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DrHicks 01-20-2011 02:42 PM

Ideas For Basement Bathroom Remodel
I'd like your advice & opinions, please!

I'm going to gut & remodel our basement bathroom soon. As you can see, it's current condition leaves a bit to be desired.

It is roughly 4'x8'. Standard fixtures, including the ultra-sexy 32"x32" Gerber shower.

- My plan is to insulate & drywall the exterior wall, and install glass block where the window currently is, in order to let in light.
- I'll probably lay porcelain tile diagonally on the floor.
- I may install radiant floor heating.
- I'll probably use complimentary porcelain or ceramic tile on the walls, up to 4'.
- Most likely I'll use the same toilet (it's near new) and maybe even the same sink. Definitely staying with white.

I have several questions for y'all

1. I'd like to build my own shower & tile it (I've done this before in a rental, so I know how). It'd be easier and cheaper than what my wife wants to do - which is to install a fiberglass shower unit in there. Which way would you go? (Don't wuss out because my wife wants the fiberglass unit!)

2. What else would you all suggest regarding amenities, design & decor, etc.? Please throw your ideas my way!

Thanks everyone! Pictures of the current bathroom are below.

hyunelan2 01-20-2011 02:50 PM

At current time, I might lean towards the fiberglass insert. A couple of reasons:

  • My DIY list is getting longer rather than shorter, the time savings of fiberglass over tile shouldn't be overlooked.
  • Cleaning. It's easier to clean a one-piece fiberglass insert with some scrubbing-bubbles/etc. than to scrub tiles and grout - which sometimes don't like harsh cleaners and scrubbing.
  • Aging. A fiberglass insert (as long as cleaned periodically) doesn't look as old or dated as tile does after a while (many years, not one). There's no regrouting, damaged tiles, "dated" tiles, etc.

On the flipside, tile does look more elegant, typically.

AndyGump 01-20-2011 02:51 PM

What's the budget?


DrHicks 01-20-2011 03:01 PM


Originally Posted by AndyGump (Post 574459)
What's the budget?


Honestly, my budget is "as cheap as possible." Sorry to be evasive, but honestly, that's my plan. (Kid in college, and 3 kids' weddings in 3 years.)

I also need to add that the fiberglass shower would almost certainly need to be at least a 3-piece kit, because of the size of the doorways going into the basement. Plus, I'd have to reroute the existing shower drain.

AndyGump 01-20-2011 08:27 PM

I that case and since you have skills in tiling I would have you rip out the shower, build the pan in a mosaic tile, tear out the exist. tile on the walls, install new sub-way type tile up to about 42" except around the shower. The shower tile should go to the ceiling or stop a bit short, either way.
Continue the mosaic tile from the shower all over the floor and get a bit creative with some border tile.
Parge some mortar or plaster on the walls above the tile wainscott and paint.
tear off the Celotex on the ceiling with extreme prejudice and make smooth if possible.


Otis Gudlyfe 01-21-2011 06:00 AM

Is your radiant floor going to be electric or hot water? I installed electric radiant floor in our sun room and in December out electrical usage was almost 40% above the same period last yr. It felt great, but the cost of the electricity wasn't worth it.

Ron6519 01-21-2011 09:36 AM

I would opt for a 2 sided glass shower. never liked the claustrophobic phone booth looking 3 sided ones.
You'll need an exhaust fan.
Retro fitting radiant heat will be less efficient as the concrete slab has no insulation under it. Electric would be the easiest, but the most expensive, unless you live in one of those areas where electricity is cheap.
Here it's 22 cents a kw hour.

Blondesense 01-21-2011 03:57 PM


Originally Posted by DrHicks (Post 574455)
1. I'd like to build my own shower & tile it (I've done this before in a rental, so I know how). It'd be easier and cheaper than what my wife wants to do - which is to install a fiberglass shower unit in there. Which way would you go? (Don't wuss out because my wife wants the fiberglass unit!)

I'm not sure I would agree with the statement a tiled shower is cheaper and easier. I recently finished tiling our shower and the cost is a lot more than just the tile. I would sit down and add up all of the costs and materials, including tools you don't have (tile saw, diamond drill bits etc.) before you decide.
If you're not staying with a shower curtain, don't forget to price enclosures.

I had been planning my shower for quite some time so I found a lot of tools second hand (thrift stores and yard sales etc.) to help keep my cost down.

The way I see it you have three options.

First, a two walled tiled shower with two sides glass enclosure. This would be awesome, and make the room look bigger, but it sure wouldn't qualify as cheap. I would price the glass enclosure before starting this.

Second, a three walled tiled shower. IMHO the framing would cut into the floor space and make the room look even smaller. It would also be like showering in a dark closet if you don't add appropriate light above it.

Third, a fiberglass corner shower. IMHO it would look better than option #2 and is probably what I would choose.

AndyGump 01-21-2011 04:53 PM

I should have said to tear out the old shower and tile a new from wall to wall.
That way since your bathroom is rather small you can just put up a rod and shower curtain
for now then maybe a nice glass door unit later on.


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