Introduction: Remodel Another Bathroom

I'm back for the sequel to my previous instructable, how to remodel a bathroom.  That previous guide covered my downstairs bathroom and after a nice, *long* rest period I took on the upstairs bathroom.  This was a complete gutting involving replacing an old cast iron tub, replumbing for a modern 1 handle shower, adding some electric, and tiling galore.  As per my usual M.O., this was done on a budget.  The whole thing cost me less than $1,500.

Step 1: The Starting Point

So things were pretty rough when I bought the house in 2007.  I would up doing a series of initial work that got it pretty respectable including running a new power circuit (it initially had no outlets), but a few years down the road I needed more.  The DIY tub refinishing I used began to peel within a month, the window in the shower was a perpetual moister problem, lighting was poor, there was no ventilation, and the vinyl walls/floor just weren't up to par.

Step 2: Demo and Window Replacement

Demo always comes first.   Cast iron tubs are most easily removed by shattering them with a seldge hammer.  It might be worth the effort to drag it to the scrap yard if you have the time.  Rather than paying to have it hauled as trashed I got $60.

I was replacing the full size window with a shorter one installed higher up, so along with the demo I needed to get the new one installed pretty quick.  Gaping holes in your house are something to avoid for prolonged periods.  I would have liked to go higher with the window, but was limited by the roof overhang.  The vinyl siding I used as a replacement was the same as what is on the house now, minus a few years of fading.  Over time they should blend a little better.  You can also see the external vent added.

Pickings were slim in the non-custom order department for such a small window, so I couldn't get one with privacy glass.  I was prepared to get some translucent film to put over it, but once the shower is turned on it fogs up within just a few seconds.

Step 3: Electric Work

New electric work included adding an exhaust fan to control moisture buildup and recessed lighting to deal with add some badly needed light.  For recessed lighting directly over a shower you'll want to use enclosed shower trim that protects the bulb from condensation.

Step 4: Installing the New Tub

The old tube was 5'6," and most modern tubs are 5.'  Getting a replacement the same size brought the cost from $300 to $1,000+, so I resolved to just build out a shelf at the rear of the tub.  The problem with this is I just assumed the drain hole lined up in the same place for all tubs which ,as it turned out, was not the case.  After getting all the new plumbing set, I fit the tub and realized the drain hole was off by a couple inches and given the small distance between the new and old holes, there wasn't enough enough room to fit some sort of adapter.  I had to instead build out the shelving at the front of the tub which meant extending all of the plumbing I just installed another 6 inches out from the wall.  I used a little creative plumbing to get the shower drain into the waste pipe.  I cut a hole in the adjacent wall so I could check for leaks and access anything if need be.  A vent lets me hide the opening and keep that easy accessibility.

Step 5: Floor Prep

I originally wanted to just throw down cement board over the existing floor, but underneath all of that vinyl it turned out I had a several inch thick concrete floor.  There's no better surface than concrete and mounting the cement board into it would have been one hell of a pain.  So I got to spend several hours scrapping the old floor clean.  A heat gun helps, but only so much.  I used some concrete to fill in the gaps around the tub, and then some leveling compound spread across the whole floor to get it ready for tiling.

Step 6: Tiling the Floor

I decided to completely finish the floor and get that out of the way before I worked on the tub.  This would let me get a sink setup so the bathroom had at least some functionality.  I used a 4" porcelain tile with a diamond pattern.  4" tiles mean laying 9 tiles instead of one 12" tile or four 6" tiles.  It wound up being much more work, especially when I later for to the shower walls.  Be sure you are ready for it.

Step 7: Tub Enclosure Prep

I used 1/2" cement board for the walls, taping and sealing all of the seams with silicone.  Tiles are not to be regarded as waterproof, and a tiled shower should have a vapor barrier.  You can use plastic underneath the tile board, or a paint on liner like the redguard I used here.  It paints on pretty easy with a brush.

Step 8: Tiling, and Tiling, and Tiling (and Crown Moulding)

Like I said earlier, the 4" tiles take a long time to install.  it's just as well since doing it over a couple days meant the lower tiles were dry and ready to support the weight of the upper tiles.  Make sure you leave a 1/4" gap between the bottom tiles and the tub to allow for expansion.  This gap gets filled with silicone later as opposed to grout.  I also installed the crown moulding around this time.  I lucked out and bought 400' of a very nice maple crown dirt cheap a while back on craigslist, so it goes up pretty much everywhere.  Also, painting.

Step 9: The Rest

At this point I was about a month in and my keeping up with the pictures got a little less thorough.  I picked up a clearance medicine cabinet that had a shattered mirror, and cut a new piece for it from one of those cheap wall mirrors.  Along with that I put in a light bar, another wall mounted cabinet, the typical towel rods, and that sort of thing.  I went with one of the curved shower rods which provides a nice extra bit of elbow room.  The toilet went back in and I replaced the cheapo hollow core door with an antique 5 panel door I stripped down.

Step 10: And It's Done!

It was a long process that probably would have went much quicker if I didn't have a beautiful, fully functional bathroom downstairs.  I think I dragged it out for about three months.  In the end, I couldn't be happier with the results.  The inlaid shelving, something I had to add out of necessity, it easily one of my favorite features.  Luckily I'm out of bathrooms to work on so I'm done for now.

Comments

author
Watch me make (author)2016-03-05

Great job here is a tip for replacing siding I learned a few months ago . You can take a old piece from behind a bush or something because it does not show that often and replace it with a new piece and take the old piece and put around the window

author
Frederbee (author)2013-03-26

Could you let me know how you dealt with the window and framing it? I have a window in my shower that gets absolutely disgusting around the edges, and I have no clue what to put as the frame. Previous owners used painted wood, and I had to rip it out because it was rotted through. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

author
erothman2 (author)2012-08-12

Love those inset shelves! I don't have a place to build out, but since I'm taking off the drywall to put up cement board, I can back them into the wall. Thanks for the great idea!

author
martind17 (author)2012-07-19

Can you explain a bit more about your comment on insulation and the vapor barrier. Thanks.

author
jeremyhughes (author)2012-01-24

What shade of blue is that paint? its awesome!

author
kabira (author)2012-01-22

Did you get a plumber to do the plumbing or you did it yourself?

author
MrBippers (author)kabira2012-01-23

I did the plumbing myself. When I did my other bathroom I hired someone who let me watch how it was done. For the upstairs bathroom I took it on myself. Sweating copper really isn't all that tough, and you get to use a blowtorch.

author
bigmark (author)2012-01-18

Great job!!! Nicely done!!! Love the shelves in the wall!

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Bio: I'm a PhD candidate in Pharmaceutical Sciences living the dream with my wife, two dogs, and a basement that overfloweth with homebrew.
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