Bathroom update - planning stage

LinelleSeptember 4, 2013

I'm thinking about updating my guest bath. I'll probably start with my KD, who also does baths. Do I now call her a BD?

My bathroom is 10x6, including the shower-over-bath alcove. My house was built in 1991 and the only update this bath has had is replacing the vinyl floor with tile.

I don't plan any structural changes. I want to replace the tub, tile surround, vanity, sink, faucet, countertop, floor tile, lighting. Other than possibly adding sconces, no new electrical. I'm staying with a single-sink vanity.

Are there any things I need to be mindful of before I start (surprises, problems people run into with bathroom remodels)?

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Definitely use cement board; Hardi-backer, or Durock for the tub surround, NOT green-board. Use a good waterproofing membrane over that such as a roll-on product such as Hydroban (from Laticrete) or Redguard, or a "fabric" such as Kerdi (-cloth).

Put a niche(s) in the tub surround wall for soap, shampoo.... and keep the bottle heights in mind when planning them (take into account how much space will be lost between the cement board, waterproofing, thinset, and tile--you don't want to end up with a nice-looking, but useless niche because it's "just" too short or too narrow).

Definitely install a good vent/fan. We installed Panasonic Whisper Quiet fans in our three bathrooms. Our salesperson told us which one(s) to get (re: size) based on the size of each bathroom.

That's all I can think of for now, but will add more if/when I think of it!

This post was edited by cat_mom on Wed, Sep 4, 13 at 15:02

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 11:37AM
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Thanks cat_mom! I would like a niche or two and keep all the bottles out of the corners of the tub deck. I would hate to end up with something that was too short or narrow.

As for a vent/fan. Right now neither of my two bathrooms have one. I keep the bathroom window (over tub/shower area) open year-round and I don't get condensation anywhere, even in the winter, although our winters are much milder than some. I guess it wouldn't hurt to have one anyway.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 5:28PM
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You're welcome!

If your tile person is as much of a perfectionist as ours is, ask him (or her!) to let you know (once the tiling begins) if your niche(s) needs to move up or down at all in order to allow for full tiles at the corners or elsewhere. We could have allowed our tile guy to close up at least one of our niches by up to a half or full inch, but DH "sucked it up" and "moved" the niche up by that am't because we didn't want to close up the niches at all (he chiseled out either the floor or top pieces or both of cement board in the niche, screwed in new pieces, spackled it with whatever he used for the tub surrounds, and then applied three coats of Hydroban, all in the middle of the night, so it would be ready for the tile guy first thing in the morning!). PITA at the time, but worth the effort in the end, because the niche and its surrounding tile work appear seamless; neat and perfect. :)

As for the vents/fans, they work really well. I had noticed the one in the MB seemed much noisier than the one in the hall bathroom awhile back, and then it had stopped removing moisture/condensation (and bathroom smells) well. Apparently where we had vented the fans to the outside wasn't ideal, nor were the vent/duct "covers"--they clogged with debris, so the fans couldn't work efficiently. DH rigged up a temporary solution (he will relocate where the vent fans duct/terminate once the cooler weather sticks around), and what a difference. Quiet fan(s), and totally clear mirrors upon stepping out of a steamy shower! Not to mention fresh-smelling bathrooms after use, too!!!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 12:28PM
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Tips on fan and niche are good ones. Given the size of your bath and the scope of the project, I would recommend having all the material arrive before the start of it. It probably will be a 1 week project with a competent contractor and it will make your and their life much easier if nobody has to wait for material to arrive.

Spend some time on picking the material. We spent a lot of time on faucets and valve and it was really worth it. Not just how they look but also how they function will matter a lot once everything is done.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 3:16PM
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Hi linelle! i will be watching your progress. We have a hall bath to do here as well. Mine is very much older, as my house was build in the 50's.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 10:04AM
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Hi ellendi, nice to see you here. It's a tad quiet, so I understand why folks cross-post to Kitchens. :)

I have had an unexpected change of thinking: get rid of the glass shower doors and go back to a curtain. The current ones have to go, early 90s framed brass, sitting atop the tub. I like clear glass and have no problem using a squeegee every single time. I do NOT want a partial glass door. I do not want all that contained mist/splash/spray to escape into the room. I do not regard the room as a wet room. Ewww. Besides, even in my mild California climate, it's cold in the shower if you don't enclose yourself. I don't really like shower curtains, but I think I could live with a very simple one and it may even bring a bit of charm to the room.

I'm thinking the biggest unknown is the cost of the tilesetting in the alcove.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 10:59AM
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