Estimates from the Appraisal Institute of Canada suggest that master bath renovations can offer a 75 to 100 percent return on investment. With these numbers in mind, it's not surprising that master baths are one of highest priority renovations for most homeowners.
"The master bath has now become a prominent renovation item in the home and on the balance sheet," says Sandra Baldwin, president of the Toronto-area renovation company A. Lifetime Contractor Ltd. Along with offering a great payback for their cost, master bath remodels can offer homeowners a luxurious, spa-like retreat to enjoy on a daily basis.
When helping your clients choose the right renovation projects for them, consider the latest master bath trends:
• Shower, showers, showers "The shower seems to be the big piece," says Baldwin. "Most clients desire to have a separate tub and a separate shower unit." Within those showers, people also want a luxurious water experience. Rainheads continue to be in big demand, but many consumers also want to equip their showers with multiple body jets and handheld fixtures. Oversized jet-style tubs with huge surrounds are increasingly being replaced with smaller, free-standing tubs, which take up less space and offer cleaner lines, says John Friswell, chair of the Canadian Home Builders' Association's Canadian Renovators' Council. "It opens up the space and it's a lot cleaner looking." Popular designs emphasize simple, clean lines, and lots of light and openness, while chrome and brushed nickel continue to be the most popular fixture finishes in Canada for tubs.
• Make it warm Infloor heating is an increasingly popular request in renovations, with energy-conscious consumers opting for programmable thermostats to control floor heating. "There's nothing like a nice, warm floor and a lot of the systems can be put right into the shower base," says Friswell, who recently installed his first heated mirror in a master bath renovation. Heated towel bars are also popular luxury items.
• More storage With an emphasis on clean, simple design lines, homeowners want to minimize clutter and are looking for an increased amount of bathroom storage space. They also want that storage space in better-quality cabinetry than seen in the past. Premium woods and fine craftsmanship are appearing more often in bathroom cabinetry and millwork. With current renovation techniques that ensure good bathroom ventilation and air quality a longer lifespan is guaranteed for all finishes, says Baldwin. She says clients are increasingly interested in investing in good quality fixtures, finishes and workmanship that will last many years.
• Ageing in place Accessibility issues are a more frequent consideration for homeowners than ever before, with many looking for designs that can safely accommodate them as they age. Low-slope floors that offer curb-free shower access minimize tripping hazards and allow shower access for walkers and wheelchairs. This gives homeowners the reassurance that their master bath will remain useable for them as they age. And even if consumers aren't yet ready for today's more stylish and attractive grab bars, Friswell says he puts blocking in the walls to accommodate them in the future.
• Water efficiency The trend toward green, more water-efficient products continues, as do improvements in technology that ensure products like low-flow fixtures and dual-flush toilets meet performance expectations.
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