Often, the problem issues that you see in your bathroom are just the tip of the iceberg…
Sometimes I get calls from people asking me to come and take a look at their bathrooms because they have an “issue”. Sometimes it’s a water stain, or a water stain on a ceiling below the bathroom, or grimy grout on the shower floor, or a leaky shower, or poor drainage in the tub or shower, or even (gasp!) mold.
The very first thing they want to know is “Can I just fix this problem?” Meaning – can they “just” remove the shower floor/tile/drywall in that area, and repair, patch and paint to make it go away, and not have to spend any money. As a consumer, I completely understand this question. Nobody wants to spend money unexpectedly on home renovations and repairs that they did not plan on. I get this because I just had to put a new roof on my house, and it was NOT fun. And I had no choice.
Unfortunately, the answer to their question is almost always, “NO”. The problem is that what you see on the surface, is actually not the real problem – it is just the tip of the iceberg. It is just a symptom of something bigger below the surface – and that is what needs to be addressed and fixed. I do not do “patch jobs”, or advise my clients to do them. The problem with doing a patch job, is that it is almost always temporary, and almost always does not fix what is actually wrong – it just makes it so that you can believe that everything is okay, and you do not have a very big and expensive issue lurking below…
It is simply not possible to remove a portion of a shower, or a floor, or tile, or plumbing, and properly assess or repair damage, not to mention what your space will look like when you try to match anything when you are putting it back together.
Our Dunblaine Master Ensuite “before” – the tub panel has been removed to check for water damage.
In our Dunblaine Master Ensuite project, the client had patched, repaired, and put a band-aid on her leaking shower and tub three times before calling me. She did ask if I knew how to patch it and thought that the issue was possibly poor silicone work or grout work, which had caused leaking and actual damage to the ceiling in her family room below. My immediate reaction was that if “fixing” this three times has not worked, then there is really something going on here. Although I am always excited by a renovation – she was not as excited at the prospect of an impromptu total bathroom remodel. But, after thinking about it, the clients realized that they had been living in a bathroom that was clearly giving them issues, and also they never really loved it to begin with….and it’s a really good thing because –
We discovered poor quality plumbing and toxic black mold lurking behind the shower and tub.
Yes, very disgusting and unwelcome discovery!! This black mold had been behind the tub and shower, and had actually made it’s way into the drywall of their walk-in closet. YUCK.
The clients were now extremely happy that they decided to renovate and not just band-aid the problem again. They would still be living with this in their home. Of course, we called in the experts, had all of the mold removed EVERYWHERE, and now the new plumbing is perfection. We have new framing throughout, and the clients are very relieved.
We are redesigning this great space, enlarging the shower and adding a free-standing tub and two custom vanities. It will be an elegant and contemporary space that the clients will love!
This stunning Carrara marble “leaf” mosaic tile will now be the feature in the new shower!
So really the lesson here is – fix the problem, not the symptom! Take the opportunity to turn what could be a real problem issue, and turn it into a beautiful interior that you will enjoy and love. Use only quality materials, licensed and experienced contractors and trades, hire a Designer, and then you can be certain that your spaces are not only gorgeous on the outside, but also (and just as important!) built properly on the inside.