisture - the shower. A bath fan for the shower removes this moisture and condensed steam at its source and eliminates the potential danger of damage that can creep up over the years.
Toilets at ADA Height and Bidets
A standard toilet is built much too low to be comfortable for most folks. The ADA height toilet is built higher up and allows for you to sit down without falling - which is an issue with many people as they age or for those with back problems or other health concerns that cause them to be limited in their mobility. The ADA height toilet is nearly 18" in height as compared to standard toilets which are generally no higher than 15". Additionally, those same individuals (senior citizens, those with incontinence, the disabled, and those with impaired range of motion due to injury or illness) can also benefit from a bidet. A bidet is used to aid these groups of people with personal hygiene after toileting, and can allow for more independent living among those who find it difficult to care for themselves in that respect.