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.
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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.
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