finndian

I need some input on remodelling SIX bathrooms!

Paul f
last month

My modern white box of a triplex was damaged in a fire. There two front units weren't damaged but the rear unit received extensive smoke damage so it will need to be gutted including the two bathrooms. Both units are currently vacant. I live in unit one and it so happens I need a new shower pan in my guest bathroom which will require some extensive work. I've never liked my master bath so I'm considering changing both up while I'm having all this construction. I'd love a light bright glass-enclosed steam shower instead of the dank dark shower stall I have now and certainly would love to get rid of the terrible stone in there. I was thinking that if I'm doing 4 bathrooms that the contractor would work me a deal on SIX! He better since the fire restoration is going to be a small fortune for him!

I'd love some input on how to get a light sophisticated look in the rental unit bathrooms, with durable, low maintenance finishes that are easy to clean and care for. Then somehow give my unit bathrooms a more luxurious version of those for a cohesive look to the entire property. I'm thinking no vessel sinks in any of the units this time around, infinity drains, wetroom style bathrooms with no tubs in the rentals? Any suggestions or advice on how to pull off a great look without busting the bank? How much should I budget?


MY Guest bathroom



MY Master bathroom - (3 shots)





Unit 2 bathrooms - in need of an update.




Unit 3 bathrooms - smoke damage



Comments (29)

  • julieste
    last month

    I am in the midst of having three bathrooms remodeled. 2 down, 1 to go. Here's what I have learned:

    • Always choose porcelain tile over ceramic.
    • Matte tiles won't show water spots as much on shower walls. Go with those rather than polished.
    • Dark tiles will show water spots.
    • Zero entry showers are much more expensive to install than regular curbed showers.
    • If you are at all thinking about resale value, always leave a tub in one bathroom per unit.
    • When choosing smaller, mosaic tiles for shower floors make sure they are very evenly laid on the mesh if you want them to look good when installed.
    • Go for smaller grout joints on walls and floors.
    • Real stone is too difficult to maintain in bathrooms.
    • Photographic imagery in tiles has dramatically improved, and you can find porcelain tiles that look like real stone.


    I've always hated vessel sinks, so they are something I would never ever consider.

    Paul f thanked julieste
    Best Answer
  • suezbell
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Try drawing, to scale, individually, each bath on graph paper indicating where everything is located now. If you are interested in possibly moving a wall to enlarge any bath space, indicate the wall and what is on the other side of it. Better yet, if you have pro drawn floor plans for the structure, post that.

    Paul f thanked suezbell
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  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last month

    Nice spaces. Are you gutting everything? Or can professional restoration save pulling everything out. Need more info

    Paul f thanked Flo Mangan
  • latifolia
    last month

    Are these rentals mid or top level, in terms of pricing?

    Paul f thanked latifolia
  • Paul f
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks, Flo... the bottom 2 photos are the smoke damage bathrooms and those are a complete gut with nothing saved. The center bathrooms are just Costco cabinets that don't have much life left. My unit, unless the zebrawood cabinets can be reworked and made less clumsy looking I'd rather replace them.

    The units are high end furnished rentals. There will be no moving of walls or plumbing other than to install an infinity drain in the shower areas. Well, maybe in my master bath... I'm open to that. I will do a floor plan for that room.

    I will talk to a bath designer for sure! Again I'm looking for something clean and simple that will not break the bank.

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last month

    Fires are so terrible and I really feel for you trying to recover. I like your overall contemporary styling so keep that going. Be careful of infinity drains. They require careful planning in existing structures. Proper infrastructure and installation is key to success. Whites and glass showers will be great to update your places. Spa like feeling is very desirable. I will look for inspiration for you

    Paul f thanked Flo Mangan
  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last month

    Here is a collage of photos for ideas. See if any grab you. If you select a central idea you can use for all with variations that scale into each bathroom.

    Paul f thanked Flo Mangan
  • Paul f
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks Flo! Its been a while since I purchased tile. Are ceramic tiles at a stage where they look like natural stone or should I just use solid tile walls with a patterned ceramic floor with minimal grout-lines?

    In the rentals, I have to deal with new maids and/or guests that bring in caustic chemicals and/or dyes that can stain natural stone. I've already sworn off using chrome anywhere since maids will use scouring pads on it when you least expect, it leaving it with haze-like scratches. I know whatever tile I use has to be a color or pattern that does not show hairs easily.

    I like the wet room concept if it's not too slippery since it would be great for the maids to rinse the shower and the bathroom floor into the same drain.

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last month

    I would suggest using porcelain tiles throughout. Look-a-likes are really good today. Linen looks hide stuff nicely. Shower floors can be slide resistant with grout and smaller scale tiles. Hexagon floors are popular. No flat pebble stone floors. Very hard to find tiler that can install then proper so you don’t have heavy square grout patterns. Gold in all tones is rage now especially with white and creamy or dark vanities. Very chic. So lots of decisions ahead. Hardware,faucets, cabinetry, tile, accessories and window treatments to name some.

    Paul f thanked Flo Mangan
  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last month

    If you hire a local bathroom designer, get him/her to take you to some tile wholesale showrooms. Great way to see a lot of product fairly efficiently. Your designer can pull pre meeting ideas to save time too.

    Paul f thanked Flo Mangan
  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last month

    Avoid vessel sinks. Hard to clean and messy on countertop. Some pics I showed had the vessel sink. I don’t recommend in any application especially your project.

    Paul f thanked Flo Mangan
  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last month

    To clarify. I wouldn’t use “ceramic” tile. Only porcelain. It is much more durable. Thin grout lines require what we call “rectified” tile. Straight edged tiles. The longer the tile the harder to lay with minimal “lipage”. That’s where one tile sits a little bit above the other creating a uneven surface. So avoid super long tiles. There are more tile choices available than countertop materials, so start with vanity and countertop choices and go from there. Hope those tips help in your effort. Availability of materials around here (Texas, Golf Coast) is tough. So you might have availability issues too. A good designer should be on top of that in your area. I have done several new home construction projects with 5-6 bathrooms and it can make you crazy. The different shower wall and flooring layouts alone are very challenging! But somehow you will get it done!

    Paul f thanked Flo Mangan
  • Emily Stevens
    last month

    I would focus on the bathroom that has the most damage done to it first. I personally would be in a constant state of anxiety attack trying to takle all six at once. With the very worst bathroom most of it would need replaced. Which will make it there easiest to do. In a few of those photos I glanced at, one vanity looked great, just needs a makeover. New color of stain, or a pretty shade of paint. Once you decide on a color scheme for each bathroom, and having an idea of what is saveble. A little of paint goes a long way to make something look new and fresh. Also $20 for a gallon of paint compared to $$$ to replace say the vanity will save you

    Paul f thanked Emily Stevens
  • Paul f
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Thanks Flo! That is a great help. Vessel sinks are the worst. definitely going with under-mount sinks with wall mounted cabinets. I've learned a lot by renting these places out and often needing to clean quickly... I have to make it as easy as possible for the maids. I hope there are some good online sources for wall mounted vanity's this time around. I'm pretty locked down here and can't venture out much.

    The last tiling I did was 7 or so years ago and that was with 36 x 18" thin Carlite tile. I inspected it with an angled flashlight beam looking for 'lippage' (glad to finally know the word!). The job is mostly perfect but for one little section, you can't see it but can feel the 'rectified' edge lippage with your bare foot. I had the best tile guy who did that and he also laid those cut pebbles for me without a hint of a sheet showing. To his day I marvel at that pebble tile job. I have gotten those pebbles out of my system so I won't be doing those again.

    If I actually have the restraint to do slick mostly colorless bathrooms I will be so proud of myself. I tend to get distracted and dazzled by showy tiles, textures, and color. Should the two bathrooms in the same unit match each other... cabinet, fixtures, etc? I've never done that either. Sure would make it easier to repeat the choices.

    What are your thoughts on losing a tub altogether? Just have a built-in bench for leg shaving. Kids may need a tub but I'm not sure I need kids living here long enough for that to matter.

  • Cheryl Hannebauer
    last month

    following for updates

    Paul f thanked Cheryl Hannebauer
  • PRO
    Charles Ross Homes
    last month

    Since you are remodeling six bathrooms concurrently, any mistakes you make get multiplied by six. The best recommendation I can give you is to hire the services of an interior designer to assist with selections that don't won't go out of fashion quickly and to choose your remodeling contractor carefully.

    Best wishes for a successful project.

    Paul f thanked Charles Ross Homes
  • homechef59
    last month

    Let us assume that you want the biggest bang for your buck. Here is what I would do. Organize, organize, organize.


    All rental baths and owner secondary baths are treated very similarly. Only the master unit primary bath is treated differently. This is where you get to get creative. Let your imagination run.


    All other baths, the rental units and secondary master unit baths should be durable, useful, neutral and easy to maintain. Five bathrooms should be repetition along the same theme.


    I know it's boring, but white in a bath is always a good choice. It's neutral. It's clean. It's timeless. White fixtures. White solid surface countertops. Black countertops can be a good choice as long as they are not highly polished. They don't show staining. White tile. I know, it's boring. But, they are useful, neutral and easy to clean. If you want to paint each bath a different color, paint is cheap. While polished chrome seems to be an issue, brushed chrome may be the solution. You can spend a fortune on faucets and towel bars. Try to keep all selections as simple as possible.


    Solid surface countertops with under mount sinks. Easy to clean. Wall mounted cabinetry and wall mounted toilets are easy to keep clean but more expensive to install. Glass shower doors are expensive and can be difficult to keep clean. They are safer than shower curtains. Frameless shower enclosures look great but are much more expensive. You have to contend with the insurance company and this will drive some of your choices.


    Do you want to offer jetted tubs? When I owned a B&B, these were big selling features. Depends on your market. Know your market. What does your competition offer? Bottom line is to make money. Remind yourself of this every time you select something. Everything you do should be based on return on investment and what your insurance company will budget. Stay neutral, timeless and practical. Save your creativity for the primary personal bath.

    Paul f thanked homechef59
  • Paul f
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Thanks Emily, the real damage to the property is in the garage with structural damage. It will take months so I would do two bathrooms at a time. I'm kinda sold on the zero-entry showers and making the entire bathroom floor a watertight wet room just for ease of cleaning and rinsing. I think any extra cost will pay for itself. I will remember your tips Julieste, thanks!

    I had an architect tell me that his people don't want tubs anymore. Women only want a place to sit and shave he said. What do you think of that? In my units, I put a container of lavender Epsom salt and bubble bath. It did stay there for a couple of years at a time but it did apparently get used.

    Homechef, I have a jetted tub in the rear-most damaged bathroom. I thought it was a draw too but to be honest I never really knew how much it was used. I know it never in 10 years showed up in my reviews like "beach chairs and bikes" did. Btw, the utility panel on the side of the tub popped off during the fire and that opening became a chimney pumping smoke into the unit from the garage below... as did all the recessed lighting openings below.

    I'd love to use the wall mount toilets but I'm just going to get the biggest throated toilet to hopefully never have a plugged toilet again. It didn't happen often in the rentals but when it did it was not fun to fix especially if it was 10 PM, it was usually caused either by feminine hygiene products or excessive toilet paper.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Charles Ross!

  • Paul f
    Original Author
    last month

    The layouts are already set and the only thing I will change in the unit bathrooms are the shower drains. Do you think I really need a bathroom designer anyway? I could see it for my master bath since that one I'm open to reconfiguring.

  • homechef59
    29 days ago

    I had a friend who owned a bar in New Orleans. He was tired of plugged toilets, too. He ended up installing stainless steel prison units in the bathrooms. They take some serious punishment. Somehow I don't think that is what you envision.


    A designer would help you with selections and sourcing. You could take it from there and run with it. I'd consider hiring someone to help you. Flo is available and has done some very good work. She's a pro.

    Paul f thanked homechef59
  • A S
    28 days ago

    If it were me, and I’m not a pro at all, and I knew what layout I wanted, I would just duplicate all over. Even in our new build we did 3/6 bathrooms exactly the same materials. Kept it simple. Same vanities, tubs, tiles and toilets. Easy.

    Paul f thanked A S
  • latifolia
    28 days ago

    I want to do a curbless shower, which is possible because it is replacing a jetted tub. The contractor advised against it in case the shower drain backs up. I see his point. Unless your maids are diligent at cleaning the drain, or alerting you when it's running slowly, that could be a consideration.

    Paul f thanked latifolia
  • Paul f
    Original Author
    28 days ago
    last modified: 28 days ago

    latifolia, good point about the curbless shower. If tenants or maids don't mention a slow drain it could be disastrous. However, for me and my personal bathroom, I'd notice a slow drain right away.

    A S, I tend to go that way a lot... find the idea and I manage to pull it off myself. This time hiring a bathroom designer and learning the latest products and trends might be the best route. I'm looking for the design to stand out in photos used in advertising the units for rent. I need flood-proof, slip-proof, easy to clean bathrooms back there. I get loads of sand from the beach in those bathrooms too.

    Thanks Quercus Virginiana!

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    27 days ago

    I would advise against curbless showers in rentals. People are just not careful especially when in rental. Do the cool stuff in your living quarters.

    Paul f thanked Flo Mangan
  • homechef59
    27 days ago

    Leave the cool stuff for your bath. What people want in a beach rental is clean and functional. This is a business decision. You don't need curbless showers. You may want them, but the market doesn't demand them. You do need a bathtub and showers with grab bars that will prevent an accident and the subsequent lawsuit. You have to wear your business hat when making these types of decisions. Light, bright, clean, functional, and elegant. You can have it all for a controlled price.

    Paul f thanked homechef59
  • Nancy in Mich
    27 days ago

    I put in a curbless wheel chair accessible shower in my only fill bathroom. I had my builder add a floor drain to the room to act as backup in case the shower ever floods. THAT is what you should do if you want a curbless shower in a rental. BTW, I recently did overflow my shower for the first time. My brand new thick cotton mat was between the shower and the floor drain. It was so heavy with water that I could just barely lift it onto the grab bar in the shower to let it drip dry. Two days later, I had to hang it outside in the sun to get it dry. What did I do to flood outside of the shower? I am not sure! I suppose I could have let the hand sprayer turn toward the curtain. Or maybe the big wad of hair that I had peeled off my fingers that had crossed between the shower floor and the room floor had made a bridge for the water to follow. I have been shedding a lot of hair lately and it has gotten quite long during the stay-at-home time. Whichever it was, I have not had so much water leave the shower before. My trench drain is in the front of the shower, between the shower floor and the room floor. But it would not take long for a clogged wall-side trench drain to let water leave the shower, either. A trench drain is no different than a single middle drain, it just has a long, skinny collection trench on top of the drain hole. I would not put one in a rental unit.

    Another way to have an even more foolproof shower is to get a solid surface (like Corian) shower pan. Since they can be installed in a day, the money you spend on a higher price material can be offset by lower installation cost. Corian walls are also foolproof. The cleaning people can’t hurt it. Any scratches that happen (though it is not easy to scratch) can be buffed out in place. No grout lines. No mold or mildew. Waterproof and it does not fail. See if you can see a Corian or Swanstone shower in a local showroom. Swanstone has some nice patterns now, too. You can get a white-on-white granite look, white with colored specks, or a white and gray swirl. Here is a link

    https://swanstone.com/en/collections-and-finishes/collections/swanstone

    to their site. People with Swanstone and Corian showers say that they look the same as the day they were installed twenty years later. Be aware that Swanstone Veritek is not the same as their solid surface Swanstone product. It is fiberglass, I think. At least consider a true solid surface shower.

    Paul f thanked Nancy in Mich
  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    27 days ago

    I would advise against curbless showers in rentals. People are just not careful especially when in rental. Do the cool stuff in your living quarters.

    Paul f thanked Flo Mangan
  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    27 days ago

    Sorry, HOUZZ is double posting things today.

    Paul f thanked Flo Mangan
  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    27 days ago

    Great thoughts from Nancy and my points exactly.