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CharlieR 11-05-2011 09:38 AM

First Bathroom Reno
Hello everyone!
I've read this site for a while not to help me with ideas and other projects and appreciate everyone's great advice and have learned a great deal. However I'm about to tackle my first larger and more important project, a full bathroom reno! I'm still in the planning stages and probably won't start for about a month but wanted to start figuring out a plan and the steps I need to take and hopefully getting answers to some of my questions. While we do have another bathroom to use, the wife will appreciate if I don't take several months to finish! :wink:

I'll post a pic of the current and outdated status of the bathroom soon, however I was hoping to see if you guys and gals could help me out with a general outline of the steps. Here is the order I've deduced so far...

1. Demo/removal (probably down to the studs in most of the room), including removal of what I believe is a steel or ceramic tub.

2. See if any problems exist. (it would seem as if the previous owners at some point had a leak based on some drywall repair and ceiling repair in the room below).

3. Put in new tub (I see that mortaring it in is recommended, which I'm not sure Im ready for... what kind of person might be able to help me with that? Plumber? Contractor? ) Assuming do drain plumbing for the tub at this point too.

4. Plumbing / Electrical

5. Address subfloor and tile the floor.

6. Concrete board or some waterproof wall for tub area, drywall rest of room with green board?

7. Install ceiling fan? (Should this go earlier?) Should I just put in a hole for it, or rip the ceiling out and start from scratch?

8. Vanity (Still deciding on this, as it's one long sucker with two sinks).

9. Finishing touches.

I have quite a few questions on various steps, but does this sound like a good order to tackle things, should something come before something else?

A few points.. the walls are (I believe all of them) plaster, so I'm assuming lathe underneath, which I've read can be a b**** to demo? I'm hoping I don't have loose fill insulation (house was built in the 70's... but the wall surface feels very cold for my liking). Joists are pretty good I believe, but sub floor itself is only 1/2" ply I think. I've added 3/8" in other rooms I installed hardwood in, but might need more for tile, right?

Thanks for any help in advance and I'll post some other stuff later (hopefully this was the right grouping for these questions!) Really love this site! :thumbup:


Ironlight 11-05-2011 09:54 AM

Move the tiling of the floor as late in the process as possible. You don't want to tile it and then being doing a lot of other work, dripping paint on it or dropping monkey wrenches on it :P

Also, if your vanity is a cabinet style, tile after installation to save on tile costs and installing tile where you don't need it.

sixeightten 11-05-2011 10:05 AM

If there is an insulated area above, you may not want to demo the ceiling. The walls are generally ripped to the studs. Drywall is a very inexpensive building material, and most times the piecing in can be more trouble than it is worth. I would definitely advise getting a plumber to assist. Tub installation is not in my opinion for a simple DIYer. Getting the proper locations for drains and supplys is critical. Take your time and do your homework prior to starting. This site is a great resource to start with.

CharlieR 11-05-2011 11:53 AM

Ironlight - Thanks for the advice, thats a great point about the other work. I wasn't planning on tiling under the cabinet, depending on the style we chose, thanks for affirming thats ok.

Sixeightten - It is an insulated area above (attic). I was just discussing that with my wife this morning, whether there would be vapour barrier on the ceiling, but probably not right, as it's not exterior technically? So ya, I didn't want the insulation falling into the bathroom! Is it easy to cut a hole for a fan in a plaster ceiling though? Thank you also for seconding the tub installation. Even having watched some videos, I think I'd feel more comfortable with a professional the first time around for sure, not something I want to mess up!

oh'mike 11-05-2011 04:00 PM

Mechanical---(fan and duct)
Drywall and backer boards--
Prime and first coat of paint--
Vanity and trims--
Final paint--
Final trim out---towel bars--shower doors--light fixtures--door bumpers--

I always tile under the vanity--tile lasts a lifetime--vanitys do not--plus it's faster to tile and no chance of messing up the vanity with goop from the tile install.

Good point about the leaving the ceilings, However if there is a lot of mechanical going up there--fan and ducting can lights or plumbing--having easy access to the attic might make the replacement of insulation and Dry wall practical.

KevinACrider 11-05-2011 09:36 PM

I'm doing a similar project in my bathroom. We have gutted all of our plaster and lathe down to the studs. We did have the loose insulation and it was NOT very fun at all!

For your subfloor, I would probably add another layer of 3/8" or 1/2" t&g plywood. It will really depends on your spans and joist spacing.

(Q) 11-06-2011 01:28 AM

I just finished a bathroom reno on July and it was a beast! I have pics in my profile... Have you considered refinishing the tub? Also would recommend you tile the whole floor, someone else pointed out that the floor will last longer than the vanity. Would also recommend you just repaint the ceiling if it's in good condition... Out of all of the work I did; electric, plumbing, new walls, and tile, the tiling was definitely the hardest. Of course I did 3x6 subway for walls and sheets of hex for the floor for my first tile job. I got a ton of good advice from this site so I'm more than happy to share my knowledge and experience...

CharlieR 11-06-2011 10:07 AM

oh'mike. Thanks for the advice. After your post and a few others, I think I'll go ahead with tiling under the vanity, definitely will be easier as you say. In the ceiling, so far, probably just a fan, not sure about a light yet.

Kevin, thanks for the warning! :wink: Ya, I have to do the calcs for joist spacing, size of joist etc.

Q, thanks, I'll check out your project. I've checked out a few thus far and it's inspirational and I get some good ideas! I've done some tiling but never a job this big. I'm not that worried about the floor, more so about bath surround. Just going to take my time and try and make it look nice and neat/professional. We're considering subway *like* tile, so I may have my work cut for me!

CharlieR 02-10-2012 09:48 AM

Ok, I'm actually ready to get started on this this weekend finally! :tongue_smilie:

So demo will begin. Thanks again for the previous help. I'm still torn with the ceiling aspect. I'll try to post a pic tonight, but basically I have one of those alcove shower/tubs. Thing is, and I think this is common as I've seen it elsewhere, is that the ceiling height in the tub/shower is lower than the rest of the room. It's like a bulkhead almost. I'm 95% certain nothing is in it so not sure why they do that?

Anyhow, I'm planning on taking it down (unless advised otherwise) to make the room and bath/shower feel more open. However, in doing so, I would need to match up the new ceiling to the existing plaster (assuming I didn't take it down and put a hole for the new fan). Do you guys think this is doable? or should I just rip it all down and put up new drywall over teh whole ceiling? This was my plan until coming to the conclusion (will check this weekend) that it is highly possible that my plaster ceiling does not have vapour barrier under it...hence all insulation would come down into the room with the ceiling? (in addition to the ceiling being enough of a mess of its own!).

Thoughts, advice? :eek:

CharlieR 02-18-2012 07:07 AM

more pressing question!

I am tentatively planning on removing the current 1/2" sub floor. As I will be tiling, I was going to lay down new 3/4" or 1" ply as a new subfloor rather than adding new ply on top of the existing 1/2" (as per someones recommmendation). I have a question about cutting flush to the walls... the walls that run parallel to the joists (interior walls).

If an interior parallel wall isn't sitting directly on a joist, and I cut the ply flush to the wall in that room, won't the wall be sitting on a stub of plywood hanging off the next joist in the next room? :confused1: Will that be an issue? It's not a load bearing wall, but still, I don't want it to dip down or sink! Is it safe to do? Or do I just cut small pieces of sub floor out and block underneath as I go so it's supported? Thoughts? Advice?

I'd much appreciate input!

oh'mike 02-18-2012 01:08 PM

That could cause a problem----Done correctly there should be blocking there already---

How old is the house? is 1//2 Inch all you have or is there 1x6 wood strips under the ply?

Is there a need to remove the sub floor? Adding 1/2 or 5/8 inch on top will do you fine unless you need to pull the subfloor for plumbing or structural issues.

CharlieR 02-18-2012 03:01 PM


I guess I'll see tonight/tomorrow when I get there. I'll just drill a holl or something and take a peek.

The subfloor is ONLY the 1/2". From the part I've seen, its not great, but not horrible. I do have to do some plumbing, but I can always just do a joist to joist removal and replace that small section with new 1/2". I was just going to replace it since it doesn't look great, and someone suggested it would be better than just putting a second layer on top, because the 1/2" doesn't leave much to bite into, other than direct into the joists. What would be your recommendation Oh'Mike?

THanks for the help.

oh'mike 02-18-2012 05:46 PM

I have ripped up a lot of floors over the years---check the situation out---if removing the subfloor to the joists is practical--do it---if it's flat and sound--and the extra height of another layer won't be a problem then overlaying it as a good solution---

Check it out ---take pictures--and get back with your best idea.---Mike---

CharlieR 02-27-2012 10:25 AM

Thanks Oh'Mike. I'll have pics shortly, still demo'ing.

Question about the ceiling/attic above. Currently, it appears as though there is paper faced bat insulation behind the plaster ceiling between the rafter joists. On top of the bats is loose fill. There is no vapour barrier. I've read that plaster can act as one and hence no need for one.

I'll be putting Drywall back up though.

1. Should I put vapour barrier under the drywall?

2. If yes, is it ok to just put up the vapour barrier, even though the paper faced batts are there? (Or do I just cut slits in the paper first?) I'm just worried about to air movement barriers on top of each other. Especially since the other rooms under the attic will only have the paper.

3. This will be hard to explain, maybe I'll add a pic tonight. There are two bathrooms back to back, with the shared wall having tub/showers on both sides. Both of these tub/showers have a lower ceiling in the alcove in which they exist. In the bathroom I am currently renovating, I am removing that lower ceiling so that the ceiling height will be the same in the entire bathroom. However, the adjacent room still has it. Hence, through the studs in the shared wall, there is attic exposure. If I vapour barrier the entire ceiling, should I be concerned about that "hole" to the attic still? Or is it ok since I will vapour barrier that wall anyhow as water proofing. I will address this problem when I reno the other bathroom, but not sure when that will be. Hopefully that makes sense... I'll add pics later.


CharlieR 02-27-2012 10:29 AM


for the wall shared between the bathroom and a bedroom, I'd like to add some sound insulation, in a reasonable, not that expensive manner, as it's not high on the importance list. Would Roxul Sound insulation in the cavities between studs, as well as sound accoustic sealant on the studs before applying the drywall? maybe sound reducing drywall? Any recommendations here? I think it's a nice to have, as opposed to a must, so keep that in mind. Also, it is a wet wall, as the vanity sinks and related plumbing are in this wall, if that matters? I think Roxul is mould resistant though....


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