Author Archive for: ‘Peder’

How to Shop for a Bathroom Vanity

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Shopping for a bathroom vanity is a lot like shopping for kitchen cabinets, a dresser, or even a table. You want something that’s high quality, lasts, and is fitting for the space. Your vanity will likely grace your home for some time. And not all vanities are created equal. We’ll help you find something that maintains its natural beauty for years to come.

Quality Indicators

Your vanity can be constructed with various materials. We’ve listed the three most popular options in order of the most economical to what is generally the most expensive option.

MDF (medium density fiberboard) is engineered from composite wood fibers and compressed together with a resin adhesive. It’s usually topped with a melamine layer for protection and decoration. This makes it a more economical option for furniture, kitchen cabinets, and bathroom vanities.

Real wood or plywood veneer consists of thin layers of wood veneer glued together with a fine grain appearance. Real wood veneer is thick—made like fine furniture. A protective coating is typically applied on the outside of bathroom vanities. And you can also choose from a wood or painted appearance. This is a popular option and is often more durable than MDF.

Bathroom Vanity
Plywood veneer vanity craftsmanship—a durable option

Solid wood vanities are made of lumber. They can have an attractive, rustic feel if a maker leaves the natural wood tones and knots exposed. Wood is naturally porous, so it can absorb moisture, expand, and potentially warp over time. This is not to say that manufacturers who use solid wood create inferior products, but rather that it’s less commonly used as it’s more expensive to construct a quality vanity from solid wood that maintains its appearance.

Most of these materials have some type of outer protection to shield the vanity from moisture.

Melamine is a coating that provides a smooth, protective surface. It’s used for different kinds of furniture and can be applied over MDF or plywood. A melamine coating can provide protection from moist environments and is less likely to scratch.

Polyurethane, a moisture-resistant finish, is used by vanity manufacturer Ronbow, one of the brands Handy Man carries. When dry, it becomes hard like plastic and can withstand harsh environments.

Other manufacturer brands Handy Man carries, like Bertch, use a thermoset coating. This provides stain and moisture protection. Bertch provides a “bulletproof” layer for high moisture conditions without deteriorating.

Bottom line: opt for quality materials to prevent bubbling, warping, cracking, and damage to one of the most used areas of your bathroom.

Vanity Construction

Quality craftsmanship extends beyond materials. How a manufacturer assembles a vanity impacts its durability and functionality. These fine craftsmanship features can save you from storage shortage and repair headaches later on.

Dovetail drawers are sturdy. The interlocking angles prevent the drawer from coming loose—especially if you have young children who may pull on it.

Slow-close drawers prevent the drawer from slamming into the vanity.

Full extension drawers allow you to access everything you put in the drawer with ease.

U-shaped drawers fit around the sink pipe to provide even more storage.

Consider your Space

You wouldn’t squeeze a large dresser into a tiny room, right? You also wouldn’t buy dark brown kitchen cabinets when your entire house is furnished with light birch wood, right? Well, the same goes for your bathroom vanity.

Because installing a vanity is typically one of the last steps during a bathroom remodel, you usually have a little time to order a vanity to your own specifications.

While custom vanity cabinets can have a lead time of 3 to 4 weeks, while you are installing your floor, tub, painting your walls, and more, you can be thinking about the vanity that will best go into your new bathroom.

You can get just about any wood species or color. If you have existing color and design schemes that you’re trying to complement, bring photos of your current bathroom to reference while you shop.

The same concept should be used to choose hardware. When you order your vanity, select your hardware. What you choose will determine whether the manufacturer needs to drill one, two, or no holes in the doors and drawers.

A small sampling of hundreds of cabinet and drawer hardware options available

Choosing the Size

Take the size of your bathroom into consideration when choosing your vanity. Vanities come in a range of widths, which increase in size in 6” increments. Standard sizes include 18”, 24”, 30”, 36”, 42”, 48” and 60”. And, like kitchen cabinets, you can fit pieces together to form an extended vanity.

You’ll also need to choose the appropriate depth and height of your vanity. For a small bathroom, you can get a vanity depth of 18”. You can even get creative and install a pot belly sink for additional space. A full sized vanity depth is 21”. For height, you can opt for a tall vanity, also referred to as comfort height, which is about 36”. The standard height of a vanity is 32”, but you can get one anywhere from 30” to 36” tall.

A vanity is an investment in one of the most-used areas of your home. Stop by your local Handy Man to browse options, and receive solid advice from our experts. “We’ll walk you through it.”

Updated February 2019

Congratulations Mark, our Delta Faucet Giveaway Winner!

Giveaway Winners 01


Congratulations to Mark, our Delta Faucet Giveaway winner! Mark’s family met Handy Man President Joe Swenson at our Sioux Falls store to claim their prize.

You could be our next winner! Visit your local Handy Man to get the latest information on product giveaways and contests!

Thanks to everyone who participated!

5 ways safety features drive bathroom design today

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In the bathroom, safety is critical, but residents also want products that make safety a number one priority without sacrificing style. We talked with Chris Nealon, bath accessories product manager at Moen® and a bath safety expert, about the importance of safety and how to select features for all generations, from babies to boomers.

1) Why is bath safety so important?

A faucet and vanity are the logical focal points of a bathroom, but bath safety and accessories are the jewelry of the bathroom. And while it’s important to accommodate an ever-aging population in this country by making bathrooms safe, especially for boomers, we need to be more conscious about including safety features for all generations of tenants. Falls can happen to anyone — anytime — regardless of age or how strong or fit they may be.

2) Do you have any specific concerns in this space?

Too often style has taken a backseat to function, but that doesn’t have to be the case anymore. Grab bars are a critical part of bathroom safety, and you can incorporate this feature without looking institutional.

You have to take a proactive approach to bath safety because if you’re reacting to a fall in the shower, it’s too late.

3) What about generation-specific concerns? It’s not just about the elderly, is it?

Just like you’re never too young or old to wear a seatbelt, everyone can benefit from a safer bathroom. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 234,000 injuries in the bathroom annually, so no one is immune to slipping in a wet shower. When bath safety products are close by, it makes the shower experience easier and, as a result, safer. A grab bar with an integrated shelf helps reduce movement and, with that, the chances of falling.

Multi-family living spaces face a particular challenge because they have to be able to accommodate tenants of any age or generation, at any time. Bath safety is becoming a more important and relevant issue for everyone, and limiting movement in the shower helps provide peace of mind and added safety for people of every age. Shower falls are a common worry for seniors, but kids can also easily slip, even with a parent nearby. Teaching children to use tub grips and practice other safe habits when they are young can help prevent accidents.

4) How is the combination of safety and style helping drive design?

Moen has more than doubled its bath safety decorative options in the last three years alone. Matching the finish of the grab bars with the rest of the bathroom fixtures really resonates with consumers and makes the bars look as good as they work. There is a wide variety of styles to suit any taste or preferred look — traditional to contemporary and everything in between. Also, the price point is attractive for multi-family communities.

5) Are there any Moen products that you think particularly help close the gap between style, function and safety?

SecureMount Anchors are great for multi-family spaces because their design easily allows a retro install of a grab bar wherever you want; this makes the bath safer because it’s fully customizable. In older properties, it may not be safe to go into a wall stud, so this creates a safer experience without requiring the crew to get behind or through a wall.

Moen’s grab bar shelf has a removable tray, which encourages people to put toiletries like soap safely out of the way on an accessible shelf, instead of directly on the bathtub. This helps prevent the buildup of soap scum and other grime, which is cleaner for the tenant and encourages smart storage. This also helps multi-family property owners avoid costs associated with reskinning or resurfacing a bathtub and shower. Bathroom footprints are becoming smaller in multi-family communities, so wall space is critical. Anytime you can integrate two things, like a grab bar with shelf or paper holder, it’s an added benefit because it increases safety and functionality.

Now it’s easy to incorporate safety features into baths and showers with style and function.

Congratulations to our 70th Anniversary Giveaway winner!

Handy Man Winner

Congratulations to Barb Thaler, our $2,000 70th Anniversary Giveaway winner! On Monday, Handy Man President Joe Swenson greeted Barb and her family at our Sioux Falls store and presented them with “the big check” and a high-five. We look forward to helping you complete your dream bathroom project!

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Built for the long haul: making renovations and upgrades last

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Multi-family spaces need to be comfortable but durable spaces, handling ongoing resident turnover and high-density living in multiple separate units. They take on a lot of wear and tear by their very nature. That’s why property managers need to make sure that, when it comes time to renovate, the upgrades and repairs made are built for the long haul.

But that doesn’t mean that style has to be sacrificed for the sake of durability. With smart choices comes staying power. Small, affordable renovation projects can help equalize the cost versus value proposition and provide a visually appealing, noticeable upgrade that is as durable as it is beautiful.

Here are just a few ways to integrate a modern, stylish look that will add an instant upgrade while providing the durability that multi-family spaces demand.

  • Using a common valve system like M-PACT® from Moen makes upgrades of widespread and wall mount faucets and showering trim or showerheads as easy as a simple twist and pull of the decorative trim, eliminating the need for any plumbing work. Products like the Via widespread bathroom faucet with M-PACT also have the multi-family industry’s most comprehensive 10-year warranty. Moen products require 35 percent fewer cartridge replacements than competitors, saving time and money — a must in multi-family spaces.
  • Products with Spot Resist Finishes help retain their showroom shine, shedding unsightly watermarks and fingerprints so kitchen and bath faucets and shower fixtures stay cleaner, longer. And when it does come time to clean the kitchen and bath, they’ll look as good as new after a simple wipe down.
  • A fully integrated shower rail can adapt to existing plumbing connections without any behind-the-wall changes. Better, it provides the security of an ADA-approved pull rail and the durability, functionality, style and design flexibility of an added shower arm, handshower or rainshower adaptation.

Small renovation projects and upgrades can still be big on style and performance. Using durable products that deliver the style residents want also provide a greater return on investment for property managers and a bigger boost to your bottom line.


Kitchen Sinks 101: Everything You Need to Know

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We recently sat down with Siouxland Woman Magazine and answered a few of the commonly asked questions about kitchen sinks. Read below for answers to these questions and more!

I had never thought much about kitchen sinks before. I never had a reason to. Things change when you begin a kitchen remodel, however. I had a lot to learn about sinks and thankfully Handy Man had the right information for me.

So Handy Man, are there some things to consider when buying a kitchen sink or are they pretty much the same?

There are some very important things to consider when replacing your kitchen sink. Believe it or not, there is a sink for every person depending on your lifestyle.

Ok, so what should I consider when looking for the perfect sink for my kitchen?

One of the first things you should do when looking for a sink is to check the bottom of the sink. Is there a flat surface area on the sink bottom? Sinks with more flat space can be more expensive, but they are a better product because of design. You’ll be able to place more dishes in the sink on a flat surface without them tipping over, making it much safer for your glassware.

I hadn’t thought of that and of course that makes sense. What about drain location?

Drain location should be near the back of the sink. When the drain is located near the back, the disposal and trap are also towards the back providing you with more space under your sink for storage and for your garbage receptacle.

What about noise? Is this something I should consider?

Yes. Less expensive sinks have less sound proofing. When you run your disposal it will be very loud. Pay attention to the thickness of the steel. The smaller the gauge number, the thicker the steel. Heavier steel won’t dent as easily and will be much quieter.

What about undermount vs. drop in sinks?

It’s much easier to sweep crumbs into your sink from your countertop with an undermount sink and they give you more depth.

I really like the look of stainless steel. Is there a difference? Of course. Better quality steel sinks are given hand polished highlights at the factory using a buffing wheel, so you’ll want to look for a sink with a nice shine. It will be more visually appealing and it will be easier to clean.

Are there other materials I should consider?

Yes, there are other sink materials. Some sinks are made of a stone-like material often called ‘quartz’ and are very durable. They’re made to be the most sanitary, hard to scratch and come in several color options.

I’m trying to decide between one bowl or two. What do you suggest?

One bowl sinks are becoming more popular but two bowls are standard. It depends on which you prefer and the types of things you are washing. Along with that you consider the divides. A lower divide works best for soaking frying pans, but you can still fill the entire sink up with water if needed.

Is there a standard size for sinks?

Standard kitchen sinks are 33×22. Most of the sinks in your home could be replaced by another standard size that will fill the same space while providing a new look.

What is trending currently in kitchen sinks?

Apron front farm sinks are becoming more and more popular. You don’t have to lean over and reach as much, putting less stress on your back and they are beautiful!

The most important thing is to make sure you decide what works for you and your family. What works well for one person may not work for another. And, by all means, make sure to look at the sinks in person, stand in front of them, and reach your hands inside as if you were doing dishes. That is the best way to make sure it will work for you.

Bathroom Modifications: Following ADA Guidelines

Follow ADA bathroom guidelines

More and more people are building their homes and remodeling existing homes following guidelines from the American Disabilities Act (ADA). While you might not have someone in your family with a disability, you might consider future uses of your space, or that of an elder who might need some basic modifications to help keep them in their home.

From washlet bidet toilet seats to safety hand rails, there are many options to make a bathroom more accessible. The bathroom is the room in the house that can present some of the biggest challenges. Here are some things to consider whether you’re building a new home, or modifying an existing home. You might also be looking to help a parent who wishes to stay in their own home, but needs some basic modifications for safety and convenience.

Consider comfort height toilets to avoid having to bend knees too far. A grab bar and toilet paper holder-in-one can provide great convenience. It can be mounted at any height you’d like. You can also install a safety hand bar that comes down on either side of the toilet for support. It’s simply mounted on the wall behind the toilet, providing stability and support while on the toilet.

When it comes to the shower, consider installing a bench, or seat for stability. Also look at the curb of the shower. There are many options available. You might consider a low profile curb to avoid a tripping hazard, making it much easier to get in and out of the shower safely.

If you prefer a bathtub, but have difficulty climbing in and out, consider a walk-in bathtub with a door for access. This option makes it much easier to get in and out of the bath. These tub systems come with a special valve to allow for a faster fill up time and a larger drain allowing the water to drain quickly when you are finished.

Whether you’re looking to add modifications for your own convenience, or someone else, be sure to consult with an expert to find out what options will work best and follow ADA guidelines. From simple fixes to complete remodels, there are many modifications that can make all the difference when it comes to safety for your loved ones in one of the most used spaces of your home.

5 Quick and Easy Budget Upgrades for Your Home

upgrade your bathroom

1. Upgrade your toilet seat.

Is your toilet seat chipped, cracked or discolored? Is it always shifting an inch to the right or left when you take a seat? (Annoying!) Or perhaps you purchased a cheap wooden one a long time ago and it’s time to upgrade. In addition to sturdier plastics and more polished looks, some toilet seats have features that will make you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that before?” Lighted seats, potty training seats and bidet washing seats are all available today.

2. Replace your bathroom faucet.

Bathroom faucets come in all shapes, sizes, and finishes these days. Grime builds up, finishes rub off, and colors go out of style when it comes to faucets. With a variety of finishes and designs to choose from, it can be a quick way to update the look of your lavatory. Choose something trendy, like oil rubbed bronze, or opt for something that pairs nicely with the other hardware in your bathroom.

3. Brighten up your bathroom with a new light bar.

Updated lighting will impact how everything in your bathroom looks. Transform a small or low-light area to a welcoming room with proper illumination.

Whether you’re looking for new shape bulbs or to shine more light over the mirror, lighting can make or break the functionality of your bathroom. Men like shaving in a well-lit space, just like women prefer not to apply makeup in a bright, clean environment.

4. Install a unique or neutral mirror.

Replacing an old mirror is simple. It doesn’t cost much and requires minimal handyman skills. If you have a surface mounted medicine cabinet, you can also replace it with a mirror. You just won’t have as much storage space. If you have a recessed medicine cabinet that’s embedded into the wall, hanging a mirror will be a little more tricky but it can be worth the effort.

By opting for a mirror, you can choose from many fun shapes, sizes, and colors. Or you can keep it neutral by going with a frameless glass look one that coordinates with anything. Keep the width of your vanity in mind when selecting a mirror. In most instances, it should not exceed the width of the vanity.

5. Swap the handles on your vanity.

Not everyone wants to replace the entire vanity to achieve a look that’s in style. The easiest way to update your vanity is by replacing the handles. Find pieces that match or complement the other hardware in your bathroom.

You can also take your bathroom re-fresh a step further by painting your vanity. If you do this, be sure to use quality paint made for moist environments. You’ll also want to ensure you’re doing this with a sturdy vanity. Not all vanities are created equal. And because low-quality vanities are more often more susceptible to water damage, you’ll have to use your best judgment on whether or not to replace it, or paint it.

Benefits of a Whirlpool Tub

benefits of a whirlpool tub

The swirling, bubbling water of a whirlpool tub offers many health benefits that go much further than relaxation.

Relieving Stress:

According to the American Psychological Association, one-third of people in the United States experience extremely high stress levels. A whirlpool tub has massaging jets embedded in the sides of the tubs that can help relax your body. This can provide immediate stress relief and it can even help you sleep better when using the whirlpool before bed.

Improving Circulation:

The relaxing warm water in combination with the massaging jets will help promote better blood circulation through your body. The jets help your body receive more oxygen to your major organs. This can be beneficial to those who have decreased blood circulation. The relaxing jets can help improve movement and decrease pain and joint stiffness.

Relax Sore Muscles:

Do you suffer from stiff or sore muscles? A whirlpool tub can help relieve those sore muscles by acting as a deep tissue massage. It can also be beneficial for sports injuries and muscle spasms.

Overall Fitness:

Relaxing in a whirlpool tub can help improve your overall fitness and flexibility. Doing stretches in your whirlpool tub can increase your flexibility and help warm up your muscles.

Whirlpool baths have specially designed drainage systems to ensure as much water as possible is drained from the bath, making it stay fresh and hygienic.

The next time you’re thinking of a bathtub upgrade, check out a whirlpool bath and think of the experience of a spa luxury right in the comfort of your own home.

10 Things to Know About Your Kitchen Sink

what to know about your kitchen sink

Have you ever looked closely at your kitchen sink and wondered if it was the right sink for you? Is it too deep? Is it not deep enough? Does it function the way you’d like? Believe it, or not, there is no perfect kitchen sink, but there is a sink for every person depending on your lifestyle.

Here are some things to consider before making an upgrade.

  1. Check the flat surface area on the bottom of the sink. Sinks with more flat space can be more expensive, but they are a much better product because of the design. You’ll be able to set more dishes on a level surface without them tipping over, such as glassware.
  2. Drain location. The drain should be near the back of the sink. When it’s near the back, the disposal and trap are also positioned back in the cabinet below, leaving you much more room under the sink for a garbage receptacle or storage space.
  3. Is your sink noisy? Less expensive sinks have less soundproofing. When you run your garbage disposal, it will be very loud. Note the thickness of the steel. The smaller the gauge number, the thicker the steel. Heavier steel won’t dent as easily and will be much quieter.
  4. Under mount vs. drop-in sinks. Under-mount sinks are easier to sweep crumbs from your countertop into the sink and will give you more depth.
  5. Stainless steel sink finishes. Better quality steel sinks are given hand polished highlights at the factory using a buffing wheel. Look for a sink with a nice shine. It will have more eye appeal and it’s easier to clean.
  6. Sink material. Some sinks are made of a stone-like material often called ‘quartz’ and are very durable. They’re made to be the most sanitary, hard to scratch and come in several color options.
  7. One bowl vs. two bowls. One bowl sinks are becoming more popular, however, two bowls are standard. It depends on which you prefer and the types of things you’re washing.
  8. Low divide vs. high divide. A lower divide works best for soaking frying pans, but you can still fill the entire sink up with water if you need to.
  9. Sink size. 33×22 inch sinks are the standard size. Most of the sinks in your home could be replaced by another standard size that will fill the same space but will give you a new look.
  10. Apron front farm sinks. These sinks are becoming more and more popular. You don’t have to lean over and reach as much, putting much less stress on your back.

No matter what you decide for your kitchen sink, make sure it’s a sink that works for you and your family. What works well for one person might not work for another. Be sure to look at sinks in person if possible, stand in front of them, reach your hands inside as if you were doing the dishes and see how it feels. At Handy Man, we display our kitchen sinks at floor level so you can experience a variety of kitchen sinks and find the perfect one for you!


Updated December 2018
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