Can I have a pocket door here?

  French doors being converted to pocket doors

French doors being converted to pocket doors

For small rooms like a hallway powder room or a mud room, a pocket door can be just the answer to a tricky room layout issue. Instead of swinging into the usable room space, a pocket door slides into the wall when the door is open. Furniture placement and traffic pattern issues solved.

Pocket doors can also be installed with a joining kit to allow 2 doors to close together. In the image above, a set of hinging French doors were converted to a pocket door arrangement. When the doors are open, they tuck neatly into the wall instead of taking up space in the room. 

Installing a pocket door in a new wall involves framing the proper rough opening size when the wall is being built. It’s best to have the door hardware on hand when the wall is built so the instructions with the proper opening size are available. 

Replacing a regular hinged door with a pocket door involves opening up the existing wall twice as wide as the actual door. This step is required to remove some wall studs where the door will tuck away, install the new framing above the door and close it all in with new drywall and trim.

Pocket doors have their place in life, but sometimes solving a tricky room layout issue hinges on the use of one. 

Add a bathroom to your home

  Proposed new bathroom location

Proposed new bathroom location

If you own a home with only one bathroom, you’ve probably wished you had a second one many times. Adding a second bathroom will help you avoid walks up and down the stairs, while at the same time increase the resale value of your home.

Adding a bathroom starts by choosing a location (or a few locations) large enough. A quick consult with a renovator or licensed plumber will let you know if your location works with your homes existing plumbing. For example, if your new bathroom is on the second floor, the direction of floor joists and location of your existing plumbing will have a bearing on your choice.

If you are tight for space, a two piece powder room can be as small as 3 x 6 feet. A three piece bathroom will fit in a 5 x 8 ft space. Things like small corner sinks and pocket doors can be used to coax a bathroom into a small space.

Can I put vinyl plank flooring over my ceramic tiles?

   Ceramic floor grout lines filled flush for Vinyl flooring

Ceramic floor grout lines filled flush for Vinyl flooring

Updating your old ceramic tile floor can be a great way to give your renovation a clean slate. In some cases, your old ceramic floor may need to be removed, but often times your new floor can go directly on top of the old ceramic tiles. One of the best flooring materials to cover ceramic tile is Vinyl Plank Flooring (also called luxury vinyl flooring or floating/interlocking vinyl). This relatively new flooring material is suitable for kitchens, bathrooms and entrance hallways and is usually less than a quarter inch thick.

If you decide to install vinyl plank flooring over ceramic tile it’s recommended that the old tile grout lines get covered with floor leveler to create a uniform surface. This ensures the new vinyl floor will lay flat and the old grout lines won’t show up as indents in your new vinyl floor over time.

When considering if you should remove your old ceramic tile, consider things such as the height of adjacent flooring and clearance under doors. If you already have a large step up transition from adjacent flooring, now is the time to bite the bullet and remove the ceramic floor instead of increasing the step up height even further by installing the vinyl over top.

The best part about using vinyl plank flooring is the wide variety of looks available, the affordable price and the relatively easy installation. Just take a trip down the vinyl plank flooring isle at your local home renovation store and you’ll see that the new vinyl floor is nothing like grandmas vinyl floor.

Replace your bathtub with a walk-in shower


When you renovate your bathroom, you may want to replace your existing bathtub with a walk in shower. Since most bathtubs are a standard 60 inches long, the home improvement suppliers have developed standard 60 inch long shower solutions designed to fit the space. 

Although the choices may seem overwhelming, it really comes down to choosing a shower pan, wall system and door that fits your budget and design vision. Choices range from shower “kits” all the way to complete custom tile jobs. 

In most cases, the renovation will include removing the existing wall tiles as well as the drywall or plaster around your bathtub. Replacing your shower valve and installing lumber in the walls to support grab bars and shelves is always a good idea since the walls will be open. Once the shower components get installed, the walls and floor in the rest of your bathroom renovation can blend in to your new shower area and you’ll soon forget you ever had the old tub.