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Unread 05-27-2011, 08:28 PM   #1
BronsonB
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BBB's Mom's Hall Bath Renovation

Well folks, here I am yet again. I really just finished my own master bath only last weekend, knocking out the last items on my punch list. And then yesterday after work, I drove five hours to Alabama to the beautiful little town my parents call home. We're not allowed to name the town publicly. It's so nice, the natives don't want anyone to know about it, but I'll tell you it's south of Daphne, Alabama. Locals know what I'm talking about ;-).

My folks moved here from Mobile a few years ago and bought a decent but worn home right off of scenic 98, but not on the bay side. So there's not much scenic from their home's deck other than highway 98. But Highway 98 at this point is covered in live oaks that create a tunnel effect on this two-lane highway. It's really quite nice as you drive under the Spanish moss draped trees!

But I digress. My folks didn't have to deal with any of us five kids by the time they moved over here, so they weren't concerned with the setup of the home. It's an interesting layout with a central atrium that is covered with skylights and clerestory windows and a hot tub, but it's not heated or cooled. The atrium is surrounded by windows that look into the kitchen, family room, living room, and bedroom hall. The four bedrooms are on the left side of the home. The master has it's own bath. Two bedrooms share the bath I am redoing, and one bedroom has no bath at all but can access the other bath via a hall door.

The bath between the two bedrooms would, I guess, be called a Jack and Jill bath. But it's set up unlike any Jack and Jill bath I've ever seen. It's basically one room approximately 14' long by 5' wide. Diving the room into two spaces is a cultured marble tub. There were mirrored doors on each side of the tub, but the room was open at the top. So you had no privacy, and when you entered, if the tub doors were closed, you had no idea if anyone was on the other side.

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Here's a photo showing the bath. I had already removed the tub doors when I remembered to take before photos, so imagine the doors there. I apologize for the small text on the photo. I added that in SnagIt and it was readable there but is too small now. It basically says that the shower for the hall bath will go in the right side of the tub space and the left side, which will now be part of the other bath, will provide space for the new toilet for the other bath.


The layout on each side is similar with a small vanity and toilet. The vanity area by the hall has one door leading to the bedroom and one door leading to the hall. The vanity area on the opposite side has just a door leading to the bedroom.

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These two photo are of what will be the new hall bath. The door on the far wall leads to the hall. The door to the left leads to the bedroom. The toilet and vanity will be replaced but stay in the same location.

The plan is to remove the tub completely. For the vanity area by the hall, the floor, vanity, and toilet will be removed and new tile floor installed (over Ditra, of course). A new vanity and new toilet will be installed in the same places they are now.

Where the tub is, a 32" square shower will go in the "left" half." A wall will be built behind and beside the shower to make this bath its own room.


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I again apologize for the small text. Snagit would not let me edit it after I saved and closed the file. Basically I'm noting that the vanity will shift down the wall to where the toilet is. Where the vanity is on the back wall the new tub will be. The door to the left will be moved down the wall.

The toilet ends up in the other half of the old tub space. So half of the bath renovation will involve a LOT of replumbing and new DWV as well as a lot of rewiring. The other half will involve very little replumbing beyond a new toilet flange (in the same location). The wiring will have minor work as the fan light combo is currently on a 3-way switch and will need to be changed to a 2-way (with one additional fan/light combo added).

I had a rough floor plan drawn ages ago, but I think I lost it when my last ThinkPad crashed in January. I'll try to draw another one up but hope you can visualize between my descriptions and the photos.
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Unread 05-27-2011, 08:44 PM   #2
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The mess I found

Now that you've seen what I started working with this afternoon during demo, you can see what I ran into! What a mess it was. Removing the toilet in the back bath was easy. Removing the vanity was a little harder. For some reason, the back half of the bath had vinyl floor while the front half had tile. I strongly suspected there was tile under the vinyl. I was wrong. Under the vinyl was 3/8 luan, and UNDER that was liquid nails. And UNDER that was the old tile.

As far as I can surmise, at some point in the past, the toilet had leaked and created a huge mess. I understand the house was vacant for a time, and I suspect that's when this damage happened. The joists started to rot, and I think sagged (or the subfloor sagged), and the tile cracked. The problem was discovered, but rather than fix it right, the owners went under the house and shored up the sagging subfloor with pieces of wood and then poorly sistered in joists that were too small and too short.

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Here are some shots of mold discovered while we demo'd the tub. I busted out the cultured marble wall panels and discovered mold in several spots.

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Here's the last shot of the tub before we hauled it out to the dump truck

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And after we pried up the vinyl, glue, luan, tile, mudbed mess, here's what we found underneath. Although it appears they've sistered the bad joists properly, they used a 2 x 6 next to a 2 x 10, and the 2 x 6 is only 4 feet long! And it has maybe 4 nails holding it to the 2 x 10. Thankfully, the rot on the 2 x 10 is limited to the top 3 inches. In one case, the sistered with a 2 x 4. And in another case, they used a piece of 1 x 6 PT decking.

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It's hard to tell in this photo, but the joist closer to the camera is the sister. I'm no engineer, but it sure looks undersized, and it's too short!

What kills me is that it would have been SO easy to do it right. The crawlspace beneath is readily accessible. There are NO wires or pipes running through the joists at all. All of the plumbing runs BELOW the joists. It's just a matter of getting the new sisters down there and moving them in place. There's some cross bracing that I'll need to remove to get the new sisters in, but right now, it looks like I can run the full length from the other wall to the block wall around the central atrium (looks like 17 feet or so).

There is some rot on the bottom 2x4 under each wall on the outside of the bath, and we're gonna try to work something out to repair those without having to take the wall down entirely. In one case, we're adding a door where some of the rot is, so I can remove the rot in the process. In the other wall, we'll have to see what we can do.

Thankfully, I have the help of a contractor/carpenter this week who my dad knows. My dad is an architect, and I hope to get some structural input from him. He's not yet had a chance to see this as he's working late at his cigar shop/architectural practice/wine shop (yep - both run out of the same storefront) in Daphne. They have live music on Friday nights, so he stays open late then.

So I have my work cut out for me. With luck, we'll get the new joists in tomorrow and perhaps even get the subfloor in. I've got my hopes up!
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Unread 05-27-2011, 08:47 PM   #3
chuck stevenson
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Bronson,

I am glad you are starting this thread.

I followed your other thread and you did a great job.

Many folks tune in and you might inspire them to tackle a bath or two.
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Unread 05-27-2011, 08:58 PM   #4
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Thanks chuck! I should probably call this my 2 for 1 bath! It's a 1.5 bath (one tub/shower, two sinks, two toilets) being converted into two full baths (one with tub/shower/sink/toilet and the other with shower/sink/toilet). I hear some REALTORS call the latter a 3/4 bath, but I think it qualifies as "full" in the MLS Then again, I think my parents will come out of this home feet first, so resell will never be their problem.

As my wife said, "tackle it now, or tackle it YEARS from now...it's up to you..."
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Unread 05-27-2011, 09:21 PM   #5
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As promised you delivered. Looks like you've got your hand full with this one. Looking forward to updates.


Thanks for posting Bronson.
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Unread 05-29-2011, 08:10 PM   #6
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Day 3 of working on my parents' bath

Yesterday was spent completing the demo and figuring out how to address the issue with the joists with the rotted tops. We managed to remove two large sections of subfloor above said joists and purchased new 2 x 10s to sister to the bad ones. Today, my dad and I spent a good 3 hours sistering four new joists to the ones that had rot. Took us awhile because we had to create a wedge to force the new joists into position. Lots of pounding! Lots of liquid nails. A good many screws as well. We were able to get the joists to run from the block perimiter wall to past the bad spots. The floor is good and stiff now. We then managed to get new 3/4 subfloor installed over the new sisters and then new 1/2 substrate over the entire floor.

However, we have one joist that is a tad higher than the others. So we have a crown in the floor. We knew about the high spot before hand, but there was no way to address it without ripping out ALL of the subfloor to try to plane that one joist or shim out the others. After much discussion, we're going to pour some SLC above the 1/2" ply to get the floor good and level. I thankfully convinced my parents NOT to try to lay tiles on the uneven floor.

Here is where we stand.

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The photo on the left shows the floor after the sisters were installed. The one on the right shows the floor after the new 3/4 and 1/2 ply were installed. Floor is at least level in the "long" direction. SLC will get us level in the other direction as well (well, I guess all directions really!).

Tomorrow, I have to crawl into the attic...on Memorial Day...in south Alabama...and try to reroute electrical lines to switches and an outlet that are right behind where the new tub insert will go. I will also be working on roughing in the supply and DWV for a sink, the tub, a toilet, and the shower. Thankfully, one sink and toilet are going to go in right where the old ones were removed, so no major work there other than new P traps and shut offs and a new flange. I expect that will take me all of tomorrow if not some of Tuesday as well.

We measured and found out that we will have to remove the bedroom door and perhaps even the trim and frame to get the tub and shower inserts into the bathroom. There's no other way. The hall entrance is only 24" wide. We've opened up the wall from one bedroom to the bath (which you can see in the left corner of the photos), so once we get the inserts into the bedroom, they'll slide right into the bath. We won't frame that wall back up until we get the inserts into place.

With luck, I might be pouring SLC on Wednesday, laying Ditra on Thursday, and perhaps tiling by then as well. We'll see. I don't want to rush, but at the same time, I can only make so many 5.5 hour trips down here from Marietta. More likely scenario is pouring SLC on Thursday.... I know how I work

But I am knocking items off the list slowly but surely . And mom and dad are happy. And siblings are jealous.
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Unread 06-06-2011, 07:56 AM   #7
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Progress!

I spent the past week working on my parents' hall bath renovation. I'm converting a bath and a half into two separate full baths. I made loads of progress but not as much as I had hoped. We ran into a couple of problems,

Problem 1

The single piece tub/shower insert would not fit into the bedroom, so we couldn't get it into the bathroom. We had to remove half of the wall between the bedroom and the bathroom to replace some rotten 2x4 and subfloor, so we had plenty of space to get it in there. We removed the door and frame to the bedroom, and while the unit would make it through the door, there was a closet in the way that we hadn't taken into consideration. So we returned the one piece unit and bought a tub with 3 piece surround. I had offered to do a tub with tile surround for my mom, but she said the fiberglass surround "would just be easier." She is right. Considering I have limited time, it'd be hard to squeeze in tiling the tub surround.

After repairing all of the damage to the joists and installing new subfloor and substrate, I got the new drains roughed in. The new single piece shower is now in place, and the wall splitting the bath and a half into two full baths is now mostly in place. We did leave off a couple of studs so we can move between the two baths more easily until we're ready to cover up the wall.

Problem 2


I had a lot of electrical work to do as the back bath switches and outlet were all located on the back wall where the tub would go. Plus, since the two baths had previously been one, there was single vent fan that worked both halves of the bath with a 3-way switch for the light and fan. I spent a day and a half going up and down in the attic (in South Alabama heat) running wire and pulling out old wire. I installed two new vent fans and vented them to the outside. The old vent fan was NEVER actually vented. It just blew the exhaust air into a pile of insulation!

While I was in the attic, I discovered that both of the attic fans were not working. Because of the design of the home with the central atrium that pops through the roof, there are no ridge vents. The two exhaust fans provide all of the ventilation, and neither one was working. I direct wired them to test them, and it turned out to the be thermostats were busted. I replaced the thermostats and now both are working. Mom noticed the house was cooler almost instantly as the fans started pulling out all of that hot air.

It was no fun working in that attic. It was cramped as it was, but to get to the spot where I needed to run wire, I had to climb over fragile duct work. I think I lost 5 - 10 pounds of water weight that day. But it's done! I did discover that my folks' home is rather "over" wired as all of the light circuits are 20 amp (with the proper 12/2 wire as well). Very interesting!

Problem 3

I had a heck of a day running the supply lines for the tub valve. My mom had picked out a very basic tub valve with separate hot/cold water and a diverter. It had screw type fitting that required a bit of precision to get them perfectly set, and I spent a good four hours working on that one to get it all in place. Once it was pressure tested, it did not leak. It has not leaked since, and we are keeping it under pressure for the duration.

I also ran DWV lines and spent a hour each on the tub drain, a sink drain, and the shower drain, and then spent an hour running vents for all three up into the wall cavity and joining them together well above the flood rim height.

I might have to snap a photo of the maze of drain pipes under the house. I found that once chunk of pipe was sloped DOWN in the WRONG direction, so I had to add some straps to get it going back in the right direction. I know my folks have a healthy septic system. Man those pipes were STINKY.

Back on Track

Although I was behind schedule by Friday (I had hoped to be pouring the SLC then), I was able to get back on track Saturday. I primed the substrate for SLC Friday night, laid wire lathe Saturday morning, primed it all again, and after it dried, my dad and I mixed SLC and poured six bags between the two baths. Dad has bad knees, so he did mixing, and I did all of the other stuff...hauling the 50 pound bags to the back porch, pouring the mix in the buckets, hauling the buckets to the baths and pouring them out.

I had several leaks through the floor into the crawlspace that I had to deal with, but I got those addressed, and the pour went well. We now have a solid and level floor ready for Ditra. That will have to be on my next visit though. I headed home with my boys Sunday morning. We'd spent nine lovely days with my parents, and my sons got to spend quality time with their Grandma and Big Pa. I hadn't spent that much time with my folks since before going to grad school WAY back in 1990.

Here are photos of the progress.

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This is the "back bath" that's connected to ONLY a bedroom (as opposed to the front bath that's connected to the hall and a bedroom). This is shot from the door way. You see the back of the shower for the hall/front bath. That's the vent line coming up from behind the shower. I kind of cheated and used the void behind the shower to run the vent line over to the wall and up to join into the other vent line. You can see the SLC on the floor nad the toilet flange in the toilet alcove.

The flange is not yet attached but is just sitting there after the SLC cured. The wall in the middle has the studs turned 90 degrees to give us an extra 1.5" in the toilet alcove, which was tight as is.

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Here's a shot from the bedroom to the back bath. You can see where we removed most of the wall. The pink stud in the floor will have a chunk removed after we frame in the new door to the bath and put the wall back in place.

The tub is to the left under protective cardboard. The vent lines on the far wall took me a good hour plus to set. The one on the far left ran right where I needed to put a supply line so I had to shift it to the right and then have it job back over to join into the vent pipe headed up to the attic I'm not proud of the fact that it has a slight lean, but the joints are set and strong with no leaks.

You can see the back of the shower from the hall bath. A sink will go between the tub and that wall. It's a small sink, so there's actually plenty of room for it, but it does look tight.

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This is a shot from the toilet alcove toward the bathtub on the back wall.

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This is a tab blurry, so I do apologize. This is shot from the toilet alcove of the back bath into the hall bath. There will be wall right where I am standing eventually.

The toilet for the hall bath will be right at the bottom of the photo (you see a bit of the flange) with a sink next to it (close to the door). That's the door to the hall. The door the bedroom is to the left. The shower is just to the left of the photo.

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This is looking into the hall bath from the hallway. You see the shower insert on the right. The toilet will be to the left. The pink stud represents where the partition wall will be. The sink would be to the left out of the photo (door would open into it).

So that's it for now. I have to plan my next trip down. My wife and I are trying to work it out so I can go down and work from my folks' home for a week. I work from home as it is, so as long as a I have a high speed connection, I can work from just about anywhere. If I can get back to my folks home for a week, I can probably make huge progress.

I still have one vent line to run for the back bath toilet as I couldn't find a way to hook that vent line into any of the others. I am running a vent for that toilet up to the attic and will join into the vent stack there.

I also have to run supply lines to the shower valve, and a supply line for the back bath toilet.

I have to finish some of the electrical rough in that can't be done until the wall between the bedroom and the back bath is framed.

If I can get that done, Dad's drywall guy can come in and install the drywall and mud and tape. If he can work quickly, I can perhaps lay Ditra and tile right after him.

Thanks for all of your support!
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Unread 06-06-2011, 08:15 AM   #8
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Good thread! Lots of pics, no questions!
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Unread 06-06-2011, 09:12 AM   #9
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I wish I could document as diligently!

When you say the toilet alcove in the full bath side is tight, how wide is it? We've got one in our master that is about 32" and I don't like it!
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Unread 06-06-2011, 09:14 AM   #10
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Dang, Steve! How wide is your...er... nevermind.
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Unread 06-06-2011, 09:48 AM   #11
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Bob, it's more ample than it needs to be, but my main issue with the narrow toilet alcove is that the builder left us no room for a wall mount toilet tissue holder, so we've been knocking over a toilet tissue stand every time we go in there in the dark for 7+ years.
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Unread 06-06-2011, 10:19 AM   #12
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Hey Steve -
32" would be nice! The toilet alcove in the back bath is a scant 27". Code is 30", so we're not quite there. But my folks are OK with it. We're probably going to do one of those TP holders that's partially recessed into the wall to help with the space.

It will be tight most definitely. But no one in my family should have any issue. If folks who "got back" come to use the bathroom, they'll have to try one of the other three toilets in the house, which have more than enough room to maneuver.
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Unread 06-13-2011, 12:05 PM   #13
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You've made a lot of progress since starting this thread. Seems like you've got a lot of energy. Thanks for the regular updates and pictures.
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Unread 06-13-2011, 02:20 PM   #14
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Hi Frank - that's what 9 days straight of work-work-work can get me!

I head back to my parents' home in a couple of weeks for another 7 - 9 day stay to try to finish up. I am hoping to get it done then as I really don't want to make another 5 hour drive back down to do any touch up work. We'll see what can happen.

It all depends on my dad's drywall guy. My plan is to get there not this weekend but next, finish up the plumbing (one vent line, 4 supply lines), install the tub surrounds, and make sure all of the electrical switch and outlet boxes are in.

If I can get that done over the weekend, drywall guy can come Monday and knock out the bath M-T-W. I can then install tile on Th, and we can see how it goes from there. Fingers crossed this will all work out.
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Unread 06-27-2011, 05:46 PM   #15
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I guess you'll be heading back soon, I look forward to the updates.
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