Guest Expert Interview by MoonWorksHome with Darian Bobby of Atlas Home Improvement on Bathroom Renovation Tips    Posted, July 8, 2015

Bathroom renovations are some of the most extensive remodels a homeowner can undertake. As such, it is more important than ever to make sure ahead of time that you know what you want and how to achieve it. Considering the difficulty and the cost of a bathroom renovation, chances are you will be living with your new commode for a while, so it makes sense to ensure you’re going to like the results!

To find out the newest trends and best remodeling tips, we talked to Atlas Home Improvement’s, Darian Bobby. Atlas Home Improvement specializes in bathroom remodeling and they have a team of experts with a wealth of information and experience to share. Join us for our Q & A with the expert!

DarianBobbyWhat are some things someone should ask themselves before undertaking a bathroom remodel?
It’s important for the homeowner to consider how long they plan to stay in the home. Are they looking for a long-term solution, or are they more concerned about resale value? If they are planning to stay and looking for a permanent solution, they should consider convenience as well as the safety options available. When planning projects with my clients, I encourage them to try to see themselves 10 to 15 years older. Together, we can design the remodel with something that will look great and be a safe, comfortable bathroom that allows them to “age in place.”
Bathwraps are an excellent alternative to the classic tile and fiberglass options commonly used for bathtubs.

What are some of the main advantages of Bathwraps that make them a popular choice?
Bathwraps are made of a premium acrylic that’s very similar to a Corian countertop in a kitchen or Jacuzzi hot tub. They are made of a non-porous surface and are resistant to mold, mildew, hard water, calcium, lime deposits, etc. Bathwrap can be custom built in a tub or shower pan to fit almost any space and the wall systems come in many popular colors. The acrylic walls can also be formed into simulated patterns that look like tile. The exceptional benefit is that the grout lines are simulated and unlike real tile, which can be a maintenance nightmare, is simple to clean and keeps its great looks for busy homeowners.

While tile may be being phased out of bath tubs, it’s still a popular choice for bathroom floors. What are some strengths and drawbacks of tile floors in the bathroom?
Primarily safety, maintenance and comfort. The Centers for Disease Control reports 45% of all serious accidents in the home occur in the bathroom. Bathrooms are smaller spaces, often have slippery floors and if someone falls, there are hard surfaces ready to make contact with our breakable bodies! As the trend to stay in our homes longer and age-in-place grows, homeowners appreciate the alternatives to tile that we provide. Tile and grout also require specific maintenance that often requires professional cleaning and sealing during its life-cycle to remain attractive. For many, the shock of a cold Michigan-winter tile floor on one’s feet is enough to run to the warmth of durable and easy-care styled vinyl.
There are better options for flooring available today. We recommend resilient comfort flooring, which is a one-piece, thick, vinyl sheet that can be laid directly over tile. It is non-slip, wipes clean with soap and water, and is warm on your feet in the winter!

Certain caulks contain a mildew-cide that helps protect against mildew for up to five years. Do you use any of these? What are other products someone could consider?
We use a special mildew-resistant silicone that is part of the Bathwraps system. It’s much better than a traditional silicone available at a big box store. We have learned that there are many other reasons why a home may develop mildew in the first place. Homeowners should make sure the bathroom is well-ventilated and open the window or turn on the fan every time they use the shower. It’s also important to wipe down their silicone when they clean the shower walls (at least once per week). If they do not adhere to this type of basic maintenance and keep the shower clean, then it really won’t matter what type of silicone or caulk is in the shower.

What are the most practical and functional bathroom renovations?
Ten years ago, we found almost half our clients still wanted a new bathtub installed. Today, that number has fallen to about 20%! Most people are busy and don’t have the time or interest to soak in a tub. That life-style change has made a brand new walk-in shower the remodel of choice. They come with a low threshold that is easy and safe to walk into. Some people may opt for a fixed bench seat in the corner and take a seated shower as opposed to standing up. They are extremely practical and convenient with easy entry & exit. As Age-in-Place specialists, we see the barrier-free shower a trend that will add resale value to a home. Adding luxurious features such as a RainShower Head with massage function creates an instant retreat to relax.

For someone who’s looking to enjoy themselves a bit more, what are some of the most elaborate and lush renovations you’ve seen or done?
Our most popular option for relaxing is a Jacuzzi Hydrotherapy Walk-In Tub. This is a special tub that has a door, allowing the user to simply walk in and sit comfortably on a built-in seat. With a full tub, they can turn on massaging water jets and soothing air bubblers to relax away aches and pains. Sometimes, people think of a walk-in tub as being for older people; but we are seeing many younger homeowners requesting them. A Jacuzzi walk-in tub is really a personal spa that can be used in the privacy of your home; it’s much safer to use and less expensive than an outdoor hot tub.
There are many other features such as Chromotherapy (lights that change the color of water) and Aromatherapy (scents that can be added into the bubbles) to complete that wonderfully relaxing experience. We had a client recently refer to her Jacuzzi as the Fountain of Youth!

What are some qualities in a bathroom renovation company homeowners might look for in order to find the best fit for their project?
Choosing the right company is the most important thing. I believe that if they find the right company, everything else will fall into place and they will ultimately be happy with the project.

  • Look for a company that has been in business for awhile under the same name.
  • You can also tell a lot by the professionalism of their website and representatives.
  • Companies who invest in their employees versus hiring subcontractors demonstrate a commitment to their work and reputation.
  • Make sure they are properly insured with workman’s comp as well as liability insurance. These are costly for business, but reliable companies have them!
  • Check their listing with the Better Business Bureau
  • Objective review sites like Guild Quality and Angie’s List give homeowners the opportunity to hear what other people are saying about their work
  • Ask for references and reach out to them to learn about their experience with the company you are considering.
  • Consider companies who offer payment options. Reliable companies who deliver quality are usually not cheap. If they offer a convenient monthly payment plan, then the homeowner may be able to more easily afford buying quality the first time instead of living with a mistake.
  • We offer a free guide to choosing the right contractor for your project.
  • Often the difference is found in unspoken details: things like testing every Jacuzzi Walk-In Tub in our facility for water-tightness and all functions before we bring it to your home. It’s something we don’t have to do. We do it so that when you turn on your Jacuzzi, you know it will work. Now, that’s relaxing!

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