Bath Fitters: Remodeling bathrooms for that ‘wow effect’ 

  • Jason Cusimano and his family have owned Bath Fitters in Greenfield for the past 25 years. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • An example of a tub redone with a liner and wall. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • An example of a regulation-sized tub to shower conversion. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • An example of a tub converted into a large shower with glass doors. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

For the Recorder
Published: 2/7/2022 2:36:28 PM

Did you know there are 1,800 different sizes of tubs? John Cornman, marketing director for Bath Fitters in Greenfield, shared that astounding fact along with information on bathroom remodeling and how the company works.

The franchised but family-run business has been in operation since 1997 and is owned by Cornman’s son-in-law Jason Cusimano. For all of those tub size variables Cornman said, “We measure with a laser measuring tool. Those precise measurements get sent to our factory to make a perfectly fitting liner.”

What to consider when thinking of a bath remodel

“Naturally, price comes first, then how will that remodel enhance the ‘experience,’ and then how will that remodel affect resale value,” said Cornman, adding that “Experience is a delicate thing if you look at how we position ourselves in our bathrooms.”

Timing has been a consideration, Cornman said, as the pandemic brought a surge in people doing home remodeling. He said the company is booking eight to 12 weeks out.

“But if somebody has an emergency, we try to do what we can to accommodate them,” he said.

There are two ways to start working on what you think you might like to do. One is to have a consultant visit. Cornman said all Bath Fitters consultants are also contractors so they can help with plumbing or reconstruction needs, say if a wall needs to be rebuilt. The second method the company has developed is a virtual consultation. “Very early on in the pandemic we adapted to a virtual process,” he said.

Cornman said Bath Fitters does all the work in one to two days, and they give “an iron-clad estimate” and a lifetime warranty.

A small note is the company uses Mohr plumbing fixtures and colors are limited to shades of white. “We do white, ivory and pearl. If somebody wanted a blue tub we don’t do that, but we have so many styles,” Cornman explained.

Cornman said it is very difficult to estimate a cost without any information, but he said a simple job can run about “five to eight grand,” which tends to be far less than the average contractor, he said.

What can you expect regarding Bath Fitters products?

Cornman said the products they use are acrylic, not fiberglass, and are either fitted over an existing tub or they put in a new tub. They can do nearly all the needed work in terms of product (tubs, vanities, toilets, hardware, etc.) and construction.

“We try to get all the plumbing done the first day so people don’t have to go without their bathroom for too long,” Cornman said.

During the second day, if needed, everything else is installed, he said. Bath Fitters does not do fittings over molded fiberglass. That type of tub, for example, would need to be replaced.

Cornman said some of the benefits of an acrylic product is maintenance.

“We try to leave the bathroom with a ‘wow effect.’ The contractors clean really well before they leave and customers have told us their bathroom looks new even 20 years later,” he said.

Acrylic can be cleaned easily with products like Windex, he added. Cornman said they precisely fit the walls with “heat bending” so they don’t have to use grout except where the tub meets the wall, so the inserts are seamless. They also have walls that look like tile — but no actual grout to clean.

“That’s the thing about fiberglass, it absorbs whatever is in the air and stains. Acrylic won’t do that,” Cornman said.

Also, if you have a claw-foot tub, Bath Fitters cannot do anything with that unless you want to replace it.

Now you have made your decisions, what’s next?

“Once we give you an estimate, we leave you alone. We know it’s often a sticker shock for folks and they need to think about it,” Cornman noted.

If you decide to work with them, measurements need to be taken and the product made for your specific bathroom in addition to any extra work, such as plumbing.

“Some people want to have it all ripped out and re-done. We can do that,” he said.

Cornman emphasized their work is guaranteed and if something doesn’t go correctly, they will fix it.

“Customer service is very important to us,” he said.

What is trending in Franklin County?

“We are seeing a lot of tub-to-shower conversiosn. It’s a major trend with the population in our area; it’s become almost 50% of our work,” said Cornman. He emphasized they will work with the customer to put in grab bars or anything else the customer feels they need to help age in place. “We have three versions of a walk-in shower with a 3-inch lip, a 1½-inch lip, and a wheel-in version for wheelchairs,” he said.

They can also install seats. “Anything in your bathroom, we can do,” Cornman said.

What about resale value?

There are a couple of aspects to think about if you plan on selling your home, Cornman said. One is if you do a tub-to-shower conversion, you don’t have another full bath in the house.

“You would want to talk to a Realtor, but that technically makes it a three-quarter bath. You may take a hit on the selling price,” he said.

If you have an older home (they often only have one bathroom) you may be considering putting a half-bath in your basement/rec room, or converting a pantry or other room into a bathroom. Cornman said they can do that, too, but there are a lot of factors to take into consideration— for example, if the plumbing was “stacked” (the plumbing lines up, upstairs and down), or if the basement has a cement floor.

For more information, call Bath Fitters at 413-774-5507.

Cris Carl is an avid local gardener, licensed therapist and certified herbalist. She is an experienced journalist who has written for the Recorder for many years. You can reach her at cstormfox57@gmail.com.


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