May 042011

Shampoo, conditioners, soap, sponges, and razors, although necessary in the bathroom, can all lead to bathroom clutter. They not only make getting in and out of the shower or tub difficult, they often block the shower curtain or are in the way of the shower doors. To clean up this mess, consider getting a shower caddy.

Everything today has more choices and options, and the shower caddy is no exception. When looking at shower shelving you will find that there are many possibilities, including corner units and over the showerhead or shower door designs. Additionally, they come in various colors, shapes, sizes and with many optional specialty features.


One thing you should consider before purchasing a unit is who will be using the caddy. Are you the only one in the house or are you considering an entire family? The answer to this particular question is going to help you make the best choice.

The more people who will be using the caddy, the more shelves you might want to get. Not everybody wants to use the same kind of shampoo and conditioner.

Caddy units come in a number of different materials. Stainless steel, mesh, plastic and rope are just a few of the choices. When choosing a material, think about how you are going to keep the caddy clean and looking its best. Furthermore, you will also want to consider other problems that can occur like rust, corrosion and/or water spots.

Types of Caddies

An over the shower head caddy can be quite useful when you have small children in the home. If you do not want them to have access to certain items like razors, it is perfect for keeping these items from their reach. Because it has many shelves, this option is also great if you have an existing caddy, but determine that it is not big enough.

An over the shower door caddy similarly has a number of shelves. It will have long hooks that allow it to fit over most standard shower doors. It may even have adjustable shelves.

A pole caddy can be great. They are usually installed using a suspension pole similar to the ones that are sometimes used to hold up shower curtains. They are not only solid and sturdy; they also offer a large number of shelves.

If you are looking for something more permanent, you can get a permanent type caddy that can be glued or attached with suction cups directly onto the shower tile or shower surround. These units can be used on almost any kind of surface so you can attach it anywhere in the shower. Many people select caddies that can be tucked right into the corner thereby making the most of their shower space.

One option that many people really appreciate is having a dispenser on their caddy. This option eliminates the need to have shampoo bottles within the bathing area, which are often knocked and spilled. Many of these units even provide an anti-steam mirror for men who like to shave in the shower.

Fancy and fun caddies can be found. For example, if your bathroom is used by children, you might want to think about a frog or an octopus caddy.

Bathrooms are one room in the home that everybody, including guests will use. Clean up the clutter and mess. Get yourself a caddy.

Apr 122011

The shower valve is one of the most important parts of the shower. Even so, most people have no idea of what it actually does, or that there are many different makes and models that are available to them.

Therefore, before you begin any kind of bathroom remodel or renovation and especially if you are changing showerheads, you should have a basic understanding of what the valve does and what options you have.

Manual Valve

The least expensive type of shower valve on the market is the regular or manual valve. These valves do not regulate the temperature of the water nor do they control the pressure. This is the type of system that is in place if you’ve ever been either frozen or scalded in the shower.

Additionally, if this were not bad enough, if someone in the house decided to run the dishwasher, you might have had your shower reduced to a steady drip.

Pressure Balanced Valve

The pressure balanced valve is the one that you will find in most homes today. This valve is probably the one that you have in your bathroom right now. It normally consists of a single handle and a single control. When you turn the handle to the left, the water gets warmer. You do not control the pressure.

With this valve, you do not have to worry about other people using the water while you are showering. The valve is set to accommodate any changes in both temperature and pressure automatically. If someone does flush the toilet, the temperature in the shower should not vary more than a couple of degrees.

These shower valves often incorporate what is known as a diverter. This small valve allows you to direct where the water comes out. In many of these systems, the diverter control is on the faucet. This changes the water from flowing out of the faucet and directs it to the showerhead.

Thermostatic valve

The other option available is known as a thermostatic valve. This permits an individual to set the temperature of the water and regulate the pressure. There are separate controls for both. This feature is great for shower safety and for anyone who plans to install a shower with multiple outlets or for performance showers.

Shut-off valve

For additional water and utility bill savings, you should consider a shut-off valve or on-off button. With this device, you simply push a button or turn a lever to turn off the water from the shower head. When you’re finished soaping up, simply turn the water back on. The water returns and you don’t even have to readjust the water temperature.

Shower Valve Installation

A shower valve is not difficult to install, depending on exactly what you intend to do. If you are doing a simple replacement job, you can most likely do the job yourself in a matter of hours.

However, if you are planning to go with an extremely elaborate shower with multiple heads and different types of valves, you are probably better off getting a plumber or contractor to do the job. If you are going to put out thousands for a custom shower with special rain atmosphere showerheads, the installation is not where you want to start pinching pennies.

There is also a matter of building codes and insurance. As with any type of remodeling, you will have to find out exactly what the codes are in your area. In many cities, you are no longer permitted to install regular valves. For shower safety reasons you must put in either a thermostatic valve or a pressure balanced shower valve. If you do have any problems or the shower leaks and causes water damage to anything in the house, you may discover that your insurance is not going to cover the costs if you did the renovation yourself. Sometimes it is simply better to get a professional.

Aug 242010

For a price, you can have a bathroom mirror TV. Basically, it’s a two-way mirror with a flat screen TV behind it. Below is an already published article that summarizes this technology. With permission, it’s reprinted here.

By the way, this little luxury item will cost you from $850 to $3,500 US, quite a bit more than a typical showerhead!

Be Like Trump: Installing a Television in Your Bathroom Mirror

Author: Youri Naimark

Yeah, we know: having a television in your bathroom is a tad ridiculous. No question that’s why Donald Trump has them installed in all his hotel bathrooms! Who needs to watch television while they brush their teeth? But that’s not the point. It’s a luxury, something you can do to make your bathroom truly the best room in your house. With this addition, you can make a regular, old bathroom into your personal place of relaxation!

Televisions that are installed behind mirrors use some pretty interesting technology to keep them hidden. Your mirror will need to be two-way, partially reflective and partially transparent. These mirrors allow things that are brightly lit on one side of the mirror to shine through to a darker side, like a television. By placing a flat-screen television behind a polarized mirror, you can watch your favorite show while getting ready to go out or catch the news before you leave for work in the morning. Best of all, if you don’t want the television at all, simply turn it off, you will only see a mirrored surface where its screen normally appears!

You can purchase a plasma or LCD television screen specifically for mirror placement. Companies like Mirror Media and Seura offer many different choices for these televisions, many of them custom built for your bathroom design.

This is really a project for a professional installer because of the care necessary when handling a large mirror and heavy television. Your bathroom’s lighting may need to be changed, as the polarized mirror is more sensitive to glares and direct light than normal mirrors. Make sure your installer has worked with mirror TVs before and knows how to conceal the wires in the wall properly.

Your installer will need to fit the television into a cut out in the wall behind where the mirror will go. It can be wall hung or flush mounted to ensure that it has the sleek look mirror televisions are known for. If your bathroom doesn’t have a separate circuit or cable hook up, you will probably want an electrician to come check it out. Set up a consultation with one before you purchase your television to ensure that your bathroom is compatible with a mirror television and the cost of installation is within your means. If you are thinking about installing your television in an existing wall, you will probably need a tile installer’s help, as well. It is important that you get a television specifically made for this purpose, they are fog-free and waterproof, features a normal television doesn’t need to have.

No matter what you might think about the level of luxury, bathroom televisions can certainly add elegance and enjoyment to any home spa. Although it isn’t really necessary, wouldn’t it be nice to watch a movie while relaxing in the tub, or watch the traffic report while showering for work? Have your bathroom checked out for compatibility and do some research on the best technology, and you could have your own Trump hotel at home!

Article Source:

About Author:
Youri Naimark was an construction engineer for 20 years (specializing in coal mine construction). After moving to US in 2002, Youri scaled down and started a Denver tile installation company.

Jun 042010

The article Creating the Handicap-Accessible Bathroom described modifying bathroom entrances, flooring, and toilets to create a barrier-free environment. The point was to create an unrestricted, comfortable environment for both disabled and non-disabled people.

Next, let’s consider what you can do about some other common bathroom elements: showers and bathtubs, sinks, faucets and mirrors, and grab bars.

Showers and Bathtubs

There’s no reason someone with disabilities shouldn’t be able to enjoy a shower. Shower enclosures are available that can accommodate the user with disabilities. Sometimes called a walk-in shower, the ideal accessible shower stall would be at least 4 feet (1.2 meters) square. The opening should be at least 3 feet (.914 meters) wide so a wheelchair or shower commode can get in. The entrance should not have a barrier or lip the user needs to climb over. The floor may have a slight downward slope to allow water to drain to the middle.

Inside the shower you can use a freestanding shower seat for the disabled person to sit on. These shower chairs, in either molded plastic or wood are available in models that can hold heavier people. Instead of a shower seat you can use a shower transfer bench. These units let the person move from their wheelchair to a seat which slides into place inside the shower.

Shower controls should be low enough for a seated person to reach them.

A handheld showerhead, with flexible hose, should be no higher than 48 inches (122 cm) above the floor so it can be easily reached. You can also put the showerhead on a vertical bar which allows its height to be adjusted. This means the shower can be used by people both sitting down and standing up.

If a bathtub is going to be in a barrier-free bathroom, it should have a wide tubside seat that will allow someone to sit on and move themselves into the tub. Sliding transfer benches are also available for tubs. These let the handicapped person transfer from their wheelchair to a seat that then lets the person slide into the open tub area. A freestanding shower seat can also be placed inside the tub.

A better tub option might be a walk-in tub . Most of these are built with a small 2-inch high step that many physically challenged people can get over. They can then sit in the seat inside the tub and be surrounded by water. Walk in tubs also take up less space than the standard 5-foot long tub.

Sinks, Faucets, and Mirrors

Sinks in the accessible bathroom should have floor space open in front of them. This will allow a person in a wheelchair to roll under it to reach the sink. Be sure that if there is a hot water pipe leading to the sink it is insulated to prevent burns.

The faucets on the sink should be a lever type or a single handle. If the lever is ADA compliant, it will take less than five pounds of pressure to operate. For extra safety, the faucets should have anti-scald valves to prevent the hot water from causing burns.

There are many options for disabled bathroom mirrors. A full height mirror mounted at the appropriate height is one possibility. You can also mount one of those flexible mirrors that pull out at the right height for a seated person. Another option is installing a mirror that tilts down above the sink. Mirrors are also available that have a pulley system and crank. The mirror normally hangs flat against the bathroom wall until it is needed by someone who is seated. Then, by turning the crank the person can angle the mirror down to where they can see themselves.

Grab Bars

Finally, grab bars should be located throughout any barrier-free bathroom. Grab bars should be on the shower and bathtub walls to help people get in and out of the tub or shower. Grab bars should also be available on both sides of the toilet. Some toilet grab bars can also be swung out of the way when not in use.

Newer style looped grab bars are also available for use on both sides of the toilet. A shorter person can use the bottom loop while a taller person can use the upper ones.


Physical limitations sometimes make it difficult for some people to use what we consider “normal” bathrooms. By using modern accessibility options you can create a stylish bathroom that will be accessible to all.

May 312010

If you want the benefits of both a tub and a shower in the same floor space, a tub and shower combination unit may be your solution. With both a tub and shower unit, you get the best of both worlds.

For example, when you feel like soaking away the stress of the day by surrounding yourself with hot water, fill up the tub and relax. If it’s the morning and you’re rushing to get ready for work, hop in the same space, turn on the showerhead and take a quick shower.

If the space saving and convenience benefits appeal to you, here are some things to think about when considering a combination tub and shower.

There are three primary types of tub shower combination units:

  • Ceramic
  • One piece
  • Sectional

Traditional Ceramic

Traditionally, a tub shower combination can be created by building a ceramic tile shower enclosure around an existing tub. The ceramic tile forms three walls of the shower. An opening for a showerhead is built into one of the walls. The original tub sits below the ceramic tiled walls.

Ceramic tile requires ongoing maintenance and care to prevent mildew and leaks but provides the most traditional look.

One piece combination units

As the name implies, a one piece tub and shower combination unit includes either all three walls that surround the tub or all three walls and the tub. Fixtures are usually part of the combination including the tub faucets and showerhead. Ledges for holding soap and shampoo may also be built into the unit.

The one piece units are made of acrylic or fiberglass and tend to be heavier and bulkier than the traditional ceramic combination units.

Because of its size, you must measure to be sure the unit will fit through the doorway in an existing bathroom. For new construction, you can build in the one piece combination unit, then build your bathroom around it.

Sectional combination units

To address the size issue, a third type of tub shower combination unit is available. This unit comes in sections that can be put together inside the bathroom. The tub is one piece that is usually placed in first. It can be acrylic, fiberglass, or even porcelain. The walls, made of acrylic or fiberglass, are then placed around the tub. As with the one piece combination, fixtures are usually part of the wall pieces.

This type unit provides the benefits of the combination unit while getting around the problem of weight and size.


Bathtub shower combinations offer size options depending on the available space in your bathroom. The standard option is a regular sized tub, which is five feet long. But if space is an issue, units are available in smaller sizes, such as a four foot tub. There are also units built to fit into a corner to which you can add a built-in shower seat.


For the above described options, we’ve been talking about three-sided combination units. But frames are available that can rest on the tub. You can install sliding glass doors inside the frame to provide a fourth wall so water from the showerhead doesn’t get all over the floor.

Depending on the type of glass used, the glass doors can also provide visual privacy when you’re sitting in the tub.

Many finishes are available for these framed enclosures with brushed nickel and chrome being two of the most popular.

Clawfoot tub shower combination

Some people, who prefer a vintage look for their bathrooms, install a clawfoot tub as part of their décor. But here too, combination kits are available that allow users to add a vertical showerhead riser and shower curtain ring above the clawfoot tub. This gives you the option of taking an old-fashioned soak in your tub or standing in the tub for a standard shower.


If you can’t decide between a tub or a shower, a tub shower combination lets you have the best of both worlds. You can either sit in the bathtub or stand in the shower while saving space at the same time.