How to Expand A Small Bathroom By Using the Closet
A small bathroom is limited with what can be done to enlarge it. Large bathrooms are highly desirable to homeowners seeking amenities like a larger tub and/or shower enclosure, a larger bathroom vanity, and more space to move around. These days, it’s not uncommon to see the bathroom turned into a spa-like setting complete with a range of accessories and personalized products. This of course requires space and in a small bathroom, fortunately, adding square footage does not have to require any structural changes and can be done through creative use of under-used adjacent areas.
The most common way to enlarge a small bathroom is in the form of converting attached closet space. In this look, we incorporated area formerly used for a closet as an addition into an existing bathroom layout. The result was a unified larger bathroom with expanded square footage that not only felt bigger on appearance but was in fact a bigger bathroom. What you lose in storage space you gain in increased floor space. This was all done without having to move electrical wires or water lines, although this isn’t the case in every bathroom expansion. The homeowner was thrilled with the result which not only added functionality and more space to customize the look of their bathroom but also increased the property’s resale value.
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How To Expand a Small Bathroom in 5 Steps
Enlarging a Small Bathroom – Project Overview
1. Location and Building Layout
This East York detached home boasts an open-concept layout at approx.. 1,700 sq. ft. A property lacking in square footage meant rooms have to be optimized for function.
2. The Problem
Though there is lots of closet space, the main bathroom was small. This creates a lack of balance with unused or under-used closet space and an overly busy, cluttered bathroom.
3. Client’s Requirements
The client wanted to expand and remove their large walk-in closet and small bedroom closet, combining two closets into an expanded bathroom layout.
4. Our Recommendations
Analyzing the situation, we sought to change the bathtub to a shower while subsequently incorporating now-available closet space into the bathroom. This served to provide the homeowner with a larger bathroom and better flow in design.
5. Building Design
A pre-design call is completed as well as a design session followed by a design review to be signed off on by the client)
Meet Our Team (a deposit is then required to move forward) – 1 week
Building Approvals – 1 week
Building Design – 1 week
Procurement (includes all purchasing, fabrication, and delivery) – 2 weeks
Completing the bathroom with 2 closets expansion – 2 weeks
Small Bathroom Design
The new style of bathroom is modern-minimalist with a mid-century influence. Noted characteristics of this style are straight lines, sharp corners, and an overly minimalist approach. The use of black fixtures, subway tile, and a modern linear drain communicates an appealing look that is favorable to resale value as well as was in line with the personal preferences of the client.
Picking Materials for a Bath Renovation:
Double vanity ALT faucets
New Delta accessories
Aqua Rondo shower Set
New electrical devices Sliding Shower Door
New Subway wall tile New fresh paint
New floor hexagon tile
Design Ideas to Enlarge Your Small Bathroom
The new style of enlarged bathroom is modern-minimalist with a mid-century influence. Noted characteristics of this style are straight lines, sharp corners, and an overly minimalist approach. The use of black fixtures, subway tile, and a modern linear drain communicated an appealing look favourable to resale value and aligned with the client's personal preferences.
Picking Materials For a Bathroom Expansion
Experience with other renovation companies
Poor or no design
Confusing price changes
All the materials hassle on you
Experience when working with Easy Reno
Excellent start-to-finish customer support
Experienced help with design
Upfront transparent proposal
Professional and certified contractors
Materials ordered and delivered on time
How We Overcame Bathroom Expansion Challenges
Every bathroom renovation can encounter difficulties due to the space’s ongoing requirements of water and electricity. An expansion can also mean tackling structural or functional issues that need an immediate resolution.
Four Main Renovation Challenges:
Walk-in closet and bedroom closet
Tiling the back wall
Expanding a Small Bathroom - What to Do First
The first step was to remove the walk-in closet and bedroom closet doors and then crafting new walls for this area. The front of these closets were going to become the back walls of the bathroom which required some creative re-design. A demolition of the closets’ back-walls were done, successfully expanding the bathroom space. Lastly, with the decision to move the shower into where the walk-in closet previously was, waterproofing this area was the last part to complete.
Any time the bathtub or shower is moved in a bathroom, plumbing has to be evaluated and redone to suit the re-model. As we moved the bathtub further out into the walk-in closet, this necessitated adjusting the trajectory of the water pipes, drain, and vent, moving all three. Rearranging the piping was the most difficult part of this enlarging a small bathroom process as we tackled hot, cold, drains, and vents. This proved no match for our expertise and experience, however.
What We Did With Exhaust Fan
The air vent used to be in the middle of the bathroom in the wall. Due to the expansion of the space, air flow and functional layout changes meant having to move and re-route the air vent in the middle of the bathroom. An HVAC specialist helped to complete the job up to code. The adjustment meant a more comfortable bathroom environment for the client.
How To Visually Enlarge a Small Bathroom With New Backsplash
Tiling the back wall of the bathroom, this helped to do two things. First, tile like this waterproofed the space. When properly installed, it ensures no moisture gets through to the wall behind it. Secondly, tile is easy to clean not to mention communicates a precise aesthetic that was decided on by the client. We ensured there were no issues in installation or in the final work.
We Did not Just Enlarge a Bathroom But Waterproofed It According to the Highest Standards.
Any sort of enlargement of a bathroom or expansion of this area combined with changes in where the bathtub was placed presented a new set of needs as it related to waterproofing.
In this project, waterproofing started with preparing the area. This involved re-framing and the removal of any minor mold accumulation or corrosion.
With the area ready, moisture-resistant densshield was then applied to the shower area. After corner beads were put in, the densshield edges were taped and completed. A rubberized waterproofing membrane was then applied.
A Schluter Ditra waterproof membrane was then installed over the formed cement shower floor. For this client, we knew the layout had to be reconfigured and structural changes made as per their instruction.
In light of these changes, an air vent had to be relocated and installed in a new location. The result was a bathroom that was fully waterproofed and ready to move onto the next step in its renovation and re-design.
Small Bathroom Flooring and Tiling Ideas We Applied Tiling and flooring is not just about style. It’s also about cleanliness, safety, water resistance, design, and long-term maintaining a room that will be used often.
The client selected the tiles they wanted for each part of the bathroom.
● 104 sq. ft. of shower and bathtub wall tiles. ● 20 sq. ft. of shower floor tiles. ● 48 sq. ft. of wall tiles. ● 88 sq. ft. of bathroom floor tiles.
All new tiles were grouted. This is done to add rigidity and strength to the tile installation as well as to eliminate the risk of dirt and debris getting in between the tiles and damaging either the walls or flooring.
In addition to these steps, a shower curb with Quartz shower jamb was done specifically for the client. Rather than use tile on top of the shower curb, Quartz shower jamb is more durable and appealing.
Easy Bathroom Expansion Guide
Step-by-step process how to expand a small bathroom by using closet space
We Start Our Bathroom Expansion Process by Breaking the Ground
As we began our work on this small bathroom and closet renovation, it was key to analyze the dynamics of what we were working with and remove anything that didn’t need to be there.
We ensured there were no structural issues or anything that we would encounter later on which could delay or prevent this renovation from completion.
As we initiated the renovation, we relied on client-approved renovation plans – an aspect which is crucial to what we do.
All materials, both raw and finishing, were onsite upon the start of the project.
We Protect Home During Any Renovation We Work On
We safeguarded unaffected parts of the house from waste materials, messes, and the potential for damage. This included minimizing the risk of dust getting into HVAC ductwork, building a temporary wall from industrial-grade plastic to contain our work, and protect corners with cardboard. A few simple steps like this can take a lot of the worry out of the process for homeowners.
All workers on-site were also careful to avoid tracking filth into the house, wearing protective shoe coverings and using plastic floor protector to create pathways to and from the renovation-in-process.
Any professional will tell you that protecting a home during bathroom expansion is a must and a little planning is all it takes.
Demolition is an Essential Step When it Comes To Expanding a Bathroom.
A bathroom renovation demolition is a multi-step process that begins with the removal and disposal of existing fixtures before moving on to removing the wall finishes.
In this case, we also had two closets to demolish which began with the removal of the drywall. These closet walls were fully demolished to make room for the bathroom expansion. All floor finishes, baseboards, and casings were removed.
The ceiling trim was kept as is, although it could be removed depending on client preferences. Any sort of demolition like this creates a lot of waste. We bring our own waste bins to contain the mess as best as we can and provide handling and disposal services. A client does not have to worry about a thing.
Carpentry and Electrical Upgrades
Carpentry work completed and included building a frame to reinforce the new shower wall, as well as making a niche.
Electrical work included installing a new vanity light. This client specifically required the installation of 4 pot lights in their bathroom expansion and redesign. All electrical fixtures are rated wet resistant.
A new outlet was also installed as well as two switches.
Due to the re-configuration of where the bathtub was located, plumbing steps had to be taken including relocating the shower drain and vent as well as relocating a new shower head, temperature valve, and water line.
This type of work is custom to the nature of the renovation and requests from the client.
Enlarging a bathroom is a challenging project that requires more work than other rooms due to the various interconnected systems that operate together to fulfill the needs of the space.
How Installing New Cabinet Can Visually Expand Your Small Bathroom
Cabinetry installation included the setting of a new double vanity. A vanity with two sinks provided the bathroom with more counter-space and more storage. With so many types of vanities to choose from, the client was relied upon to decide what was best in look according to their preference. A modern style vanity with a wood finish was selected from our catalogue.
Installing New Bathroom Fixtures
Our crew installed a brand new, high efficiency Caroma one-piece toilet. A new sliding glass enclosure was installed, for style and function. New electrical devices were put into existing locations, i.e. black light fixtures and fan switches, a GFCI plug, and fan cover. Accessorizing the room with client-approved fixtures helped to personalize the space and infuse more charm into the bathroom expansion and redesign.
Best Time To Paint Walls
After the hardware was installed, the focus turned to painting the walls, ceiling, trim, and door. Any water damaged areas were addressed and redone, with particular attention paid to the ceiling. From the client’s perspective, this is when this expanding small bathroom project really began to take shape and come to life. At Easy Reno we use exclusively Benjamin Moore painting products to guarantee quality and longevity.
Easy Bathroom Fixture Finishes
Tackling the finishes included the installation of new baseboards and casing. With the basics complete, attention pivoted to accessorizing the space with relatively standard bathroom products as selected by the client. These included installing a mirror, toilet paper holder, towel bar, and other items. With these accessories in place, there was very little left to do.
The final step to the bathroom re-model was a final walk-through to examine the work completed. We also cleaned the space, tidying it up so that it looked as if we were never there. The client had their turn to judge the work done and sign off on it. The bathroom was ready to use!
How Much Does It Cost to Expand a Bathroom?
The total cost of the project top to bottom was closer to the $30k mark. This included all materials and services.
A sizable project, a lot had to be redone from the electrical to the plumbing not to mention the new fixtures. Any sort of renovation has adjustable costs depending on what a client wants in materials and design. As experts in bathroom renovation contracting, we are always happy to discuss pricing and cost-effectiveness beforehand ensuring one’s budget isn’t extended beyond reasonable limits.
A homeowner that wants to expand their bathroom and bring in closet space or to accommodate a different tub or shower configuration best be advised that the cost is not cheap. That said, what you gain in functionality and resale value can be more than worth it. It certainly was to this client. Through the materials and style of fixtures selected, we captured the client’s personal aesthetic and followed their instructions on the sort of decorative look they wanted in their basic bathroom accessories.
From a visual standpoint, the client made some excellent choices with what to put where and our team was more than happy to take care of the back-end in terms of ensuring electrical, plumbing, and other home systems were safely positioned and correctly installed to eliminate any risk.
Small Bathroom Expansion Made Easy
After a defined look and feel was decided on in collaboration with the client for this bathroom expansion and redesign with two closets, the renovation was straightforward and challenges such as the air vents and plumbing were easily handled by our expert team. The bathroom is one of the more challenging rooms of a home to renovate because of the many systems relied on to handle things like moisture and daily use. The client was thrilled with the result, as we were able to maneuver around these issues and put in lasting solutions.
There were a lot of unique design choices and diversions away from the standard remodeling or enlarging a small bathroom process. In addition to the usual demolition, closet walls had to be demolished for this project. The ceiling trim was kept as is. Additional pot lights were installed, the shower drain and air vent were moved to a new location, and the shower head, temperature valve, and water lines were also re-installed elsewhere in the room. This was all done specifically for this client, crafting for them a custom bathroom renovation in line with their wants.
The entire bathroom expansion process took 4 weeks. The aim was to ultimately provide more square footage and eliminate the closet space in favor of a much larger bathroom and that’s exactly what we did. Utilizing modern designs and high quality materials procured at a discount, the client tapped into our professional team of contractors and designers for this job. We worked quickly and efficiently but also safely. The client’s home was treated with respect at all times and once the work was done, we ensured everything was neat and clean. We don’t leave behind messes.