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Bathroom Remodeling Planning - Part 1

Part 2

While most home decorating and remodel magazines show bathrooms that are the size of most home master bedrooms, the vast majority of home owners have relatively small bathrooms (Figure 1).

If you need some ideas for your bathroom remodeling project take a look at these pictures

small bathroom
Figure 1 - Small bathroom

However, the fact that the bathrooms are small, does not necessarily mean that actually undertaking a bathroom remodeling or bathroom home improvement project is less onerous.

For those homeowners who are lucky enough to have two bathrooms in their home, the remodeling of one of the bathrooms may alleviate some of the time constraints. If you only have one bathroom in your home, the time constraints on bathroom remodeling.

This article is predicated on total bathroom remodeling, which includes all the basic fixtures; tub, toilet and sink and it includes all faucets, cabinetry, walls, floors and ceiling.

Remodeling a bathroom can easily involve the vast majority of trades necessary to build an entire new home.

As with any home improvement project, planning is the key to success, and it is even more critical with bathroom remodeling than any any other remodel within your home.

Remodeling a bathroom requires a building permit in most jurisdictions. To obtain a building permit you will have to prepare a reasonably detailed set of plans and submit it to your local building department. Software packages are now available that will allow you to create plans and see 3D views of your finished bathroom remodeling project, before you even pick up the hammer for the first time. Inspections will be required for any changes to electrical and/or plumbing connections, drains, water supply, and routing.

If you are ordering non-stocked items such as shower doors, tile, cabinets, vanities and counter tops, remember that delivery can be anywhere from eight to twelve weeks. With a bathroom remodel, it is important that you have all the major components on site before you start into the project.

Demolition: Once you have all the major components for your bathroom remodeling project on site you can start with the demolition. One important consideration with demolition is determining how you will dispose of the material that you are removing. You will be amazed at the amount of rubble that comes out of even a small bathroom. The rental of a garbage dumpster, should be considered.

  1. Remove any mirrors and other wall mounted items such as towel bars and strip lighting. If you have a light fixture that protrudes from the ceiling, remove it and replace it with a simple keyless bulb holder. If you only have wall strip lighting, you will have to set up temporary lighting in the room.
  2. Disconnect the basin from its drain plumbing and remove it. If you have a pedestal basin or a basin in a vanity that has the faucets coming through it, you will have to disconnect the hot and cold water lines as well. Make sure that the hot and cold water lines are turned off, prior to removing faucet connections.
  3. Have a bucket and sponge available to wipe up any water that resides in the pipes as you disconnect plumbing items.

  4. Remove the vanity.
  5. Remove the toilet. Place a large rag in the floor drain to stop sewer gases from entering the home.
  6. Remove the bathtub. This may require the removal of the first row of tiles and drywall (or plaster) that is directly above the bathtub as many bathtub's have a lip that sits under the drywall. Depending on the style of bathtub, it may require the disconnection and removal of hot and cold water lines as well.
  7. It is highly likely that you will not have shut-off valves specifically for the bathtub faucets. Hence, the only way to turn the water off is at the main shut-off valve. This means that the entire house is without water.

    I suggest that after turning off the water to the home that you install shut-off valves on the piping specifically going to the bathroom. This will allow you to turn the water back on to the rest of the home while you are working on the bathroom remodeling project.

    It is also advantageous should you have to do any repairs to the bathroom hot and cold water systems in the future.

  8. Remove all the tile from walls. If you are replacing the wall sub material (drywall to concrete board or green board), now is the time to remove it.
  9. Remove all the flooring materials, bringing the floor to sub-floor material. (If you need to install new sub-floor material, do not do it at this point).
  10. Remove the ceiling material.
  11. Remove the sub-flooring if necessary. Lay some pieces of plywood on the floor to provide you with a temporary surface to walk on.
  12. Note: It is always wise to do a visual inspection or the floor and ceiling joists when you have the opportunity to do so. Look for mold, rot, moisture ingress. If anything is discovered take the appropriate steps to repair or replace damaged material. Do not seal in rotten, moldy or damaged material!