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Unread 12-05-2020, 08:29 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: SE PA
Posts: 23
Small Master Bath Remodel - Seeking Layout & Build Advice

My name is Steve, I found this site via Reddit's home improvement section and have been lurking and reading the more in-depth discussions for a few months now.

My wife and I are in our first home for over two years now, it's a 1958 2-story colonial, only odd note about the construction is that the first floor walls are CMU with the second story being stick built on top. The construction is 2x10 joists, 3/4"x3" T&G plank subfloor perpendicular over the joists, 2x4 bearing walls, and 2x3 partition walls, all 16" o.c.. We have remodeled the entire first floor with kitchen down to studs, two beam installations (with input from a professional engineer of course) to open up the layout given a pretty low count of square ft, and of relevance here I did my first tiling in the tiny powder room with a basic square tile floor (bonus trickiness for doing it in a 45-degree diamond layout that the wife wanted), then did the subway tile kitchen backsplash myself which goes to the ceiling above the sink and the range. Wish I found the site earlier! But I'm happy with those jobs so far and feeling ready to get into the shower system.

What brings me to post:
The bathrooms are all very small including the 3/4 master and the full hall. They are/were original, and the master shower was a corner setup, 33"x33" internal size, with 2x3 stud framing on two sides. It was dark in there and while we saw no obvious signs of leaks, I was always too wary to use it much and my wife preferred the shub in the hall bath from day 1 anyway. We had the pink hall bathtub refinished to white, and painted the pink tile walls and floors white, blasphemy I know but it was just to get by for awhile. It's not terrible but I need to remodel the master so that we can start using it while remodeling the hall.

We've been stuck in design analysis paralysis awhile, and I'm hoping that some discussion here can help me iron out the plan so that I can get into building it.

My thinking is that the ease of the Kerdi system will be worth the cost. With how small the room is, I want to do Ditra heat as well for the added touch of luxury. I don't want to do natural stone, it'll be kept simple with probably a 2" hexagon or 1" penny round floor, and some larger format on the wall and in the shower. If possible I will simply replace all of the tile that was there, and retain the upper plaster walls. Main reason that I would possibly replace the plaster walls would be to replace the insulation on the exterior walls (which are the 8 ft. 3 in. wall and the 6 ft wall). But I hate dealing with plaster and the rock lath that it's covering, so I'd much prefer to avoid that. I have an idea to do the wall tiles horizontally, but turn them vertical in the shower where they run up to the ceiling.

I've already gutted the room, with the exception of the plaster wallboard as mentioned. The original tile was a beastly installation - rock lath substrate, really thick, wire mesh everywhere. The lead shower pan held up pretty well for 60 years, but the subfloor underneath was definitely damaged. See pics.

The wall of the shower and toilet is shared with the hall bath, with the main sewer vent stack running up between the two toilets. That wall is actually 2x6 for the stack. The 8 ft. 3 in. wall is shared with the bedroom hallway.

So, some questions for discussion:
We had been thinking how great a zero-threshold shower would be for such a small room, but I'm a little nervous about it. I have to replace subfloor anyway so dropping it between the joists for the shower doesn't really make me nervous, mostly its the risk of splash-out or the potential for lack of containing the water inside what will be a pretty small shower. Using a glass corner shower I think we can take the whole footprint of the old design and get a 36 or 38 inch square shower, or perhaps we might consider the neo angle given the tight layout.

The toilet drain required nonstandard joist layout and that's why there's a patch of subfloor running differently from the rest. I'm thinking that the right thing to do is replace all of the subfloor, but I'm a little unsure of what that looks like at the wall intersections, aside from a few threads on here where someone did it. This is my biggest hangup right now, as far as how to proceed. The 2x10 joists under the shower span 8 ft, the rest of the bathroom joists span 12 ft. For what it's worth, the wall that is 6 ft 1.5 in overhangs the first floor CMU wall by about 10 inches which I'm taking out of those span numbers.

I'd like to put the vanity plumbing in the wall, but it's an exterior wall and I know that's typically a no-no. Maybe some creative routing can produce a reliable result while also freeing up the under-sink space I'm seeking?

The baseboard heat is something I'll probably have my HVAC contractor remove and run below floor in the bathroom over to where it continues into the bedroom, with the possible exception of a hydronic kickspace heater under whatever vanity we end up with. Radiant floor heat should do well.

The old shower drain used a canister trap and it's shot, so I am thinking that's where I need to start - the drain sets the elevation for the whole floor. Right?

The shower plumbing ran up the old shower wall, so I want to move that to the 2x6 wall or possibly the 2x3 wall. Again I've read about how the right thing to do is to turn that into a 2x4 wall for the shower so that I could fit the valve as well as a niche if desired.

The only possible layout change would be to move the shower to the opposite corner where the vanity was. But the window poses a problem and the solution is unlikely something I want to deal with in this project. I'm open to suggestions though.

Anyways check out the photos, any advice is much appreciated, and I'll log my progress. Ugh I see that the last photo is sideways, sorry about that, unsure of the cause...
Attached Images

Last edited by HilltopRehab; 12-06-2020 at 02:21 PM.
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