Why consider bathroom remodeling in Cincinnati & Louisville ky you may ask? Well, the average person spends at least 30 minutes per day in the bathroom. If you’re a woman, that number can increase by as much as 15-20 minutes per day for grooming, makeup or extended showering. That’s between 182-304 hours per year in your bathroom! With that being said, it’s only natural that your bathroom should be a place that is functional, beautiful, and brings calm and peace in a day full of chaos. However, bathroom remodeling can be confusing and intimidating. That’s why we’ve put together this fully comprehensive guide that will walk you step by step through the things you need to do or consider before starting your bathroom remodeling project in Cincinnati & Louisville ky.



1. Not knowing what your home is worth

Your bathroom remodeling budget in Cincinnati & Louisville ky will depend greatly on what your home is worth, and what other homes in the area are worth. You do not want to do a $20,000 bathroom remodel in a home worth $150,000. It will only cause you to loose money in the end. Do your research. Sites like Zillow can be used to see the value of your home or homes in the area, as well as give you an estimate of what your home might be worth with a bathroom remodel.

2. Not understanding the Return On Investment

If you are doing a bathroom remodel in Cincinnati & Louisville ky, it’s for one of two reasons. 1. You plan on staying in your home long term and want to bring increased beauty and function into the space. OR 2. You plan on selling in the next few years and you want to increase the value of your home by doing some coveted bathroom updates.

  • The first thing you need to do is ask yourself “Am I staying in my home more than 5 years or less than 5 years?” This question will effect your budget. You can spend more on a remodel for your long term home. You can also make different design choices. If you plan on staying, consider spending near 10% of your homes value on a bathroom.
  • If you are staying fewer than 5 years, you will spend less on your kitchen remodel. Your design choices also need to be made to increase your return when you sell. You will make more neutral color choices, buyer popular material choices, and try to get the most bang for your buck. If you plan to move within 5 years spend no more than 3-5% of your homes value on a bathroom remodel.

Obvioulsy, you need to know the value of your home for this to work!

3. Not educating yourself before starting

The great news here is that you’re already on the right track just by reading this article. You need to be educated about the process to have a successful experience. You need to know how much you can spend, if you want to do the installation yourself or hire someone to install, and what your style is, if you want to change your bathroom layout while remodeling, and if you want to work with a designer in Cincinnati & Louisville ky. We will cover these issues in the article below.

Helpful links:

  1. Contact a Designer
  2. 5 Renovation Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make
  3. Most Frequently Asked Questions Before Remodeling


This is always at the top of the list when it comes to most important questions before bathroom remodeling in Cincinnati & Louisville ky.

  • Obviously, cash is king. If you can afford to pay for your remodel up front, we will always suggest that. However, there are times that you may not have the money to pay for your project straight out of pocket. In situations where you are selling your house, you may need the remodel to get the money back out of your investment. We completely understand that.
  • At Builders Surplus, we offer several financing options. We work with Wells Fargo and Synchrony Financial (Formerly GE Capital) to provide great financing options for our customers. This comes with 6 month 0% interest, so this is a great option if you’re selling your home or can pay it off in 6 months. Remember, interest will apply after 6 months.
  • One of our quartz countertop vendors, Cambria in Cincinnati & Louisville ky, offers up to $55,000 in financing for customers purchase just 4 square feet or more of their product. You can use these funds on ANY remodeling project, not just your countertops. The terms are great, so if you qualify, it’s an awesome option.
  • There are several other financing options that you may want to look into, such as a home equity loan, or second mortgage. We encourage you to please talk to a financial advisor to decide if these choices are right for you. For many people, it’s a solid option.
  • Credit Card. This is definitly last on the list because of the high interest rates many change. However, if you want to rack up cash back or travel miles and have the money to pay it off quickly, it could be a good option. Just do your research first!

Before starting a job, any contractor or remodeling company will need to have the payment arrangements taken care of, so don’t be caught off guard. Know the options and their pros and cons before hand. If you have any other financing questions, do not hesitate to ask us.

Helpful Links:

  1. Contact a Designer
  2. How to Finance Your Home Renovation


Now that you know how much your home is worth and how much you can safely spend when remodeling your bathroom, let’s go over how to break it down:

Budget Breakdown:

    • 15% on Bathroom Vanity & Vanity Top
      • Choosing a budget friendly vanity option could lower this number
    • 60% on Labor
        • This number can increase, especially if you’re getting a lot of custom work done.
      • You can eliminate some of this if you decide to do it yourself (will discuss more in depth later)
      • Many people underestimate the skill it takes to do a bathroom remodel, but when working with plumbing you don’t want to risk a shoddy job by trying to skimp.
    • 10% on Bathtub, Shower Door or Shower Pan, Etc.
      • You can save this if you’re not removing a tub or shower.
    • 5% on Faucets and Fixtures
  • 10% Reserved for Unexpected Expenses
    • Don’t think you’re the one person who won’t need it. In our experience, 95% of remodels need these funds. If you are one of the few who doesn’t encounter any surprise issues, then you’ve just found some new money! Your experience will without a doubt turn sour if you need this money and didn’t budget for it.

**You’ll notice that we did not budget anything for a bathroom designer. While we feel it is very important to work with a designer, all of our design services are FREE at Builders Surplus, so no budgeting is necessary. If you plan on going somewhere for your products that does not offer this service, or you have a specific designer in mind, please budget according to the designers specific fees. See more on working with a designer below.

Helpful links:

  1. Contact a Designer


At Builders Surplus, we offer FREE design services in Cincinnati & Louisville ky, so we highly recommend you use them. There are many reasons for this.

  1. They know the typical unforeseen issues that can occur during bathroom remodeling and can bring these to your attention.
  2. They know the product materials and brands better than anyone. They can help you find the exact products that will work for you and your family. This could include family friendly materials (easy to clean), pet friendly materials (durable), waterproof materials, Eco friendly materials, and more. The time it would take you to research all of these options would be intense. Use their wealth of knowledge.
  3. They know how to keep you within your budget. This is what they do every single day. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t want to max out your budget, they want to help you stay within it. If they go over a clients budget, they risk loosing the job and all the work they’ve done will be for nothing, not to mention the client will be unhappy. So please, communicate your budget with your designer up front to avoid rework and confusion in trying to get you exactly what you want for the price you can afford.
  4. They know issues involved with relocating plumbing and changing layouts. This is more difficult than most people think. Designers know what to look for to make sure it’s possible and will help you design around any issues they see. You could try and change the layout yourself, only to order the products and realize the layout won’t work. If you purchased custom or semi-custom cabinets or countertops, odds are you will have to take a loss on all of it. Don’t risk it.
  5. They know the process. They can walk you through it step by step. It is much more extensive than most people realize, so again, use their skills and knowledge to ensure a smooth process. You will need to provide them with initial measurements to work off, but before ordering products and installation measurements will be confirmed.

Helpful Links:

  1. Contact a Designer
  2. Bathroom Design Trends for 2017
  3. 7 Bathroom Styles For Your Next Remodel
  4. 10 Ways To Create a Spa Bathroom Design
  5. Beach Themed Bathroom Design


You will need to know how to measure several things when doing a bathroom remodel. Even if you’re working with a designer and installation team, you will need to provide your designer initial measurements for them to work off of and for you to know when purchasing products.

Bathroom Vanity

First you’ll need to know how to measure for your bathroom vanity and vanity top. While this could seem like a no brainer, you need to make sure that you can purchase an in stock vanity and that your space doesn’t require something custom. Standard widths are: 24″, 30″, 36″, 42″, 48″, 60″ and 72″. Your vanity top will hang over a 1/2″ on either side, making the total width one inch wider than the vanity, so if you ONLY have 24″ to work with, you may need to consider a pedestal or something more custom or unique. Standard depth is 21″ and typical height is between 32 1/2″ and 34 1/2″.


For tile flooring, wall tile, or tile for a shower surround, you just need to know your square footage. To find square footage, you will measure width x length. Flooring should typically be easy, but if your space is not a square or rectangle, break it up into multiple squares or rectangles. Measure those, and add together. For wall tile, you will do the same. If you’re measuring for a shower surround, Measure length x width of each shower wall and then add together, as well as the floor if that will also be tiled. You’ll typically add 10% – 15% to be safe.


There are a few measurements you need to know when shopping for a toilet. The most important is the Rough In. To find out your toilet’s rough-in, measure from the wall behind the toilet to the middle of the closet bolts, which hold your toilet to the floor. That distance will probably be around 10″, 12″, or 14″. Round your measurement down to one of these numbers. If you have an old toilet with 4 bolts, measure to the rear ones. Your replacement toilet should typically have the same rough-in as your old one. A smaller one will fit, though any items stored on top of the tank may tend to fall behind the toilet. A larger one won’t fit at all unless you change your plumbing or move the wall which is expensive and pretty unnecessary. The second is the height that you would want. Standard toilets will be around 15″, where ADA compliant will be about 17″ – 19″ which makes it easier for those with disables, however, most people prefer them anyway.

Bath tubs

Measuring a bath tub may look easy, but if your tub is hidden under a surround, you may have to do a little guessing. Primarily, you need to know the space where the tub will go. If you’re buying a freestanding tub, great! Find out the size of the tub you want and make sure it will fit in your space. Otherwise, follow these steps:

Measure the distance of your tub left to right. If your bathtub is enclosed in an alcove measure the distance from one end of the alcove to the other. If you have a surround, which is just a layer of material surrounding three sides of the tub, add at least an inch to your measurement for each wall you encounter. Write down this measurement as the length. Then, repeat for the width. Measure from the ground to the top for height. Standard measurements for bathtubs are: 32-by-60, 30-by-60, 27-by-54, 60-by-60, 42-by-72, 42-by-60, 32-by-60. Not every bathtub will fit these dimensions, but if you you’re close, it’s probably one of the above dimensions.

For a shower door, you would simply measure from one wall to the other in the space it would be going, and the height as well.

Helpful links:

  1. Contact a Designer


If you are planning to keep your bathroom layout the same, then you can bypass this section. However, if you do plan to change your bathroom layout, we’re here to tell you the things you need to consider.

Functionality is Key

Function needs to be your ultimate goal in bathroom remodeling so that all of the components can work in harmony together. If not, it’s something you’ll notice every day. When working with your designer, tell them who will be primarily using the space, what size are they, what time of day will it be in use the most and what will be going on in this bathroom? A powder room has a very different function than a master bathroom.

Lighting is an essential part of function. A bathroom remodel must include a lighting plan that layers and blends four different types of light — task, ambient, accent and decorative

What goes where?

If you’re using your existing drains and plumbing hook ups, you’re going to be fairly limited in terms of where things can go. Moving these pieces will raise your price tag a good bit, so make sure it’s worth the move if you plan to do this. However, because there is no standard bathroom layout, the options are endless. In kitchen design, you typically stick to a triangle design with fridge range and sink, but in a bathroom this isn’t the case, so you can get creative. I would consider the lighting and view when placing a shower or bath tub. With vanities, you typically want to stick to an area that has ample wall space for mirrors. Toilets are often placed in corners but they can easily go in the middle of the bathroom. One thing to always be sure of is that your drawers and cabinets won’t be impeded by anything when they’re open. Here is a list of TONS of bathroom layouts for you to check out and get ideas from.

Code Requirements

Code should be considered when doing any type of bathroom remodeling. The International Residential Code (IRC) requires that the centerline of a toilet be at least 15 inches from any other bath fixture, wall or other obstacle. On the other hand, NKBA offers similar guiding principles, although they recommend at least 18 inches from the centerline of a toilet to another fixture, for improved comfort for the user.
When it comes to clear floor space, the IRC mandates at least 21 inches in front of a lavatory, toilet, bidet and tub, and the minimum amount of clear floor space in front of a shower is 24 inches. NKBA guidelines call for a clear floor space of at least 30 inches from the front edge of all fixtures to any opposite bath fixture, wall or obstacle.
The NKBA guidelines also offer suggestions that are not addressed by the IRC. These are intended to improve a bathroom’s design and increase comfort for the user. Two examples include adding a supplemental heat source, such as a heater installed in the toe kick of a cabinet, and clipping or rounding countertop edges.Code requirements are one of the best reasons to use a designer. They know all of these rules and best practices and will help you implement them without having to do tons or research on your local requirements. 

Choosing Bathroom Vanities

Choosing a bathroom vanity is a major part of your bathroom remodel. It’s one of the main things you’ll see when looking at the bathroom, and something you’ll be using every single day. Your vanity and vanity top combo is the biggest cost in terms of material, so make a good choice. Typically vanities will need to be replaced much sooner than cabinets as it’s one cabinet getting all the wear and tear. Depending on how you take care of it and the materials of your vanity, you will be looking at replacement ever 5-10 years. There are many things to consider before buying a bathroom vanity and we’ll lay them out for you below.

Bathroom Vanity Sizes

First and foremost, you need to know the size that will work in your bathroom. This will determine whether you can purchase a standard, in stock vanity or if you need a custom order vanity. The standard sizes for a vanity are: 24″, 30″, 36″, 42″, 48″ , 60″ and 72″. Keep in mind that your vanity top will have a 1″ overhang so you will need 25″ of space to accommodate a 24″ vanity. If you don’t have a minimum of 25″, you will need to consider a pedestal sink.

Remember,  you can use fillers to make a vanity appear wider, if you need a vanity to fit in between 2 walls perfectly. If you have 63″ of space from wall to wall that you need to fill, you would purchase a 60″ vanity and add 1.5″ of fillers to each side. However, since a standard vanity top size would be 61″ this would most likely require a custom cut vanity top. Depending on the material you’re choosing for your top, this could be more or less expensive than a custom sized vanity, so price out both options to make sure you choose the right piece to have custom made.

You will also choose wether you want a single or double sink. Double sinks are great for jack and jill bathrooms or for master baths. They typically only come in 48″, 60″ and 72″. If you don’t have that much space to play with, you will be looking at a single sink.

Bathroom Vanity Styles

After you’ve decided on the size you need, choose the mounting style. Your options are standard, wall mount, or corner.


Standard: Also known as free-standing, this is the most common of bathroom vanity styles. This is your best option for maximum storage space. Standard, furniture style vanities are very popular at the moment.

wall-mounted vanity
Wall Mount: Most wall-mounted vanities hang or float on the wall without legs touching the floor. This style looks more contemporary and opens up a small bathroom, but allows for some storage. You will find these mostly with custom order vanities.
corner vanity
Corner: If you need to save space, this is the best option. Corner-mounted bathroom vanities have a 90-degree angle at the back so that they fit perfectly into a corner. They still offer cabinets for storage and just the right functionality for a powder or guest bath. Not every store will cary a corner vanity as this is a more unique style.
Next, Choose your Vanity Style : Standard, Pedestal, Furniture Style or None of the Above.

A “standard” vanity is one that looks similar to base cabinets. They go all the way to the floor. They offer the most storage typically and fit well in most bathrooms stylistically.

Pedestal sinks don’t offer any storage. They can be made from many materials like china, enameled cast iron, tempered glass or solid surface material. They are almost always white. They are great for powder rooms and guest bathrooms. They are always in style and look great in bathrooms for an affordable price. They are more difficult to keep clean, so keep that in mind.

Furniture style vanities look as the name implies, like furniture. They will have legs and often times very pretty detail. These tend to look very upscale, but they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg! There are furniture style vanities for every budget.

None of the above: The last option is to forgo a vanity all together. This typically consists of a “vanity top” being mounted to the wall or between two walls with a vessel sink on top. This option has no storage space, but is often a very contemporary look that makes a big statement!

Bathroom Vanity Materials

There are 4 bathroom vanity materials typically used: Solid Wood, Plywood (along with solid wood), MDF and Particleboard. Read a little bit about them to determine which might be best for your bathroom vanity and which you wouldn’t be happy with.

1. Particle board

  • Composite sheet material made by combining wood particles with glue and then heated and pressed into sheets
  • Classified by particle size and overall density
  • Some particle board is stronger than others


    • Price; cost less to produce and less to buy
    • Can be covered with wood veneer, melamine, or laminate


    • Sags over extended period of time and under the weight of stone countertops, such as granite or quartz.
    • VERY easily damaged by water, and most importantly, steam

You may not realize how much steam comes into contact with your vanity. Every time you shower, take a bath, or even have the hot water running for more than a few seconds, your vanity is subject to the steam. This will cause the material to break down, and you will need a replacement. The photo below is of a water damaged particle board vanity.

2. MDF

  • Engineered wood composite similar to particle board, but denser and stronger
  • Compressed using tiny bits of wood, for a long time and at high temperatures


    • Price, very affordable
    • Smooth surface
    • No knots or splinters around edges
    • Takes paint extremely well; custom cabinet or vanity makers won’t want to paint real wood due to the cracking of the paint


  • High maintenance (not easily repairable if chipped or cracked)
  • Exposure to water causes swelling
  • Glue within makes it difficult to sink nails or screws
  • Cannot be stained

3. Plywood

Most bathroom vanities made of plywood feature solid wood doors and drawers. This will be a lower price point than full solid wood. Plywood is made from veneers of wood glued into layers that form sheets. Like particle board, these bathroom vanity materials come in a variety of thicknesses and qualities. On the low-end, soft woods, quick dry glues, and voids can be often found between the layers.

This plywood is usually coated with a plastic that has a wood grain pattern applied because the wood they use isn’t very attractive and may not finish well. On the high end however, it is a very attractive wood and a truly solid choice (no pun intended) for your bathroom vanity. It VERY rarely will degrade.

While you want to be cautious of water damage with all types of woods, high end plywood has a pretty high success rate in terms of holding up for a long period of time. Some people question a vanity that has plywood on the sides or back, and wonder if solid wood would be a better choice? In reality, it’s not. The plywood will be more stable over the long run than solid wood.

That is because the plywood will not move due to moisture/humidity/temperature changes like solid wood does. If covered in veneer, it will be as stable as the plywood and will not chip/peel except under unusual circumstances. In that case, it would effect real wood in the same way. Plywood is a great choice for bathroom vanity materials, which is why we carry them in our stores.

4. Solid Wood:

While nothing really compares with solid wood in most projects, it actually is not ALWAYS the best choice for a bathroom vanity. Solid wood comes in two variations; solid wood (all natural real wood) and solid hardwood. In either variation, solid wood vanities are the most expensive option.

Solid hardwood is the most durable wood material and is made from woods like oak, cherry and maple. Solid wood has the tendency to shrink and expand as humidity changes. Expansion can cause cracks in the painted finish and also warping (in extreme cases).

Real wood is porous in nature so it will absorb water molecules in the air.  However, I won’t dare say that real wood is a bad material. It’s been used for centuries and is still the preferred option by many contractors and builders. The strength and durability of solid wood is why many choose to go with wood bath vanities, so it really depends on what you find most important. By keeping humidity in control, most homeowners won’t have any problems with this beautiful material. It works best with a natural or stained finish, as opposed to paint.

Bathroom Vanity Door Options

Cabinet Door-Style-Options

Click here to see more cabinet options!

  1. Traditional Overlay – Traditional overlay, often called “partial overlay” or “standard overlay” cabinet doors, are the most common style of kitchen cabinet. These are nice looking cabinets at a great price. In this style of cabinet, the doors and drawers cover only part if the cabinet frame.
  2. Full Overlay – Full overlay doors are cabinet doors that cover the entire width of the cabinet, as shown below. The full overlay door style gives cabinets a more custom look than their traditional overlay counterpart. They will always require cabinet hardware because there is only ¼ inch of space between doors and drawers, so opening them without hardware is not an option.
  3. Inset Door – Inset cabinet door styles are different than the above three because they feature doors and drawers that fit inside of the cabinet face frame openings.
  4. Slab Door – A slab door style, also referred to as flat panel doors, have a completely flat door panel that is not raised or recessed at all. It doesn’t have arches and has a very simple design. A slab door style is typically used in modern or contemporary kitchens or bathrooms because of the clean lines.

You can find Shaker style or Raised Panel style door in Traditional Overlay, Standard Overlay and Inset Doors.

Custom Or In Stock Bathroom Vanities:

As mentioned above, size could be a reason that you HAVE to go with a custom vanity, but there are other reasons to choose a custom bathroom vanity. With companies like Wellborn or Waypoint, there door styles are endless, along with many paint, stain and glaze options that will not be found in a standard bathroom vanity. This allows you to get a truly unique look. Most of the time, you’ll be able to choose your door style, wood type, and finish, making it exactly the vanity you want. You can also create unique configurations with custom vanities that you would not otherwise be able to find.

Custom vanities will have a range of price points depending on the wood type, door style and finish option that you choose. Some of the price points are illustrated in the charts below.


Pick your bathroom vanity Finish

Click here to see more bathroom vanity options!

  1. Standard Stain – Undoubtedly, the most cost-effective approach. It would be as if you bought some cabinets and applied the stain yourself. With this finish, the cabinet sides may have a laminated end that coordinates.
  2. Special Stain/Paint – This process is a bit more difficult than merely applying some stain, but the finish is that much better. Visually appealing, noticeable, but the sides need to be skinned to match, adding to the cost. Painting also adds cost in terms of labor and materials.
  3. Paint or Stain with Glaze – Painted cabinets are a hot commodity right now, and can make your kitchen a little bit brighter. By adding a glaze to stain or paint, the finish draws out the finer details. Rustic or farmhouse cabinets look amazing with a glaze.
  4. Special Finishing Techniques – Now depending on your budget, one of these features is an excellent finishing touch. Using a technique such as weathering, or the Vintage look, can add character and lovely style, but of course, all at a nice price, too.

Wood Species:

Bathroom Vanity Pick-wood-species

Click here to shop cabinets!

Drawer Options:

Below is a brief description of the standard drawer options. You can customize what you want for your drawers with custom order vanities, but you will find that many in stock bathroom vanities come with the better or best drawer options already.

Kitchen Cabinet Drawer Options

Click here to shop bathroom vanities!

Good: Particle board/Furniture Board Drawer Box, Glue and Stapled Corner Joint, Epoxy Glides

Better: Plywood Drawer Box, Dovetail Corner Joint, Soft Close Glides

Best: Solid Maple Drawer Box, Dovetail Corner Joint, Soft Close Glides

Helpful Links:

Choosing a Vanity Top

So, you’ve got your vanity picked out, it’s fixed to the wall, installed, and you’re ready for the next step — choosing your vanity top. First thing’s first, you need to decide which type of material you’d like to go with. Once you’ve sorted that, you’ll move onto the color, a decision most easily achieved by blending vanity, wall, and floor color. Plus, there’s plenty to choose from! Then, of course, size.

Bathroom Vanity Top Material

So, here we have a few options, everyone! Nothing wrong with some picks to choose from, right?

Quartz: This manmade material gets extra points for strength, durability, and it’s low-maintenance characteristics. Plus, it’s downright beautiful.

bathroom vanity top

Granite: This igneous rock makes for a fine bathroom vanity top material. Think diamonds, and you’ll appreciate the strength it has. It’s a timeless, tried-and-true material that’s undoubtedly one of our best sellers.

Cultured Marble: Probably my favorite purely because of its makeup, this material is primarily comprised of real, natural marble. It’s extremely affordable, easy to maintain, and is available in a variety of colors. Definitely a winner here.

Regardless of the material that you decide, you can rest assured that top you choose will be strong enough to not chip away if you drop a blow dryer on it, will be easy-to-maintain despite the remnants of a quick tooth-brushing sesh or early morning shave before work. Each material is built to last, sleeker than a slide, and very attractive.

Bathroom Vanity Top Colors

Here at Builders Surplus, we understand the importance of having a selection during any type of remodeling process. This is why we’ve put in major effort to accommodate to everyone’s personal needs and preferences, carrying a plethora of pretty colors and textures.

Artisan Quartz

bathroom vanity tops

Black Crystal 

Butterfly Yellow

bathroom vanity tops


bathroom vanity tops

Diamond Flower

bathroom vanity tops

Santa Cecilia

bathroom vanity tops

Spray White

bathroom vanity tops

Verde Butterfly

bathroom vanity tops


bathroom vanity tops

White Rose

bathroom vanity tops

Told you we had much to choose from! White Rose is the newest addition to the countertop family, and I have to say that I enjoy its neutral tones. Now, don’t get me a wrong, I love vibrant colors  — Diamond Flower — is one of my favorites, but if you’re going for a classic look, White Rose is your pick!

Bathroom Vanity Top Sizes

We have sizes to fit every vanity, in addition to having single and double bowl countertops, as well. From 25” tops all the way to 73”, we’ve got you covered! Obviously this is something you need to be aware of when picking out a bathroom vanity top. To say that it would just be horrible to go somewhere, pick up one of these heavy pieces, only to bring it home and find out that it’s the wrong size would quite possibly be the understatement of the century.

25” Juparana Single Vanity Top

bathroom vanity tops

73” White Rose Double Vanity Top

bathroom vanity tops

Helpful Links:

Bathroom Sinks

The style of sink that you should choose for your bathroom design is often a decision that baffles many homeowners. While there is no right or wrong answer, there are pros and cons to each type that you should be aware of before purchasing. The space that it will be installed also plays a part in the sink mounting option that you should choose. Let’s dive in and see which style will work the best for your home and budget!

Drop In Style:

A drop in sink is a sink that can be lowered easily into the space that is designated in the vanity top. The rim of the sink extends over the top, so that it rests on it and supports the sink’s weight. Drop in sinks typically have clamps on them that are located underneath the sink the help to make it more secure. They might have holes for faucets, or the faucets may be mounted onto the countertop instead.


    • A drop in sink is not effected by an irregular opening in the top, such as chips, uneven cuts, etc.
    • If your countertop is made from a soft material such as marble or wood, a drop in sink will protect the edges of your top.
    • A drop in sink is typically cheaper than other sink styles.
  • Drop in sinks are some of the easiest to install, making them a great DIY project.


    • Many people don’t like the look of drop in sinks. This is all personal preference, but many people like to see the edges of higher grade building materials like granite or quartz.
    • With a drop in sink, pieces of food can swept or stuck underneath the edges of the sink that sits on the countertop. This can lead to mildew, bacteria and a build up of germs that can be unhealthy.
  • They can be more difficult to clean on those same edges.

Vessel Style

A vessel sink is a design that is traditionally shaped like a bowl that sits on top of your counter, or can be installed onto a drain pipe coming out from a wall! While some people think that they’re a more modern design, they are actually more traditional as they mimic the basin style sinks of the past. Of course, there are many modern takes on this traditional design. Most vessels are used in bathrooms, but they have been used in kitchens as well.


  • The look. These sinks are unique, so you can guarantee that they’ll be the focal point of any bathroom. They add a bit of glamour or interest to your space.
  • They can save space. They can open up more countertop space, or can be installed on a very skinny base, or directly out of the wall, making them ideal for small spaces.
  • They are removable. You can easily switch them out with a different style.
  • Very easy installation, ideal for a DIY project.
  • Comfort. They can be adjusted to the hight of the homeowner more easily.


  • The splash. They tend to get water outside of the bowl more often than other sink styles.
  • Extra cleaning due to both sides of the sink being exposed.
  • Durability can be an issue. Since both sides are exposed, they are more susceptible to chipping.
  • Stability can also be an issue if not installed correctly.

Copper Style

Everything in this world has its ups and downs. When it comes to sinks it just depends on what you want, and how much you can spend. If antimicrobial properties are important to you then you’re only bet is copper.


  • They’re beautiful: It’s that simple. Copper sinks are some of the most beautiful and unique! The fact that they’re made from one sheet with no seams also makes them like works of art. They can be hammered and shaped to almost any dimension. Copper sinks do form a patina as they’re exposed to water and air, so if you love the original color you can have it coated to preserve it’s beauty. If you like their reactivity, the ever changing color and patina of copper sinks are just a bonus to their beauty. This goes beyond copper sinks being beautiful, they literally have countless combinations of finish and style. Some look like regular sinks and others look like works of art!
  • They’re antimicrobial: This unique property of copper sinks makes them favorable for kitchens, while bacteria can live on many sinks surfaces for weeks at a time, bacteria on copper sinks can only last a matter of hours. However, the EPA states that you shouldn’t coat (paint, lacquer, varnish, wax, etc.) your copper sinks if you wish to keep the antimicrobial nature if the metal.
  • Copper is 100% recyclable: Copper retains 95% of it’s original value when being sold after recycling. In fact, it’s likely that the copper sink that you’re getting is already made from previously recycled copper.
  • They’re durable: Depending on the gauge (thickness) of copper that your sink comes in will definitely affect its durability, the thicker the copper the less likely to dent it will be. Copper sinks are resistant to corrosion and rust, making it an ideal choice for a sink material.


  • They’re highly reactive: If you want your copper sinks to maintain their color you’ll need to coat them – which will rid of you of the antimicrobial properties of the metal as well. Acidic foods and drinks, abrasive cleaners, and extremely hot or cold cookware can change the color of your sink, darkening it and leaving odd colored spots. Granted, as the patina darkens everything will become more uniform as time progresses. However, unless they’re sealed periodically it is extremely hard to maintain a copper sinks original shine.
  • They’re expensive: More than just being an expensive choice for a sink, they’re also expensive to repair. Copper is a very soft and malleable metal, so it can be easily dented and warped, meaning that you’ll likely need to repair it more often than other sink materials. Keep in mind that thinner gauge copper sinks will dent more easily than thicker gauge copper sinks.
  • They need more maintenance: To keep it’s shine and finish in tact for as long as possible you should dry the sink with a soft towel after every use and you should be careful with what products you use to clean it as some more acidic cleaners can discolor your sink. Warm water and gentle soap is usually all it takes.

Undermount Style

Undermount sinks are named that because of the way that they sit UNDER the countertop. Instead of being dropped into a hole in the countertop, undermount sinks are installed under the counter and secured. Because of this, there is no rim between the countertop and sink. Undermount sinks come in a wide range of materials and can be found in single and double bowl configurations.


    • An undermount sink is thought to be more beautiful than a drop in sink. This is because the line of your countertop is not interrupted by the edge of the sink and instead flows much better.
  • Clean up is easier in undermount sinks. Any food crumbs or spills can be swept right into the sink with no obstruction in the way, such as the edge of the sink.


  • Undermounts often take at least twice the time to install as self-rimming models. They are not as easy to install yourself and can often take a professional to correctly adhere the sink and ensure no leaks and a secure bond.
  • They also require solid materials, such as granite or solid surfacing, since the counter material is exposed. You can install undermounts with butcher block countertops, but it is extremely important that the counters are sealed – we would suggest 5 times. This is because the wood edges will be exposed to moisture on a daily basis, which can cause damage.
  • Undermount sinks will be more expensive typically than your drop in sink options.

Pedestal style


  • Pedestal sinks are literally perfect for small, less-equipped bathrooms. Their naturally vertical design allows for more room, which of course in extension, means more comfortability in your bathroom.
  • These are exceptional for Era-styled bathrooms, too. This style has been around since the early 1800’s, so if you’re really trying to pull off that Victorian-era look, these are the sinks you should be grabbing.
  • Very airy, open look. There’s emphasis for a reason here. If you’re accustomed to a wide vanity and a standard sink basin, then you’ll be amazed at the amount of space you’ve gained by installing one of these. Borderline life-changing.


  • Absolutely no counter space cause there’s no counter. If you’re lucky, you may be able to post a toothbrush and some toothpaste on the corner, but as far as having easy access to bathroom essentials in front of you — nope.
  • No storage space, either. Unlike a regular vanity & sink setup, you don’t have compartments or drawer space underneath you to put things. This is why most people who have pedestal sinks, have a wall cabinet close to them that stores all of their cosmetics.

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Bathroom Faucets

Vanity? Check. Vanity Top? Check. Now, let’s talk about your bathroom faucet. There are a three features that I’d like to discuss when it comes to your bathroom faucet — configuration, valve technology, and color & finishes. All highly-important facets you’ll need to recognize while shopping for a faucet. Let’s continue.

Three Basic Features Of Bathroom Faucets: 

1. Configuration: 

The configuration of a faucet refers to how it will be mounted. Bathroom sink faucets are generally either wall mounted or actually mounted on the sink. Configuration also references the number of faucet handles, and how many holes will be necessary in the sink.

    • Centerset faucets are constructed so that the distance between the handles is 4”. Sometimes the base unit of a centerset faucet may even have the handles and the spout combined together. This is a great option if space is limited in your home or you have a small bathroom. 
    • Single Hole faucets combine the handle and the spout and require just one plumbing hole in the back of the sink. Some styles have been designed to restrict how much hot water is mixed with the cold, which significantly reduces the risk of scalding small children or elderly users (not to mention is a major energy saver).
    • Widespread faucets have three separate pieces – hot and cold water handles that are at least 6″ apart and independent of the spout. This type of faucet works best with three-hole sinks and is preferable when you have more bathroom and countertop space to work with.
  • Wall-mounted faucets attach to the wall behind the sink and work best for freestanding and vessel sinks that sit on top of a bath vanity surface. These sinks require faucets with long spouts so that the extended reach ensures adequate clearance. These will not work well for sinks with predrilled holes  because they require a separate valve and drain to be installed.

Collage of centerset bath faucet styles

2. Valve Technology

The valve technology of a faucet is what actually controls the flow of water. The valve setup is the component that does all the work so how it is designed will have a direct impact on how well it performs for you. There are 4 possible forms of valve technology that a bathroom sink faucet may use. It is important to consider the kind of valve technology used because it plays a key role in reliability. The bottom line is that reliability equates to how long the faucet works before it starts dripping and requiring repair.

    • Compression valves are the most minimalistic when it comes to valve options. These bath faucets control the flow of water through the use of a screw feature (found in the handle) that compresses a seal against a rubber washer. While they are the simplest form of faucet valve, they are also the quickest to either wear out or require maintenance.
    • Ball valves are used with single lever faucets and feature a slot that controls the mixture and amount of hot and cold water allowed through the spout. They have a rotating metal or plastic ball that will regulate the amount of incoming water. With just one part that moves around, the chances of it breaking down or malfunctioning are significantly reduced.
    • Cartridge valves are used with rubber rings that utilize a hollow sleeve in order to control the flow of water. These faucets are extremely reliable but they will occasionally the seals may require replacements.
  • Ceramic Disc valves make use of two firm and polished ceramic disks that slide relative one another. The motion between them controls the opening or restricting the flow of water basically making them maintenance free. These are generally more expensive but they are considered the most durable of any other faucet valve.

Collage of widespread bath faucet styles

3. Color & Finish

The finish on a bath faucet is the outer surface that makes up the exterior. Aside from being a protective barrier, the finish also gives the faucet it’s color. This is where your individual style begins to play an important role in your decision making. Most designers and home owners prefer to coordinate the faucet color and finish with the rest of the fixtures in the bathroom. However, color choices aside, the type of finish on the faucet and how it’s applied are more important points to consider. Most finishes are very durable and scratch resistant while others are known to be spot resistant which simplifies cleaning. The outcome depends on the manufacturer of the faucet and how much you are willing to spend. Some of the more common colors and finishes are:

    • Black
    • Brass (antique or polished)
    • Bronze
    • Chrome (matte, brushed or polished)
    • Copper
    • Gold
    • Stainless Steel
    • Nickel
  • Iron 

Choosing a color and finish is ultimately going to come down to your own personal appeal but intuitively you know what you like better than anyone else.  Since you will likely be using and touching it several times a day, you should be able to let your senses lead you in the right direction.

Additional And Random Things to Consider:

    • Choose your faucet and sink together, if possible. Faucets and sinks are obviously interdependent on one another and it’s important that they are compatible.
    • Your bath faucet should be a match by fitting your everyday needs. If you are unsure what your needs may be, take some time to evaluate exactly who and how your bathroom will be used. 
    • We have a team of in-house interior designers available to consult with you should you need assistance planning your remodel or would like to brainstorm about a different project.  
    • If you need assistance with installing or replacing your bathroom elements or you need help with a different project, our team of installers would love to work with you and be of service for you. Please also feel free to stop by one of our designer showroom locations in Louisville, KY or Newport , KY just outside of Cincinnati, Oh. 
  • Be sure to look for hardware and accessories that will coordinate with your bath faucet and other fixtures. There is a diverse collection of robe hooks, towel rings, bars, toilet paper holders, cabinet knobs and much more that coordinate beautifully with many faucet styles. Once you have finished transforming your remodeling project into your own relaxing bathroom style, please email us a photo. We simply love seeing the finished results of our customers’ projects. 

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Shower Surrounds

If you’re looking to upgrade your bathroom, a shower surround is a viable option, one you should at least consider. It’s a project, please don’t misunderstand, but the end product will give your bathroom a much more finished appearance.


  • Since a tiled shower surround is built from scratch, this gives you an endless array of options go, as far as design and style.
  • The size of your shower can be adjusted, as well. We’ve had plenty of customers actually knock walls out to gain more space for their shower. A tub gives you very limited space.
  • It’s not much at all, but shower surrounds will give you slightly better resale value. Bathrooms are one of the main attractions in a household, so you’ll do nothing but benefit with an enhancement like his one.
  • With that said, the appearance is alone is more appealing than your standard built-in, fiberglass shower and tub setup. When done right, it’ll be a gorgeous addition to your bathroom.


  • Can get costly depending on tile material you use. Also, (DIY or otherwise) this isn’t an “I’ll get it done in a couple hours ordeal.” This is a weekend, potentially four day project, and that’s if everything goes as expected.
  • A bit high maintenance. If you have tile anywhere else in your house, then you understand how tedious it can be to clean grout lines. Well, this is no different. Where they do have cleaning products specifically for tiled bathroom showers, it’s the inconvenience of spraying every single time tile that makes it a hassle.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this, so bear with me. If you plan on doing this yourself, I commend you, fully, but if this is your first DIY project then maybe you should rethink this a bit. Installing a tile surround is an extensive endeavor, one that leaves virtually no room for mistakes. If you make one, essentially, that’s more money out of your pocket. Yes, it’s very much like that. We’re talking about tile materials, working around plumbing, and potential water leaks.

If you’re having this professionally installed, that’s a solid decision. Pat yourself on the back. I’ve installed a great number of tiled shower surrounds, more than enough to know of its difficulty and the required, all-too-necessary precision it takes to achieve a successful install.

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Bathroom Tubs

Ah, the bathroom tub. The place where you go to relax, soak in foamy water, bask in candlelight, and maybe sip some wine. It’s a feature that correlates well with rest & relaxation, and there’s no other type that exemplifies this purpose more than a freestanding tub.

They’re Relaxing

I’m sure you’ve seen in movies or in shows where the person is straight chillin’ in one of these tubs with their feet draped over the side, soaking it all in, eyes closed. It’s that cozy of an experience, one not typically had with your regular, standard tub.

Enlarges a Room

Because of it’s initial freedom, you can put a freestanding tub anywhere. But you’re going to want to want to be sure of your placement because of the plumbing during install. In any case, it makes your bathroom look bigger.

Fits an Style

A freestanding tub has its own grandeur. But with that said, it can blend in with any style of bathroom. It’s a focal point, and it definitely draws attention to itself, but not like a sore thumb, if that makes sense.

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Bathroom Wall Tile

We’re going to go over a few of the most affordable and stylish bathroom tiles that we have to offer at Builders Surplus. You can legitimately get everything, without spending everything!

Golden Honey Ledger Stone Bathroom Tile

bathroom tile Louisville Cincinnati Builders Surplus

Ledger Stone has made a major impact in the tile industry, in my opinion. If you’ve noticed, “look-alike” products continue to gain popularity, and Ledger Stone gained its varsity letters before any of them. The one featured below is a fan-favorite, for sure. It’s gorgeous in any setting, but especially bathrooms and, oddly enough, fireplaces, too. Simply stunning. While it does LOOK amazing in the shower, do let your customers know that it is difficult to clean. It needs to be completely waterproof behind the tile or you will get mold.

bathroom tile Louisville Cincinnati Builders Surplus

So, you can get this stylish, trendy bathroom tile for only $5.99/piece, right here at Builders Surplus. Now, this is one of the priciest product to make this list, but for good reason. If you’re a fan of texture in aesthetics, then this product is for you.

Black Penny Round Mosaic Bathroom Tile

bathroom tile Louisville Cincinnati Builders Surplus

I’m a huge fan of contract in a bathroom, and the Black Penny Round Mosaic bathroom tile is perfect for setting up that kind of style. I’ve always imagined a white floor tile with this product used as a backsplash. It’s timeless. It’s classic. And so eye-appealing. Plus, I’m a huge fan of curvature during any kind of design, so this pattern hits me right in the feels.

bathroom tile Louisville Cincinnati Builders Surplus

Right now, you can get this contrast-maker for only $4.99/sq. ft. One more thing about this, though, is its versatility. Where I’m more inclined to install this bathroom tile as a backsplash, it’s fine for a shower floor, too!

Legend Blanco Large Format Tile

bathroom tile Louisville Cincinnati Builders Surplus

I enjoy the movement in this tile. And it’s a subtle gray, too, ya know? Not too deep, not too light. Just right. Now, this is a Large Format Tile, so the possibilities are pretty much endless, in terms of install. Personally, I think this color belongs on the floor, maybe with a dark vanity top or something of that nature.

bathroom tile Louisville Cincinnati Builders Surplus

As we proceed, you’ll see that these prices really are unmatched, y’all, starting with this one. You can get this Legend Blanco bathroom tile for ONLY $1.99/sq. ft. Heckuva deal, right? Stylish, moderately-neutral, and all for a good price. Come in and seriously get everything without spending everything.

Whisper White 3×6 Subway Bathroom Tile

bathroom tile Louisville Cincinnati Builders Surplus

This classic, tried-and-true still does wonders in establishing that a traditional look. Honestly, folks, what’s not to like about it. Remember me talking about contrast earlier with the Black Penny — well — this is its counterpart.

bathroom tile Louisville Cincinnati Builders Surplus subway tile

But once again, the most attractive trait here is the price, everyone. Only $0.22/piece. Yeah, you read that right. LESS THAN A QUARTER. That’s exceptional. Come scoop this up.

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Bathroom Flooring Options

The industry standard is definitely your large format tile, but that doesn’t mean should squash your chance to be a little edgy. Most people go with tile because it’s non-porous and completely waterproof.

Large Format Tile

But thanks to recent advances in the industry, you can now install waterproof Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)  in your bathroom, a product that looks very similar to wood.


To take it one step further past the norm, you can even use Mesh Back Tile in your bathroom. It’s not completely unheard of in any respect, and it’s actually a really gorgeous look.

Mesh Back Tile

Bathroom Remodel Installation

Here comes the section that can be the most confusing for many people; dealing with installation.

The first thing you need to decide is:

  1. Will I do my own installation?
  2. Will I hire someone to do my installation?

The answer to this question will greatly determine what you’re about to read. While going into details about how to do the installation yourself is not in the scope of this article, I have provided several DIY articles at the end to assist you in your install or deciding if you should take it on yourself.


If you choose to go the DIY route, there are several things you need to consider. Check them out in more detail by clicking here.

  1. Measurements – If your measurements are incorrect, your products could fit incorrectly causing major issues or lots of money lost.
  2. Understand you can’t do it all – Backup contractors or knowledgeable friends or family on speed dial to help you install or to take over if you hit a road bump.
  3. Demo – Be careful not to damage anything that isn’t being replaced.
  4. Make sure you have a plumber or electrician – Disconnecting appliances, sink hook ups, and wire issues come into play. Don’t play around with these, they could be serious safety hazards.
  5. USE A DESIGNER – At the very least, see all your products next to each other to make sure you don’t hate your final selections when they’re installed.
  6. Don’t forget the finishing touches like scribe, moulding and toe kick.
  7. Make a plan! Don’t just wing it. Go in stages and make sure you have all your steps listed out in sequential order to help keep you on track.

Click here to read “Things to consider when doing a DIY kitchen remodel


At Builders Surplus, We offer installation services on all of our products. They have all been vetted and background checked, so rest assured. If you do not use a Builders Surplus contractor, do your homework and make sure anyone you hire has good references, insurance and the proper crew to complete the job. Here is a list of things we make sure to tell our clients before starting their kitchen remodel installation.


Measurements will need to be done by us for us to guarantee the fit after your design has been done and before your products are ordered. If you are using your own installers, they will need to guarantee the fit for you. Measurements are VERY important in making sure your design comes out perfectly. If you don’t have someone guaranteeing the fit and they turn out to be incorrect, you will foot the bill for ordering new products. Don’t let that happen.

  • NOTE: Once your products are ordered, no changes can be made, so make all final decisions before hand.

A Process, Not an Event

The most important thing I can tell you about the installation portion of a bathroom remodel is that this is a PROCESS, not an EVENT. Keeping that in mind will put your expectations in the right place and allow for a more enjoyable remodeling experience. Guaranteed completion dates are unrealistic, because not ever aspect of this process is in your contractors control.

  • NOTE: Some of your cabinets have the potential to be damaged in transit. Your designer or installer have no control over this, but it can push back your timeline.


It is not necessary that you be home during the entire installation process, but you will be required to be there to let the team in and at the end of the process for the final walk through so that you can verify the job is completed to your standards and sign the final paperwork. Please note that because unforeseen issues can arise, it could change the install date, so keep this in mind when deciding to use vacation days or take off work for the entire process

So there you have it, everyone. A complete guide to your bathroom remodel, from the floor to the ceiling. I hope we’ve covered everything you need to know and you’re one step closer to starting your bathroom remodel! Remember, we offer free design consultations and installation services in Cincinnati & Louisville ky!