Please Help me with Decisions re Master Bath!

llhartsandcraftsNovember 12, 2013

I have hired a contractor to remodel my master bath. I have waited for 9 years to remodel my bath, so you would think I know exactly what I want, but as someone told me today, I have "paralysis by analysis." I also have the "problem" that I chose the cheapest bid of 5 that I got, which was probably a mistake, maybe not. But now lots of things I would like are going to cost me additional for more labor on his part and I need to decide what to do, what not to do.

The bathroom is now gutted. I'm trying to make a nice master bath with a spa feel but I want to keep it simple. My house is in a town with very fancy multimillion dollar homes but my home is worth under a million so I don't want to spend to0 much, but I want the bathroom to look and feel nice for resale, and for myself/husband in the meantime.

The contractor, who is doing everything himself, has told me that 1) I shouldn't put in a rainhead shower on the ceiling because the attic is above the bathroom and the pipe might freeze in winter - we live near Chicago. But I've been told by many that their bath is on second floor and they have a rainhead (that they just added extra insulation). He said he would put in the rainhead but can't guarantee there won't be a problem. Should I just forget the rainhead? One option is to put a rainhead on the West wall on a rod 12 inches from the wall, next to a handheld, but this wouldn't be the look of a rainheld from the ceiling.

More questions: the shower is 5 feet by 3 feet. At the left, or East wall, is a 14 inch wide bench he has framed. He at first said that he can't put a showerhead on that wall above the bench, only two fixtures, a fixed and handheld, on the wall opposite, where original plumbing is. An architect I spoke to and now owe $200 to said to put a handheld on the wall by the bench and a fixed showerhead on the opposite wall so that this can be a "two person shower." But the contractor says that a showerhead by the bench will make water seep through the glass shower doors. He said only way to get around that problem is to build an actual wall, so that water goes onto a wall, not glass. But I have seen many showers in pictures and in friends' homes that have a handheld near a bench and the water must get onto the glass. Does anyone know about this? It's not a very big bath, so should I just have a fixed and handheld on the opposite wall from the bench? But then I wonder what is the point of the bench? I'd like to be able to sit on the bench and feel water - or is it enough to have a handheld on the opposite wall that can reach me when I'm on the bench. I've never had a bench in the shower so I really don't know if I'm over thinking this. To have him build such a wall will be an extra $1000. I am feeling overwhelmed by the options and whether I should listen to the contractor and not put a showerhead by the bench and just keep the showerheads on the opposite wall where plumbing already is.

What showerheads should I put into the shower to make it a nice master bath but not over the top/too much and nothing that will lead to leakage? I am so confused. Any specific suggestions on actual showerheads (ie which Grohe model, which Kohler) would be much appreciated!!! I need to move on with my life!!!!

Also, in my kids' bathroom and downstairs bathroom I put in white ceramic subway tile, so I was thinking of putting in marble subway tile, maybe not in the standard 3 x 6 shape, to be a step up from the other bathrooms. But I read one other post on here and now I'm worried about the upkeep of the marble. Maybe I should just do white ceramic tile and some marble accents on the floor or just on the countertop above the vanity?? I'm going for a gray and white spa-like master bath...Any suggestions on tile are also most welcome. I am really getting so stressed. The contractor wants to make decisions already so he can move forward and finish the project-he wants to be done in three weeks total (he gutted it in one week).

A couple more questions: he said don't do floor to ceiling glass shower doors because will lead to problems with grout and steam getting out. But a friend of mine has this and loves the feeling of it being like a steam shower.

He also said to tile the shower ceiling will cost me an additional $600 for labor. I guess I don't need this (ceilings are 8 feet)...

I can put in radiant heating for another $1000 additional labor. Is this worth it? Something nice to have? Thoughts? Thank you so much for any advice/suggestions!!!!!

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Hate to say this, but sort of sounds like you should have done some more research before you started the process with the contractor! But, I do have a suggestion for your hand shower problem. It easy enough to order an extra little elbow or two to be able to hold the hand shower in more places than just on the slide bar. My shower is the same size as yours, I nixed the rain shower for the reason your contractor said, didn't want pipes in attic space, and I live in a much warmer zone than you...the Banana Belt of Canada, just outside Vancouver, BC. I bought a teak bench, so I have the flexibility of moving it closer to shower head if I want, or even outside the shower for pedicures, etc. I bought an extra elbow to place the hand shower down close for shaving legs.

I think if you go with floor to ceiling glass to get a steam shower effect, you would want to tile the ceiling. You would still want to make sure you have really good ventilation to get rid of all that moisture when you're finished.

Re marble tile, having read all the potential problems, I personally wouldn't do real marble, but there are many here who have used fabulous marble-like porcelains. I am doing a limestone look porcelain.

I did so much research that my mind was totally overwhelmed, but I found my local plumbing supply place a really good source. I had to try two, the first one was not such a great help, but once I found the second, I have bought everything from them. They are also priced cheaper than any box store, or online merchant, and I just feel comfortable dealing with someone local.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 2:32AM
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The floor to ceiling shower doors are for steam showers, and the setup for a steam shower is different than a regular shower. The vapor or moisture barriers are different for a steam shower than for a regular shower. A steam shower needs to have a sloped ceiling to drain the condensate. The ceiling needs to be tiled. You are not supposed to use Hydroban in a steam shower, but you can use Kerdie or Redgard in the steam setup. Hydroban will let the vapor through which is why you don't want to use it for steam showers. The Kerdie and the Redgard will not. Hydroban is a moisture barrier and Kerdie and Redgard are vapor barriers. Installers need to know the difference. Beyond that I don't know. Maybe an expert will chime in about what I just wrote. I am only a DYI and have never done a steam shower.

I would do a porcelain tile in the surround if it was me. Marble absorbs moisture. Porcelain is so durable and can be beautiful!

DON'T put the rainshower in the attic, your pipes will freeze like Raehelen said.

And like Raehelen also said, I would use a movable bench. But that is just my choice. I want the flexability in my shower which will be the same size as yours. I will be using a Kohler shower pan that is 36x60" sized.

Here is a rainhead shower that I am installing, in the link below. It is in the wall, and I can't wait. Noopd put it in his shower and that is where I first saw it. See the link below where I asked some questions regarding my shower plans and refer to Noopd's shower. There are pictures too. One last point about the the rainhead shower by Hansgrohe, a friend of mine that works for Ferguson's just got back from an educational workshop at Hansgrohe in GA. She got to try out the shower head and Loved it. I bought my plumbing supplies from my friend at Ferguson's. I wanted the convenience, and to support her and the local economy. I have not been disappointed. I have bought a few things on line and that has worked well too. Ferguson's doesn't sell Toto for instance, so I ordered my toilet online. The down side to online ordering is the return if needed.

Edited to say that in the link provided, it states that I will be using a smaller shower pan than I actually ended up with. But that might be clarified further down in the thread. You'll have to look :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Mongoct, Noopd, or Others, Please Advise Me on My Shower Plan

This post was edited by enduring on Tue, Nov 12, 13 at 7:59

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 7:57AM
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Thank you for this info. Do people think it is worth it to make a two-person shower? As I said, the shower is 6 foot by three foot. The contractor can put a handheld by the bench, and then a fixed and handheld on the opposite side, but he said that I shouldn't then have glass wall by the bench because the water there would mean changing the sealant every year so I should have him build a wall going up from the bench to the ceiling. Then the glass doors would be to the right of the wall. He would charge me an additional $700 for the wall. Or should I just keep it with two showerheads on the wall opposite the bench. What makes the most sense? I'm trying to balance not spending too much, making this too complicated, with making this a nice bathroom. Thank you! Also any suggestions as to specific showerheads that you love would be most helpful--Grohe or Kohler, I think.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 6:18PM
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Do you and your significant other use a 2 person shower? Frankly, I just want to have my own shower experience, but that is just me:) I think a 3x6' shower sounds like it could work but the bench will cut off about 18" (or less) of usable length. Why don't you cut out some paper and lay it on the floor as a virtual shower and you two pretend to shower and see how it goes.

Regarding the shower door. I can't help because I have always had a shower curtain.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 6:51PM
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A&C, Just to clarify, is your shower 5 feet long or 6 feet long?

If it's 5 feet, don't think you need to have 2 handhelds. One positioned so that you can reach to the bench should be good enough. (Different handhelds have different/longer lengths of hose)

As I said, I am going to have a portable bench, so I can't speak to the waterproofing/leaking aspect of having a bench next to a glass wall. I did a Houzz search, and I would say 50% or more of benches were next to glass walls. You could ask those posters if they had any leaking problems, or even here on GW. The bench should have a slight slope to it, so that water drains into the shower and doesn't sit there, plus I would squeegee that just to be safe. (I am the squeegee Queen, I squeegee everything after my shower, walls, glass, floor, fixture plates...if it's a flat surface it gets done!)

As for 2 person, I would just build what you want, will use. I certainly wouldn't plan on a 2 person just thinking of resale, if I would never/seldom use it with 2 people myself. Don't think that would be a deal breaker for buyers. The other thing to think about, is that the main valve for diverting your water will be more expensive if you have three outlets vs two. I have a shower system in our guest bath from Hudson Reed. Love it, and would have gone with them again in this bath, but I switched my finishes to brushed nickel, and they only sell in chrome. I bought a Riobel system which my plumbing supply co highly recommended. I liked the price because there was no upcharge for the brushed nickel unlike every other supplier!

Here is a link that might be useful: Bench seats in showers

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 6:58PM
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I have a 5 x 4 shower . I have a built in bench and a fixed shower head and a handheld and two body sprays on the opposing wall . They are all hitting the glass wall that is behind the bench . The contractor that built it and three other contractors that I brought to fix other issues that were done wrong by the first one , nobody mentioned anything about probable leakage due to water hitting the glass . Nobody mentioned that I will need to change the sealant every year .The only problem with leakage would be if you placed the shower head opposite to the shower door . My advice is to call a glass shower door company to ask them . You can get a separate company to do it for you and subtract the glass cost from your contractor , if he can't do it himself .
I don't know what to tell you but I went through the same issue with my so called initial contractor . He would tell me that things were not doable , while they were . I feel that your contractor wants to get more money from you anyway he can .
As far as marble in the shower , it's not a good idea due to high maintenance. I have marble floors and counters , but white porcelain on my shower floors and walls .
I have used the hansgrohe axor Montreux fixtures in my shower and tub faucet . I love them . I have the handheld fixture with white porcelain on a bar that I can move up or down . I can use it while sitting on the bench . Two body sprays . I have the Moen fixed shower head , that I am thinking of exchanging with the hansgrohe axor one . The thermostatic valve that keeps the water temperature the same . A diverter to be able to use each fixture by itself or in combination with each other .
I know it's a lot of decisions and choices . My advice is to go to a show room that has all these fixtures . You will probably fall in love with one of them . You can also look at Houzz pictures and choose from there .
Good luck
I have included a picture if my shower . I didn't post a reveal pictures , because it's not done yet . I need to fix the floor , walls and put the hardware .hopefully I'll be done soon . If your contractors gives you a lot of hard time , try to get rid of him and get another one . My mistake is that I stayed with mine and ended up with a lot of problems .
Good luck again

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 10:28PM
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You don't need another handheld next to the bench. Get a long hose for the one on the opposite wall .

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 11:34PM
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Lillo, I have a question for you on a new different thread. I misspelled your name, but is in the tile of the thread, please help me out :)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 11:34AM
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As for 2 person, I would just build what you want, will use. I certainly wouldn't plan on a 2 person just thinking of resale, if I would never/seldom use it with 2 people myself. Don't think that would be a deal breaker for buyers.

We had a 2-person shower in our previous home and we used it together all the time. But when we moved, having two showerheads in the same shower was not a consideration, and we saw very few that had that setup. C'est la vie - we'll have to shower separately from now on. Get what you will use.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 3:52PM
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