Scripps Howard News Service
Q: My wife and I are in our early 50s and we plan on completely remodeling our master bathroom.
Hopefully, this will be our last big home-improvement project, and we want to stay here after the house is paid off in 10 years.
Can you give us some plumbing advice on what we should do now with this project that can save us another remodeling job down the road?
-- Nick, Nevada
A: There is a new popular trend on the remodeling scene, and it's called "universal design" -- UD, for short. Basically, UD bathrooms allow people of all ages to use the space comfortably. A UD remodeling job now may keep you from needing a bathroom update later.
Here are three popular UD concepts:
1. Use a "comfort-height" toilet. Comfort-height toilets are higher than standard toilets and can accommodate users of all ages.
2. Install a walk-in shower area instead of a bathtub. Also, include decorative grab bars, a hand shower and a seating area.
3. Side-by-side double sinks and countertops at two heights -- high and low -- can accommodate people of different heights.
Also, consider lighter colors for plumbing fixtures. White and off-white plumbing fixtures seem to stay in style, while rich, trendy colors come and go.
Master contractor-plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write firstname.lastname@example.org. Always consult local contractors and codes.