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Unread 04-09-2022, 01:53 PM   #1
RifRaf
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My First Bathroom Remodel (with pics)

Hello everyone... new member here! My name is Mike and I'm from Baltimore, MD. I am currently in the first phase (demo) of my bathroom remodel. Since I was planning to install a tile floor in this bathroom, I have been doing research for the past several months prior to beginning this project and this forum has provided a wealth of useful information.

I know I will have questions during this project, but I thought I would start with providing some details about the flooring structure... and then proceed with showing everyone some pics of the progress.

DETAILS
Home: All brick Rancher style house built in 1964. The structure of the house is in excellent condition. Full basement under the entire first floor... so easy access to everything on the first floor from below.

Floor Joist:
Floor joist are exactly 1.5" x 9", 16" on center, and span a 14 foot length between supports. All joist are in excellent condition.
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Unknown joist wood material... and I could not find any stamps or identification marks on the joist other than the number 643 imprinted on the end of the joists.
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Flooring (bathroom):
The subfloor is 1/2" 5 ply Exterior Glue plywood. The 1/2" subfloor is currently nailed to the floor joists.
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On top of the 1/2" plywood subfloor, there was 5/8" plywood that was stapled to the 1/2" plywood subfloor. Glued to the 5/8" plywood were 2 levels/sheets of vinyl flooring. The entire 5/8" plywood + vinyl flooring within the bathroom have been removed (due to water damage to some of the 5/8" plywood that was close to the shower curb... and also to get rid of the vinyl flooring).

Bathroom Demo
Attached are some pics of the bathroom that is being completely demo’ed and remodeled.
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I started by removing the shower door and proceeded to remove the shower tiles. To my surprise, the shower tiles were glued onto a plywood wall board and the tile came off very easily. After the shower tiles were removed, I began to remove the plywood wall panels.
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After the plywood shower walls were removed, I went to work on removing the shower curb. I also noticed that the shower pan was made of some kind of soft metal material (lead?) and was cut in all four corners when originally installed. I think this was something that contributed to the shower leak.
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After the curb was removed, I went to work on removing the tiled shower floor and concrete bed. I worked from the front of the shower floor (where the curb was) towards the back. By removing the curb first, it created some relief space for the shower floor to move into as I whacked it with my 4lb hammer. I couple hard hits created cracks within the shower floor so pieces of the tile+concrete could be pried out.
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I then cut the drain pipe from below (in the basement) so I was able to remove the shower pan.
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Next, I cut the 5/8” plywood + vinyl flooring into sections so it could be removed. I also started to remove the bathroom walls (plaster board covered with a layer of plaster).
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To be continued....
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Last edited by RifRaf; 04-09-2022 at 02:54 PM.
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Unread 04-09-2022, 02:20 PM   #2
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So here is where the questions come in…

I did have some water damage to the 1/2" plywood subfloor around the drain … and some smaller areas where the subfloor plywood panels were butted together (but this was mostly cosmetic – subfloor still solid).
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Name:  8 Joist Damage.jpg
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In the photo of the bathroom floor with the colored lines…
The Brown lines represent the spacing of the floor joist. The double brown lines (see yellow arrows) are floor joists that are 5” apart O.C. and run under each bathroom wall.
The "End Joints" are where the 4' x 8' plywood panels are butted against each other.
The Green, Red, and Blue lines are referenced in my questions below about how I should remove the damaged section of the 1/2" plywood subfloor.
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What would be the best/strongest way that I should remove the damaged section of 1/2" plywood subfloor around the drain?
  1. Remove just the middle section represented where the green lines meet the red lines (this would remove most of the damaged plywood).
  2. Remove the section of plywood represented by the Red lines (too keep from placing plywood subfloor seams in the middle section under the shower pan).
  3. Remove both sections of plywood represented by the Red lines and the Blue lines to remove all stained plywood subfloor.
  4. Any other suggestions?

NOTE: Wherever I cut and remove the subfloor, I plan to install/sister some 2x4's (or 2x6's) onto the existing joists to support the new panel.

I am planning to tile the bathroom floor with ceramic plank tiles that measure 6"W x 24"L x 1/4". The tiled floor space will be 4'W x 7'L (from shower curb to far wall).

I also have questions about the plywood I should be reinstalling on the bathroom floor.
A - What type should I be using (Exterior, Exposure 1)?
B - How many additional layers of plywood are needed on top of the 1/2" subfloor to install a ceramic tile floor?
C - What plywood thickness would I need of each layer on top of the existing 1/2" subfloor?
D - OR... Should I remove the entire 1/2" subfloor that is attached to the joists (bathroom only) and install/screw a new 3/4" plywood subfloor onto the joists... and then attach an additional 1/2" layer of plywood onto the new 3/4" plywood subfloor?

P.S. I do plan on using NobleSeal CIS for an underlayment layer between the top layer of plywood (still subfloor?) and the tile.

Thanks in advance for all help and advice!
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Last edited by RifRaf; 04-09-2022 at 09:13 PM.
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Unread 04-09-2022, 04:07 PM   #3
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Welcome, Mike.

Problem with your existing subfloor is not the minor water damage, but the thickness. While your five-ply is certainly better than the four-ply nominal half-inch plywood available today, it's still half-inch (possibly actual half-inch) plywood without T&G edges and not sufficient for a single layer of subflooring over 16" joist centers. My recommendation would be to remove all the existing half-inch subfloor and start with a new first layer of nominal 3/4" exterior glue plywood with no face of grade lower than C. Either your suggested exposure ratings of Exterior or Exposure 1 are suitable.

A single layer meets the requirements of all tile substrate manufacturers, including the Noble Company. Adding a second layer of nominal half-inch plywood is up to you.

Have you decided how you intend to construct and waterproof your new shower?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-09-2022, 04:27 PM   #4
RifRaf
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CX, Thank you for your quick response!

That was an option that I was contemplating... but was worried about having the new 3/4" plywood subfloor seams (along the walls) directly under the next layer of 1/2" plywood seams (again, at the wall), since I wanted to have a total thickness of 1 1/4" of (layered) plywood flooring on top of the joist.

Or... is this a non-issue?


Quote:
Originally Posted by CX
Have you decided how you intend to construct and waterproof your new shower?
Yes. I will be using the complete Wedi system for both the shower pan and the walls.
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Unread 04-09-2022, 05:12 PM   #5
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CX, one other thought...

You mentioned that "A single layer meets the requirements of all tile substrate manufacturers".

Would it be possible to act like the 1/2" plywood subfloor did not exist and screw the new 3/4" plywood onto the joist through the existing 1/2" plywood (with pre-drilling both layers of plywood as shown in the image below)?
Name:  Attaching subfloor and underlayment+.jpg
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I would make sure to use the correct length decking/construction screws that had a smooth portion of shank long enough to go through both layers of plywood... while also having at least 1 1/2" of screw bite into the joist.

The 3/4" plywood would be screwed to the 1/2" plywood as shown in the image using the correct length screws.
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Unread 04-09-2022, 05:53 PM   #6
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Yes, that is an acceptable option, which I usually mention, but didn't as you were planning to remove some of your subfloor anyway.

If the surface of your existing subfloor is very clean (as it appears) and the damaged areas are superficial, you might also try bonding a second layer of nominal half-inch plywood over what you've got with a full spread of wood glue and lots of mechanical fasteners. A bit tedious, but it can be done effectively and saves you a little floor height if that's a consideration.

In your drawing, I would not bother with any of the fasteners that are not holding the new subfloor to the joists. Just pretend the existing half-inch plywood isn't there.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-09-2022, 08:35 PM   #7
RifRaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CX
Yes, that is an acceptable option.
Great!... Thanks for the update

I will continue to keep this thread updated with new posts (with more pics) as I make progress (and I'm sure I will have more questions along the way).
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Last edited by RifRaf; 04-11-2022 at 08:48 AM.
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Unread 04-11-2022, 09:16 AM   #8
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Yesterday, I removed the toilet (and toilet flange) so I could remove the last section of the plywood underlayment flooring and the remaining section of the wall.
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I also plan to remove all of the old copper drain pipes (that hang below the floor joist) and replacing them with PVC DWV pipes and fittings (that will hang within the floor joist). Below is an image of the copper drain pipes I will be removing.
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I started by cutting a section out of the main drain branch and capping the cut drain pipe with a flexible cap.
Next, I cut the toilet drain pipe below the upper floor (green arrow) so I could remove the flange.
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While I was cutting the drain pipe, I found a stamp on one of the floor joists (blue box).
I am pretty sure that the floor joists are Douglas Fir (D FIR stamped on wood). I am not sure what the other stamped items are.
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I used my circular saw to cut the last remaining bathroom floor into sections (blade depth set to about 1/32” shy of cutting completely thru the plywood) and then pried up the remaining sections of floor.
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I ran some 12/2 wire to a new 20-amp breaker that I connected to an existing GFCI outlet. I also raised the outlet box (since the original location of the box was too low – red arrow).
I also ran a 14/2 wire to the circuit panel that will be connected to a new 15-amp breaker. The 14/2 wire will be used for the vanity lights, shower light, and ceiling exhaust fan.
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Question: should the 14/2 wire (vanity lights, shower light, and ceiling exhaust fan) be connected to a 15-amp GFCI breaker?... or just a regular 15-amp breaker?
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Unread 04-11-2022, 09:56 AM   #9
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Mike, receptacles are typically the only devices that require ground fault interrupter (GFI) circuit. Local codes can vary though. Around here separate dedicated circuits are required for bathroom receptacles, but not necessarily lights and fans.

If using metal boxes there is a need to ground the box itself as well as anything mounted in it. All codes I'm familiar with require it. Should a conductor inadvertently contact the box, it will short to ground and trip breaker rather than energize the box.
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Unread 04-11-2022, 10:37 AM   #10
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While the general lighting in a bathroom can be on a 15A circuit, I think the NEC still recommends a 20A circuit if it includes a ceiling fan. And if the fan includes heat coils of a heat lamp, the 20A circuit is required.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-11-2022, 10:43 AM   #11
RifRaf
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Peter, Thanks for the reply!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbidetooth
Receptacles are typically the only devices that require ground fault interrupter (GFI) circuit. Around here separate dedicated circuits are required for bathroom receptacles.
That's how a ran the wire to my bathroom outlet... a separate dedicated 12/2 wire from the 20-amp breaker that is connected only to the GFI outlet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbidetooth
If using metal boxes there is a need to ground the box itself as well as anything mounted in it.
That's also how I wired this outlet. The ground wire from the 12/2 is connected to both the outlet and the box (all ground wires pig-tailed together and secured with a wire nut).
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Unread 04-11-2022, 10:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CX
While the general lighting in a bathroom can be on a 15A circuit, I think the NEC still recommends a 20A circuit if it includes a ceiling fan. And if the fan includes heat coils of a heat lamp, the 20A circuit is required
.
CX, Thanks for pointing this out. I did read that is was okay to wire the bathroom lighting and ceiling fan on one circuit (when the ceiling fan did not have a heater)... but the 15-amp vs 20-amp requirement was a little unclear.

I totaled my amp draw for the bathroom vanity lights (2.5 amps max) + shower light (.1 amps) and the ceiling fan (.14 amps) = 2.74 amps
So I thought a 15 amp circuit would be okay.

BUT, maybe I'll just run another 12/2 wire for the ceiling fan only... just in case we (or a future owner) ever decides to install an exhaust fan with a heater. It would be much easier to do now while everything is opened up and accessible.

Thanks again for the advice!
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Unread 04-17-2022, 10:10 AM   #13
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Progress Update:
I removed all of the existing copper plumbing and drainage piping for this bathroom... as I will be changing to CPVC (plumbing) and PVC (DWV) pipes.

Even though the water damage to my subfloor was minor, I decided to replace the damaged section. The main reason being... that when this house is sold in the distant future, I did not want to explain/convince any potential buyers that the water damage seen on the underside of the subfloor was from a previous shower and the new shower did not cause the visible damage (... as I would still have my doubts as a buyer).

I was able to find some BC Exterior plywood at Lowe's (both 1/2" and 3/4").
NOTE: There is some Exterior plywood labeled "Extreme Weather" and "Severe Weather"... but this is Pressure Treated Exterior plywood, and I stayed clear of this due to information I read within this forum.
Name:  1 Plywood BC Ext.JPG
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Instead of doing a lot of measuring to figure out where to cut the damage section of subfloor along the floor joist, I just drilled some holes from the underside of the subfloor that were against the outside edge of the joist. These drilled holes served as a cutting guide (red dotted line) on the damaged subfloor.
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I used a metal bar to serve as a “fence” when cutting the floor along the joist. I would space/shim the metal bar out from the floor stud until my circular saw blade was even with the inside of the drilled hole. I used my multi-purpose oscillating tool to finish the cuts were the circular saw would not reach.
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This method worked out pretty well (in my situation) for cutting along the existing floor joist. Damaged section of subfloor removed.
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With the subfloor removed, I checked the level of the floor joist (both across the joist and along the length of the joist). I was happy to see that my joist were perfectly level in both directions.
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After some careful measuring, I cut the new section of subfloor using the same metal bar as a cutting fence for my circular saw to insure a straight cut. I then checked the fit of the new subfloor.
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To hold the left and right sides of the new section of subfloor in place, I installed some 2x6 studs onto the existing floor joists. To hold the 2x6 tight up against the existing subfloor, I used some 8-foot 2x4’s and wedged them in between the bottom to the 2x6 and the basement floor. Before I attached the 2x6 studs to the floor joist, I checked the topside level of the new subfloor against the existing subfloor. When all looked good, I permanently attached the 2x6’s to the floor joist.
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After the damaged section of the subfloor and 2x6 support studs were in place, I began to cut and fit the next level of 3/4" subfloor on top of the 1/2" subfloor... making sure that there was no overlapping of board seams between the two layers of subflooring.
Name:  8 Install Underlayment.jpg
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I have one small section of 3/4" subfloor to finish at the far end of the bathroom. Once I am happy with the fit of all subfloor panels, I will screw them into place.
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Last edited by RifRaf; 04-17-2022 at 10:38 AM.
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Unread 04-19-2022, 09:03 PM   #14
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I had one additional section of 1/2” subfloor to repair where the toilet was located… but I also wanted to address the defection of the subfloor where the plywood panel end seams met.
Name:  1 Toilet Floor Repair.jpg
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I installed some 2x4 blocks under all of the subfloor panel seams. I held the 2x4 blocks tight up against the bottom of the subfloor using the same method that was used to install the 2x6 studs onto the floor joists (as shown in the previous post).
Name:  2 Subfloor Seam Blocking.jpg
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It was very noticeable how much the additional blocking solidified the feel of the subfloor… no more flexing/bending at the plywood panel seems.

With all of this done, I was able to cut and fit the remaining piece of 3/4" plywood over the existing subfoor. Now I can begin to screw all of the subfloor panels into place and begin rebuilding this bathroom.
Name:  3 New Toilet Floor.JPG
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Question: For the drywall that will be installed on the entire ceiling and the walls outside of the shower, do you recommend a moisture/mold resistance drywall (instead of using regular drywall)?

I was thinking about using the drywall in the link below.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/USG-Shee...1708/203768542

Or... In addition to the moisture/mold resistance drywall, will I need something like this (link below) for just the ceiling area directly above the shower?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/USG-Fibe...3005/202263260
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Last edited by RifRaf; 04-19-2022 at 09:23 PM.
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Unread 04-20-2022, 07:30 AM   #15
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Assuming you have and use an exhaust fan with sufficient capacity, not in my opinion, Mike. Plain white drywall will be fine for the ceiling. Put a couple coats of high quality primer on it followed by the top coats. If your ceiling framing is 24" OC you might consider, if possible, tightening up that OC spacing.
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