How to Remodel a Bathroom from the Ground Up
I promised you a look at the completed bathroom remodel, and the guys just put on all the finishing touches. Steve Wartman and his crew did an excellent job, the bathroom looks terrific, and the homeowners are very pleased. Today’s article will provide a look at the finished product and link over to related Pro-Follow guides like tiling the bathroom and installing the shower doors.
This Pro-Follow is the product of shadowing general contractor Steve Wartman and his crew on an actual job site, documenting their work. There’s no better resource for learning about home improvement than straight from a pro, and you can find all of our completed how-to articles in the Project Guides section. If learning from professional contractors sounds interesting, become an email or RSS subscriber and never miss an update. If you’re looking to hire a contractor in the Baltimore, Maryland area, I highly recommend you give Steve a call. Here’s his contact information:
Step 1: Demolition
If you missed the beginning of the series, here’s how the bathroom looked when the guys arrived.
The guys completely gutted the bathroom, removing the vanity, toilet, tub, shower walls and floor. They removed all the fixtures like towel bars, soap trays, medicine cabinet and more. The only thing they didn’t remove was a portion of the drywall.
Here’s how everything looked after some cleanup. Fortunately the bones of this bathroom are in good shape, and there was no water damage or mold issues.
Step 2: Plumbing Rough-in
The homeowners opted for a vanity with a single sink (rather than a double sink), and the plumber also extended the toilet waste line in preparation for a new toilet flange.
Pro-Tip: Most sink drains are roughed-in at 19″ off the floor.
Tip: If you’re looking for more information on soldering copper pipe, check out Fred’s tutorial available at that link.
The plumber also installed the rough-in for the shower controls, and a new shower pan.
Step 3: Grab-bar
The guys will be installing grab bars 33 – 36″ off the floor so they’ve added blocking in between the studs.
Pro-Tip: The ADA provides specific requirements for grab bars including the size, location and spacing. To read all the specifications on grab bars, read section 609 from the 2005 standards for buildings and facilities.
Step 4: Subfloor
The subfloor required special attention in preparation for tile. Steve and his crew installed 3/8″ plywood, increasing the total subfloor thickness to 1-1/8″. They used Fir CDX plywood because it features better water resistance and is less likely to swell or warp than alternate plywoods.
Pro-Tip: The letters “CDX” indicate the grade of plywood with “A” being the highest level (without knots, holes or defects). “C” and “D” refer to the front-side and back-side grade. “X” stands for exposure and indicates that the glues and adhesives used are water resistant. Even so, this plywood isn’t intended to withstand direct exposure over long periods of time.
Step 5: Electric Rough-in
The original bathroom vent fan was positioned over the toilet, and to make the vent more effective, they repositioned it closer to the shower.
Fortunately, the electrician was able to re-route the existing power supply to the new location. He also installed a recessed light over the shower area, and centered the light over the vanity.
Step 6: Concrete Board
Steve hung Durock concrete board on the shower walls using OSI adhesive and 1-1/4″ concrete board screws. Concrete board is moisture and mold resistant, it doesn’t deteriorate in the presence of water, and concrete board is the preferred underlayment for tile.
Step 7: Tiling the Bathroom
Steve brought in Rick Smith and his crew to tile the shower and bathroom floor. These guys have been laying tile for over 30 years, and they did an outstanding job. I’d encourage you to follow that link to see the whole, detailed process for installing the tile.
Step 8: Bathroom Vent Fan
At this point, Steve’s crew installed a new bathroom vent fan. Follow that link to see how they did it.
Step 9: Bypass Shower Doors
Next, the guys installed a bypass shower door.
Step 10: Bathroom Vanity
The homeowners selected a beautiful vanity and granite top. After installing a small spacer and the toe-kick, and cutting holes for the plumbing, it was ready to go.
After installing the toilet and a few odds-and-ends like the light fixture, the mirror and medicine cabinet, and accessories like towel bars, the bathroom is finished!
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