bathroom remodeling

Bathroom remodeling planning guidelines

These specifications are bathroom remodeling suggestions.  Your Sparta Trades Kitchen & Bath Remodeling designer can help you work through what is best for you and your family.


Doorway opening should be at least 32 inches, requiring a minimum 2-foot 10-inch wide door.

Door Interference: Entry or fixture doors should not interfere with each other and/or the safe use of fixtures/cabinets.

Ceiling Height

Bathroom floor to ceiling minimum height is 80 inches. A shower or tub with a shower head shall have a minimum floor to ceiling height of 80 inches above a minimum area 30 inches x 30 inches at the shower head.

Clear Space

Plan a clear space of 30 inches from the front edge of all fixtures to any opposite bath fixture, wall, or obstacle.

A minimum space of at least 21 inches is required in front of lavatory, toilet, bidet, and tub, with a 24-inch minimum space in front of a shower entry.

Single Lavatory Placement

The distance from the center line of the lavatory to the sidewall/tall obstacle should be at least 20 inches.

The minimum distance required is 15 inches. The minimum distance required between a wall and the edge of a lavatory is 4 inches.

Double Lavatory Placement

The distance between the center lines of two lavatories should be at least 36 inches.

The minimum distance required is 30 inches.

The minimum distance required between the edges of two lavatories is 4 inches.

Lavatory/Vanity Height

The height for a lavatory varies between 32 inches – 43 inches to fit the user.

Countertop Edges

Clipped or round corners rather than sharp edges are recommended on all counters.

Shower Size

The interior shower size should be at least 36 inches x 36 inches. The minimum interior size required is 30 inches x 30 inches.

Bath Planning: Needs And Wish-Lists

To get the most from a new bathroom, you’ll want to make sure it meets the needs of everyone who will be using it. If you are remodeling, you will also want to identify any problems with, or features you don’t like, in your current bathroom. Here is a list of questions you will want to ask yourself:

Who Will Be Using The Space

  • A family bath should comfortably accommodate two people at the same time. That could mean, for example, planning enough space for two sinks. “Spacial zoning” of your fixtures (isolating the toilet from the shower, bathtub and sinks), will help provide privacy and reduce congestion.
  • A master bath suite, which is often planned as a private retreat from family and the outside world, should have space to accommodate extra relaxation and luxury features, such as an over-sized chair for reading or resting.
  • A powder room, guest bath or half bath typically requires less space than a full bath. That said, make sure you don’t sacrifice comfort and adequate storage for space.
  • Children’s baths pose unique concerns. They typically require more safety features and lower heights, but also need to be adaptable as kids grow.
  • If you have elderly relatives living with your or family members with disabilities, be sure to take functional or safety needs into account.
  • Do the users have a preference for showering vs. bathing? If you are remodeling, do your present fixtures reflect those preferences?
  • Is the bathroom conveniently located and accessible for all users?
  • Is the layout user-friendly?
  • Does it make the most of the existing space?
  • Is your existing bath too small?
  • Could you annex an adjacent closet or hallway to expand the space?
  • Does the bathroom reflect the style and taste of the individuals who use the space?
  • If there are children in the home, is there adequate secure storage for prescription drugs and cleaning supplies?
  • Is the current ventilation adequate?
  • Accumulated moisture results in not only steamy mirrors, but also mildew on tile, loose wallpaper and blistering paint.
  • Is the lighting sufficient for specific grooming tasks, overall ambiance and safety?

Bath Changes That Pay Back

Remodeling an outdated bathroom is a sound investment: On average, American homeowners recoup 90 percent of their renovation costs at resale, according to Remodeling Magazine’s most recent “cost vs. Value” 2006 report. Adding a second bathroom is another project that will help make a property significantly easier to sell.

If your are considering selling anytime in the near-term, however, beware of bathroom renovations that some buyers might find more off-putting than appealing. “You can always add some fuchsia towels to the bathroom if that’s your color. From a marketability standpoint, however, the advise is against installing fuchsia tiles.

If pleasing prospective buyers and getting the greatest return on investment is a top priority, keep in mind the experts’ advice when renovating your bathroom.

Keep It Simple

From a design perspective, clean and simple is always more marketable than anything that’s ornate or off the wall.

Consider sticking with white fixtures and neutral color scheme if you really want to play it safe. For the floor, ceramic tile tends to bring the greatest return on investment.

Showers have surpassed whirlpool baths in popularity. But keep in mind that there are tub people and there are shower people. If you install only a shower, make it a roomy one – at least a 5-footer, so the next owners have the option of removing it and putting a tub in its place.

Shower Power

Handheld shower heads facilitate cleanup and are considered a “must have” by many remodeling professionals and home buyers.

Pause For Reflection

Anything you can do to make a bathroom feel bigger is a plus. A wall-to-wall, counter-to-ceiling mirror will make a small space seem much larger.

A wall-to-wall mirror works well with a double sink vanity because the reflective surface unifies the shared space. Clean, contemporary bathroom designs generally call for unframed or beveled mirrors.

Increasingly, however, bathroom designers seeking a more furnished look are mounting framed oval or rectangular mirrors above the sinks instead of flat, unframed mirror that extend from one end of the vanity to another.

Everything In Its Place

Pedestal sinks look sharp but don’t offer storage or counter space. If you install one, don’t forget to add cabinetry or storage units.

Keep Style Consistent

Ideally, a bathroom should feel like an oasis. But that doesn’t mean you should forsake the style of the house to which it’s attached. Consistency is key: Don’t put a rustic timber mountain look in a 1950s-era brick ranch house.

Make A Wish List And Project Binder

Once you have determined your needs and identified any existing problems or issues you will want to correct with a new bath, start a “wish list” binder or project scrapbook. A great source of inspiration when it comes to designing your new bath, a project binder or scrapbook will also help keep you organized and focused.

Items to include:

  • Design idea and trend articles clipped from magazines
  • Information from consumer publications that rates products and building materials
  • Pictures of attractive bathrooms from magazines and product literature
  • Creative ideas for storing towels and toiletries, and for decorative items to personalize your new bath
  • Product literature categorized by fixtures and faucets, cabinets and countertops, flooring, lighting and window treatments
  • Paint samples and fabric swatches
  • Business cards, newspaper ads, and the names and addresses of interior designers, builders, and retail suppliers
  • A pad of paper for jotting down ideas, layout sketches, likes and dislikes

Use the Special Features checklist below to identify those features your feel would add value or convenience to your new bath. Add it to your project binder for ready reference.

Creating a project binder-and visiting showrooms for further inspiration-will help you to better visualize what you want your new bathroom to look like. Ultimately, this will save a lot of time and guesswork as you move forward with your project.

The Bottom Line – Your Project Budget

On a per-square-foot basis, the bathroom is the most expensive room in the house to remodel. What you will pay depends on many factors, but the area you live in and the products you include are the two biggest variables. If you are remodeling, the most expensive aspects of your project will be cabinet installation and relocating major fixtures within the space, additional labor to execute your project- plumbing, tile work, carpentry, installation, job supervision, can all add up to more than 50% of the project.

When developing your project budget, consider how long you intend to stay in your new or present home.

  • If you intend to stay in your home for a number of years, a new or remodeled bath is well worth the investment.
  • If you plan to sell your home in the next few years, check with a local real estate agent to find out how many baths and what kinds of amenities home-buyers in your area expect.

As with any project, you will need to make some trade offs. Determining your budget can help you prioritize your needs so you can begin to consider less expensive alternatives, if necessary, and get the most for your money.

Found Space: 8 Tips For Small Bathrooms

Looking To Create More Bathroom Space Without Calling In The Wrecking Ball?  Look No Further!

In order to stand comfortably in your bathroom, do you need one foot in the tub?

Over the past 30 years, the average size bathrooms has almost doubled. However, in many older houses the main bathroom has remained at its’ original 5 feet x 8 feet size. Feel like time has passed your bathroom by? Don’t despair. The following 8 tips from Sparta Trades Kitchen & Bathroom Remodeling will help you update your small bathroom, either by saving physical space or by using design techniques to increase the perception of space.

TIP 1:  Less Commodious Commodes

Old toilets are larger and less efficient than newer models. To give yourself more room to operate, consider replacing your old model with a compact toilet. It’s the same size as a round-front model and still provides the comfort of an elongated seat.

TIP 2: A bonus

Newer toilets flush with less water, making them more friendly to the environment.

TIP 3:  Smaller Sinks

Get a sleeker, roomier look with a stone or solid-surface counter and an under counter mounted sink.

TIP 4:

Change your shower faucet to a space-saving, single control model.

TIP 5:

Consider hanging your vanity cabinet from the wall at a more comfortable height (around 32 or 36 inches) to avoid the necessity of bending over.

TIP 6:

Save real and perceived space by installing a smaller pedestal or wall-mounted sink, or a console table.

TIP 7: Not-So-Big Bathtubs 

Look for a 5-foot tub with a flat bottom. They are perfect for showering, but still deep enough for a pleasant bath.  In a traditional-size bathroom, the bathtub tends to take up quite a bit of room. To give the illusion of more space, you might consider replacing your old tub with a lower-walled bathtub or shower.

TIP 8:

Choose a simple shower door or shower screen. Stay away from overly ornate designs, as they don’t help maintain visual openness.

By using some imagination and a few simple tips, you can turn your cramped bathroom into a cozy retreat-without moving any walls.

Locating Bathroom Devices And Accessories

Residential bathrooms are busy places packed with plumbing fixtures and numerous supporting devices and accessories. With these items competing for limited space, a bathroom quickly can become a hodge-podge of clutter with little correlation between an item’s location and the function it serves. To simplify bathroom layouts, we follow a few rules to locate and coordinate bathroom devices and accessories. We want to make clear visual sense of switches and outlets, increase the perception space, and create a comfortable, open, and inviting feeling.

Guidelines For Locating Devices And Accessories

One of the first considerations for locating devices and accessories is whether there are any special needs. Will children be using the bathroom regularly? Will guests use the bathroom? The room’s configuration also will influence locations, but an important rule of thumb is that devices and accessories should be within arm’s reach of the task that they support. Another consideration is blocking and backing required for accessories. The rough framing often is complete before all the devices and accessories have been selected, which means the locations have to be anticipated. Consult Sparta Trades Kitchens & Baths about separate locations and suggestions.

We hope this information has been useful.  Sparta Trades Kitchen & Bathroom Remodeling has been helping clients transform and upgrade their homes since 1954.  If you are thinking of remodeling your bathroom, please fill out this questionnaire to get started.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!