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Bathroom Remodeling Made Easy

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These days, you can’t turn on the TV without viewing a new episode of home improvement shows like “Trading Spaces” or “Hometime.” A report issued this year by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies calls home improvement the new “great national pastime.” In 2001, Americans spent an estimated $214 billion on home improvements, maintenance and repairs. All indicators point to this remodeling-mania continuing for sometime.

Take a look around your own home. Is what you’ve been referring to as your “time-honored home décor” really just old fashioned? If so, maybe it’s time for you to join the remodeling parade. The good news is: there are lots of easy, low cost ways to give your home’s look a nice pick-me-up.

The bathroom is one of the most popular targets for home improvement. While any project involving plumbing tends to intimidate the average homeowner, there is a lot of new product technology designed with the do-it-yourselfer in mind.

One of the easiest and most cost efficient ways to spruce up a bathroom is to replace the faucets. “Improvements like this have a huge impact on the functional and aesthetic value of the space. You can create an entirely new theme for your bathroom -- such as contemporary, old world, or European -- based on the design of your faucet,” says Angie Coffman, director, Delta product marketing for Delta Faucet Company.

Before purchasing a new faucet, it’s a good idea to do some preliminary research. You may also want to consider a budget before beginning your search, as prices can vary widely. You will find that there are many different styles and designs in bathroom faucets. Consider ahead of time whether you want a single-handle or a double-handle faucet. Notice how the handles feel in the palm of your hand. Do you want something that is delicate or more heavy-duty? Explore different spout designs and finishes as well.

Decide whether or not you want an escutcheon, the decorative plate beneath a faucet. An escutcheon will also cover extra holes that might be drilled in the sink.

Look for a faucet that installs easily -- you may notice language like “quick connect ” or “no adjust,” indicating that minimal tools are required. Pay close attention to the existing hole configuration on your sink. How many are there and how far apart are they? Do you need a single-hole, 4-inch center-set, or a wall-mounted faucet? Your single-handle faucet may have three holes underneath, but you don’t necessarily have to replace it with another single-handle.

There’s a design, called a “mini-widespread,” which provides flexibility for customers who have a single-handle faucet, but are looking to switch to a double handle, widespread look. The Victorian Mini-widespread from Delta is an example of a faucet that offers intricate, old-world styling in a smaller sink setting.

Look for a design that won’t soon be outdated and one that will complement the rest of your bathroom, “one that will stand out without sticking out,” according to Coffman. “Keep in mind that you will probably be using this new faucet for years, so choose something that is durable, versatile, and a brand that is considered reliable.”

Installing high quality products in a bathroom will result in a high return on your home remodeling investment. That is why it is important to choose a faucet that offers long-lasting, worry-free performance. You want to look for things like solid brass construction and a company that offers a lifetime limited warranty, along with customer support, in case you have questions while installing the faucet yourself.

Now that you are ready to give your bathroom the facelift it has been waiting for, have a few tools handy for the installation. A pair of adjustable pliers, along with an Allen wrench and basin wrench, will probably be necessary. Also pick up some silicone or caulk, and Teflon tape. Always double check the instructions on your faucet for any other tools or supplies needed.

If you are looking for additional support, try consulting your local home improvement store. Or, check out manufacturer Web sites, such as deltafaucet.com, for installation tips. As you join the millions of Americans remodeling their homes this year, choose your projects wisely and remember that even seemingly small changes, like a bathroom fixture upgrade, can add value to your home.

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