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pierrekitty 12-25-2010 03:28 PM

Newbie with bathroom remodel
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I am remodeling my 1937 (sort of) bungalow. One story, brick, with a non-brick family room addition and a non-brick weird room addition in rear, done circa 1962. 1500 SF total, all plaster and lath walls, (except the additions) hardwood floors. I am a total newbie. I would describe myelf as clueless but both determined and resourceful and somehow I have a fair number of tools, some of which I actually know how to use.

If I had a nickel for every youtube video I've watched just on hanging drywall alone, I'd be a very rich lady. Which I'm not, hence me planning on doing all the work I can by myself. And I mean by myself as there is no husband in the picture. I do have lots of friends but they are not super handy with this stuff, exept one, so they will be offering to come over and "hang out and help" but believe me the emphasis will be on hanging out. I will definitely hire pros when absolutely required.

My first project is the one and only bathroom. It's a horror as these pics show, however as my cousin so nicely commented, "it doesn't look any worse than it did before." So true. I was embarrassed to have ppl use th bathroom. Tiled lower portion of walls, plaster and lath underneath, original hex tile on floor, horrible bath/shower combo where they slapped cheap plastic tub/shower surround on, including covering up fairly big window in center of long bathtub wall. The bathroom is 5 feet x about 7 feet 6 inches.

My plan:
- Wainscoting (wider than beadboard) on lower wall (roughly where tile was), paint on upper.
- Black penny round tiles with black grout on floor.
- White subway tile around tub.
- Wall mounted stainless steel oval sink in wood cabinet (not a vanity)

In general, I am not a cottage-y person, nor do I want luxury materials, but I do want quality of materials and workmanship. It's the only bathroom so I want it classic, not trendy, girly, or overly detailed. I don't want it to look any one "style" at all.

I THINK I am going to try to salvage the tub. I may have to get it reglazed but there are no chips or anything. I do not know if the tub is fiberglass, cast iron/enamel, or what. I think cast iron?

Questions I have at this point.

1. Going back and forth on salvaging plaster walls or ripping it out and doing drywall. The lower portion of wall is the part that has damage, but could theoretically be repaired and will be covred with wainscoting anyway. The main damage to lower plastr wall is the lower right quadrant as you look at the pic, where obviously water damage occurred. It is approx 2 feet by 1 foot. There are also a few holes where plumbing pipes went. The upper portion is solid (I think) but ugly. I still think I could do a skim coat and paint, though

I think upper walls would look better if I kept plaster with new skim coat, but how much better I am not sure. I could rip out plaster down to studs myself and install drywall over whole wall or have plaster repairs done by pro so it looked good. How much "better" would plaster look? I feel like it would just have a more solid feel and look. How much would plastering cost for 5 X 5 space plus ceilng? Roughly. $1000? $700? $1500? Higher

2. From wall to ceiling, it is 8 feet, 4 inches. As I would do cement board around tub, portion of wall to cover with drywall would be 5 feet by 8 feet, 4 inches. Would a vertical installation of DW be better, then?

3. The ceiling is in about the same condition as upper walls -- very shallow tiny cracks. It would have to be done first, right?

4. There is a shallow recess in wall that I assume was the old medicine cabinet before they mored the sink. I want that gone, but would like to have a much larger recessed cupboard in wall behind toilet, with two doors, just big enough to store toiletries and cleaning materials. Directly on the other side of that wall is a linen cabinet with hallway access. I think I could steal a few inches from that?

5. What basic electrical and plumbing stuff do I have to have looked at/updated/ before things proceed?

Thanks for ideas or comments on any of the above!!!!


oh'mike 12-25-2010 03:58 PM

I strongly suggest that you gut that to the studs----You may end up keeping the floor----

That place will need new plumbing--electrical and insulation and an exhaust fan/light over the tub--

All that is easier and faster to do without plaster in the way----Consider a new tub,too.
The 'reglazing' is usually a disappointment.

A plumber is the only trade you may need---The electrical,fan and vent and even the drywall and tile may well be things that you can do your self.(with a little help here)

The floor that is there may be a deep old mortar bed--if so tiling over the top could be done safely--

Post a few more pictures--basement or crawl under the room--attic any other thing that is affected be the bath remodel----Mike---

oh'mike 12-25-2010 03:59 PM

Please add your location to your profile--that helps in so many ways--Mike--

epson 12-25-2010 05:01 PM

Iím with Ohímike on this one. If you went this far with your demo it is much easier to continue with the removal of all your material and then you can clearly see what is needed to refinish your project.

pierrekitty 12-25-2010 05:48 PM

Replies, yay!!
Oh Mike! and Epson!

Thank you both for pretty emphatic answers to the plaster question. I definitely felt inclined to rip it all out but I kept reading how ppl should try to salvage plaster walls, etc. So I will demo it.

The biggest thing standing in my way here is that I MUST preserve usage of bathroom as long as possible or I should say, I must minimize the TOTAL down time of the shower and toilet. I don't mind it being an unholy mess for 4 months, but I can't live long without my own shower. No toilet I can deal with for a while but the shower is key. Which is one reason I am thinking of saving the bathtub. I know ppl who have been pleased with reglazing, that is why I mentioned, and I guess, compared to the rest of the room, the actual bathtub is not that bad. The surround is enough to make you sick, but the tub is just sort of dull, from being scrubbed with abrasives, probably.

-Okay, dumb question -- I assume "total gut" means tear out the lath throughout, too, right?

-If yes, order of business would be remove the vanity, tear whole room down to studs, then call a plumber, right?

You guys have made my day, by the way, with the pro advice!

Thanks again!

Maureen (West Central Illinois; I transplanted from Northern California 2 years ago; in case my profile edit didn't work):)

oh'mike 12-25-2010 06:05 PM

You have it---Pull the sink,leave the toilet and tub--for now --If you choose to leave the tub leave the reglazing till last---to easy to damage the finish while tiling and painting--Just don't caulk in the tub till the reglazing is done---

Plumber will have that repiped and a new tub installed in two days---

Going out for a bit---Merry Christmas--Mike---

epson 12-25-2010 06:11 PM

Yes remove all your fixtures and tear out whole room to studs, clean room of all debris then call the required trade(s) to do the work required for your project that youíre not comfortable with. When the walls are all removed and all electrical and plumbing are exposed there is no second guessing on what has to be done.
Btw, if you canít live without a shower you should try looking in to this: I donít know if they have this type in your area but it is a consideration. Just a thought

RickyBobby 12-27-2010 07:54 AM

Since you have an 8'4" total height and will be installing wainscoting, 8 ft. sheets of drywall hung vertically will work fine. Just start at the ceiling and the small 4 inch butt joint near the floor will be covered by your trimwork.

stubborn1 12-27-2010 08:39 AM

Don't forget to make a stop down to your local building inspection department and pull a permit for the work.

Looks like a fun project. Is the plumbing for the tub located on an exterior wall? If so, you would want to relocate to an interior wall if at all possible. I couldn't tell if there is a window or remnants of a built in shelf to the left of the tub.

Blondesense 12-27-2010 12:31 PM

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Not an expert by any means, but this looks weird to me. It doesn't look like a standard apron front flanged tub that you would expect to find.

Tubs generally come in two styles. Flanged tubs have a flange, or sort of a rim that goes behind the tile or surround on three sides to keep water out of the wall behind. Drop-in tubs sit on a frame or deck.

It's hard to tell from the pic, but if after removing the shower walls you find this is a drop-in tub I would definitely replace it with a flanged tub. Building a shower over a drop-in tub is not a good idea.

Joining a health club or gym might make things easier while your shower is out of commission.

pierrekitty 12-28-2010 12:45 AM

Thank you, rickybobby -- I thought that was okay but wasn't sure...

Stubborn: Yeah...the whole permit thing., I am currently reading up on the requirements in my city -- parts of it I am afraid to read!! Regarding codes, and just how that will affect my budget. Interesting -- yes , definitely --challenging, for sure -- as a total beginner I have to read/study for hours about everything - it is hilarious at times. Yesterday was all about Ohhhhh, I don't HAVE individual shutoffs for my bathroom sink -- that's why I can't find them! -- and figuring out I needed to install them if I didn't want my main water shut off for months, and then reading up on how to install them -- kind of grueling but wow, will it ever be satisfying if I manage to do it all!! Plus, I 'm coming off a major high because I actually repaired my own garbage disposal (thanks, YouTube!) so I feel invincible. Ha.

BTW, plumbing is located on interior wall, the one with the fawcet on it. God knows that would have taken me days to figure out except that, um, that plumbing is totally exposed through the closet wall of the bedroom on the other side of the wall.....i guess when they installed a shower(?) they didn't find it necessary to put the wall back together..:)

Blondesense: Yeaaaaaaaaah. I had also noticed that the tub edge/shape looked, off or weird. Hopefully it is because it is late at night that after reading your post and then googling flange/standing/drop-in tub images for half an hour, I am still not sure which it is!!. Like, do you think it might be an old clawfoot that someone buried in a floor or something? But nope, cause I am pretty sure the hex tile is original to the house... I have to think about this tomorrow. Thanks for pointing that out!

Well....., I do belong to a health club; let's just say the membership is sort of underused between say, November and March! Maybe it is the California transplant in me -- I DO NOT KNOW HOW PPL MOTIVATE TO WORK OUT IN 6 DEGREE WEATHER!! And I'm not even from the hot part of CA....seriously good suggestion, though. Perhaps a reason to just suck it up and work out in the winter.
Thanks, everyone -- this forum is amazing. Next day off (Friday) is installing shut-offs for my bathroom sink (toilet has them).

oh'mike 12-28-2010 07:46 AM

Good luck to you----Once you have the place pealed back to the studs you will see how basic and simple each step is---there are ,however a lot of steps!

A new tub is not as expensive as you might think---Do keep us posted--Mike--

doitwright 12-30-2010 11:19 PM

Considering that you need to get that tub functional ASAP, I would also suggest you invest in a new cast iron Kohler tub. Forget the reglazing, steel tub, fiberglass tub. It is your house and cast iron is solid, has excellent abrasion resistance and won't sound like a tin can when you kick it.

If you have never done drywall work, sharpen your remodeling skills on another task. Drywall is one of those jobs that looks deceptively easy until you try it yourself. If you want your walls to feel more solid use 5/8" drywall. Drywall is cheap and labor should not be too expensive. On large projects, we pay an average of $16/sheet for hanging and taping. A skilled drywall installer/taper will leave you with square even corners and a smooth surface in a minimal amount of time. Concentrate on having the job ready with the proper materials, have all old screws and nails removed and make sure the framing is complete and ready.

Use Durock or Tile Backer board and seal your joints with mesh tape and waterproof sealant. Make sure your drywallers know this or they might tape your tab area joints with drywall joint compound.

After gutting everything down to the studs make sure your floors and ceilings are level. Furr them out if you have to. Depending on your code requirements, if you have galvanized water pipes, have your plumber replace with copper or modern suitable allowable material.

Good Luck on your project.

pierrekitty 12-30-2010 11:38 PM


Myron Ferguson makes it looks so easy!

chrisBC 12-31-2010 02:17 AM

Yeah I agree take it down to the studs, you may find some unexpected surprises to deal with. Also agree that you need to make sure proper material is used for waterproofing-backer board, etc.

Good luck.

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