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:
For your remodeled bathroom to operate well, it’s critical to install vent and drain lines of the proper size and slope. Use a 2-in. line to drain the shower and 1-1/2-in. line to drain the sink. The vents for the sink and shower can be 1-1/2-in. pipes, but a toilet should be vented with at least 2-in. material. Make sure that the drain lines drop 1/4 in. for every foot of travel toward the main stack.
Glass block comes in 8-in. and 6-in. squares and 4 x 8-in. half-block rectangles. You’ll need to choose between real mortar grout joints and clear silicone–joined blocks. We chose the silicone system because we liked the clean, uninterrupted look. Whichever way you go, buy the panel preassembled and banded together as one unit, ready to set into the opening.
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).
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.