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Three astoundingly simple solutions for big renovation challenges

mericans are renovating again. In fact, the remodeling market hasn’t been this robust since 2004, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index. Yet even the most enthusiastic homeowners-turned-renovators may hesitate when faced with certain common challenges - be it adding a bathroom in a problematic location or figuring out how to bring natural light into an interior room.

But virtually every renovation challenge is solvable, and sometimes the answers are surprisingly simple and cost-effective. Here are three common issues you may encounter while renovating, and the astoundingly simple ways to overcome the obstacles:

The challenge:

Adding a bathroom over concrete flooring or in a tight spot where traditional plumbing doesn’t work well.

The simple solution: Up-flush plumbing.

Bathroom renovations or additions offer a high return on investment - as much as 56 percent of the initial investment when you resell, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. But conventional plumbing can be costly and time-consuming, even in the best circumstances. If you want to add a bathroom in a basement where the floor is concrete or in a smaller space with no room for traditional piping, an up-flush, or macerating, toilet is a simple, cost-effective solution.

Systems like Saniflo’s macerating toilet and plumbing technology eliminate the need to cut through a floor to install new drainage. And the systems fit easily into areas as small as a closet or dead space beneath a stairway. A macerating pump reduces waste and paper from the toilet and sends it under high pressure through piping directly into the septic or sewer system. No waste is stored, and the systems are comparatively low-cost compared to traditional plumbing. Visit to learn more.

The challenge:

Introducing natural light in a room with no space for windows.

The simple solution: Skylights.

The benefits of natural light are well-documented, from improving mood to reducing dependence on artificial lights. Yet some spaces, such as interior powder rooms or walk-in closets, don’t lend themselves to windows. When you want natural light in a room where a lack of wall space precludes a window, or in which privacy is an issue, a skylight can be a great solution. Tubular skylights even allow you to bring natural light into ground floor rooms.

The cost of installing a skylight is comparable to adding quality windows in a room. Choose energy-efficient skylights and you may also reduce home cooling costs in spring and summer, and lighting costs in winter, too.

The challenge:

Privacy in a doorway where a swinging door doesn’t make sense.

The simple solution: Pocket doors.

A swinging door may not be right for a space for many reasons. Perhaps you need to close a door in a spot so infrequently that a swinging door isn’t needed. Or, maybe the space around the doorway is too tight to accommodate a swinging door, such as in a laundry space tucked into a hallway. Or, perhaps a traditional door will ruin the aesthetic of a space. In all those situations, a pocket door is a great way to achieve privacy without compromise. Because pocket doors tuck away inside the wall, you don’t need to worry about having enough space to open or close a traditional door. Plus, when left open, pocket doors are hidden inside the wall so their visual impact on decor is minimal.

While these solutions may be beyond the abilities of most do-it-yourselfers, reputable contractors can accomplish them easily - and help you decide if one of these options is right for your renovation project.

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