Bathroom:Take a look at this-please tell me if Im missing anythng

cupofkindnessApril 8, 2010

I am renovating my daughters bathroom, which is actually two 7 foot by 5 foot rooms. I have to make decisions about the electrical work tonight!

The entry room contains the double sink vanity and the room with the window contains the tub, toilet, and a linen cabinet. The room will have black Amtico tile floors, white cabinetry, and Cambrian Black granite counters with white sinks and chrome Kelston Kohler 8" widespread faucets. The walls will be painted a pale pink, we might wall paper down the road, but I cannot bear to make another decision or spend another penny right now.

There is currently a long flourescent tube light fixture over the 56" sink counter and a fairly new Solatube skylight in the sink room. The tube fixture will be demo'd (in fact, the entire bathroom is being demo'd right now) and I plan to replace it with four 5-inch diameter can lights (smaller than the typical can light). Two lights will go in the soffit above the sinks (centered over each 20" wide by 26" long silver-wood framed medicine cabinet), and two will go into the opposite corners. One of these will be near the pocket door which leads to the hall, the other can light will be over a petite vanity that I'm creating out of a full length mirror and a glass shelf. The full length mirror covers the valve box for the tub/shower on the other side of the wall. When you have four girls getting ready at once (none of their bedrooms have mirrors), you need a lot of mirrors. Each can light is rated to 75 watts, the sink cans will be on one switch, the other two cans will be on a separate switch, so that they will operate independently. And since there is a Solatube in the center of the ceiling, we really don't need lights on except when it is dim or dark outside. We will also need to move an outlet (there is currently one outlet by the sink which needs to be moved in order to clear the void for the pocket door and plan to add an outlet to the petite vanity area, probably on the adjacent wall since there is no plumbing in that wall.

So with the four can lights, plus the Solatube, there will be five light sources in the ceiling of this 7 by 5 foot room. Is this too much? The ceiling is currently a popcorn ceiling, but it will have a smooth texture when all is finished.

Since we are also putting a pocket door between the sink room and the tub/toilet room, I've got to move the light switch in this room to another location. I guess I should move it next to the other switches (is three switches too many at one place on the wall?) This room will have one Broan decorative vent fan/light fixture in it. This will vent outside to the boxed roof eave soffit. There will be nothing over the tub/shower in the ceiling. Can the electrician put a switch in a wall that has plumbing in it? (is this a dumb question?). Since there will be a pocket door on the other side of the doorway, we cannot have any switches on that side either. There are no electrical outlets in the tub/toilet room. Will I ever need one? Should I put an outlet into the toilet/tub room? I'm thinking of putting an outlet in our new (uninstalled yet) linen cabinet. I don't think we've ever needed an outlet in the tub/toilet room, but having something in a cabinet to recharge things is never a bad idea, 20 years ago who would have known we would have so many rechargeable devices?

Can you think of anything else that I should install in these bathrooms, electrical-wise? Or should I do something differently? I do have all of the switches, outlets, can lights, Broan fixture, etc. Three electricians are coming tomorrow to bid the job, so I must figure this out quickly. Thank you so much for your replies. I really am at the point where I cannot make any mistakes. Thank you!

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Outlets are a must razor, hair dryers etc.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 1:14AM
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Can Lights.....especially small lights (with Black Granite countertops)......provide terrible TASK lighting in the bathroom.......

For "looking-good" lighting at the bathroom mirror you need lighting around or above the mirror to bathe the face in light.....

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 6:18AM
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Thank you for the replies... I know that this is my moment to add outlets, but I'm also constrained by cost. I think I'll add one on the wall next to the toilet, I need to rethink if I should add another near the sink. The pocket door makes adding an outlet near the other sink impossible.... but I could have an outlet along the wall above the splash between the two sinks.

Lighting, egads! Are four canister lights enough? I hadn't even thought of the black granite! The wall that the sinks are on is 56" wide. So to have two sinks (which I must do for a bathroom shared by four girls) and two medicine cabinets. I don't have enough room for sconces alongside the mirrored cabinet doors. Lighting must come from above, and since there is a soffit and since the medicine cabinet doors swing open, I think recessed lighting is my best choice.

What about this: should I put three cans above the sinks in the soffit? And then another can above the petite vanity?

Thank you for your ideas and suggestions!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 2:29PM
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We have a 3 light bar above a 48" vanity and that is just barely enough.

You need a minimum of 8 outlets for four girls. One hair blower and one styling wand apiece. If you continually plug and unplug these items you will be replacing receptacles pretty quick.

You can mount a double box with 2 duplex receptacles for four plug in points. I would do that for each basin and run them on separate circuits 20 amp each.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 3:39PM
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Hendricus, thank you for your answer. How many watts in each of those three lights? The first electrician is on his way right now to bid this job.

Also, how do I know if I have enough "space" in my breaker box for these additions? I suppose the electrician can tell me what I can add.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 3:47PM
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The wattage of lights and space in the breaker box is not your concern. You have to figure out how many lights you need for a bright bathroom, how many switches you want and how many outlets you think you need with the appliances that will be used at the same time. Write all this down on pieces of paper and tape to the wall where you want what.

A qualified electrician will figure out how to make all that work and what it will cost you. That's his/her job.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 8:29PM
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What I want to know is if there really were three electricians that showed up to bid a job that you will supply the material for.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 9:30PM
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Oh you know we all love the, "Here's a switch, 3 random blue boxes, a 25ft box of 14/2, $4 Utilitech can light, and a breaker that's the wrong brand customers" Don't charge me for material, it's all right there in the hardware store bag (:

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 10:45PM
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Yeah I just didn't want to sound like a jerk on this but I don't need the help. When the homeowner tells me about the material they already have, I ask if they can take it back, if not then my normal rate increases to cover hassle of dealing with it. Why do homeowners think they need to help a pro? Do they take their own steak to the steakhouse and tell them to just charge them for the cooking labor? I can understand when they supply material for the unqualified handymen that don't have the ability to purchase it on their own. I guess it just follows that if I know what to buy for the job then any handyman will know how to do the job correctly. Then they are all upset and come back to the forum to vent about how their "electrician" screwed up the job. Duh!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 10:35AM
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Had one the other day that talked me into taking recessed lighting supplies off the bill so they could use their HD gift card. I take off the price for Juno 4" with eyeball trims (about $35x6). They give me some kit with an eyeball that costs under $10 for the housing and trim. Of-course had to learn the tricks of installing it. They must of thought the pricing I removed with Juno was armed robbery to the crap they bought. One of these days I'll learn to not put up with it. HVAC guys have it easy doubt many people hand them duct work and an air unit (:

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 1:24PM
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The electrical work is well under way in this bathroom. Based on your replies, I've returned all of my canister lights and I bought two wall-mount 24" three-light bars for each mirror. Then, in the corner above the petite vanity, I have a semi-flush ceiling fixture with three bulbs. All three fixtures have a brushed nickel finish with "alabaster" glass shades. The Broan fixture is installed and the three outlets have been put in.

There will be lots and lots of light in this new bathroom. Thank you so much for posting your warnings about the can lights. That would have been a huge mistake that was avoided because you took the time to post your suggestions. Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 1:27PM
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What I still want to know is if there really were three electricians that showed up to bid a job that you will supply the material for. What were their bids? Since you didn't take the receptacles back you must have purchased the tamper resistant ones that are required by code now. You are good!I apologize for knocking a homeowner that is that well versed on the current code. I just don't run in to those in my area.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 3:30PM
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Not to worry about any side conversations up-thread. I enjoyed reading it, and it reminded me that electricians are people too. I purchased my GFI recepticles plus the Decora switches and cover plates at Lowes because I was very specific in what I wanted on the exterior. I didn't buy anything that goes into the wall. The can lights I purchased were expensive, and I bought them for what they looked like. 5 inch cans aren't really "standard" so I thought that it might be easier for me to present the cans and the baffles to my contractor rather than have him run back and forth to HD or Lowes. But the cans went back anyway.... So the only material I had for them was the light fixtures, glass shades, and Decora switches and cover plates, and GFIs, plus the Broan vent light unit (which is fabulous).

As a homeowner, I am very very specific about placement of various "improvements" during a renovation. I've drawn on graph paper the wall itself showing the exact placement of the light fixtures, how many inches from the soffit, above the inset medicine cabinet mirror, where the outlet boxes are located with respect to the backsplash, etc. I have found that in writing everything out, at least I've told the tradesmen once and then it's written down, so I'm covered there. In the case of this bathroom, the vanity is 55.5" wide and will have two sinks, two light bars, two inset mirrored medicine cabinets, and two outlets. It's a very tight space with a lot going on, so every inch matters.

I've approached my contractor and his electrician more humbly because of your posts. Of course, the fact that I know almost nothing abut electrical work is very obvious, I'm not pretending that I'm a pro, nor will I quibble over a few dollars. The working relationship is more important than that.

Now about the other electricians, my contractor's own bid came in the lowest, and only one other company showed up in time to get a bid in before we had to get the work started, but this company couldn't do the work in time anyway. Another company failed to return my call, and a third company called too late.

All in all, since we have not had lights in this room for years (except the Solatube which was added last summer-and the toilet/tub room has had lighting, so we're not in the complete dark anyway), so this will be a magnificent change for my family. Thanks again for everyone's ideas and suggestions!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 4:02PM
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I was surprised to walk into my bathroom yesterday afternoon and find that the recepticles and light fixtures had been removed. All of that tedious measuring we did to get those centered in the right places! Oh well. Once he saw the medicine cabinets, my contractor decided to replace the entire wall of sheet rock in order to frame out the wall properly for the cabinets, so now I have a clean slate to work with.

So, I've decided to put my vanity GFCI recepticles into the black granite backsplash, which will be 6" tall. The outlets will be installed horizontally. I've bought 20amp black GFCIs and wall plate covers at Home Depot this morning.

I've looked online and found something called a "mud ring" or an "adjustable plaster ring" that allows you some flexibility with the depth of the wall thickness/surface material thickness. Would this be a good thing to have installed in the drywall on the box to accommodate my 2 cm granite?

As always, thank you!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 10:59AM
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You don't need a mud ring or anything else if you tell the electrician what you will be doing as to the backsplash. They can adjust the depth of the box to fit any wall covering or backsplash.

Why didn't the contractor see the medicine cabinets before doing all that work?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 2:18PM
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Hendricus, my contractor decided to put some support in the walls underneath the cabinets (like studs running halfway up the wall to a horizontal 2 x 4 that runs under the cabinet.

Also, the electrician will use a box that is adjustable for the backsplash outlets, like a built-in mud ring. Are backsplash outlets common in a bathroom? I'm thinking of mounting them horizontally about a half inch above the sink top, which will leave about 2.5 inches of backsplash above the outlet (six inch backsplash height). It's close to the countertop, but my electrician said that works with the code.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 11:33AM
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