Low-flow toilets, which use 1.6 gallons of water per flush, are required by law in all new and remodeled baths. Pressure-assisted toilets effectively clear the bowl with one flush, but make considerable noise in the process. Gravity models sometimes require two flushes to clean the bowl properly. For maximum efficiency, choose a bowl with a large water surface. Make sure there's sufficient space around the toilet for comfortable access—ideally, at least 16 inches from the centerline of the toilet and walls or fixtures on either side. Also allow at least 30 inches from the front of the toilet to the nearest object.
The tank is concealed within a 2×6 wall that’s built in front of the existing plumbing wall. It does require some plumbing rerouting because the waste line runs through the wall instead of the basic floor-mounted toilet flange (see Photos 8 – 12). The toilet can be ordered with a wall-mounted access panel/flush button like ours or with the panel mounted on top of a half wall. A ‘chair carrier’ (Photo 11) comes with the toilet. This steel framework contains the toilet and operating mechanisms and is designed to support the weight of the toilet.
Don't lay tile over plywood, which can swell with moisture and break the tile bond. If you're not pouring a new floor, mortar and screw ¼-inch backerboard over a level subfloor, then lay tile on top. Another option: Put in a DITRA flexible underlayment, which helps prevent cracks in ceramic and stone tile by evenly distributing the weight they carry.
With the rough plumbing complete and the toilet chair carrier in position, finish the electrical and add blocks as needed to support the sink (Photo 15), towel bars, grab bars, etc. Then close up the walls. We recommend cement board for durable tile walls and floors, but other tile backers are available at tile shops. Here are key installation tips:
A full bath requires a minimum of 36 to 40 sq. ft. The finished room must measure at least 5 ft. in one direction to accommodate a tub. Building codes typically require 32x32 in. (finished dimensions) for a shower; if you have the space, larger is better. Just make sure the shower is large enough so you can comfortably raise your arms and bend over in the space.
A DIY bathroom remodel is a big project. If you can only work weekends, your bathroom will be out of commission for two months or more. You’ll need all your expertise as an experienced do-it-yourselfer because you’ll have to tackle electrical, plumbing, tiling, drywalling, taping and even exterior siding. In this DIY shower remodel article, we’ll deal mostly with the nuts and bolts of ripping out existing plumbing and replacing it correctly with new, easily installed PVC piping.
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