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.
Wall and Floor Tile: Ceramic, porcelain and natural stone are popular picks for floor tile in bathrooms. Materials will be the deciding factor here, but natural stone often costs more to install because it is difficult to cut and place. From natural stone and classic ceramic to glass and mosaic styles that mimic natural materials, wall tile options vary.
Handheld showers and easy-to-grip lever faucets suit people of all abilities and can be put in any time. But plan permanent features early on. Grab bars should be secured to blocking between wall studs and placed 33 to 36 inches off the floor. Other things to consider: a barrier-free shower, a wider doorway, and a lower sink height. Visit the National Kitchen and Bath Association's website for more guidelines.
Tile the walls first, then the floor. When tiling around the window, keep the tile about 1/8 in. away from the glass block. Tile the floor, starting by carefully snapping center lines to lay out border strips and field tile. Work from those lines to get evenly spaced tiles throughout the floor. Grout the walls and floors but caulk the inside corners between floors and walls and where walls meet.

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.

However, if your bathroom has cracked tile, mold, water damage, structural issues or substandard electrical, you’ll definitely want to remodel, as most of those issues will come up in a buyer’s inspection anyway. When selling a home with serious issues, you’re going to end up paying for the repairs one way or another — by doing the repairs before listing, negotiating with your buyer after a poor inspection report, or by listing at a lower price in consideration of the work that needs to be done.
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.
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.
×