A young boy in a bath tub surrounded with bubbles & ducks

Absolutely stunning! No. 4 is a water-resisting showstopper.

We don’t ask much from bathroom surfaces.  

Just that they be beautiful and withstand every cleaning chemical invented, steamy showers, piles of damp towels, and, did we mention, tantrum-induced line-drives with bath toys?

Oh, and they should be easy to clean. That’s all.

So what materials can live up to the ask? We asked the experts. Here are 10 they recommend:

#1 Engineered Stone Countertop

Dying for a white marble countertop? Join the club. But get ready to seal, reseal, and reseal. Then repeat. Year after year.

Or, go for engineered stone, which can mimic marble (and other stone materials) for about the same cost, but minus the hassle. It’s non-porous so it resists bacteria, mold, stains, and water damage better than the real thing. Better! And it never needs sealing!

#2 Glazed Porcelain Tile Floor

Porcelain flooring in a bathroom that looks like woodImage: Olympia Tile

Moisture is Enemy No. 1 for bathroom floors, and glazed porcelain tile is its most-worthy adversary.

A white bathroom with tub and porcelain tilesImage: Happy Floors

It won’t hold onto water like laminate and porous materials, and porcelain tiles glazed with glass are nearly stain-proof — as are today’s high-quality epoxy and urethane grouts, which don’t require sealing.

#3 Vinyl Floor

Time to rethink vinyl. Hear us out. Luxury vinyl tiles, which mimic stone and wood, are awesome at resisting moisture.

Other affordable options like laminate just can’t keep up. Plus, vinyl sheets are so large, you can cover a small bath without a single seam or grout line, making it easy on the eye and easier to keep clean.

#4 Plywood Cabinets

Yup. We said plywood. But today’s “grade A” offering isn’t your mother’s plywood. (Or your Swedish cousin’s, which is actually particleboard.)

Composed of pressed layers of alder, birch, or cedar, “grade A” plywood (also known as furniture-grade) remains more stable in the face of moisture than solid wood, which will shrink and swell in response to bathroom humidity (causing cracks in painted surfaces and even warped panels).

As for the finish, you don’t need to spring for anything fancy: The factory finish applied to cabinetry nowadays will hold up to the moisture. Isn’t living in the future great?

#5 Tempered Glass Shower Doors

Tempered glass shower doorImage: Aha!nteriors

While you need your glass to be tempered for safety, you don’t need a special spot-resistant treatment or upgraded texture to have crystal-clear shower doors.

“Glass is easy to clean,” says Ebony Stephenson, a certified kitchen and bath designer. “I tell my clients, ‘I’ll give you a squeegee and you can save $2,000. It’s a lot of money when you can just wipe off your glass.’” So definitely get tempered glass, but skip the add-on treatments that promise no spots.

#6 Glossy or Semi-Glossy Paint

The No. 1 thing to stop mold in a bathroom is an exhaust fan. It may not be sexy, but that mildew-y smell in your bath isn’t exactly “come-hither” either.Mold and mildew are real concerns, even on the walls, thanks to bathroom humidity. So paint sheen matters.

A full-on glossy paint has a shiny, sealed surface that blocks out moisture and wipes clear of residue, say from hairspray, without leaving a mark like a matte finish will. But the sheen can be a bit overbearing on anything more than trim, and calls attention to wall flaws.

A semi-glossy finish will hold up nearly as well to cleaning and moisture, without calling quite as much attention to bumps, dents, and other imperfections.

#7 Cast Iron Tub

A white clawfoot tub in a restored tiled bathroomImage: Anderson Estates Building

A tub forged from molded liquid iron is likely going to be the toughest thing in your house — maybe even your neighborhood, depending on where you live.

You may need extra support for your floor (and your pocketbook) to bring it home, but cast iron won’t chip, scratch, or dent like fiberglass, acrylic, and even porcelain can.

This tub is your forever tub. And probably your children’s forever tub. And their kids’.

#8 Porcelain-on-Steel Tub

Don’t let its acronym, POS, misguide you: Heat-fused enamel on steel will resist corrosion, abrasion, and chipping better than synthetic materials, and it is much more affordable than cast iron.

#9 Acrylic Panel Shower Walls

White textured acrylic shower wall panelImage: Kohler Co.

Despite their lightweight, acrylic wall panels, often called shower surrounds, are not lightweights. They resist chipping, cracking, and peeling, and are much easier to maintain than stone tiles or slabs. Unlike tile, they nail directly to wall studs or glue to the wallboards, so they don’t require grout. Acrylic is tougher than fiberglass and colored all the way through — so it’s less likely to scratch, and even a deep cut won’t be as obvious. They’re also more affordable than tile and available in textured patterns, if you want to look like you splurged on a fancy design.

#10 Stainless Steel Sink

A red tiled bathroom wall with stainless sinkImage: Asa Gilmore

Stainless: not just for kitchens anymore. Corrosion- and stain-resistant, it won’t melt under a hot curling iron like acrylic can, and won’t dent or chip like porcelain if nail clippers plummet down from the medicine cabinet.

And it’s the perfect match for the industrial-chic look that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Statistical highlights from CREB®s 2018 Economic Outlook and Regional Housing Market Forecast

A new front door has the highest ROI, not to mention the boost in curb appeal. 

You’re going to save money with DIY home improvement projects. Sure, everybody knows that.

But did you know how much? Cut professionals out of the equation and you can save half the cost of a project — or more. 

What’s more, you get a great return on your investment. Meaning, the financial value you get out of a DIY project is much more than what you put in.

Here’s a rundown of some top money-saving projects, using cost and recovered costs data from the “Remodeling Impact Report” from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

#1 New Steel Front Door

Few replacement projects have as much upside as a new steel entry door. Not only will you recover about 75% of the cost of having an entry door professionally installed, but you’ll spruce up your curb appeal big time. Want proof? Ninety-six percent of homeowners responding to the “Remodeling Impact Report” say they are happy or satisfied with their new front door.  

Of course, you’ll save even more if you tackle this project yourself. Know your door parts (jambs, threshold, stops) before digging in. You’ll be putting in a pre-hung door that includes jambs, so the old stuff has to come out. If you can, preserve the old casing (trim) that goes around the door. Otherwise, plan to buy new casing.

If You Hire                          If You DIY

Cost $2,000                            Cost $250

Recoup at Sale $1,500.         Recoup at Sale $1,500

Recoup Cost 75%                   Recoup Cost 600%

This is a good one to have a friend or spouse lend a hand. It’ll take six to eight hours if it’s your first time. Remember the three-legged mantra of door installation: Plumb, level, square.

#2 New Garage Door

Tired of looking at that big blank billboard every time you pull into your driveway? Change out your old garage door for a spiffy new steel model and the whole neighborhood will thank you. Save some cash by keeping the same motorized opener.

If You Hire                        If You DIY

Cost $2,300                           Cost $850

Recoup at Sale $2,000        Recoup at Sale $2,000

Recoup Costs 87%                Recoup Costs     235%

A steel garage door comes in four panels that are relatively lightweight but awkward — get a friend to lend a hand and you’ll have this project done in a day. Then stand back and admire along with 95% of homeowners in the “Remodeling Impact Report” who said they were happy or satisfied with their new garage door. 

#3 New Vinyl Windows

If you want to replace four or more windows, or a second-story window, then hire the work out. Being up on a ladder with an object as bulky as a window is no place for a non-professional. Pros bring scaffolding, which takes time to set up but ultimately makes the work faster and safer.Replacing one, two, or maybe three first-story windows is a good DIY job. Anything more and the pros will get the job done with better efficiency in terms of time and hassle.

If you Hire                           If You DIY

Cost per Window $556         Cost per Window $250

Recoup at Sale $444             Recoup at Sale $444

Recoup Costs 80%                 Recoup Costs 178%

If you’ve measured your rough opening correctly and bought the right window, then one window should take you three to four hours. You’ll get faster with subsequent windows.

#4 New Wood Flooring

Few projects are as satisfying, while recovering such a high percentage of your investment, as new wood flooring. According to the “Remodeling Impact Report,” 96% of homeowners were happy or satisfied with their professionally installed hardwood floors. Combine that with a 91% return on your investment, and you’ll likely be a very happy homeowner.For the DIYer, installing hardwood flooring is a bit labor intensive, but the techniques are fairly easy to master. Once you get the hang of it, installing prefinished hardwood flooring should go smoothly.

If You Hire                            If You DIY

Cost $5,500                               Cost $1,770

Recoup at Sale $5,000            Recoup at Sale $5,000

Recoup of Cost 91%.                Recoup of Cost 282%


#5 Insulation Upgrade

OK, maybe it’s not the sexiest project. After all, it’s tucked out of sight in your attic. But you can feel it with increased comfort, and see the savings on your energy bill. Those are big pluses. Upgrading an under-insulated attic space can save you up to 50% per year in energy costs. With a pro cost of $2,100, it’ll take at least a couple of years to pay off your investment with savings. Do it yourself, however, and you’ll only spend about $700 for enough 10-inch-thick fiberglass batt insulation to cover a 20-foot-by-40-foot attic space. You’ll pocket the savings much sooner. It’s also an awkward project, it can be messy, and you’ll need to bundle up behind protective clothing. However, insulating your attic is a low-skill project that most DIYers can pull off. Just be sure not to stick your foot through the drywall under the attic floor joists! 

If You Hire                          If you DIY 

Cost $2,100                             Cost $700

Recoup at Sale $1,600          Recoup at Sale $1,600

Recoup of Cost 76%               Recoup of Cost 229%


Article by John Riha

 January 26, 2018 by Kathleen Renee


Tips and tricks for DIY room painting

Before running a paint roller over any wall in your home, Ryan Tantzen, manager at Anilin Decorating Centre, says you should first “figure out your needs for the project.”

“Whether you’re looking to sell your home, or stay in it, will dictate those needs,” he said.

The general rule of thumb? If you’re looking to sell a house, it’s advisable to use a light colour.

“Lighter colours open up your space and make it feel clean,” said Tantzen. “If you’re planning on staying in your home, you don’t have to worry about trends – you just have to worry about what you like.”

Once your needs are established, Tantzen says the next step is to select the correct paint for the project, a decision largely influenced by the humidity level of the room in question.

The most humid rooms in a house are the bathrooms. Tantzen says paint technology has come a long way from the oil-based paints of yesteryear, which are lauded for their ability to resist moisture. Contemporary brands offer humidity-friendly options that prevent condensation from collecting on walls.

When it comes to paint finish, Tantzen says many customers prefer a matte finish, as mattes are less likely to show surface imperfections when compared with gloss finishes. The most popular finish, in Tantzen’s experience is Regal Eggshell.


“It’s a balance between a flat and a pearl,” he said. “With most products on the market, you require some sheen to have a durable, washable finish. Eggshell offers a nice middle ground. It looks soft and elegant on walls.”

Tantzen emphasizes that one main advantage of paints with higher-gloss finishes is that they are washable.

Before applying a fresh coat of paint, Tantzen says it’s crucial to make sure the walls have been prepared for painting, a procedure that can involve scraping off lifting paint, sanding the walls, and patching any divots and imperfections with a product like Drydex. In the case of a bathroom, Tantzen says it’s then necessary to apply an oil-based primer to the walls to “seal in the trouble spots” before applying fresh paint.

Tantzen says you should always work from top to bottom when painting, keeping a “wet edge” – the still-wet section where paint has just been applied – and working out from that. Always saturate the roller. Also, to avoid issues like texturing, uneven sheen and lap marks, don’t overwork the paint.

“Once the paint starts to set, if you touch it, it will texture it. You don’t want to go back and start working it,” said Tantzen, noting that two hours between coats should suffice.

Tantzen also suggests that, after cleaning paint brushes to the point that no cloudy water can still be squeezed from them, you rub a bit of hair conditioner into the bristles before storing them.

When taping baseboard edges, Tantzen says there a couple of tips to remember. First, he suggests pushing hard on the leading edge of the painter’s tape to seal it. Second, Tantzen says, you shouldn’t leave the tape on for too long, as it will either start to lift or to bond to the surface.

When it comes to planning feature walls, Tantzen recommends either selecting the first wall you see within a room, or painting a wall across from a window, as it will be highlighted, literally.

Ultimately, Tantzen says, if you don’t like your colour choice, or how the new paint looks, you can always buy another can of paint and start over.

Your garage can be a place to stash everything from tools to seasonal decor without feeling — and looking — like a dumping ground.

Follow these seven simple guiding principles to transform it into an organized, attractive, and even inspiring space.

#1 Get Stuff Off the Floor

Clear bins with colorful labels on shelving in garage

Hoist those sedentary bins up and away onto a shelving system.

Stackable clear bins (with labels! don’t forget the labels!) at arm-height make it easy to recognize and grab frequently used items, while open space beneath provides assigned parking for the Shop-Vac and kiddos’ wagons.

#2 Color-Coordinate Bins

A white shelving unit in a garage with color storage bins
Image: DIY Garage Mudroom Lockers by Keeping It Simple

Two metal carts with wheels in a garage
Image: Edward Reyna 


With your newfound open floor space, you can dedicate durable carts to different endeavors — gardening, camping, tailgating. You’ll save transition time (and your back) by rolling all your supplies to the yard or the car.

#4 Put Up Pegboards (Lots of ‘Em)

A white pegboard with hanging tools in a garage
Image: Shannon Acheson, AKA Design

Just put those bad boys on empty wall space. Group like items according to shape and size, leaving plenty of room to add new tools to your masterpiece with just a hook (rather than a massive reorganization).

#5 Organize With an Eye on Style

A blue workbench in a garage with a blue pegboard
Image: Polished Habitat


The accessible storage is so symmetrical, so colorful, you’ll actually look forward to using it. Or just standing before it and grinning. (Those little hanging cubbies? Want.)

#6 Designate Zones

A garage with wood workbench and spray paint storage
Image: Reality Daydream


(Bonus points for the additional pegboard storage this bench provides.) And how about those paints and clever wall racks? Reminiscent of a delicious kitchen spice rack, no?

#7 Pull It All Together for a DIY Dream Come True

A large garage with multiple workbenches and a pegboard

Image: mtneer_man/Flickr

Let’s take a moment to slow clap the organized glory of a garage that juggles multiple projects — woodworking, car repairs, home improvements — without breaking a sweat.

Smartly spaced, wall-to-ceiling, and under-counter storage give everything a place, while stylishly coordinated pops of red and blue pull it all together.

Despite so much going on, it all feels organized and open. The photo alone is enough to make you want to roll up your sleeves and dive into a project.

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