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sheree57 06-23-2009 06:14 PM

Help!! Schedule for basement bath addition?
My husband and I just bought a house and want to add a bathroom in the basement, and try to do as much of it ourselves as we can (!!??!). We're gonna hire a guy to break up the concrete, rough in all the plumbing, and attach all the fixtures, and do the rest ourselves: carpentry, electrical wiring, drywall, flooring, and painting. But this is our first time doing any of it, and I really need help with a schedule / timeline for our project. Do the walls go up first or the plumbing? If we do the plumbing first, how do the fixtures get installed when there aren't any walls yet? When does all the electrical wiring go in? And have we forgotten to include anything in our plans?

Please?? We can't afford a contractor. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Gary in WA 06-23-2009 06:32 PM

I'll start with the first one- go to your local building department for a permit. Then it will be on your house's personal property improvement record. The future buyer will check this , and can re-coop the cost at the sale. Be safe, G

sheree57 06-23-2009 10:40 PM

Right! Thanks GBar, I forgot about the permits.

One more question I forgot to mention: I'd like to stain/seal the concrete floor. Should I do that before or after painting the walls?

Mop in Hand 06-24-2009 12:09 AM

Rough in plumbing will go in first. Ask the plumber what walls he would like to see in first before he breaks into the concrete. Framing up all the walls first could cause the plumber extra work (i.e. digging under framed walls). Depending on the layout he may want all of them framed in. After that comes the electrical.( it's easier to run wires around pipes, than the other way around) Venting and heating should be considered at this point also. Insulation comes next, then drywall and cement board if tiles are being used. BTW, if you are considering staining your concrete as a final floor, this may change as the plumber may have to route drain lines thru the middle of your bath. A patched stained concrete floor doesn't look that great. I would stain it after the walls are painted and before the base moulding goes down. But, that's small potatoes, you've got bigger things to worry about at this point. Give us an update when the plumber gets through (or before if you wish) There are alot of smart guys (and gals) that visit this forum that are glad to help out.

Paragon 06-24-2009 08:41 AM


I agree with Mop in hand with GBAR being the starting point and I think that Mop in hand replied based on GBAR's reply already being stated. I agree I am not sure if I would opt to stain this floor or not unless you were going to accent the patch area. I think though it is going to look tacky unless the plumber were able to meticulously pour the area and the removal of the concrete was done with a concrete saw straight cuts so that you would have a channel that was exactly like a foot to 18" wide. then you could have him re pour the concrete and dress the edge. HOWEVER I don't believe that the plumber is going to do that but if you are hiring a separate individual to do it then it may be possible but it is going to cost you more money so prepare yourself for this.Then you could do a couple different colors down there and make the floor look like the cuts in the floor were a design element rather than a repair. You could even do some designs such as an arch cut or diamond or whatever your hearts desire, again prepare yourself for extra expense if you opt for these design elements. More design = more expense. I am not sure if I explained this clearly enough but I hope that I did.

If you do stain the floor after the walls are painted make sure that you drape the walls with heavy plastic to protect them from the concrete stain. I trimmed out a slumberland store in West Fargo ND where they opted to have stained concrete floors in some of their display areas. They waited until after the trim was in to stain the floors and splattered the stain on the clear maple trim (which was simply clear coated) which was applied to radius walls and it turned into a real mess as it destroyed all of the trim and the faux painted walls (the faux painted walls in some areas were $25,000 paint jobs)

Yes this is a cool effect but I think you need to make it intentional. You might be able to make it unintentional and capitalize on a distressed look however it may or may not turn out in your favor. Also make sure you study how to renovate/ remodel a bathroom from various sources because it is not as straight forward and easy as it may seem. These projects tend to teach valuable and sometimes painfully expensive mistakes to those individuals that attempt them by themselves without knowledge of the nature of the business. Here is a bathroom project where the homeowner had the same approach as you have I think this is a good project to take a look at because this client learned that he was over his head only in the infant stages of the project and as you will see in the narrative I provided turned the project back over to me only 2 days in. He then attempted to pick the project back up with the vanity and installed it caulked it and plumbed it and found that he could not install trim work so he hired me to install the existing trim. Once the trim was installed the drawers hit the trim and did not open more than a few inches. Then he had to tear that work all apart and redo the vanity while trying to figure out how to fix the issue at hand.

Good luck with this project and I am not going to say that it is out of your ability range however just make sure you understand each element before commencing that portion.

There will be some bumps in the road but follow the order of activities that have been presented by Mop In Hand and you will be just fine!

Good luck and be safe!

adpanko 06-24-2009 10:01 AM

Not to rain on your parade, but if you haven't done any of the jobs involved (framing, electric, insulation) in a complete bathroom build, you really shouldn't try to take it on yourself. Granted, plumbing is probably the biggest part, and that you're hiring out, but still, there are loads of requirements for electric, fire blocking issues with the framing and insulation, heating requirements, etc. that will snag you along the way. The amount of mistakes you'll make, time you'll spend and the amount of fights you'll likely get in with your husband will make it ultimately not worth it to try to do yourself in my opinion.

First, there are many permits you'll need, which means many inspections, which means things will all have to get done and approved in a certain order before moving on to the next step. And since you are admittedly a novice, the inspector will rightfully be extra tough on you to make sure everything is correct. In many towns, it takes a while to get an inspection lined up (at least days, if not a week plus), and you'll need multiple inspections. You will presumably fail at least one inspection, which means everything gets delayed until you fix the problem, have him/her come back out, sign off, etc.

You'll need an electric permit, a plumbing permit (which the plumber might do for you, but not necessarily...the homeowner is always responsible for ultimately making sure all permits are properly filed and signed off on) and a building permit. You'll need to submit detailed drawings showing the layout of the room, all plumbing and electric fixtures, framing and fire blocking. I even had an electrical inspector make me list in full detail what type and size of wire I was using, how many inches off the floor/countertop my outlet boxes were going to be, where I was going to put wire staples, calculate box fill based on how many wires I'd have in each outlet and junction box, etc. Basically, he wanted to see that I knew every single part of NEC that pertained to my job. And he checked it all those details too when he inspected.

So you'll need to reseach in detail every code and planning issue before you apply for permits. Then once work is started, you'll have to have the following inspections at a minimum: framing, plumbing rough-in, electrical rough-in, insulation, final plumbing, final electric, and I'm honestly not sure where HVAC falls in...presumably plumbing as well depending on your type of heating system. If you fail along the way at any of these, you need to redo the work, have the inspector come back out, approve, and then you can proceed with the next job.

Next to completely gutting and redoing a kitchen, or adding an addition, adding a basement bathroom is arguably the biggest home improvement job there is and therefore is best left to a pro, or at least a VERY experienced DIY'er.

I am a self taught DIY'er (lots of books, TV and hands on experience) and consider myself very seasoned at this point. I've done complete bath and kitchen redos in my own homes and I know what all is involved and the snags that inevitably pop up along the way. Unless you are extremely confident in your skills and abilities, you should reconsider doing your project yourself.

Again, I'm not trying to hate on your idea (as much as it sounds like I am), and I apologize. I fully encourage DIY projects because of the sense of pride, accomplishment and potential cost savings they bring. But the best advice I can give based on my own experiences is to know your limitations. A complete bathroom job is not the job you want to use to get your feet wet.

Paragon 06-24-2009 10:22 AM

I know I talked about the design of the cut and wasn't sure if I explained it well enough or not so I got you some links to look at for designs. Some are variations of the level of detail however I think these may spark some creative juices. But then you might just opt to install vinyl or tile after the patch has cured, DON'T forget to let the patch properly cure under what ever floor covering you choose.

Here are the links:

Another thing I thought of is that you could put a topcoat of ardex K-15 on top of the floor after it is patched and has cured. This would give you a flawless surface to stain. IF YOU USE THE ARDEX ENSURE THAT YOU PROPERLY PREP THE FLOOR PER MANUFACTURERS INSTRUCTIONS OR IT WILL CRACK AND COME UP. Ardex is what most professional flooring contractors in our area use so it comes with my recommendation and proven results.

Good Luck once again and I think Adplanko speaks some valuable volumes of insight.

sheree57 06-25-2009 10:07 PM

Thanks, everyone. I appreciate your advice. :) Yes, we are complete naive bookworm novices. After receiving all your warnings, we've decided to go with a contractor. I think it will end up costing us about 2-3k more, but we'll definitely hang around and get our hands dirty so we can learn from it.

Paragon, I also decided not to stain the bathroom floor. Those designs are way too beautiful for the basic bathroom I imagined. I think we'll stain the rest of the basement, but use vinyl in the bathroom instead. When staining concrete, do cracks NEED to be repaired if they aren't expanding or leaking? We have two cracks spanning the width of the basement.

Again, much thanks!!

Paragon 06-25-2009 10:24 PM

Hello Sheree!

No those cracks do not NEED to be repaired. You could capitalize on the cracks and go with a distressed look to the staining. Then you could tell people that you painstakingly put those cracks in there by design, LOL.

I congratulate you for biting the bullet as well. I don't think you will realize how much this will pay off in the end because like I said people do not see the errors of their ways a lot of times until it is simply too late so I commend you for your decision :thumbup:.

Good luck with the project and if there is anything else we can help you with let us know.

ARI001 06-26-2009 09:49 AM

The plumbing company I use will re pour the concrete they cut out (they sub it out but wrap it into the cost of the job.) Make sure you allow the concrete to cure for 30 days before you cover it with anything. This can be speeded up somewhat by using accelerators in the mix but I still prefer to go the old school route in terms of time of curing. If you have a lot of cracking in the slab that could be a sign of structural issues if this is the case forget the bathroom and get a structural engineer to evaluate the situation. If you only have a few minor cracks this is somewhat common and usually due to minor settling and pour finishing practices. If this is the case and the house is a newer one you can probably leave them be. Though I do recommend having them patched. I am glad you realized this project is over your head as I got a little concerned reading your posts. I stongly recomend you still read about and understand the various processes invloved in your project and ask questions when your not sure about something. We typically allot 10-15 minutes at the end of the day for the customer to talk to the lead guy on the project. Who ever you contract with should be willing to do something similair.

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