The NAHB Research Center’s Annual Builder Practices Survey found that improving bathrooms is a substantial way to create superior value with potential buyers. Survey results confirm an unprecedented change in bathroom fixtures and finishes used in new homes since the housing downturn.

Countertops & Sinks: Granite has become a very popular material, increasing from 5 percent to 18 percent. Laminate, cultured marble, and ceramic tile lost market share during this period.

Undermount sinks grew from 9 percent to 17 percent share. Vessel sinks increased, but only had 2.5 percent market share by 2008. One-piece sink and countertop styles saw the biggest dip; the share of drop-in sinks declined slightly. China and enameled cast iron were the biggest gainers, while marble and enameled steel sinks both declined in market share.

Faucets: Chrome is still the most popular vanity, bath, and shower faucet finish with about 46 percent share. However, its share in new homes tumbled from 61 percent over the past three years. The biggest gainers in bathroom faucet finishes were bronze and nickel. Stainless steel also saw a moderate increase in popularity. Polished brass and solid colors have largely fallen out of favor.

Flooring: Ceramic tile continues to be a popular choice for bathroom floors with 65 percent market share. Marble and other natural stone saw the largest increase, from 3 percent to 7 percent. Use of vinyl tiles also grew, from 2 percent to 4 percent. Sheet vinyl, however, slipped from 28 percent to 21 percent.

Tubs & Showers: Gel-coat fiberglass remained the most popular for one-piece showers and tub/shower combinations, but acrylic-finished units have gained market share. For single tubs, enameled cast iron became more popular. For whirlpool baths, acrylic continued to be the most popular material type. Acrylic saw the largest market share gain, while most other materials slipped.

Ceramic tile remains the most popular choice for site-constructed bath and shower surrounds with about 71 percent share. Natural marble increased in popularity but cultured marble declined.

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