As the population ages, industry experts are seeing a growing interest in bathroom accessibility – a well as products that are easier to clean and maintain.

“We do shower conversions and walk-in tubs – and install grab bars – that help people stay in their own homes as they get older,” says Chris Bowie, who owns Beautiful Baths with his wife, Tori. “And everyone enjoys a bathroom that’s easier to clean, so we’re selling a lot of simulated acrylic systems and stone impression walls that are designed to look like granite, and are very easy to clean.”

Bowie says attendees at the Real Home Show will get to see the new colours and styles of acrylic walls, including the simulated groutless tile varieties.

“Everyone likes the latest colours in their home, but they also want to choose colours that won’t look dated down the road. They want a colour that will last 20 years or more,” says Bowie. “Our travertine and silverwhite marble shades are really good for that.”

Bowie says many homeowners upgrade their bathrooms primarily for the functionality, but it’s also to create a brighter, more fashionable space to enjoy. Even if home-owners aren’t looking to move anytime soon, they’re still always interested in the return on their investment.

“Bathrooms and kitchens are the two areas that tend to recoup money – so you can feel quite safe that if you spend it, you will get it back when you sell,” says Bowie.

Desmond Wright, owner of JWright Sales, say adding stone to your bathroom can make a big statement. One of their most popular new products is Instone Distribution wall paneling for around the skirt of a tub.

“A lot of people like the stacked-stone look on the outside of a home, and it’s moving inside – especially to bathrooms,” says Wright. “People sometimes say Atlantic Canada is years behind when it comes to trends, but that’s not the case anymore.”

Wright says showers are becoming larger and more impressive, with return-panel doors, tiled walls, and built-in benches. There’s also been an increase in sales for freestanding soaker tubs without jets.

For homeowners who are primarily concerned with creating an efficient, eco-friendly bathroom, Wright says they’ll be showing homeowners a new style of toilet from Caroma – the Australian company who invented dual-flush technology back in the early 1980s.

“Twenty years ago, you didn’t have a flush choice – it always used 13 litres for every flush, and that’s close to one of those big blue jugs on a water cooler,” says Wright. “This new toilet gives you the option to use three litres of water for liquid waste, or 4.8 litres of water for solid waste.”

Wright says Delta’s new low-flow shower-heads are a smart new solution, as well as their Touch2O.xt technology.

“You can turn the faucet on normally, or by touching it. It can also work on proximity, so if you get within three or four inches, it will turn on automatically – and then turn off when you step away,” says Wright. “It helps with water savings, as well as cross-contamination.”

Heather Laura Clarke

Heather Laura Clarke

Heather Laura Clarke is a freelance journalist whose work regularly appears in many Atlantic Canadian newspapers and magazines, including The Chronicle Herald, Metro, Hub Now, Business Voice, Dugger's, Progress, East Coast Living, Bedford Magazine, and Southender Magazine. She also has several corporate clients.