By Gerry Peters

Today’s bathroom upgrades” are not your father’s Oldsmobile,” as the well-worn cliche goes. Manufacturers worldwide of bathroom elements (actually the whole house) are inventing and dramatically improving items for your bathroom that you probably never hear about, or give second thought to.

At HPS Construction Services Ltd. we make it job one to keep pace with this amazing engineering evolution and advancement. From aesthetics to quality and durability, these products are job one for us. Showers used to have plain, old non-water resistant drywall behind the tile. Then water resistant “green or blue board” came in, followed by cement fiber type tile backer. These are water resistant, but not waterproof.

Shower pans used to be copper, now prohibitively expensive, and special order. Building up concrete on the flat floor after demo, painting it with a rubber coating or a rubber liner often took three or four days and again was not foolproof for proper slope to drain water, nor to be totally waterproof.


Now we have three-layer, pre-sloped composites of two thin layers of cement board with a watertight dense foam in between. This cuts installation time down significantly, and enables us to use current drain locations with only minimal adjustment, no matter if converting to a walk-in shower from a tub, or upgrading from an old shower.

This advancement also allows us to install very usable — even his and her — large, built-in soap and shampoo niches, as well as triangular corner benches for foot washing, or full-width, across-the-shower-floor, sit-down benches.

To add to that major evolutionary improvement, today’s tile comes in many sizes, shapes, colors and special-purpose use. For example, you can use 20 by 20 size, glazed, baked (300 degrees) porcelain tile, which usually looks better than Mother Nature’s best. The water just rolls off and often it is more maintenance-free than the fad of th ’90s and early 2000s — solid surface — which looks out-of-date in most cases, unless you break the bank for super-luxury looks.

For shower floors, porcelain tile comes on mesh, often called netted tile. The mesh allows the fl oor to have a better coefficient of traction (for safety), and it installs with zero hassle along the slope lines. They come in an amazing array of colors and designs: two by two, three by three, four by four, hexagon, river rock, mosaic, and more. Thus, we are always able to help our clients have a perfect color match, floor to walls.


Think again if you think tile and grout are prone to stain. With 20 by 20 tile, for example, it only takes three across the standard 60-inch opening. We also take the extra time and workmanship to install the tile not at the old wide grout gaps, but at one-eighth pencil point size. The right grout color hides these already minimal lines.

But here’s what’s really new: Never stain, urethane-epoxy type grouts which harden like the tile itself with the molecules filling the pores of the grout, making it hard, and water and dirt resistant.

Bathroom Remodel Panels: Corian vs. Granite vs. Quartzite. For example, instead of costly, major branded Corian, and Silestone, and other big corporate brands, there now are available generic shower panels. They are full-height, one for each end, and two for the long wall. They have hidden, miter type, special joints we prepare at our granite and quartzite panel shop. Colors are limited, but being added every few months for these quartzite shower panels, and they are cost effective, and show virtually no lines, and are half the cost.

Gerry Peters is HPS Construction President/ General Manager.

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