This is my twelfth year at Schluter Systems. I’m not “from the industry” … I’ve been in Marketing most of my career with a background in journalism, so pretty much as far removed from tile and construction as it gets!
I’ve immersed myself in everything tile since joining Schluter. It’s been an amazing experience, and I’ve met some wonderful people. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of bathrooms—I mean, a lot, lot. Working on the social media team here at the company, I have a front row seat to some pretty exceptional bathrooms that have been renovated by some very talented installers across the country.
Small, large, extravagant or simple, I love having a window into some amazing spaces that incorporate Schluter products. Schluter gets tagged on social media on hundreds of projects a week (if you haven’t already, please connect with us on social!), so it’s a great way to keep up with what’s new in bathroom designs.
Here are my three personal favourite bathroom upgrades that I recommend each time someone asks me about what’s cool at Schluter… from my “not from the industry” perspective.
Ok this is a no-brainer. Walk on a warm tile floor, and you’ll be instantly convinced. Man, it is so sweet! I think a lot of people feel that heated floors are somehow unachievable, that they’re wildly expensive, or that only really fancy installations are somehow worthy of a heated floor. Truth is, a lot of “average” spaces are including heated floors, just because… well they’re glorious as I said, but they’re also pretty attainable. If you’re already incorporating an uncoupling membrane in your tile floor to prevent cracked tiles and grout, which at Schluter we always highly recommend on any tile floor, then upgrading to an uncoupling membrane that can also be customized with heating cables is really not so far fetched.
DITRA-HEAT is one of our floor warming systems, and I like it because you can also customize exactly where you put your cables. Go for the full whammy and add them across the entire floor or choose the areas where you will really appreciate the heat. In front of the vanity and toilet, even in the shower—those are the places that really pack a punch, and minimizing your cable placement can help cut back on costs if you’re watching that bottom line. The other added cost will be your thermostat that controls your heated floor. Those come in at a variety of price points. If I wanted to please the hubby, I’d probably opt for the latest Smart Thermostat, so he could add one more gadget to our Alexa. If it were my 80-year-old mother’s heated floor, I’d definitely go for one of the simple, programmable thermostat options.
There is something about a linear drain that makes even the simplest bathroom design look spa worthy. If you’re going for the full-lux bathroom, the linear drain is the perfect upgrade, and I can’t see going extra everywhere else in the room, and then not doing a linear drain. But linear drains are also great options for smaller bathrooms. When you use a linear drain, the shower pan has a single slope, directing all the water down to the drainage. This also means you can install the same tile on the bathroom floor right into the shower. Using the same tile throughout the room gives the illusion of a larger space, with a uniformity that really brings the whole space together.
Tile aside, let’s look at the design of the linear drain. Um, hellooo. I’m a fan of the elongated drain and love the look of the grates, particularly the matte black grate option when you can tie that in with other shower hardware in black. But my personal favorite is the tileable grate. As the name implies, the grate can be customized with the same tile that you are using on the shower floor, so if you’re into a sleek, uniform look with a grate that virtually disappears, then it’s a particularly nice option.
There are a couple of choices for linear drains here at Schluter: KERDI-LINE and KERDI-LINE-VARIO. KERDI-LINE is a bit of a more robust linear drain, can handle multiple shower heads, and has a few more options in terms of grates. KERDI-LINE-VARIO has a slimmer design, but the big thing with this linear drain is that it can be cut on the job site to fit various shower sizes. The flange can also be placed wherever you want based on the drainage outlet, so much more flexible and the perfect drainage option if you need to avoid a pesky floor joist or other obstacles. This drain has a few things to keep in mind—it can only be installed at the center or wall-adjacent side of the shower tray, not at the door entrance, and it’s for single shower head installations, so not for installations where the water flow is above average.
But here’s the truth. If you’re getting a linear drain, you have to commit to regular cleaning. Linear drains can collect hair, dirt, and soap residue because the pitch of the gutter is smaller. Although linear drains let water flow quickly and efficiently, they are also longer than point drains, allowing for more space to let debris fall into the drainpipe. If you remove the grate as part of your regular shower cleaning rituals, you will reduce this build-up, and really make the most of having a beautiful linear drain.
One of the first projects I did after joining the industry— (and when I say “I did” I mean, a real installer, not me) was my kitchen backsplash. I opted for granite countertops with a tile backsplash, and my favorite profile—the DILEX-BWA. I used this profile to replace caulking in the transition between my backsplash and the countertop. This hidden little gem is the perfect profile to replace that ugly caulking with something that is permanent, is (so much) easier to clean, and is simply better looking.
This profile is also the perfect option for the bathroom, often used in bathtub surrounds where the wall meets the tub, in showers where the tray meets the wall, and door and window frames. DILEX-BWA comes in a few different colors, mostly neutral ones that are designed to match a selection of grout colors. What’s noteworthy about this profile is that unlike most caulking joints, this profile will never need to be replaced. Caulking can also be difficult to apply smoothly and consistently, whereas a profile is always uniform, and has a very neat and tidy appearance, which is always a bonus in any room. My biggest pet peeve about caulking are those little mold spots that sometimes appear, which aren’t a worry when using a profile—and a proper waterproofing system, of course!
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by profiles, maybe a bit intimidated by those metal or PVC trims—don’t be. Check out the DILEX-BWA as a great option to get rid of that ugly caulking, and after that, you can dive into the hundreds of other floor, wall, and movement joint profile options.
Those are my three favorite bathroom upgrades from my not-from-the-industry perspective. And maybe on my twelfth anniversary here at Schluter I can change my status to “from the industry”? Who knows. For now, just wanted to share some of the cooler products at Schluter that I think are definitely worth the upgrade and will make your next bathroom remodel memorable.