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sparky472 10-05-2007 11:49 AM

Bathroom remodel - need advice
I have the next 3 weeks off of work and I am considering remodeling my bathroom, 1950s home, single story, slab - no crawlspace underneath bathroom. I will not be changing the layout at all. Everything will stay where it is. New tile, floor, tub, sink, cabinets, lighting, remove wall heater.

I've never done anything like this and I'm a bit scared about that, but I have neighbors who have and will help out if I get into a jam. Plus I can always call a pro if I need to. So, I'd like to do it, and I think the three weeks is enough for what I want to do.

I'm hoping the subfloor, joists and framing are in good shape, but I guess I won't know that until I begin to demo the bathroom.

My big question is regarding plumbing. Is there anything I should plan on having to do to the plumbing when I have the old fixtures and walls torn out? It's the only thing that I'm really not sure what I should look for or plan on doing. Any input would be appreciated.

Here's a link with some pics of the existing bathroom. Thanks!

cibula11 10-05-2007 12:36 PM

Be prepared that this might take longer than expected. Old homes are great to remodel but sometimes require more time then previously thought to accomplish the task.

Your plumbing will depend on how the connections are made. If you have to sweat new copper or whether they used compression fittings will be a big difference in how you go about your plumbing. If you are just replacing fixtures and faucets, it won't be hard at all.

NateHanson 10-05-2007 12:38 PM

This was a 1-week project for me. Tear out to studs, ceiling joists, and subfloor. Replace tub, tile floor, hang walls, tile tub-surround, replace sink, vanity, and toilet. Install trim and wainscotting, paint, etc.

It was a very busy week, but I got it done. Having a small dumpster for the job simplified things, because I was removing so much plaster, tile, and tub.

If you don't have a fairly modern shower valve (single knob, scald-free, like Symmons Temptrol) you should definitely replace that during this job. It would involve some copper sweating. If you hired a plumber for this it would probably cost you $600 or so, including the valve. Once you've retiled your wall, changing the valve will mean tearing out the tile, so do it now if in doubt.

You'll be fine. This is a nice finite project without too many specialized skills.

cibula11 10-05-2007 01:18 PM

One week is impressive.

Just don't start will the floor. The tile will go quick but dry time and grouting and sealing will take another 3.

Rent a dumpster, tear everything you need out. Make any necessary plumbing changes when you are down to the studs, electrical at this time too. Drywall, tape/mud. Paint. Tile. Trim. and the fixtures...vanity, cabinets.

NateHanson 10-05-2007 04:54 PM

It was a very busy week! (and to be fair, I did some painting and grouting during the evenings of the following week).

I was very careful to plan each day, and think about what to do last. Floor tile, for example, will only take a couple hours to lay, but then you have to stay off it for about 24 hours, so I did that one evening, then the next morning rigged a plank from the doorway onto the tub, so I could sit in the tub and tile the surround during that day that the floor was curing. Grouting wasn't bad, as I just didn't walk on the cracks (12x12 tiles) and I didn't bother sealing until the project was done.


Concordseeker 10-05-2007 05:32 PM

Ok, to swim upstream....I don't think you have to change as much as you think. The black and tan is horrible, unless it's beer, but I think you have some ways to get the results you want with less work.

Your tub is probably cast iron and better quality then what you want to replace it with. Rip out the surrpounding tile and have the tub PROFESSIONALLY refinished. You CAN NOT do a proper job yourself but can save a ton of money from replacing the tub by having it professionally refinished.

That alone will save tons of time and money that you can spend on the rest of the room. Since you are on a slab the floor will be a bear, essentially you are digging up a layer of slab, if you can you might want to go right over it but that is your choice and dependant on a few things that only you can answer.

Good luck and I look forward to your progress photos.

sparky472 10-05-2007 11:19 PM

Refinishing the tub is an interesting idea... I did a Google search for tub refinishing and found a local company that also refinishes tile. What are the thoughts on that? I never even knew that was an option. The tile is in pretty good shape, we just don't like the color. Do any of you have experience with refinishing bathroom tile (surround and floor)?

If I go ahead with replacing the tile, I guess my challenge will be the floor... Concordseeker, you say that essentially I'll be digging up a layer of slab, might want to go right over it. Not sure what you mean....

Thanks for all the input!

cibula11 10-06-2007 09:20 AM

Laying tile is really a simple process, get a book or go to a tile store or home improvement store and ask how. You will be surprised at how easy it is. One suggestion I would make, is use a tile that does not show dirt. I layed a lighter tan in my bathroom floor and surround. I then used a light colored grout that blends with the tile. It looks nice, but you can see dirt, hair and the grout starts to look a bit dirty after awhile. We have a charcoal color tile in our dining room and kitchen and same color grout. It shows nothing. I also used 1/4" spacers. I would not do that again. It doesn't look bad, but the grout will dirty before anything else and so the less grout you have the cleaner your floors and surround will look. 3/16" or smaller if it were me.

As far as your floor, if you already have tile, once you break that up you say you have concrete slab underneath. If so, just make sure you have a nice smooth surfact to start laying tile. Most homes that have wood subfloors need a cement board layed underneath before the tile goes down. In your case, IF it is cement you won't need anything except some thinset to adhere your tile to the floor.

RemodelMan 10-06-2007 08:19 PM

if you plan to remove the floor tile as well as the walls, you can expect to patch a fair amount of cement floor. The masons, back in their day, knew how to custom mix remarkably dense cement. Don't expect the tiles to pop-off the subfloor, it may seem like granite. I would plan on renting a jackhammer. I would,nt be surprised if that floor is several inches thick.
Personally, I would leave the black floor tile intact, laydown a layer of thin foam duct taped to the perimeter, followed by a layer of 1/2" or 3/4" plywood on top for protection, prior to demo of the walls. I agree with the idea of recoating the tub too. Why bother making a bigger project out of it when the existing materials are as nice as what you have? The pipes are most likely galvanized, so plan on replacing the entire run back to your water heater with copper. You'll realize a minimal 25% increase in pressure. and sleep better knowing that the water in the new lines won't corrode through in the future after all that work.

sparky472 10-09-2007 05:32 PM

Well, I've decided to just do some things in phases - my vacation time is running out and filling up with other obligations. So my plan for now is this:

1. Have tub refinished (white) and replace toilet. Paint over yellow walls (white).

2. Maybe in a few months when I have time: Order new custom vanity and cabinets, replace sink.

3. When I have some more time: Redo floor tile and tub/shower surround. Remove all tile from walls, replace with drywall and paint.

Thanks for all the advice!

edukates 10-19-2007 07:37 AM

Tile painting

A friend of mine had his apartments done this way as a inexpensive alternative to retiling. Quite frankly, it looked awesome and cost about $200/bath (these are florida prices unfortunately). You might want to ask bathtub refinishers "how much for whole path including tile painting.

I would not do it myself as I think it is much easier and better if you have the experience of someone who does it for a living and has a reputation to uphold.

Surround Home Services

Kitchen sinks 10-22-2007 10:29 AM

Hiring a professional can be expensive, not unless if you want to spend extravagantly to improve your home. However, there is a great feeling of satisfaction after doing something on your own...especially refinishing the tub and replacing the toilet, etc. :thumbup:

I've learned a lot from you guys, thanks!

Ron6519 10-22-2007 04:03 PM

"Refinishing the tub is an interesting idea... I did a Google search for tub refinishing and found a local company that also refinishes tile. What are the thoughts on that?"
If you're moving out of the house in the next year or so , it's a good idea. The tub and tile painting will last no more then 3-4 years. This would be a stop gap measure until you have 4 weeks vacation.

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