Why I did the kids bathroom remodel myself
- This was my first attempt at gutting a room and starting over
- Nearly everything came out, the only items that stayed we’re the tub, a few sections of drywall and some outlets/switches
- This room had seen the toilet overflown several times and promised to have a few disgusting secrets under the tile and behind the drywall, these are things that might be overlooked by a budget contractor, at very least, they would cost extra from a responsible contractor
- Again, budget. Bathrooms are expensive, and rightly so, tile, drywall, paint, electrical, plumbing…this requires several skilled/trained professionals
Would I do it again?
Yes, I think so. I’ve already demo’d the basement bathroom and the master bath is also on The List.
The need to complete this project arose from the kiddos always using the shower in our bathroom. Not a big deal when they’re little but as they become teenagers and you can’t get into your own room/bathroom because they require privacy… time to use another bathroom Junior!
Our house is laid out with a first floor master suite and the two kids bedrooms are upstairs with a large bathroom just for them. The sole purpose of that bathroom seemed to be for occasional use of the toilet. NO MORE!
This project, as most do, started with demolition. This was a learning process in itself. The amount of mortar under the floor tile shocked me. Why a 1″ base was required is not clear to me.
I’ve tried several methods for disposal. I’ve rented dumpsters, taken several trips to the dump with my pickup, put small portions at the curb and I had used the bagster once before. I opted for the bagster with the bathroom thinking one should be plenty. Once again, I was wrong.
My first experience with the bagster was great. I actually set it up in the garage on a 4’x8′ sheet of plywood. I’d drilled a large hole in the plywood and looped a tow strap through it. Once the bag was full and pickup scheduled I dragged the whole thing out to the curb with my truck. This saved lugging everything out to the curb.
I attempted to replicate this with the bathroom debris. I’m not sure if I overloaded it or if the load was just different, but the bag snagged on the concrete and I ended up with a trail of broken glass and tile down the driveway. With a tear in the bag and pickup scheduled for the following morning I ended up running to get a new bagster and transfer everything from one to the other. Not a success.
With everything cleared out we had a blank slate. All the plumbing generally stayed in the same place. We converted a huge linen closet into a shower and the tub then lost the shower option. We had a debate over keeping the tub, my wife concluded it’s required to have one tub in the house for resale.
With everything prepped for tile it was time to start…to panic. I had tons of mortar, stacks of tile, plenty of grout, all the right tools and just enough experience to be dangerous.
I applied a paint on waterproofing membrane called Red Guard and tested it by filling the shower with water, marking the water line and waiting a day to make sure it didn’t drop any. This worked out really well, I was stressing over folding a sheet membrane in the corners.
With waterproofing in place I set the slope for the floor based on the height of the drain. This trough style drain allowed me to make this more of a wedge shape than having to form a bowl. I’m not sure I’d use the trough style again, especially on the second floor with the limited space between the under the floor. Working over the basement would have allowed me to drop this down further.
The shower floor tile is a natural stone, with the tile installed I applied a sealer prior to grouting. This keeps the grout from staining the tile.
While waiting for the shower floor mortar to set, I moved to the tub surround. Without the shower head here it no longer required tile all the way up the wall.
It was great working with the large format tiles, the small border tiles however…these took a lot of patience to get straight and flush. You can see I used painter’s tape to hold them in place around the nook.
With the shower and tub surround complete I moved on to taping and mudding the drywall. I covered all the tile for this.
With everything complete that could drop or drip onto the new floor tile I set off planning that out.
I found that the floor had a dip in it in one area, I filled that area with self leveling cement before starting the tile.
When I lay floor tile I’ve always laid them all out and pre-cut all the pieces. These then get labeled with painters tape. This allows me to mix larger batches of mortar and not worry about it drying out while I measure and cut.
The observant reader will notice in the pics where I tried the two different patterns, I’d snapped a line down the center of the room and had the tile lined up with this. When I started planning for all my cuts I realized this required cutting tile at both walls. By shifting the tile so it was nearly centered on this line I could have the whole wall to the left without having to cut any tile.
As with all of my larger projects, I was WAY behind my expected schedule at this point. We had shopped for vanities all over town as well as online. There really wasn’t anything we liked that offered a mirrored pair. I debated building my own but this probably wouldn’t have helped the timeline AT ALL. Luckily one of my neighbors was up for the challenge. He built us two custom vanities as well as a really nice storage cabinet to match.
Once I completed the concrete counters, installed those along with hanging the mirrors, towel hooks and toilet paper holder…the room was finished! Oh, and we purchased a glass door for the shower and had that professionally installed…
Another one complete and checked off the list….next!!