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.
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.
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.
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.
The special-order fixtures, fittings, shower pan, tile and glass block panel can take weeks to get in hand, so do the necessary legwork and ordering well in advance. Before gutting the bathroom, check to make sure that there are shutoffs for all the fixtures or a master shutoff for the entire bathroom. If not, buy ball valve shutoffs sized to fit your pipes. Then turn off the main water supply line where it comes into the house from outside, cut the pipes feeding the bathroom and install the new shutoffs right away (see Photo 7).
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