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.
Unlike clunky over-the-showerhead organizers, a recessed cubby in a tub or shower surround gives shampoo and soap a permanent home and doesn't take up stall space. Size it to minimize tile cuts, and line the bottom with a leftover piece of stone or solid-surface countertop, not tile, so that you won't have to scrape away scum from grout lines. If you have kids, add an extra cubby around knee height so that they can suds up on their own.
Bathrooms should always be functional before all else, so if you’re considering reworking the layout, keep functionality in mind. Make sure there’s enough clearance for the shower door and cabinet doors, don’t place a toilet next to a tub if you can avoid it, make sure there’s a place for a toilet paper holder near the toilet, and don’t forget about electrical outlets near the counter.
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.
Turn off the main water supply to the house, and in a convenient location, cut the hot and cold water supply pipes for the bathroom. Also cut out and remove all the existing water lines and fittings in the bathroom. Finally, cut out and remove the vent section leading to the sink and the main stack 5 in. below the vent tee. Stuff rags into open drain lines to keep sewer gas out of the house.
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