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Huffmeister 10-27-2012 11:35 AM

Bathroom Remodel - General Questions
My wife and I are planning on remodeling our (small) master bathroom next week and we're hoping to reach out to the experts to answer some questions and just get some general tips and advice.

Current bathroom:
The bathroom is 54" by 68", and attached to that is an alcove with a shower stall that is 36" by 46 5/8" (not part of the 54" by 68"). The current shower stall is one solid piece of fiberglass. There is also a toilet and vanity (37" by 22 1/4"). The floor is linoleum.

What we're planning on doing:
* Replace the shower stall.
* Replace the shower fixtures.
* Replace the linoleum with 12" x 12" tile.
* Replace the vanity with a pedestal sink.
* Replace the vanity lights.
* Replace the toilet.
* Add a mirrored medicine cabinet.

What order should we do things?
Obviously we will remove the vanity and toilet first. Then we will start removing the shower by removing the seal around it, and then cutting the sheetrock around the top of the shower (how far up?) to expose where the stall is attached to the studs. Then start cutting up the stall with a sawzall (using proper protection and a shop vac to reduce fiberglass dust). Should we then install the shower, or the tile first?

What should we put the tile on?
Can we just install the tile on the subfloor? I've seen some sites that recommend putting down cement backer board first, and then installing the tile on that.

Replacing the vanity with pedestal?
Are there any special considerations to keep in mind when switching from a vanity to a pedestal sink? Will we need to re-run pipes? The hot and cold valves under the current vanity look like they'd be directly behind where the pedestal would go.

Installing a medicine cabinet?
How difficult is it to flush mount a medicine cabinet?

And any general tips, tricks, recommendations, or advice would be greatly appreciated. Than you in advance!

funfool 10-27-2012 12:40 PM

You can use hardibacker on the subfloor, what will you be using for a shower base?

Huffmeister 10-27-2012 12:48 PM

Thanks for the reply! We are going to go with a 4-piece fiberglass shower set from Home Depot, so the base will be fiberglass.

funfool 10-27-2012 01:52 PM

Ok is fine, I first read your post wrong, I thought you were going to tile the shower and put hardibacker on the shower floor:laughing:

After all the demo and the plumbing, any electrical needed is done, make sure your subfloor is good.

Some thoughts on sub floor is needed, I will assume you have a level transition to the adjoining room / hallway. if your current floor is solid and really flat, you could use 1/4" hardibacker on it. If it has a few bumps and such will need 1/2".
My point is, you start adding the thickness of the tile and the hardibacker, and may end up with a floor that is 3/4" higher then the hallway.
Is very common here to find the subfloor is 1"x10" funning on a diagonal with 3/4" or 5/8" plywood on top.
About 70% of the time I run my skill saw next to the wall and cut the whole mess out down to the joist. Add new 3/4" sub floor and then 1/4 or 1/2" hardibacker to get correct floor hight. An extra step you probably were not thinking of, for the 1/2 day labour to complete, is often worth it, still depends on what you have now

After all changes are done and drywall is finished and ready for paint, I would paint before installing the shower or tile, shower goes before tile and tile up to the shower.
You will ding up the paint, but is easy touch up when done and not painting over fresh tile and cutting in around shower and fixtures.

What do you mean by flush mount medicine cabinet? , is typically just an opening in the drywall between the studs and cabinet is inserted and screwed to the studs.
You want it in centrer of the sink, you will probably find that the studs are not where you want them, it is a plumbing wall and someone already stuck a vent pipe in it in your way, or a home run to the electric panel passes through it, simple to install, having a free stud bay in correct location is the problem.
There are many nice surface mount medicine cabinets, most common issue is picking a light that does not extend past it, shines right on the cabinet.

I personally think pedestal sinks suck, is no counter space to put anything, you need to have your plumbing coming out in exact location so it is behind the sink, they get a little tricky to install but are a good choice for some locations.

GBrackins 10-27-2012 05:00 PM

funfool has given you some very good advise.

a few additional thoughts/questions:

how bouncy are your current floors? older homes are typically framed with undersized floor joists which over time weakens allowing bounce to the floor. if you have bouncy floors you may need to strengthen them by adding additional floor joists under your bath. the more movement in your floor the more chances of cracks to your tile.

you may want to consider installing ditra uncoupling membrane on your floor, check out this link I myself like the product because it is a water proofing membrane and does not have the additional weight of backboard. it allows for differential movement between the tile and the wood subfloor. each have different expansion ratio. tile and grout can crack if the movement is too great.

you may want to consider a radiant electric heating under the tile floor it can be programmed to come on in the morning (before you get up) and warm the tiles. it not a heating system for your bath, but one for the tiles so the energy use is not that great. warm tiles are nicer on your bare feet than cold tiles ....

do you have an exhaust vent in your bath? if not now would be the time to install one. they help to remove increased moisture from the bath. I like Panasonic's line of vents. they are pricey but have a lot of features I find valuable. make sure it is vented to the exterior of the dwelling and not into the attic, especially if you are in a cold climate. Nothing like icycles in your attic.

I myself am not a huge fan of pedestal sinks either because you lose any storage. they are nice from a cleaning standpoint however. as fun said you may have to relocate water service lines so they are behind the pedestal.

just some food for thought .....

Good luck!

oh'mike 10-27-2012 05:22 PM

---the cement backer board is always set into a bed of fresh thinst before nailing or screwing---this is to fill any voids under the board.

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