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meth 12-06-2010 12:46 PM

Master Bath Remodel - Need Advice
Okay guys need some advice please as I plan for my next project. I am a novice at best but tend to figure things out once I am directed :)

I am looking to remodel my master bath, its original to the house, built about 20 years ago. I don't have the exact measurements handy but its about 10x14 not inlcuding the tub and closet. The necessary things to do are:

1. Remove the vanity and sink - its a 60" vanity but only a single sink, so I will pull that and convert to a dual sink vanity. I am pretty comfortable doing this so this should be easy.

2. Under the sink is a kick heater that has never worked properly, it runs off a 220v line - so now I am trying to figure out if I should keep it or put in a radiant heat mat. Any recommendations? The bathroom currently runs off the master bedroom heat zone and we like to keep it cold for sleeping (usually 60) so the bathroom is pretty chilly for taking showers in the morning.

3. Pull up the tile floor and replace with either porcelain tile or natural stone. Here is where I get a little lost - Once I pull the old tile up, I am assuming the plywood sub floor will get ruined and I will have to pull that as well? If that is the case should I put plywood back down or concrete board? Once the subfloor is done, what are the correct steps? Should I put Ditra to be safe, then the radiant heat (if that is they way we go) and then the new tile? Some guidance on this process would be great as this is pretty new to me. I have tiled before but it was new contruction (previous house) and I just simply installed it over a plywood floor.

4. We have a fiberglass shower tub combo that I am thinking of pulling out and making it a 5' walk in shower. We never use the tub and I think the fiberglass makes it look dated - I am assumining I can cut it out with a sawz all and take it out in pieces. My wife is afraid that if we remove the tub that we will lose value in the house since it will be considered a 3/4 bath versus a full bath. Any thoughts? I tend to think that the modern walk in shower is more valuable. Anyway, if I do this I know that I can either get an off set drain pan to keep the current drain configuration or I can move it. Moving it may not be bad since I am pulling the floor anyway. If we want to fully tile the inside of the new shower, what are the steps? I assume concrete board and Ditra, over a pan? What is the best method for longevity and durability?

5. Already purchased a new Kohler toilet and will replace that - I am comfortable with this part.

6. We have a small wall between the vanity and water closet, I am thinking of turning that into kind of a knee wall and tiling all exposed parts.

7. I would like to install a heated towel bar on the wall - no clue how to do this, I know I will need to run electic since the only outlets are next to the vanity

I will try to post pictures of the current state, but any help and reccomendations from you guys will be appreciated. I havent set a budget yet, but I'm hoping 5-7k or so in material.

Oh sorry one more thought, is travertine good for the floor or should we stay with porcelain? What is more durable or high end? And what heat mats have you guys had good luck with?

Brik 12-06-2010 01:05 PM

Wow, lots of questions.... I'll answer or comment on them by number

1) ok
2) The kick heater - You say it runs off the master bedroom controls. That would mean one thermostat for both the bath and bedroom. It will take some investigating but I would go to radiant electric with its own thermostat and timer. You could set it to come on a half hour before your alarm and things would be nice and toasty. Ideally you could use the electric feed from the kick heater (depending on how its run).
3) Yes, pull up the old tile. It could be in a mortar bed, could be on backer board, could even be right on plywood. If you damage the plywood subfloor when you pull it up then oh well. Check with the tile guys at the John Bridge forum if you want ad nauseam discussion on the topic. I go with 3/4" ply subfloor and then durock backer board. I set the backing in thinset and then screw it to the ply. I havent had any issues with the tile jobs I have done. If there are structural issues or undersized framing below then you may need a sturdier system.
4) for a first timer building a shower I usually recommend getting a solid surface, acrylic or fiberglass shower pan. Its easy to install. You then only need to tile the walls and you dont need to worry about leaks. I just use the durock on the walls. As for value. I think having a small shower would decrease value. Having a mac daddy walk in shower with all those fancy jets and stuff would add value but not enough to cover its costs. If you plan to be in the house a while just do what meets your needs and you like and dont worry about it. If this is the only tub in the house I wouldn't loose it.
5) ok
6) If you want, no problem
7) Yup, it may be able to be set to the same thermostat as the heated floor actually, that would be cool. You will need to research vendors and make sure you can get an end to end solution (towel bar, in floor, thermostat) from one manufacturer.

end - travertiene may hold dirt more I think unless its sealed. Check into that. I have done a lot of porcelain tile. For high end you can also do granite tile or marble. The last heated floor I did wasnt a may, it was one long wire that strung between a hook system on the floor. I dont remember the manufacturer, check at a tile supplier and see what they have. They are all pretty similar.

Good luck

meth 12-06-2010 01:29 PM

Thanks Brik. The kick heater runs on its own - I also have some baseboard heat in the bathroom and that is what runs off of the bedroom thermostat. I am hoping to use the electric from the kick heater to power the radiant floor.

Docwhitley 12-06-2010 05:40 PM

Bath Tub
I need to tell you I love Showers but, nothing is better for my Back than a Hot Bath. That is my preference but, when I was Looking for a House I looked at the following things
1- 3-4 Bedrooms with 2 on the First floor
2- Yard for the Dogs
3- Great School District
4- Baby friendly

I looked at several houses that had Nice Showers but, in the end no where to bath a child. So I would say instead of limiting your potential buyers keep the tub or upgrade it. If you Plan to stay there for a long time then do what you like.

Hohn 12-06-2010 08:46 PM

--I'd recommend the NuHeat in floor radiant for your master bath on its own circuit. That way you can leave a coldish bedroom and have a warm bathroom. If the bathroom is super cold, not only is it uncomfortable but means your shower and bath moisture will readily condense on the cold surfaces (not generally good).

-- as mentioned, the Ditra might be needed if the existing floor isn't very stiff.

-- I'd recommend keeping a tub, even if it's not the same tub. You can rearrange your shower and such, but ditching the tub for bigger shower really narrows the market for the house

High Gear 12-06-2010 09:14 PM

Its been years since I took a bath ........Hee hee

but I can tell you a master walk in with body sprays feels mighty good.

A couple of heat lamps ( on timers ) may break the chill in the bath.

I have a 250 watt one outside of the shower which is a little undersized for

my tastes.

What are your winter temps at the joists under the bath?

Mine are 69f ( statified air) at the joist with 63 at waist leval , my

porcelain floors don't feel cold.

I've thought about a towel warmer but your running electric 24/7 for a

couple/three minutes of luxury.

You tube has some good videos on how to construct a shower.

60 degree bedroom ...egads I'd wake up dead.

meth 12-07-2010 09:21 AM

Thanks for the feedback guys, just a few points of clarification. We do have another tub in the upstairs hall bathroom, therfore if I pull the master tub for a bigger shower, the other tub is still available, although its the only remaining one in the house.

I will check out the Nuheat mat, having its own circuit should be easy since I am hoping to tap into the 220v line that is powering the kick heater. Currently that heater has no thermostat and is simple on and off although it never works.

Our programmable thermostat drops to 60 at 1o:00 at night and then raises to 65 at 5:30AM. Since the baseboard in the bathroom is really undersized, the Bath usually heats to about 63 or so, making the floor and air rather chilly for showering in the mornings.

I would guess we plan on being in the house another 8-10 years.

Do these details change any of your feedback? If I leave the tub enclosure and just replace the very outdated shower doors that are on it I could still dress it up a little and it makes the remodel MUCH easier. However I don't want it to seem like a half a$$ update.

mrgins 12-07-2010 09:32 AM

I agree with what's been advised on here, however, if you have another bath tub upstairs, then go with the walk in shower with all the bells and whistles. It could actually be a selling point when that time comes

High Gear 12-07-2010 05:31 PM

+1 mrgins

A walk in master is expected in newer homes ,

a separate tub/whirlpool is also seen on occasion if there's room but mostly

just a walk in.

Absolutely a selling point and also a deal killer if you don't have one.

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