Great New Home Plumbing Ideas – An Outdoor Shower

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We spend a lot of time in bathrooms, it comes with the territory. So, like it or not (and actually we really kind of do) we have picked up a lot of knowledge and ideas about what makes for a great bathroom indoors. But how about outdoors?

If, like so many of us, your outdoor living space (aka back garden) literally becomes your second home in the summertime then adding an outdoor shower into the mix in time for this summer is an idea well worth considering. As they are both useful and attractive an outdoor shower can add extra aesthetic appeal as well as make your outdoor space that little bit more functional.

Why Bother with an Outdoor Shower?

Once you actually have one in place, you will find that simply the new experience of getting to cool off on a hot day in this way is a delightful experience that was worth the time and expense of installing an outdoor shower in the first place, but it will have more practical implications as well that you will quickly come to appreciate.

For pool owners, showering right before you dive into the pool after a sunbathing session will quickly wash away a lot of perspiration, oils and sticky perfumes that can pollute your pool and even jam up the filter. Showering after a dip in the pool will eliminate all of that stinky chlorine from your body and even help your swimwear last longer as well.

An outdoor shower spot is great for parents as well, both those of kids and pet parents. No more herding muddy kids and/or dogs through the house to clean up, cutting down on the time spent on housecleaning and general clean up.

Buying Tips

As they become more and more popular prefabricated outdoor shower options are also becoming easier to find. Most of the big box home stores have started stocking range of them, some for as little as about $75, although you can expect to pay more for the fancier options.

On the other hand, a number of landscapers are also building shower facilities into their overall designs for clients and some are extremely attractive. You will likely pay more if you choose this option, but you will also be getting something unique to you, rather than a mass produced offering that thousands of others (maybe even your neighbours) have as well.

Design Options We Love

There are so many ways you can make an outdoor space like this attractive and functional. If your tastes veer towards the natural earthy look, teak is an excellent option, as not only is it fabulous to look at – the patina change as the wood ages in the most beautiful way – it is also an excellent choice for use in wet outdoor spaces in terms of durability, the very reasons it has been used so much in shipbuilding for hundreds of years.

Bamboo is a somewhat less expensive alternative and is a great choice in its own right, especially if you have a garden space that is very green. Bamboo also offers the advantage that it possesses natural bug repellent properties and resists mold and other fungus as well.

We have also seen some wonderful looking examples of stone based outdoor showers, whether that means opting natural stone – or faux stone ceramic – tiles as a floor base or creating a complete enclosure this way.

Plumbing Considerations

An outdoor shower is still a shower so there will be plumbing involved. Can you do it yourself? Possibly but we’d recommend calling in a pro. As water will have to be diverted from indoors all of the connections have to be just right and there are drainage considerations that have to be kept in mind to avoid runoff to the house, leading to potential structural water damage. It is also crucial that the whole system can be switched off and shut down in the winter to avoid pipe freezes. A good professional plumber will make sure all of these safeguards are in place so it really is worth the extra expense.

Not sure what modern outdoor showers look like? Take a look at the gallery below to see some of the best outdoor shower ideas we could find to give you a little extra inspiration and incentive to begin planning one of your own.

Is There Time to Remodel My Bathroom Before the Thanksgiving Holiday? Top Tips to Beat the Deadline

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Can you believe that the long Thanksgiving weekend is only just about a month away? It’s a happy, fun time but it can also be can be a stressful one, especially if you are expecting family or friends over to stay. Of course, you will want your home looking as spic and span as possible, and for some the outdated and possible even unappealing state of the bathroom that the guests will use is a source of grief. But can you really pull of a bathroom remodel before the ‘big day’ is upon you?

The answer is yes. Although you almost certainly will not have time for a full, top to bottom bathroom renovation there are a number of quick and fairly inexpensive ways to transform your bathroom from grungy to gorgeous in near record time.

Give it a Fresh Coat of Paint.

Giving your bathroom something as simple a nice new paint job can work wonders. Over time even the highest quality paint job loses its luster, especially in a high traffic area like the bathroom. You do not have to change the color completely, especially since a drastic color change might involve a change of bathroom fixtures to really work, a bigger bathroom remodeling job than you realistically have time for. However by going a shade or two different, or simply refreshing your current color scheme you can make a dull bathroom really shine.

Change your Faucets.

Although you may not have time to change the basic bathroom fixtures, new faucets are fairly easy to install many different styles available today that can actually achieve a mini bathroom makeover all by themselves. Switching worn and chipped old faucets for some of the innovative and stylish options available today can alter the whole feel of the bathroom. Most home improvement stores carry a vast array of options, but you may want to consult with a licensed plumber before you begin switching things over. A flood and the resulting water damage is the last thing you need right before your company descends.

Add a Mirror.

Although you probably have the standard mirror above the sink, adding another, especially a full length one, is one more easy way to give your bathroom a quick make over. A full length mirror can open a small bathroom right up, giving the illusion that it is roomier than it really is.

Check the floor

Most bathroom floors tend to look dingy after a while, whether tiled or carpeted. Sprucing them up can be as simple as giving tiled floors a good scrub or giving the bathroom carpet a once over with a steam cleaner. If you have tiling that is cracked or chipped replacing them all right is out of the question, so a strategically placed rug is a good temporary fix, although you really should consult a professional later to have them fixed, as water damage to a bathroom floor caused by cracked tiling can eventually lead to mold.

Little Extras Make a Big Difference

Small decorative touches, such as decorative soaps or new set of towels are always a great way to inject a little extra style into any bathroom, big or small.

So there you have it, a quick bathroom remodel that you can complete in plenty of time before your guests arrive.

DIY Corner: How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

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If you have to pay for the water that flows into your home (and most of us have to in one way or another) how would you like to save up to 10% on that bill, while also doing a nice thing for the environment? Well there is one rather simple thing you can do; fix that leaky faucet that you’ve been trying your hardest to ignore for the last few months.

Believe it or not a single leaky faucet can result in up to 10,000 gallons of wasted water every year. And yet with some basic tools, and a little bit of know how you can fix that leaky faucet in just an hour or so, cutting your expenses, preventing potential water damage and finally silencing that annoying drip, drip, drip that’s been driving you nuts for ages.

Fixing your Leaky Faucet

Before you begin you really do need to shut off the water, that is unless you want to end up looking like a character in a corny comic book when you get a surprise face full of water half way through the job. You should also close the sink drain and cover it with a rag to ensure any accidentally falling parts do not end up going down the drain. Finally tape the jaws of your wrench to avoid scratching your fixtures. Now you are ready to get

There are four commonly utilized different types of faucets: compression, cartridge (sleeve), ceramic disk, and ball type. Here is a quick guide to fixing a leak in them all

Fixing a Leaky Faucet: Compression Faucets

Pry off the decorative cap on the handle.
Remove the screw.
Pull off the handle.
Use a crescent wrench to unscrew the packaging nut.
Remove and replace the seat washer, which is held in place by a brass screw,
Coat the washer in a nontoxic, heat-proof plumber’s grease.
Pop the stem out of the packaging nut.
Replace the O-ring.
Coat the new O-ring with the plumber’s grease.
Reassemble the faucet.
Tighten the packing nut.

Fixing a Leaky Faucet: Ball-type Faucets

Because these faucets are complicated and it is tough to pinpoint the cause of a leak, it is often best to replace all the parts.

Remove the handle set screw.
Lift off handle.
Using adjustable pliers, remove the cap and collar.
Loosen the faucet cam and lift it, the cam washer, and rotating ball out.
Using needle-nose pliers, remove the inlet seals and springs in the faucet body.
Cut off the O-rings.
Coat the new O-rings in a nontoxic, heat-proof plumber’s grease.
Roll on the new O-rings.
Install new springs, valve seats, and cam washers.
Reassemble the faucet.

Fixing a Leaky Faucet: Cartridge Faucets

Pry off the decorative cap on the handle.
Remove the handle screw.
Pull off the handle (first tilt it backwards).
Using needle-nose pliers, remove the retaining clip holding the cartridge in place.
Remove the spout.
Cut off old O-rings.
Coat the new O-rings in a nontoxic, heat-proof plumber’s grease.
Reassemble the faucet.

Fixing a Leaky Faucet: Ceramic-Disk Faucets

Push the faucet handle back to access the set screw.
Remove the set screw.
Lift off the handle.
Remove the escutcheon cap.
Unscrew the disk cylinder mounting screws.
Lift out the cylinder.
Using a screwdriver, lift out the neoprene seals from the cylinder. Replace if damaged.
Clean the cylinder openings using distilled white vinegar and a plastic scouring pad.
Rinse.
Replace the seals.
Reassemble the faucet.

Although these are all fairly straightforward DIY jobs if you don’t feel confident in your abilities don’t try it, call in a professional instead, as the water damage caused by a bad repair job could end up costing far more than a visit from a plumber.

Dealing with a Flooded Bathroom – Not a Laughing Matter

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Somehow when it happens on TV it’s really funny. A clumsy person leaves the bath taps on and the bathroom floods. It’s been a plot device over the years on countless comedy shows and it always draws big laughs. In real life a flooded bathroom really isn’t a laughing matter though. Nor is a clogged bathroom sink that overflows, or, possibly worst of all, a toilet that backs up.

So should it happen to you there  won’t be a laugh track, mild panic is more likely. But just what should you do to minimize damage and risk until the water restoration team can arrive to help? Well panicking won’t help but these tips should:

  • Turn off the water supply to the bathroom.
  • Remove as much water from the floor as possible using a mop or a wet dry/vac if you have one. DO NOT however use a regular vacuum. No, we should not even have to say that but sadly yes, we have heard of people doing just that and with some horrible consequences (as in water + electricity = bad things.)
  • Open cabinet doors if possible to allow air to get in
  • If your bathroom has been flooded by clean water (from the bath or sink) open the windows or turn on the A/C. If the toilet flooded and there may be the risk of a sewage leak do not, as that will only potentially make the smell – and the spread of germs, worse.
  • If possible turn off the electric supply in the bathroom. If that is not possible make sure you don’t flick light switches or try turning on wall lighting.
  • Don’t leave anything like magazines lying on any wet carpeting, as they are likely to bleed ink into it and minimize the chance it can be salvaged in any way.
  • Check the ceiling under the bathroom. If it is starting to sag or crack leave it alone and make sure everyone stays out of the affected room until the pros arrive too take over.
  • If it’s possible – and safe – to do so take as many snaps of the damage as you can. If it is not jot down written notes instead, as you are going to need this kind of information for any insurance claim you make.
  • Get help right away. Whether it is 9am, 11pm or 3 in the morning calling in the cavalry  as soon as possible is a must, even if you think you have mopped up most of the water. The biggest risk to your property is still present in a damp room; the formation of mold.

Mold is very industrious stuff and needs just 24 hours (sometimes less in certain weather conditions) to begin to really take hold, get comfy and get growing, often under floorboards and even in walls and baseboards where it can lurk unseen to wreak its havoc. Most good water damage restoration services maintain a 24 hour emergency line and, unlike plumbers, won’t charge you an arm and a leg extra for calling them outside of ‘normal’ business hours.