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Stand-alone showers have been rising in popularity as the primary bathing method in many homes—they’re practical, spacious, and downright gorgeous. If you’ve been reconsidering your bathroom’s space with a shower conversion, think about the following important considerations to help you get started.

Can it affect my home’s resale value?

While it’s usually recommended to maintain at least one bathtub in a home, some Houzz polls indicate this may not be as important to homeowners as it used to be. One poll showed that 67% of respondents agreed that having only a large shower stall would not hurt a home’s resale value. Another poll indicated 54% of respondents believed having a shower is more important over either a tub, or both a shower and a bathtub, while only 6% believed having only a tub was most important.


Demographics for urban condos are shifting towards younger buyers whose preference leans towards maximizing the use of bathroom space. Homeowners are using tubs less and prefer the spacious appeal of shower stalls.

Clearances and codes


Before running out to your local building centre or calling contractors, it’s best to do some preliminary planning. There are codes that must be followed. It’s best to adhere to the International Plumbing Code, which indicates a minimum of 24” clearance between your shower stall and any object or adjacent wall—the ideal amount of space is at least 30”.


Rona has broken down these codes into a helpful set of measurement guidelines that you can follow when planning your space. Be sure to check your local and provincial building codes as well to ensure compliance. Having a good understanding of your space will help guide your design decisions and avoid any last-minute disappointments.


This is also a good time to determine if your space allows for a swinging door on your shower stall. If space is at a premium, then a sliding door or shower curtain are the solutions to consider.



You should also keep an eye on your overhead clearance, especially when dealing with a bathroom in an attic conversion. You need to ensure there is always a minimum ceiling clearance of seven feet.

Custom or kit?

Whether you use a custom design or shower kit really comes down to budget. Kits can be found at most major building centres, and run from $470 for a Basic 36” x 36” shower stall kit, right up to $3,900 for a 60” x 32” alcove shower stall. You’ll find the majority of kits within the $1,000 to $2,000 range. 

If you have a heftier budget and a desire for a unique installation, then consider hiring a professional contractor. Be prepared for a minimum budget of $5,000, though if you are renovating your entire bathroom this could jump to more than $10,000 depending on your bathroom’s size and materials used.


Curbed over curbless?

This is another design decision that should be carefully considered and decided on early in the process. Curbed showers are relatively uncomplicated installations and are more widely used, but if this is the home you plan on living in through retirement, then a curbless shower can address possible future mobility restrictions. If an accessible bathroom is a must, whether for immediate or future need, then a curbless shower is the way to go for ease of access with a wheelchair, walker, or crutches. Just be aware that while a curbless shower will make your bathroom feel more like a professional spa, the drainage system requires precision installation to avoid water damage.


Demolition and plumbing

If you’re doing your own conversion, you’ll need to remove any tiles and backing board from the walls and disconnect and remove the bathtub. Be sure to shut off the water, and also be on the lookout for any possible water damage to your framing and underflooring, plus wear and tear to your plumbing. If you detect any issues, now is a good time to repair and if needed, update the plumbing. If you encounter black mold, take precautions to remove it safely. 

The two videos below demonstrate how to remove both a porcelain and a cast iron tub, as well as tiled walls.


https://youtu.be/--7B9ZrfX6A

https://youtu.be/a2FtGH8uATI


Now that you have your pipes exposed, it’s time to update to a pressure balancing valve and say good-bye to unpleasant surprises whenever someone flushes the toilet!

Windows

It’s advisable to avoid having a window where your shower is located. If the window and frame are not sealed properly, you’re risking water incursion, mould—and unpleasant financial headaches. If you do have a window that can’t be avoided, check for water damage and mold when removing the tub and wall coverings, and ensure your window is properly sealed and waterproofed when installing your shower.

youtube.com/watch?v=YB98UHdvouE

 

Accessories


Once all the basics are covered, then it’s time to consider accessories, like specific types of showerheads, a bench, or something to hold extra shampoos and body washes. Waterproof benches are a lower-cost option over custom bench installs and run from $100 to well over $500. If you installed a custom shower—or even if you used a kit—there’s likely a ledge or shelf to hold personal care products, but if you need some extra space, a shower caddy is the simplest solution. Shower caddies come in a wide range of styles that either hang from an existing fixture or are spring-loaded to stand between the floor and ceiling.



There’s a lot to consider when converting a bathtub into a shower stall, but once it’s done you might find the hardest part at the end of all this will be having to get out of the shower before the hot water runs out.


Original Article from: Realtor.ca


 
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(BPT) – This year spring cleaning is more than ever about the deep clean. Spring typically inspires a little more time dedicated to cleaning, in fact, a recent survey commissioned by Bona and conducted by Harris Poll found that more than half of U.S. adults say that the start of spring triggers extra cleaning in the household. While in the past it might have been more about simply dusting hard-to-reach corners and cleaning out the fridge, this year it’s also about deep cleaning and disinfecting for health and safety.


Here are a few tips to deep clean this spring for anyone tackling the task.


Focus on high-use areas first

It may not be realistic to deep clean your whole home in one weekend so consider targeting busy areas of your home first. Bedrooms, bathrooms, family room, kitchen and entry areas likely get the most foot traffic, so start there and leave lesser used areas of the home for later. Gather some helpers and set a timeframe to establish a clear goal and end time. Consider a second round of cleaning if you’re unable to complete the task.

Clear out the clutter

Create a system that works for you to clear out the clutter and make space to deep clean. Set up boxes or bags clearly labeled “Trash,” “Recycle,” “Donate,” and “Belongs elsewhere.” Go through each target room, putting anything that shouldn’t be there in one of the labeled containers.


Be sure to get these boxes or bags where they belong to avoid additional house clutter (we’ve all been guilty of moving a pile from one room to another!). You’ll feel lighter and happier just seeing those boxes and bags head out the door. Consider tasking a family member with trash or donation drop-off.

Prioritize large surface areas

Once you’ve cleared the excess clutter, wipe down the room from top to bottom. Clean the dust accumulated on top of bookshelves or ceiling fans first, then wipe down walls from top to bottom to remove dust and grime, using a microfiber mop or cloth. Prioritize large surfaces like countertops and tables as well as potential germ hotspots like the kitchen sink. Finish up with the floors by vacuuming carpet or by using a cleaner tailored for your hardwood or hard-surface floors.

Disinfect

At every opportunity look for areas that can be disinfected. Focus on high-use items and areas like remote controls, doorknobs, drawer pulls, and keypads. Consider using products that use hydrogen peroxide, a proven, healthier way to kill germs. Many traditional antibacterial cleaners use quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats.” This specific class of chemicals is linked to skin irritation and respiratory problems and use of quats is contributing to the global problem of antimicrobial resistance.


For example, Bona PowerPlus® Antibacterial Hard-Surface Floor Cleaner is a new, hydrogen peroxide powered cleaning solution specifically designed to clean and disinfect hard, non-porous flooring surfaces. This ready-to-use antibacterial cleaner is formulated to clean and remove stubborn stains while killing 99.9% of household germs* with the power of hydrogen peroxide when used as directed. It also leaves your home smelling fresh and clean with no residue left behind.

Finishing touches

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned and refreshed your rooms, brainstorm other ways to improve your living space:


· Donate excess, little-used furniture to create more space


· Identify tasks best left to professionals, like exterior window cleaning or hardwood floor refinishing


· Display brightly colored artwork to renew your walls


· Set out a vase or two of colorful flower arrangements


Let your deep cleaning this spring bring a little renewal and brightness to your home. A clean home is also a healthy home for family, pets and friends.


*Kills 99.9% of Influenza A H1N1 Virus, Rhinovirus, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enterica, Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA], and Trichophyton mentagrophytes on hard, non-porous surfaces in 10 minutes.


Original Article from: My Motherlode

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As use of smart home technology continues to grow, it's hard to keep up with what's out there, what's compatible and how it all works together. Setting up your smart home can be as simple as putting a device in your living room or as complicated as installing a system of interconnected devices that speak to each other; how intricate you want to get is completely up to you. Keep in mind, however, not every system will be compatible with every product.

Check out our guide to setting up your smart home and control your lighting, security, thermostat, music and more with these smart devices and hubs.

Entertainment and assistants

a smart speaker on a pile of booksPhoto by Andres Urena on Unsplash

The simplest “smart devices” are voice command speakers. Consumers can choose from an assortment of smart home systems, including Amazon's Alexa and EchoGoogle HomeApple HomeKitSamsung's Smart Things and more. These devices are typically voice command-activated and can do things like stream music,read news headlines, set reminders or tell you what the weather is going to be like tomorrow. In some instances, you can link up your smartphone and make hands-free calls, send messages and even answer calls. You can also find nearby open houses with the REALTOR.ca skill for Amazon Alexa. For those of you not using an Amazon Echo, no problem, simply download the Amazon Alexa app and enable the REALTOR.ca skill for Alexa to use on your phone!

Security systems

a person using a smartphone to open a smart lock on a front door

Security products like cameras and alarm systems tend to be most people's first foray into home automation. Smart door locks, alarm systems, cameras and movement sensors can offer peace of mind when you're away from home. August Smart Lock is an easy way to lock and unlock your doors remotely through a phone app, making it popular for offices and shared workspaces. The Skybell Doorbell lets you see who's at your door and speak to them through your phone, even if you're not home. Plus there are many alarm system starter kits out there, like Nest SecureGo AbodeSimpliSafe and more.

Energy savers and automation

a smart thermostat on a wallPhoto by Dan LeFebvre on Unsplash

It's nice having things done for us, isn't it? One study suggests 1 in 6 Canadians have invested in some kind of home automation. Some of this automation makes our lives a bit easier—like scheduling the coffee maker to brew when your alarm goes off in the morning—but some can help save energy, too. LIFX smart light bulbs are Wi-Fi enabled and can be programmed to illuminate whenever you want, in a variety of colours. Smart thermostats like those from NestHoneywell and Ecobee, use sensors to help improve your home's energy efficiency by perceiving how many people are in a room and adjusting the temperature accordingly. They also allow you to make adjustments remotely from your smartphone. (In larger homes, you may need additional sensors).

The “home hub”

Photo by Status Quack on Unsplash

All of this technology can get overwhelming pretty quickly. If you want to be able to control everything from a single interface rather than delving into a dozen different apps, you're going to need a home hub. Smart speakers can only communicate directly with devices using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, so if you're trying to automate your light bulbs or thermostat, you might need a software hub to unify your devices.

Most home hubs will be able to discover your other devices. Although technically not classified as hubs, Amazon Echo and Google Home have “Works With Google Assistant” and “Works with Alexa” programs so you'll know which devices will be compatible. (For example, Honeywell, Nest and Ecobee are just a few smart thermostats that work with Alexa). In addition, the Amazon Echo Plus works as a ZigBee hub. ZigBee and Z-Wave are alternatives to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and operate on a mesh network to control your devices.

It's important to note that while these devices can be helpful, you will need to do your research, as no one app controls every smart device on the market. Prioritize which features matter most and build from there. Before long, you'll have the smartest house on the block.

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If you’ve ever wished that your range hood would turn on automatically in response to your cooktop, you’re in luck — a new wave of technology in the kitchen will assist with this and other cooking tasks. 


The kitchen of the future was on display at the 2019 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show and International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas in February. Appliance manufacturers showcased products designed to make the kitchen easier to cook in and help connect household members. Even if you’re not ready to adopt this emerging technology in your own kitchen, you can read on to learn where the industry is headed.


The Connected Kitchen Is Coming

One of the major trends we noticed at KBIS and IBS this year was the integration of kitchen appliances with home assistants such as the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, among others. This is a timely development since there has been a definite uptick in homeowners bringing home assistants into remodeled kitchens. Among homeowners recently upgrading electronics as part of their kitchen renovations, 31 percent added a home assistant, compared with 23 percent the year before, according to the 2019 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study

As just one example of this trend, Bosch has integrated its wall ovens, hoods and induction cooktops, as well as its refrigerators and dishwashers, with the open-platform Home Connect app. Homeowners can check if their cooktop is on, preheat their wall ovens, monitor the temperature of casseroles in their ovens, get notifications when the meal is ready and more — all remotely from the app. The Home Connect app integrates with Alexa and Google Assistant so that homeowners can do these things through voice commands.



Photo from Bosch

Through Home Connect, homeowners can sync their Bosch cooktops with their Bosch range hoods for automatic deployment when the cooktop is turned on. The Home Connect app can notify homeowners when their fridge or freezer door is open. And when Bosch’s smart dishwasher detects that detergent tabs are running low, the machine automatically reorders detergent through Home Connect’s partnership with Amazon Dash Replenishment. Bosch’s dishwasher even alerts homeowners in case of a leak — and stops operation and pumps water if one occurs. 

While Home Connect is an open-platform app — ThermadorGaggenau, Neff and Siemens also use it — several brands have created their own apps for smart kitchen devicesSignature Kitchen Suite’s app can remotely control the brand’s refrigerators, freezers and ovens. Miele and Dacor have apps for their products. And a host of LG products — kitchen, laundry and vacuum cleaners among them — can be controlled through LG’s open-platform SmartThinQ app or by using voice commands through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.


Photo from GE Appliances 

Households Organized Through a Digital Hub

One natural outgrowth of all this tech coming to the kitchen was seen at the show through improved digital family command centers. GE Appliances showcased its Kitchen Hub, pictured. It’s designed to be a family organizing center and control station for the home’s smart devices, as well as a place to stream Netflix while you cook. 

Homeowners can use the Kitchen Hub to pull up calendars and schedules, to access thousands of recipes via the integrated SideChef meal-planning app, and to make video calls while cooking. The hub is designed to be placed above the cooktop and has a ventilation system that protects it from heat, steam and grease. Though the product was debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2018, new this year is its integration with Google Assistant.



Photo from Samsung

Samsung debuted a new model of its Family Hub refrigerator with a new digital bulletin board where homeowners can write digital sticky notes, place digital photos or doodle directly on the screen. A view-inside feature allows homeowners to see inside their fridges from their smartphones — a useful feature when you’re at the grocery store and can’t remember if you need more milk. 

The Family Hub integrates Bixby, Samsung’s home assistant, which homeowners can use to ask for a weather report, call a Lyft or control other smart devices with voice commands. They also can control the home’s connected devices through the refrigerator screen itself.



Photo from Kohler

Faucets That Can Measure Water and Respond to Your Voice

As nice as a digital command center might be, sometimes what you really need is a faucet that can turn itself on or off when your hands are grimy from raw chicken. Enter the Kohler Sensate faucet with Kohler Konnect, pictured, and the Delta Trinsic pull-down faucet with VoiceIQ — two products you can turn on or off with voice commands thanks to integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

With both faucets, you can tell the device to fill your coffeepot, and it will emit the (preprogrammed) proper amount. Delta’s Trinsic line has a touch on-off function, meaning that a simple touch of the hand or wrist turns the faucet on or off, while Kohler’s Sensate has a touchless on-off sensor, so a wave of the hand will do the job.



Photo from American Standard

For those who like the idea of a sink dispensing a specific amount of water but aren’t interested in home assistants, American Standard showcased its Beale MeasureFill Touch kitchen faucet, shown in this photo and introduced at KBIS in 2018, which has a hand dial marked with measurements ranging from a half-cup up to 5 cups. Homeowners can turn the dial and walk away, and the faucet will dispense the exact amount selected. 

A cool new product is Grohe’s Blue Chilled & Sparkling 2.0 faucet, which eliminates waste from purchasing bottled water. A push button on the faucet dispenses chilled, filtered water or, if you prefer, sparkling water powered by a carbon dioxide tank installed beneath the sink. The faucet is Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled so that homeowners can track carbon dioxide usage and filter status on the Grohe Ondus app.



Photo from Signature Kitchen Suite 

Cooktops and Ovens With More Bells and Whistles 

Stove innovations debuted at the shows help homeowners cook their food with greater precision. Signature Kitchen Suite added a 36-inch dual-fuel pro range with a built-in sous vide cooker after debuting a 48-inch version with the industry’s first built-in sous vide cooker, pictured, last year. Sous vide is a cooking technique in which food is placed in a food-grade plastic pouch or glass jar and submerged in a water bath at a low temperature for a long period of time, and it allows for precise temperature control. The technique preserves flavor and can help home chefs avoid overcooking meat. 

The 48-inch cooktop has two induction surfaces that can be used with a griddle, teppanyaki plate or large cookware. It combines an 18-inch steam and convection oven, shown on the left, with a standard 30-inch oven, shown on the right. The 36-inch gas model comes in a variety of arrangements, including sous vide with four burners and griddle with four burners.



Photo from Signature Kitchen Suite

Here’s a closer look at the built-in sous vide portion of the cooktop.

The 36- and 48-inch ranges are Wi-Fi-enabled. Homeowners can control them remotely — preheat the oven, for instance — through the Signature Kitchen Suite app.

Signature also gives customers the option to enroll in a concierge service with Wi-Fi monitoring. The program offers a third year of warranty free, and the company can proactively notify enrolled homeowners when their products need replacement or repair. The company has repair people on call 24/7 and promises completed repairs within 24 to 48 hours.



Wine Gets the Pamper Treatment

For the wine connoisseur, KBIS revealed some exciting developments in wine storage. Dacor’s new 24-inch wine cellar, pictured, holds up to 100 bottles in three independently cooled zones. Each zone has its own sensor to keep the humidity in the ideal 50 percent to 80 percent range, and cooling technology limits temperature fluctuations to just three-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit so that the wine stays at the desired chill level. Anti-vibration mounts keep the wine from jiggling, and an air purification system prevents cork contamination. Homeowners can catalog their wines through Dacor’s IQ Connect app, so they know exactly where their favorite bottle is located within the fridge.




Photo from LG

Another neat kitchen product slated to roll out and featured at KBIS is LG’s HomeBrew, pictured, the industry’s first capsule-based craft beer maker. 

Homeowners would use it to make beer by placing four capsules containing malt, yeast, hop oil and flavoring into the machine and pressing start. The HomeBrew makes an American IPA, an American pale ale, a full-bodied English stout, a Belgian-style witbier and a Czech Pilsner, with more beers to come down the road. This smart machine can be controlled remotely using LG’s SmartThinQ app or through voice commands and a home assistant.


Originally from: Houzz

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Moe Pourtaghi


"Nothing brings me more joy than seeing my buyers & sellers have success in their Real Estate endeavours. I hope you find the articles on my blog inspiring and educating in your ventures." - Moe Pourtaghi

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