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Sat, July 20

Ask the contractor: How much room do you need for a toilet?

Q: My wife and I are going to remodel a small bathroom and my wife is insisting that we enlarge the bath for additional toilet space. I am afraid I am not going to win this remodel, but is there a rule of thumb that should be considered when enlarging a toilet area and is it really important? Ed and Connie, Prescott.

A: In talking with Christy Board, a local Certified Bath and Kitchen Designer there are other considerations for bathroom planning besides fixtures and cabinets and flooring, etc. One of the major ones to consider is the toilet area. Some people read while sitting on the toilet so having proper lighting and a storage area for reading materials is important. Also ventilation should be planned.

The size and type of the toilet you are going to install needs to be considered. A two-piece toilet (one with a separate tank and bowl) has a much larger profile than a one-piece toilet. The typical seat height of a toilet is between 14 and 17 inches so consideration for wheelchair usage or handicap usage should be considered when designing a new bath area. There are various toilet widths and they range from 17 to 23 inches. A standard toilet bowl is about 25 inches deep, while one with an elongated bowl is about 30 inches. Also, we all know that using the toilet people need to stand, turn, sit, remove clothing, shoes and use nearby supplies. The bath industry recommends at least 30 inches of clear space in front of the toilet to allow for these activities and might possibly have to be larger for people needing assistance.

It is important to check with your local building code official to see what the code clearance is. For someone needing assistance it is better to consider greater clearance in front of the toilet and the side area. Also, some toilet areas may need grab bars, now or for future planning reinforcement around the toilet area should be considered. The toilet can be in several places within a bath and may even have its own separate area.

It is important to allow sufficient space for cleaning around the toilet area or there are no walls or obstacles areas.

Q: We are considering a refresh of our kitchen with a cabinet reface. Should we replace or reface? Margaret and Tom, Prescott

A: There are a couple of things to consider with the redo. Are you keeping your existing cabinets? If you are then a reface can certainly give you a new updated sleek look without the major renovation and of course without the "reservation tab" for dinners out.

Replacing will give you the opportunity to revise storage layouts, possibly add more drawers and roll-out options, crown molding and redo your work space area. Replacing usually costs more, however you will have an entirely new kitchen.

If you reface, you can have new hinges, hardware and even add glass doors. (As well you can have these options with a replacement feature). The benefits for refacing are less interruption and expense. The benefits of replacement are cabinets with new features and you can maximize your usable space and replacement will give you the option of a new sink and faucet and maybe a countertop while you are at it.

We have several wonderful local companies that reface and replace. As a side note, I just added new hardware to my cabinets and drawers and installed glass doors in a few upper cabinets and what instant drama and change in my kitchen. The hardest part was selecting knobs. I hate to say that I made one local hardware store crazy buying knobs. The store must have had at least 100 different knobs and I do believe that I tried at least 88 of them before I settled on a design, material, shape, color. Not only do knobs have to feel right, they have to look right.


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