Showers & Tubs
How a shower door (or curtain) blends with the rest of the bathroom can really make a big difference, so take a look at several shapes and styles.
For example, in limited areas, a three-sided (neo-angle) stall is a good choice. And for access and convenience, many stalls have a built-in seat.
Pressure-balanced valves prevent water temperatures from fluctuating, and two shower heads, 3-way pulsating heads and extra body spray nozzles add more water and convenience.
Bathtubs are very personal items to choose -- a lot like a bed is. You can expect to pay $300 for a basic model or up to $2000 for a top-of-the-line whirlpool tub.
Make sure to buy the tub that's right for you. It seems a bit silly, but when you're shopping for tubs, hop right in and see how they feel. Ask yourself if the tub is big enough and comfortable enough for your needs and tastes. Then decide if you like its looks.
Also, measure the tub's dimensions to make sure you don't have to tear out a door to get it into the house.
Tubs are made from one of several material choices: composite (a plastic material encased by enameled steel), fiber glass, acrylic, cast iron, and steel.
Each material has some advantages & disadvantages:
Fiber Glass & Acrylic:
large sizes & selection, lightweight -- may feel flimsy, scratch easily.
inexpensive -- limited choices, noisy, dissipates heat.
durable -- heavy, expensive
durable, lightweight, repairable -- not widely used, currently made by one company.
For installation information, see Plumbing: Hooking Up A Tub/Shower.
New toilets are made to use less water; 1.6 gallons or less per flush. An old toilet can use up to 5 gallons per flush and that's reason alone to justify replacing it.
You may spend about $200 on a new toilet. Some "royal thrones" cost up to $800, but a good quality toilet may only run about $75.
Most toilets operate by "gravity-flush." Water that's held in the tank above the bowl empties down to remove waste. They're quiet, affordable and popular.
However, "pressure-flush" toilets are gaining ground. These "turbo" toilets inject pressurized water into the bowl and only take a few seconds to flush.
Some models even feature two handles to select either a moderate 1 gallon or a stronger 1.6 gallon flush.
Pressure-flushers have a lot of power, but do have drawbacks. They're noisy, some need electricity to run, more splashing in some cases, and they average up to 50% more than a comparable gravity toilet.
For installation information, see Plumbing: Setting Toilets.