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Jim F 03-12-2010 08:52 PM

Jim's downstairs bathroom project
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This is my first major renovation project in almost 15 years in this house. A little background. The shower hasn't worked in many years due to the fact that the drain worked itself loose and the flange nut rusted so it could not be tightened. Caulks and adhesives were such a temporary fix, I'd turn around and it would be leaking into the crawlspace again so I eventually gave up on that approach. The bathroom had a dryer vent running under the subfloor that was likely leaking since installation and before we owned the house. The moisture from the dryer vent and the leaky shower caused a lot of damage to the subfloor and floor joists. Three joists severely rotted and two others weakened.

Truthfully, the house has needed a lot of repairs for a number of years but I was always short of cash or time or both. We finally paid off our house two years ago and got a HELOC this past fall to make renovations. The house has more than doubled in value since we bought it (Provided everything is in good repair) so it is well worth our while to borrow against the line of credit to renovate.

The house and the garage roofs both needed replacing. That took a chunk of out of the HELOC so I'm trying to do what I can (I'm a CT Tech, not a carpenter). I got the bathroom successfully gutted. We were originally planning to put in a Neo Angle corner shower but did not have enough wall space from the corner to the window. Those things look really flimsy anyhow unless you spend some major bucks.The bathroom is 5 X 8 so decided on a bathtub along the 5ft wall opposite the toilet and sink. This will limit our floor space so I'll have to get creative with that, maybe an inset wall-mount cabinet over the toilet.

The center joists were naturally sagging so decided it would be wise to hire a professional to sister the joists and level the floor. The rest I'm doing myself including new tub drain and supply lines. My plan is to use PEX for the tub. The copper lines to the sink and toilet are through the joists that have to be reenforced so the will come out and be replaced by PEX also. Everything will be new except the toilet, most of the ceiling and the upper 4ft of the drywall(greenboard).

Posters on this site convinced me it would be wise to purchase the Kohler Villager cast iron tub for strength and durability. I will hire a couple of my son's friends to help us haul that 317lb monster into place. I plan to use one of the new backer boards or maybe the tried and true Durrock around the tub under the glue-on surround instead of green board. Tiles would look nice, but too ambitious for my time frame. I may try my hand at tiling on a smaller project. You know, start small and work your way up.

I will post more pictures as the project progresses.

Jim F 03-19-2010 09:38 PM

Drawing for new bath tie in
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This is the proposed tie in for the bathtub that is replacing the old shower which had a drain centered toward the opposite wall. Theis is the original position of the p-trap for the washer drain. It seems a little far away and I'm wondering why they put it there but it has always worked.

I'm also wondering about things such the location of the new bath p-trap in relation to the tee, the positioning of the new tee, the posiition of the two p-traps to each other. My local plumber tells me that the 5 foot rule covers the position of the vent relative to all this (keep in mind that this is not to scale).

I would appreciate any input.

oh'mike 03-19-2010 10:16 PM

Jim----You are missing a vent for the tub,also the vanity sink is not vented--

If you don't get a vent in closer to the tub P-trap you may end up with a slow drain--Mike--

Jim F 03-19-2010 11:53 PM

The vanity drains into the main vent so I guess the is supposed to double as the sink vent (wet vent?). The bottom picture above sort of shows this. Everything is as the builders installed it except the t for the bath. That one vent is supposed to work for all four fixtures. The top picture above shows where the shower drain used to come back and t in. The tape over the end is where I cut the shower p-trap. The bath will actually have a shorter run to the vent than the shower had. I intend to have it inspected for safety. I'm thinking I should .get my plumber out to check it out in the dry fit stage. I will try to post some pictures after I dry fit if I can get some good ones in the crawl space. I find it's difficult enough to take pictures that show any kind of perspective in the 5x8 bathroom space.

oh'mike 03-20-2010 05:28 AM

Jim--I sure do understand about photographing a bathroom.
Two weeks ago I finished up a bathroom,easily the smallest I've ever done--4x7 1/2 feet.

shower,toilet and tub--I wanted a picture of it ,I thought the tile looked nice--couldn't do it.

Good Idea to have your plumber check out the drains and vent--it's difficult to offer useful advice without actually seeing the site.

It looks to me that you are doing a fine job in a difficult room--that cobbled up back wall adds a challenge.---Mike---

Gary in WA 03-20-2010 04:48 PM

Just a side thought... Is it possible to remove/replace the bathroom door so it swings away from the bathroom instead of into it? Or would cause more problems?

The sistering isn't doing much if they are cut into pieces or partway through without replacing the air gap with solid wood....

Be safe, Gary

Jim F 03-21-2010 05:55 PM

Sort of dry fitted drains
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Here is what I've got so far with the dry fitting. The washer drain comes in from the right and I plan to tie that in with a wye where it is intersecting the bath drain. I took a 1 1/2 inch piece out of where the bath and laundry drain drop into the main. There was no drop whatsoever before. It just went horizontal across the bottom of the joists until it dropped into the main.

Everything from the bathroom and the laundry drain across the hall is served by that one main vent. I don't think this is legal. My plumber tells me that some guys take liberties with the five foot rule. I don't know how the contractor that originally built this addition in 1990 got this by inspection or if he even had it inspected.

My inlaws were living in the house when the addition was built and when we bought it from them, we did not have any sort of inspection. I know a lot of homeowners will cheat and bypass the inspection but I want it to be safe for my family plus there is a strong probability we will be selling in the forseeable future. Any problems with anything so far?

Jim F 03-21-2010 06:02 PM

Sistered joists.
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Gary, the sistering you see in the first set of pictures was done by my wife's stepfather about 2 years ago to help us out. The floor was OK for a while, just a little squeeky but it did not last. He did the best he knew how and I don't hold that against him. I now have the old rotted joists properly sistered and leveled by professionals. It cost $905 but worth it and they came right out and got it done fast. I'm willing and able to do for myself to save money but I know my limits. When it's time to call in the big guns, I'm not too proud.

Jim F 03-30-2010 08:22 PM

More progress, Pics to follow.
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Now my PC doesn't want to read my card. I have a new cable on order to replace the lost one so pics will follow eventually (maybe the card reader will start working again).

Since last posting I've installed a stack vent pipe through the attic space tying into the main vent. That was a day in itself. I decided to replace the fan/light combo with a newer, quieter and more powerful model since I had the ceiling torn open installing the vent. Got a good look at the architecture of the roof. They really skimped on the wood up there.

Today I cut the ceiling even across so I will have a 3'4" by 8' section to replace with an opening for the vent fan (I hope I don't screw up the measurements for that cut). Experience tells me to cut this atleast 1/4 or 1/2 inch short to make sure it fits. I can always tape and mud. Also opened up the section of wall consealing the laundry stack preparing to replace the 1.5" stack with a 2". Found that the trap on the end of the laundry drain pipe was in fact the only trap. I was actually hoping to find one in the wall above floor level as I have learned this is proper. There will be one when I am done though.

Still peicing together the new 2" pipe. I really did not want to go into the crawlsapce today, too cold. Tomorrow I will probably get and install the bathroom ceiling. I have to do this before the new furring strips go up. I find myself spending a lot of time getting supplies down the street if it's before 5 or Home Depot 20 miles awy if after 5. Also getting tools and supplies that are either in the garage, in the bathroom or in the crawlspace, usually not where I need them. A tool belt is starting to look like a good investment.:laughing:

Jim F 04-06-2010 12:01 PM

Finally, more pictures to post.
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Got the new cable for my camera so have the transfer problem resolved (My life is about resolving problems since I took this project on).

These are of the attic branch vent add-on. While I had the ceiling torn open adding the vent I replaced the fan/light combo. It is much better to do this from the attic but I have wiggle room at best in the peak. I ma considering adding an access hatch in the bedroom closet out of sight.

I also have the green board replaced. It was therapudic to tear out all that water damaged material and the disfunctional shower but it is also very nice to see it all starting to come back together.

I could not find Durabond for the joints as was recommended so ended up just using green lid. We'll see how the taping job comes out, hopefully better than the kitchen ceiling. it depends on how much time and patience I can dedicate.

Jim F 04-06-2010 12:21 PM

Final DVW dry fit.
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I was initially proposing to tie the bath and laundry drain into a double tee. Two problems with this: These two drains are in seperate bays, everything would have to be below joist level and more challenging to insulate. I was also concerned about the high volume from the washer backung up into the relatively short run of the tub drain. If my father was here, he could tell me by looking at it if that would be an issue.

All the old 1.5 drain pipe was replaced with two inch except for the bath drain and trap of course. The bath trap arm loops around to give it the minimum 3" before the drop. The laundry trap is abvoe the subfloor and behind the 6" outer wall and should have adaquate insulation between it and the outside, 4 inches unfaced fiberglass or maybe I'll seal it in with the solid foam and great stuff.

Open to any suggestions befor this all gets glued in.

P.S. The bend will come out of that tee when it is glued.

Jim F 04-06-2010 01:06 PM

Related Links
Thought it might be worthwhile to cross-reference Threads started by me asking dumb questions related to my ongoing project related learning curve.

Once the old insulation is out, how do I put it back together? Did they get it right the first time?

How about a bathtub that the kids won't trash?

And now that I've got my tub, how do I put it in?

And just how do rerout that old shower drain?

Partial rebuild of DVW ststem.


I'm an old dog trying to learn new tricks. It's a process.

Jim F 06-29-2010 08:07 PM

Very close to the end. You would not believe the stuff that comes up to get in the way of finishing this thing.

Got the tub in the alcove and the drain dry fitted together. My son and I rolled out of the garage, down the driveway up the lawn, in the front door using plywood sheets as we went. The two of us could lift it where we need to.

Got the four feet on metal shims as recommended. It is level for the most part, just need to get one more shim under the front left foot to take a little wobble out of it. Got the backrail behind it at the right level.

Looks like I may need to fur out the wall opposite the drain about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Weighing the pros and cons to green board vs durock vs densshield behind the PVC surround. Really leaning toward the densshield. I know a bead of caulk will seal out the water but also know that caulk fails eventually.

There also doesn't seem to be any practical way to secure it in place other than it's own 317 lbs and the underlayment against the apron.

Open for comments. Progress pics following soon.

Jim F 07-02-2010 06:15 PM

Finally, more progress pics
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More pictures as promised. 1) Drywall is in and painted in the upper half of the alcove. 2) New countdown timer for fan, switch and wall plate also new. 3) New fan mounted. 4) New medicine cabinet and lights are in. 5) Tub is fitted in the alcove. 6) I found my walls to be out of square. The 5 ft sides are even, the 8 ft sides are off by one inch. I followed bad Lowes advice in using drywall here in the first place but it is covered with Zinser oil primer and bath and kitcheen latex. Hopefully that should seal out the steam.

My questions at this point: Should I tear this all out and start over with durrock or similar top to bottom in the alcove? I am putting in a surround, not tile.

Could I get away with furring out my studs to meet the upper portion at some level and taping and feathering out the joint to make up that 1/2 to 1 inch gap?

My ratonal for finishing the top portion was to avoid working around my new tub with a ladder in the tub to get into those upper corners. I going to be kicking myself if I have to undo all of this, but I do want it to come out right.

Jim F 07-02-2010 06:45 PM

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Additional pictures.

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