Economy, housing market drive smaller, smarter home-remodeling projects

(ARA) – Things may be looking up, but the economy remains sluggish. That reality, coupled with tight lending and home resale uncertainty, is driving consumers to prioritize home improvements based not just on immediate need, but also on potential appeal to future buyers.

For the most part, it is best to make useful improvements that will appeal to a wide range of buyers down the road, say experts. Proceeding cautiously, homeowners are therefore thinking twice before undertaking major projects. When they do decide to remodel, they are sticking with smaller, tried-and-true improvements – like adding a bathroom. Bathroom additions are a wise renovation option, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2009-2010 Cost vs. Value Report. An added bath can be expected to recoup just less than 60 percent of its cost at resale.

Cost-effective solution
Fortunately, creating a new bath need not be costly – especially in spaces that lack below-floor drainage; that is, where a bathroom does not currently exist, such as a basement, an attic, a garage or even a bedroom closet. In these situations, many plumbers recommend installing macerating, above-floor plumbing.

“With a macerating, or up-flush, toilet, there is no need to break up the floor to install drainage lines,” says Al Warren, a licensed plumbing contractor for more than 30 years and owner of Warren Brothers Mechanical Contractors in Stafford Springs, Conn. Warren uses Saniflo brand macerating plumbing systems.

“This technology,” he continues, “makes it possible to inexpensively install a brand new bathroom in any room in the house, including the basement.”

Up-flush technology isn’t new, having been invented a half-century ago, but its application is growing rapidly. These systems pump waste and water from toilets and sinks upward through small-diameter piping that transfers the waste to the sewer or septic tank. Unlike sewage ejectors, up-flush systems evacuate waste immediately through this piping, rather than storing it in a holding tank.

William and Jane Sprague from Annapolis, Md., wanted a bathroom in their basement family room, but they didn’t want the high cost and expense of digging up the concrete floor to create drainage. In addition, space for the proposed bathroom was limited. Up flush plumbing saved the Spragues money and simplified their half-bath remodeling project. “We’ve had a lot of compliments” on the new bathroom, says Jane Sprague. “It’s very small, but I love it. It’s worked out perfect for us.”

Multi-generational households
Bathroom additions remain extremely popular, and with the increase in extended-family households, what could be more important to personal convenience and privacy than adding a bathroom? Recent U.S. Census data showed that a record 49 million Americans now live in multi-generational households. That rising trend will likely impact future buying needs, so savvy homeowners are making strategic improvements now.

When it comes to bath additions, Saniflo up-flush systems can help. “Time and again, clients ask me for advice and guidance to update their bathrooms without breaking the bank,” says April Bettinger, owner of Nip Tuck Remodeling in Woodinville, Wash. “They are happy to have recommendations for products that will hold up well, provide a useful life and look nice at the same time,” she says.

Appealing to future buyers

Here are some additional tips for making the most of your bathroom-remodeling investment, whether you are creating a new space or upgrading an existing one:

* Choose neutral colors that make decorating easy.

* Install a pedestal sink and a recessed medicine cabinet to reduce crowding in small baths.

* Install grab bars in the shower and around the tub. Position them so that small children as well as adults can easily reach them.

* Choose child-friendly rounded edges for vanity tops.

Learn more about low-cost above-floor bathroom systems by visiting www.saniflo.com or calling .



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