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Unread 05-28-2009, 12:27 PM   #1
MTHouse
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Master Bath - Building First Home!

Hi everyone! I have been lurking and searching this forum for a while now. It is amazin how much great advice and ideas are on here!

My husband and I are getting ready to start building our first home. We are going to hire a builder, but are planning to act as the GC and do as much as possible ourselves. I am drawing the plans myself and am really close to having them all finalized.

I have attached a rough pitcher of our Master Bath and would love any advice/input or thoughts anyone has on it. Sorry I'm not real handy with the paint program to make a very good drawing.

Name:  Master Bath.jpg
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The interior dimensions are 7' by 15' with the side walls being 2x6 plumbing walls and the top wall being an exterior wall. The top is a doorless walk-in shower. The bottom right corner is a walled off section for a chimney for a wood-stove in the basement below. There needs to be a door on the bottom wall to the Master Closet and there needs to be a door on the right wall to the Master Bedroom. I'm thinking of a clawfoot tub that hubby would like to be at least 5'6" if possible. Hubby is a pretty big guy and we need to make sure the opening to the shower is a min. of 26" for him to comfortably get in and out. The little square by the vanity is a bench... I would really like to have a bench in the bathroom somewhere if possible.

I think my Sis-In-Law and I are going to try to tackle the shower ourselves and do the kerdi system. I have never done anything like this and am excited about the idea of it. She has done a lot of tiling including several showers, but has never done the kerdi system. Should be interesting!!
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Unread 05-28-2009, 01:13 PM   #2
bbcamp
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Welcome to the forum, Dee! Nice signature!

I didn't see a question, so I'll just throw out a little advice. If you have a room to do a full size mockup, take the time to mark everything out with painter's tape on the floor, cardboard boxes for the vanity and toilet, etc. before you frame the walls or rough in the plumbing. This will give you a feel for how your layout will work for you, without costing an arm and leg should you change your mind. Also, download Google's Sketchup software. It can do 3-d models that you can rotate, zoom, etc.

One last thing: some folks say that "a builder" and "GC" are the same thing. A general contractor hires the subs that will do the actual work. He's the guy that is ultimately responsible for the job and answers to you. The subs answer to the GC and are paid by the GC, not you. If you intend to hire the subs yourself, fine. You're the GC. If you intend to hire a guy to hire the other trades, while you provide some manual labor, that's fine too. He's the GC. Just make sure your reporting arrangements are clear from the very beginning so there's no misunderstanding as to who does what and who pays whom.

I wish you good luck on this project!
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Unread 05-28-2009, 01:27 PM   #3
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Welcome, Dee.

What Injineer Bob said.

That sharing of responsibilities between owner and builder can be a very, very tricky proposition.

Only one of y'all can be GC. That one is in charge of, and responsible for, every aspect of the project. You gotta decide who that will be.

If you contract with a GC or Builder (whichever you wanna call him/her) to build the house, you'll need to make arrangements with him to allow you to do whatever portions of the project you think you can handle. Don't be even a little surprised if the folks you interview for the GC position aren't at all willing to permit you to do some of the things you think you want to handle yourselves.

There are very few portions of a residential construction project that I will permit the owner to assume responsibility for and we put very specific requirements and limits on even those.

It can work, but don't expect it to be as easy as just saying, "we'll take care of the master bathroom" and you do the rest. Ain't gonna work that way, at least not successfully.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 05-28-2009, 02:34 PM   #4
MTHouse
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Thanks for the replies!

We are planning to be the GC - we have accounts set up at the lumber yards for materials and we will be hiring all subs. We have hired a builder (my cousin) who we are going to pay for his labor to build the house and assist us in knowing what we need to be doing. My husband has construction experience but he doesn't have the time to just work on our house.

My question to start with...

Does this look like a good floor plan for the Master Bath? Any suggestions on what the dimensions/design should be for the shower specifically?

I have seen a lot of people do some pretty creative and ingenious (sp? ya know smart) things with showers and bathrooms on here and am looking for any ideas anyone wants to share!! Thanks!
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Unread 05-28-2009, 03:38 PM   #5
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My own preferences for a master bath.

If space allows I really like to be have a door separating the toilet from the rest of the bath. Preferably a real door and not a pocket door.

In a MB I like to see two sinks so that both can use the bath at the same time to get ready for work

Ask yourself how much you really use the tub. I did my MB with a large (4x6 with a corner bench) wonderful shower and no tub and haven't missed the tub at all. I see a lot of jacuzzi tubs gathering dust in bathrooms.

Good exhaust fan for moisture and odor control. I like the fantech remote units a lot. Put a timer on the fan. Make sure it vents outside and not the attic.

Showers with windows are a bad idea.

It's the master bath, so there's no reason the counter tops have to be at child height. Make them adult height. If you have the depth you can use kitchen cabinets instead of bath cabinets.

In a multi-story house where the bath is on the second floor, transition from PVC to iron pipe to keep noise down in the spaces below

If the budget allows, spring for thermostatically controlled shower valves. They hold the temp constant as hot water runs down. Hans Grohe makes nice ones, but pricey
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Unread 05-28-2009, 11:19 PM   #6
MTHouse
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Thanks for the thoughts, I really appreciate the input! My comments...

Toilet Room - I know a lot of people prefer a "closet" around the toilet. However, we are not building this house for resale and we prefer it without.

2 sinks - Another point that I know is probably more popular but not our preference. What I would really like is to have enough space for 2 sinks, but just have additional counter space below the mirror so I can put my hair dryer, curling iron, etc. down without having to be hanging over the sink while I get ready.

Tub - Absolutely want it! Hubby probably takes 2-3 baths a week and I usually take at least 2 a week and that is in our little 5' tub/shower combo we currently have. I am not planning for a jacuzzi style tub, but would like a nice tub for soaking... maybe a slipper tub?

Exhaust Fan - Great Point!! Thanks a lot for mentioning it. I would love more reccommendations on exhaust fans and tips on how to size them. This will probably be even more critical due to the location of our closet.

Shower w/ Window - I agree, I would love it if anyone has any suggestions for a layout that would allow for a window that is not in the shower. If not, we probably won't have a window in the bathroom.

Counter height - Good point, I never would have thought of this and will definately pay attention to it now.

Iron Pipe - Yes, hubby had said the same thing.

Thermostatically controlled shower valves - Another great tip, I have never heard of these and had to look up what it even was. They look fantastic, don't know if we can swing it now but it would be a great future upgrade.
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Unread 05-29-2009, 08:04 AM   #7
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Dee,
A couple of quick points
If you are just using a tub for soaking, consider a Japanese style ofro tub. I think they are more comfortable then a standard tub (they are deeper, but shorter) saves space. They also tend to lose heat less quickly as you are soaking.
Thermostatic shower valves rock. If you are worried about the money, install a delta universal rough in valve body , and a cheap trim kit. When you have the bucks, change to a thermostatic valve.
Your design is long but narrow. I would use a glass wall(or glass block) in the shower so it looks more open. If you can’t fit in a window, I would use 2 or 3 tubular skylights (Velux or other) centered in the room 2 14” or 3 10” ones. This gives you lots of natural light which is important.
Spend the bucks to get a QUIET bath fan, that way you actually use it. With such a long room, consider one with 2 intakes on different sides of the room Get a timer that is a humidistat or a variable timed shut off one.
The best solution is a bath fan for point exhaust from the shower + a heat recovery ventilator for the house with an intake in the bathroom to control humidity.
Make sure that the shower plumbing is not on the outside wall

Your existing design requires vents in both long walls which is more expensive. Try to set up the plumbing layout so that the water from the shower washes the pipe the toilet is on. Which way do the floor joists run, how big are they and are they TJI or standard lumber? This makes a big difference in how easy it is to plumb this thing.
If you have a plumber, you may want to talk to him before hand with you layout to make sure he can plumb you design without too much trouble

Attached is the layout that I would probably use for your bathroom. Optimized for 2 people who both use the bathroom at the same time. This design should also be a reasonable to plumb and gets you down to one vent stack as well as a efficient wet vent design. 2 large people can maneuver by each other, you don’t have to look at the toilet from the door, you get your bench as well as a large shower that does not need a door.
Good Luck,
Eric
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Unread 05-29-2009, 09:10 AM   #8
MTHouse
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Thanks Eric... you really got me thinking now!

Ofro tubs - I had never heard of these and they look pretty interesting to me. I'm fairly small so the size of the tub is not really a thing for me but is for my hubby. I will have to see what he thinks of this idea.

Thanks for the tip on how to make it easier to upgrade later on the shower valve.

Glass wall in shower - I agree that it would be nice. I don' really care for the look of the glass blocks, but I would love a glass wall. I'm just not sure about where the controls would be then?

Fan - Great tips!! I really appreciate all tips on this area as it is an area I know nothing about and I think is really important. It is also an area that seems to be overlooked by a lot of people.

Floor joists will be running the long ways under the room, I don't know what they are but can find out.

I like your layout a lot, assuming that hubby would go for the Ofro and the shower would have enough space for a bench. Also, if we had all the plumbing on one wall we could gain an extra 2 inches in the bathroom as the other wall could just be a 2x4 wall.
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Last edited by MTHouse; 05-29-2009 at 09:13 AM. Reason: forgot floor joist question
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Unread 05-29-2009, 09:47 AM   #9
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Looks like a fun project. If you're going to be doing a lot of "fiddling" with design, I would recommend that you try out a design or CAD program. There are ones specially designed for houses and remodeling, but I personally use SketchUp (http://sketchup.google.com/). It's a free program made by Google. There are thousands of tutorials online, and it will take you a day or two to become moderately proficient at using it. You can build everything to scale, build in 2-D or 3-D, overlay patterns, colors, or photos for your design, take measurements, and group and move objects, turn on and off layers, and view your final design in photorealistic color and at any angle. But best of all, you can upload pre-made objects, such as appliances and furniture off of the google site. After you get over the short learning curve, you'll never go back to paint programs again. Shown is an example of my kitchen project. I uploaded all the appliances and furniture. I also photographed my flooring and paneling and overlaid it to help visualize the final design.
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Unread 05-29-2009, 11:32 AM   #10
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ofro's are different in that you sit up. The first time I used one i was a bit unsure of it, but came to like it better then a conventional tub.

A bench would fit in the shower along the 5' long wall. becasue the only plumbing that will be in the wall is the sink drain, and vent stack, both walls could be 2X4 construction. IF you need to run the 3 or 4" building vent stack, you could put it in the chase for the wood stove at the end of the bathroom. You can also use this chase to bring up the HRV exaust and also fresh air supply to the bedroom.

I don't know how the rest of the house is set up, but you can save alot of money in construction if you have all the plumbing on each floor stacked on top of each other.

You also want to figure out how many gallons of hot water a bath needs and let the plumber know ahead of time so they can size the hot water tank or tankless system to match your demand.



Lots of choices to make

In the ideal world, take your plumber, framer and HVAC guy out to a nice steak dinner and show them the plans and spend a few hours deconflicting everything and ask them what they would change to make it simple for them from an insulation and maintinance. standpoint.

Things like changing the framing layout slightly to make the waste plumbing easier, how to add cleanouts in accessable locations make a huge difference in the time it takes them to do it. In my (VERY) limited experiance talking to everybody and showing them the plans at an early stage and asking what they would do different leads to alot of simplification.
simple is cheaper. If you get the trades in at the begining and show them you are willing to acomodate them to make life easier for them, mostly they will adjust thier pricing

Make sure to think about how to maintain and access things after the drywall is up.

Good Luck.
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Unread 05-29-2009, 11:32 AM   #11
MTHouse
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Thanks, I will look into downloading google skethup. I have a 3-D Home architect program that I have been using but it keeps messing up my wall thicknesses. I don't think it exports to a format that I can upload here, so I am just using paint. Now I am just drawing my plans by hand on graph paper to make sure all my dimensions work. I have the floorplan all worked out except for the layout of the Master bathroom and the basement still needs some tweaking.

What do you think of this layout?

Name:  Master Bath 2.jpg
Views: 1738
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the shower would be 5'6" (wall B side) x 4' (wall A side) with a bench along wall A in the shower and another bench right outside the shower with a window above it. The shower could maybe have a shower heads on the walls across from A and B? The tub would be 5'6" with a short wall between the tub and toilet. Do you think this layout would work for the shower to be doorless? How big should I make the opening if I do this?

From a plumbing standpoint does the sink need to be on the same wall the toilet?

Could the plumbing run in the short walls of the shower for both the shower and tub and then up from the floor for the toilet and sink?? If so I could make both of the long walls 2x4 walls and the bath could then be 7'4" wide.

Thank you all so much for your advice!!
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Unread 05-29-2009, 11:45 AM   #12
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Thanks Eric, I hadn't seen your reply. That is very helpful information. I will talk to the plumber & HVAC guy for sure. I think that those extra 4" will make a big difference in this bathroom.

Who typically handles things like determining the proper size vent and hot water heater? I'm expecting that the plumber will be giving us advice on those things, correct?

I'm hoping that I can draw up a good plan that they can follow and build and then my SIL and I would just come in and do the kerdi system and tile the shower after all construction things are in place. Does this seem like a workable arrangement?
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Unread 05-29-2009, 02:14 PM   #13
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Dee,

I can't realy give you good plumbing advice. Every state has adopted differnt rules so you need a local plumber. (I am not a plumber anyway). He should size the water tank and design the supply and waste plumbing.
You can certainly put the sink on the oposite wall, not a big deal. It will likely require an additional vent in the wall behind it.

The only thing I would think about is with your layout with 2 people, it may be hard to get by each other if someone is standing at the sink.
Sink is ~22" wide, tub is likely 36" depending on how it is trimmed out. if ya only got 84-88" this leaves 26-30" to walk through. To visualize this stand in a doorway that is 30" and have you husband try to get by you. Now subtract 4" and repeat.

visualy I think your last sketch would look narrow. You might want to put a wide mirror on the long wall to add to the perseption of depth

The other thing you want to think about is how well this design would do as you age. Can you use it if you are on crutches cause you broke your foot? How about with a walker, or a wheelchair?
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Unread 05-29-2009, 02:45 PM   #14
MTHouse
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Thanks for the input. I definately will be putting a large mirror along the long wall. I am liking the clawfoot tub styles that all seem to be about 30" wide so that would allow for 32"-36" of walk space in the center of the bathroom. I don't think there is anyway we will be able to achieve the ideal of having it wheelchair accessible at this point. I know anything can happen but I hope I have a long time (I'm only 30 now) to worry about that and hopefully will have the money to pay for a remodel by the time!

I appreciate all the help, unless anyone has any other input, I think this is the layout I will go with. Does anyone have any thoughts about the shower being doorless? I don't mind if a little splashes out as I tend to use a bathmat anyways, but I don't want a puddle on the floor or water damage.
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Unread 05-29-2009, 03:06 PM   #15
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Hi Dee, welcome to the forum.

Just wanted to second the idea of a solatube/tubular "skylight". They are very energy friendly versus a regular skylight and it's amazing the amount of light it lets in a room. We have added a few to each of our homes over the years and do not use the lights during the day.
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