Bathroom Updates for Older Homes

Plenty of older homes have great bones, but just need a little updating. If you find yourself in possession of an older home that you want to renovate, you might be trying to decide what should be done about it. What aspects of the home should you fix first?

Well, the bathroom is a key renovation site, because many old bathrooms have hidden leaks, faulty plumbing, strange layouts and walls that are out of plumb. Here are the top five tips to make your old home’s bathroom feel new again.

One- Update the Shower

When you’re fixing up the bathroom in your old home, remember that getting a new shower can make even the smallest or oldest bathroom feel modern and fresh. Even if your walls aren’t quite straight, a new customized shower will bring the wow factor that will make your renovation feel worth it.

A new shower doesn’t have to be an ordeal, either. If you have a weird space, as many old homes do, you can get your shower custom-designed to fit whatever room you have. It can be a corner space, a square standout, or even just an inline or simple shower door if you have an alcove. Not having to deal with frames, the strict dimensions of a shower kit, or the limited colors of a pre-fab shower means that you can do a lot more with less, even in an older home.

Two- Re-tile the Walls or Floor

Another possibility to consider when looking to update an old bathroom is redoing the tile. Putting in new tile can make a bathroom that felt dingy or outdated feel brighter, more modern, and so much cleaner. With a custom frameless glass shower, you can show off a tile pattern or split-level tiling, with different tile at different heights on the wall.  These can have a huge visual impact while being fairly simple to install.

Getting a custom glass shower door from Heartland Glass will help ensure the perfect fit with your tiling job.

Three- Let the Shower Pop by Replacing the Vanity

A smaller but still important change you can make is updating the bathroom vanity. Removing a dated vanity and replacing it with something modern can make other details about the room look purposeful, instead of left over from a previous owner. For example, getting a sleek vanity can make a 50’s-era bathroom look like a paragon of mid-century modern style instead of simply old.

Even a new coat of paint and new hardware can give an old vanity new life. Sleek metallics or matte black are two great options for vanity hardware that will give it a new look. You can also match or compliment your vanity hardware to your shower hardware, adding an extra style element to the room.

Four- Emphasize the Shower and Reframe the MirrorKentwood Mirror

Even simpler than painting the vanity is getting a new mirror from Heartland Glass. A thick, dramatic frame on a mirror can be a statement piece that helps you choose elements for the rest of the room. On the other hand, a frameless mirror can help keep the bathroom looking sleek.  Mirror size and placement is another design element to consider. One large mirror above the sink can draw the eye, and in tight spaces adding other mirrors can make the room look bigger. Using a clear, frameless glass shower and a few mirrors can make the smallest bathroom feel roomy. Old homes can feel cramped, so use this effect to your advantage!

Five-Replace the Light

Old light fixtures can really date a room. In the bathroom, where lights are subject to a lot of humidity, light fixtures can show age even more quickly. Getting matching light fixtures for over the shower and by the sink can be the detail that takes a regular bathroom to a place that’s enjoyable to spend time in.

If you find a particularly interesting light fixture you’d like to feature in your bathroom, using a glass shower can help you feature it more proudly. With a clear or decorative glass shower door, light can be seen much more easily, and you aren’t as tied to traditional light placements. You can place a light above the shower, but you can also move it to the center of the room without sacrificing visibility in the shower.

So, while renovating or remodeling an old home can seem like a lot of effort, it doesn’t have to be that way! If your older home has good bones but just needs an update, there are plenty of simple ways to refresh it. Updating your shower, updating your fixtures, or redoing tile are all relatively short projects that can make an older bathroom feel new again. If you’re interested in getting a shower that can handle your old home’s quirks, like out-of-plumb walls, please stop by our showroom and talk to one of our experienced designers.

Excerpts taken from Glass Shower Direct article.

Custom Glass Showers with Knee Walls

A common feature in older bathrooms or renovated rooms is a knee wall.  A knee wall is a low wall in the middle of the room that may be a barrier between bathroom features, a border of a large tub, or simply a remnant of an older room design. These walls may seem inefficient and annoying at first glance. If they aren’t made into a functional part of the room, they can interrupt the flow of the room and make it hard to use.

However, there’s a way to incorporate a knee wall in your bathroom in a way that seems natural, make it part of your glass shower! A glass shower door knee wall will make the room seem intentional and put together. Here are some great options for making this style decision a part of your dream bathroom.

1) Partial Side Knee Wall Shower Door:  The first and most likely way you will find to incorporate a knee wall into your shower is by having the knee wall compose part of one wall. This style of shower has two panels making up that wall, a short glass panel over the knee wall and a full-length panel next to it to fill out the length of the wall. It can look very classy and makes an awkward-length knee wall seem like it was installed on purpose.

Depending on the thickness of the wall, you can also choose whether to have the bulk of the wall inside or outside the shower. Inside results in a convenient shelf where you can leave shower essentials like shampoo and soap, while outside gives you a place to leave accessories, towels, or anything you want to keep dry.  Both options are great, depending on what you prefer.

2) Full Side Knee Wall Shower Door:  This is similar to a partial knee wall, but is used when the knee wall is particularly long. Here one or more panels can be used to make up the glass over the knee wall. Knee walls of this length are particularly good candidates to be included in a glass shower enclosure, because they can feel awkward if they are left to just hang out in the middle of the room.

A full-length knee wall that is part of your shower also allows for unique tile patterns. A long low wall like that lends itself to continuous tile patterns from the floor up the wall. You can also play with color gradients, shifting from the tile of the shower floor up to white or your preferred color at the top edge of the knee wall. This adds visual interest to your shower, and helps it make the kind of statement that people will notice.

3) Enclosed Knee Wall Shower Door:  If you have a narrow bathroom and a knee wall, you can consider an enclosed knee wall glass shower. Here, you fill the gap between the full-length wall and the knee wall with the shower door, and the only stationary panel is partial length above the knee wall. If you have this kind of floor plan to begin with, it’s likely that this used to be how the bathroom was organized originally.

Using this space can make a small or oddly proportioned bathroom work for you instead of against you. An enclosed shower with a knee wall gives you the option of having multiple showerheads without worrying about water escaping. You can also have a rainfall showerhead with a minimum of fuss, thanks to the permanent walls that would be the majority of the enclosure.

4) Neo Knee Wall Shower Door:  The final option, if you have a large bathroom or a short knee wall, is to install a neo shower with a knee wall. This can work great for showers that fit in a corner with a knee wall, or for a large open chunk of floor.

If you have a preference for a roomy shower but you need to save floor space, a neo shower can be right for you. Essentially cutting off a corner of a square shower makes a small difference in usable space inside the shower, but removing the corner on the outside gives the bathroom a more open feeling. It can especially help in the kind of bathroom that also already has knee walls obstructing the flow of the room.

Knee walls can seem inconvenient and make it difficult to put in a traditional shower. However, they can actually be a key part of the shower of your dreams. By getting a custom glass shower designed just for you, you can incorporate an awkward knee wall into a bathroom design so everything feels intentional and put together well.

Source:  Excerpts taken from Glass Shower Direct article.


Benefits of Converting a Bath to a Shower

If you’re renovating your bathroom, something you probably want to update is your old bathtub. There are tons of ugly kit shower-bath combinations out there, many of them damaged or harboring hidden mold. The question is what should you replace it with? A new kit shower-bath will have the same problems in a few years, and there aren’t many other options that fit that space. Trying to find a shower kit to fit the pre-existing space is hard, plus most of them are just modern versions of the ugly tub you want to remove! However, a custom glass shower enclosure makes it possible to get something elegant even for a space with strange or uneven dimensions.

Here are four huge benefits of replacing an ugly kit tub with a modern shower.

Showers Have More Room

If you compare a tub and a shower of the same outside dimensions, the shower has more room inside. Showers have much thinner walls than tubs do. If you’re trying to make a small bathroom feel larger, a big shower with a clear wall will make a room feel much more open than the same space filled by a tub. It also gives you the opportunity to have features like a shower bench or a counter at one end, since you have so much free space.

Showers in the space of an old tub can be fitted to have multiple showerheads. This conversion can be difficult to pull off if you hold onto an old kit tub, because many of those are built in one piece. Getting to the plumbing to add an extra showerhead without damaging the tub itself may be impossible. However, with a custom glass shower, each piece is individually made, and can be removed or replaced as necessary.

Showers Have the Ability to Go Curbless

With a shower, you also have the ability to go curbless. Tubs are not great for people with mobility issues. It can be very hard to get into or out of a shower tub if someone has an injury or disability. However, with a curbless shower, you can get rid of any barrier to entry between the outside and inside of the shower.

The curbless style is also currently very popular. There are lots of custom design choices to make a curbless shower as aesthetically pleasing as possible. The right design makes the shower its own room, with a door you open and close to enter. Many home designers agree that this is the kind of touch that can elevate your bathroom from just another room to a place you actually enjoy.

Showers Are Water Efficient

Showers are also much more planet-friendly than baths. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the average bathtub holds about 37 gallons of water. Meanwhile, with a modern showerhead that uses two gallons of water a minute, it would take an 18-minute shower to reach the amount of water used in one bath. Most of us aren’t breaking 20 minutes in our daily showers, so for your day-to-day cleanliness purposes, showers are better for the Earth.


Speaking of planet-friendliness, all of the components of a frameless glass shower are recyclable. Kit tubs are frequently made out of fiberglass, which is essentially impossible to recycle. However, glass and metal are two of the easiest materials to reuse. So, if in the future a new homeowner decides to remove or replace parts of your shower, those elements don’t have to go in the dump. It’s better all around!

Showers Are Simpler to Update

While your new custom glass shower will look great for decades to come, sometimes your style changes more quickly than that. If you decide you want to change your bathroom’s colors scheme from silver to gold, changing your shower’s hardware is as simple as ordering new options and scheduling an install. You only need to lift a finger to dial the phone!

In Summary

Kit tubs are not the choice most people prefer for their bathrooms. They are awkward to bring into a home, they don’t always age well, and they are bad for the planet. A custom glass shower enclosure helps make your bathroom appear bigger and more stylish. The metallic accents of the hardware add a pop of color, while the lack of a frame helps you keep your bathroom cleaner. It’s a no-brainer – getting a custom glass shower will make your bathroom a much more pleasant place to spend time.

Source:  Excerpts taken from Glass Shower Direct article.