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Everything You Need to Know About Remodeling Your Bathroom: An Interview with Mel Dion of Cardinal Construction

What are the pros and cons of different floor materials in the bathroom?

Most frequently, homeowners choose tile flooring for bathroom remodels. The advantage of tile in a wet area like a bathroom, is that tile is unaffected by water, it never wears out, and it's available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, colors and designs. Homeowners enjoy the ability to create a design or pattern for their floor. The current trend with tile is super thin grout lines.

One of the greatest advantages of tile when coupled with an under floor radiant heat mat, is that tile maintains its temperature (whether warm or cool) better than any other flooring material. It's possible warm the entire bathroom on a timer, eliminating the need to use the furnace in the morning. Clients delight in walking barefoot into the bathroom on a warm floor.

The second most popular choice for bathroom flooring is vinyl or linoleum. It's more cost effective and it can be installed faster than tile with lower labor costs. Vinyl is durable and there are more design options than ever. Homeowners can find linoleum or vinyl floors made to look like stone, wood, or tile. It's also easier to keep clean, a definite benefit for kids sharing a bathroom.

A distant third choice for bathroom flooring is hardwood or laminate (brand names like Pergo). Water is the fastest way to damage wood, so using wood flooring in a bathroom requires regular maintenance to keep it sealed and dried. Most homeowners prefer an easier to maintain, water resistant flooring material.

What are the advantages to hiring a professional to remodel a bathroom?

The advantage of hiring a professional to remodel a bathroom is that it will be built properly, to code, the first time. Homeowners benefit from their contractors years of experience building bathrooms. A simple error can lead to extensive, hidden water damage behind walls or under floors. A licensed contractor will make sure your property is leak free.

What bathroom elements do you find to be the most useful to include in a bathroom remodel?

The most useful elements in a bathroom remodel are improved lighting , water saving fixtures and safety features for seniors.

Updating light fixtures, adding sun tunnels, or skylights are first on homeowners wish lists. There is no substitute for natural lighting in a bathroom.

A remodel is also a great time to change fixtures to save water. Low flow toilets have improved over the past few years and low flow showerheads can save gallons of water per shower. In California, many cities require low flow fixtures and toilets and give incentives to homeowners who switch.

Older clients choose to add grab bars, non-slip flooring, and seating in the shower. The perfect time to add support framing for grab bars is while the bathroom is being rebuilt. Adding grab bars without adding support can have disastrous results during a fall.

What are some ways to increase the amount of storage in a bathroom?

In older homes, the water heaters are found in an area near the bathroom. By installing an on-demand water heater on the exterior of the home, the space used by the water heater can now be turned into a linen closet. There is also a savings in efficiency with an instant water heater. Inset medicine cabinets leave the front mirrored doors flush with the wall for a cleaner look and added storage without becoming overbearing in a small room.

What new products, or design trends, do you see homeowners installing in their bathroom?

  1. Radiant heat under the bathroom floor. Once considered a luxury item, radiant floors are becoming more common. Set on a timer, homeowners can walk barefoot into the bathroom first thing in the morning and be greeted by a warm floor in a warm room.
  2. The industrial look is becoming quite popular. Shelving in metal and glass without doors is all the rage currently. Lights, cabinets, and design accessories are widely available in this style.
  3. Shower walls are being built of solid surface material to eliminate grout lines. The ease of cleaning, the variety of choices and the smart look are attractive to homeowners. Brands such as Silestone and Swantstone, the two most popular surfaces, sell products custom built for each shower wall.

What is the best way for people to reach you and your company?

Best way to reach Cardinal Construction is through our website at or at the office 831-476-4144.

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