The Best Bathroom Upgrades for Your Buck

Lead Image

It can be difficult to spend money polishing up a house just to sell it, but any money and effort put in to a home usually increases the value. Bathrooms and kitchens are two of the best rooms to upgrade, since they are usually at the top of a potential home buyer's list. When updating a bathroom there are numerous options, but it is important to ensure the investment will carry its weight.

Showers and Tubs

Older homes usually have at least one bathroom that only has room for either a tub or a shower. Most home buyers these days are looking for bigger showers rather than a large tub. According to ClearChoice, experts in bathroom design and remodeling, "Contrary to many people’s beliefs, removing the tub from the master bathroom and replacing it with a large shower actually adds to the value of your home, as long as there is another tub in the house. Nineteen out of twenty bathroom remodels that we do in San Antonio don’t want or use the tub in the master bath. They want a large luxurious shower so they feel pampered."

Luckily, installing showers is relatively inexpensive and does not always require a professional. Showers are either tiled-in or have preformed fiberglass or plastic walls. Either option will call for a basic set of tools such as hammer, chisel, plumber’s wrench, and waterproof caulking. A tiled-in shower will require a variety of tiling tools depending on the style of the installation.

A built-in shower will have installation instructions specific to the model. Pay close attention to the fixtures and shower head since these are the finishing touches buyers will remember.

Rein in the Color

Buyers like to be able to see themselves living in the home they are viewing. Sellers can help them along in this process by making the house a blank slate for their imagination. This means removing as much color from the bathroom walls as possible.

Use a bright white or light eggshell tone to provide the blank canvas. Painting as small a space as a bathroom is a snap with a few gallons of paint, a drop cloth, brushes, rollers, and tape. If the walls are a very bright or dark color, a primer or paint with a primer will provide adequate coverage.

However, you may want to steer clear of wall texture. Clearchoice, Hometalk experts advise, "Unless you are really talented, attempting to do anything like texture, drywall, trim, etc. will not bring value to your home. Potential homebuyers will spot unskilled work and will plan the cost to re-do the work when placing their offer."

If the tub, sink or toilet are a bright color, consider having them reglazed. This requires a professional and might cost a few hundred dollars, but a pink toilet is an unnecessary deal breaker.

Along with the paint, replace any chipped, broken, or ragged trim. Trim is best purchased at a large hardware or home store and the installation necessitates a small handsaw, measuring tape, finish nails, and a miter gauge.

Install New Fixtures

New fixtures such as faucet handles, shower heads, and cabinet knobs add a little extra shine to a bathroom and help modernize the overall look. In bathrooms the finish on metal becomes quickly tarnish, corroded, dulled by the water exposure, cleaning, and general wear. This happens so slowly a homeowner usually does not realize how the sparkle is missing from the room, but a new buyer will.

Replacing the sink handles, faucet, and cabinet knobs are a great investment. They are many modernized options available now in more durable finishes than ever. The best part is that they are easily switched out with only a screw driver and the will to get the job done.

Shower and tub fixtures can be a little trickier to replace, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the newly installed items. Also, a homeowner should invest a little more time and research into a new shower head than any other fixture in the bathroom.

Invest Time in Cleaning

Do not underestimate the power of a scrub brush and a little elbow grease in the bathroom. The two main issues in cleaning a bathroom for a house showing are grout and caulking.

Grout yellows over time and will look dingy to a new homeowner. There are several commercial cleaning products available through the hardware store that will whiten grout without replacing it. Grout bleach pens are inexpensive, easy to use, and make a world of difference.

Caulking beings to peel up over time and this allows water and mildew to form in any cracks or exposed crevices. Simply scrape away the old caulking, using a solvent specific to caulk is use to loosen sections that are difficult to remove.

The next step is to scrub the newly exposed areas with a one-to-ten bleach water solution to clean away any mildew or bacteria. Once dried from the bleach solution, all the seams should be re-caulked and allowed to dry. If the homeowner has steady hands, they can tackle this chore with a caulking gun and bathroom-ready caulk in an appropriate color.

As you can see, it doesn't take much to upgrade your bathroom. And, these will give you the most bang for your buck!