Although this new bathroom is a bit smaller because of additional plumbing walls, it appears larger. Substituting a shower for the bathtub, adding a large mirror, and using a wall-hung sink and toilet all contribute to the spacious feeling. This big-picture stuff is striking, but it’s the step-by-step details that make this small bathroom remodel work. We cover the little kernels of information that will help your project go more smoothly and with fewer headaches.


An upscale bathroom remodel may include structural changes like expanding or adjusting the layout. Finishes include things like large ceramic floor tile, heated floors, high-end faucets, new lighting, and stone countertops with double sinks. Showers may have frameless glass doors, rain shower fixtures, shower niches and tiled shower walls. Freestanding tubs are also found in this type of bathroom remodel.
After removing your shower head and handle, cover your shower floor with newspaper. Take your hammer and chisel and start from the bottom corner. Gently place the chisel on the side of tile and use your hammer to push the tile out. Start gently. As you move on, you may have to use some real elbow grease to get these tiles out. Once all tile has been removed, chisel off any remaining mortar as well.
Preassemble the shower valve by soldering copper nipples and the shower supply pipe to male adapters and screwing them into the shower valve before fastening the valve to the blocking. That way you won’t damage the valve with heat from the soldering torch. Mount the valve 36 in. above the floor. You can mount the showerhead at any height, but plumbers typically mount them 6 ft. 6 in. above the floor.
Bathroom remodels provide 60 to 70 percent resale returns as a home improvement project. However, this project isn’t cheap. It is essential to plan your remodeling ideas ahead of time. Then, hire a remodeling contractor for the job. Ask questions, set realistic expectations, get accurate cost estimates and budgeting from the start. Also spend time learning how to work with a bathroom contractor.
Proper ventilation will prevent moisture from getting trapped in the bathroom, which can lead to mold and mildew growth. Extract moisture by installing a ducted exhaust fan on a timer. Most timers allow you to set the fan for 15 to 60 minutes to remove heat, steam and condensation. Choose a fan according to the cubic feet per minute of air it moves.
You’ll spend $3,000 to $8,000 on the typical remodel. Anywhere from 40 to 65 percent of a bath upgrade cost comes from labor. However, doing any project yourself means no insurance and added fees if something goes wrong. Hire a professional for any work you’re not comfortable doing, such as the plumbing and electrical. Consider the pros and cons of DIY vs professional bathroom remodeling.
Nail the bottom plate to the floor and the top plate to the ceiling. Then mark the positions of the shower base, toilet and sink. Lay out and toenail the wall studs into position (Fig. B) and the top plate for the low wall. On the opposite end of the shower, frame a matching 35-in. wide wall (see Photo 14) 60-1/4 in. (or the length of your shower base plus 1/4 in.) away from the first wall.
A one-piece shower pan is the key to a leakproof shower. We opted for an easily installed fiberglass shower pan. Forty-eight inch wide pans are common and will work well; 60-in. units like we used must be special-ordered. The shower pan has to fit into the space left by the removed bathtub. Most bathtubs are 60 in. long, perfect for a 60-in. shower base.
Preassemble the shower valve by soldering copper nipples and the shower supply pipe to male adapters and screwing them into the shower valve before fastening the valve to the blocking. That way you won’t damage the valve with heat from the soldering torch. Mount the valve 36 in. above the floor. You can mount the showerhead at any height, but plumbers typically mount them 6 ft. 6 in. above the floor.
The wall behind the toilet can be almost any height. For a standard toilet height of 15 in., make the wall a minimum height of 43 in. If you’d like a higher toilet, make the wall that much higher. Or, make the wall go all the way to the ceiling. We built a short wall to conserve space and to create a shelf and a mirror alcove. The wall at the opposite end of the shower can be any height as well. We made it the same height as the toilet/sink wall so we could line up the accent tile and make a convenient shower shelf.
Interior bathroom demolition costs $1,000 to $2,300. Prices can go higher if you’re removing and moving walls to create a different footprint. For the experienced DIYer, this is a good place to save money by doing it yourself or assisting the contractor. However, demo can get expensive quickly if you take out a load bearing wall, cut electrical lines or break a water pipe. Avoid the risk by hiring a pro.
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