Q: We have a master bathroom with a large walk-in closet area. We plan to turn part of this area into a small bathroom, complete with a bathtub. Since floor area in the new bathroom will be tight, what type of space-saving bathtub could you recommend we look into?
A: In a small bathroom, every extra inch of floor space can be prime real estate. Wall-hung sinks and residential wall-hung toilets can be great choices.
As far as a space-saving bathtub, you may want to check out a corner-style tub. Like the name says, this type of tub fits snugly into a corner area in the bathroom. The front wall of the tub runs diagonally across the corner area, and this can open up a little more floor space. Corner tubs are available in soaking, whirlpool and bubble models.
Also, new clover shape corner tubs can give you a little more bathing space with the same footprint by using more of the dead corner area.
These tubs can be special order fixtures, and before your start the job I recommend visiting your local plumbing store to see what models are available.
Research can save money
Q: I have an older tub and shower unit with problems. First, the rusted chrome valve trim, tub spout and handle all need to be replaced. Second, the tub drain lever does not work, and water will not stay in the tub. Third, the showerhead is full of water deposits, and the flow is weak. I don't know where to start, and I'm ready to give up. But, before I call my plumber, is there some legwork I can do to lower the cost of this job?
A: Even if you're working with a plumber, you can do some research and have the major parts at the job site, ready for the plumber. This may save some money.
First, you need to get the make and model of your mixing valve and see if trim parts are still available. Calling the factory help line of the valve manufacturer can help with this quest. If parts are not available, the entire valve may have to be replaced.
Second, the tub trip waste drain assembly is a separate unit, and most plumbing supply houses should carry a replacement unit to fit your tub. Take a photo of your drain assembly with you to the supply house.
Finally, for an easy showerhead choice, visit a home center that features a hands-on shower display area. You should be able to help lower labor costs, so don't throw in the towel just yet on your repair projects.
Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate.