View Full Version : A very small bathroom, suggestions requested

06-21-2009, 09:03 AM
My house was built in 1868. It was rehabbed in the 1970s and the rooms were reconfigured.

There was no upstairs bathroom so a bathroom was installed in what I think was the master bedroom closet located under a high pitched roof.

There is not enough room for a bathtub or a sink.

The water pressure isn't the best.

I will need 150 square feet of tile to cover every square inch of the bathroom in tile.

I don't know a thing about rehab or plumbing. :o

I will hire a general contractor.

I am looking for suggestions regarding:

1. When I rip out the shower wall what will I need to replace and what do I replace it with. (Right now there is an old shower head with two handles to regulate the water temperature. I have no idea what kind of pipes there are behind the wall.)

2. How to enclose the shower- glass block and a shower door, all glass, something curved etc. (Someone suggested making it a wet room, but soggy toilet paper just turns me right off plus I have 2 little kids and I can see them slipping and falling.)

3. What else do I need to think about?

Thank you!!!!!!


06-21-2009, 11:21 AM
If 150 is the floor area, that is a big bathroom, but if that includes the walls...wow!

A toilet must have 18" from center to wall on EACH side.

If we assume the original shower was not well done, you may find a lot of water damage when you get into the walls.

Replacing the valve is not a big deal for a plumber once the walls are opened up.

If this bathroom was bootlegged in, we have to wonder about whether the drain and vent are proper.

All these things will have to be made right when you get the permits for the remodel.

06-21-2009, 11:52 AM
I need a permit for this? um, I didn't plan on that.

The floor space is 7x4 but since it is under the roof line and there is a door (which I subtracted from the total amount of tile required to tile the room) the total amount of tile required is 140 square feet for floor, walls and ceiling! I added 10 feet in for good measure and am looking for a few more square feet to pop some sparse decorative details.

Maybe I should post some pics of what it looks like now.

I'm pretty sure the fellows who did this job were not the sharpest knives in the drawer. The downstairs shower pan leaked and when I ripped out the shower I found that they had nailed, yes, nailed the "shower pan" to the sub flooring. They put the fan in the shower and never closed it so there is a bare bulb and guts half way in the shower and half out.

What do I need to know about the drain and the vent?

Do you have an opinion on:
hot mop vs. Red Guard vs. marbelized shower pan for an upstairs bath


06-21-2009, 01:32 PM
You said you were going to go with a general contractor, therefore, just tell him what you want, in general terms and let HIM, possibly with input from HIS subcontractors, decide how to do it. If YOU tell him how you want him to do it, he may either tell you to go watch your television, or decide he has better things to do.

06-21-2009, 02:11 PM
First, see if there is any way you could make the door a pocket door, or maybe swing out into the hallway (not sure if this would be okay, but it would save room in the bath). A pocket door would preserve some freedom in placement of the sink and toilet. I thought the code required a minimum of 15" either side of the toilet to an obstruction, although more is nicer. There's a spec for room in front of it as well.

There are many ways to make a good shower, Redgard is a decent surface waterproofing, but there are a lot of details. Many prefer a conventional mudbed and pvc liner. I like to use Kerdi from www.schluter.com (http://www.schluter.com). If you use Kerdi, you can just use regular drywall on the walls - this makes things easier, and the sheets are larger. The Kerdi membrane has fleece on both sides that allow it to embed into the thinset and stick, plus it is totally waterproof. Them make a companion product for the floor - Ditra, that would allow you to waterproof the floor (not of the shower - use Kerdi there).

Making the whole room a wet room has advantages when the room is so small. There are ways to protect the TP!

A house that old may have galvanized steel piping. If that is the case, suggest you change anything you open up to either copper or maybe pex.

Any light fixture encroaching into the shower must be wet/damp rated.
Check out www.johnbridge.com (http://www.johnbridge.com) for more ideas on tiling and building the shower.

06-21-2009, 03:12 PM
Excellent post and links from Jad. Do a lot of homework.

Hot mop, as far as I know, is totally old school. If you were to do it that way, and in fact for any liner method like kerdi, redguard, or vinyl, you have to build a preslope UNDER the vinyl, so water that gets through the tile and mortar can gravity to the drain. For hot mop, you must have THREE layers.

An excellent reference is the Handbook for Installation of Ceramic Tile, by the Tile Council of America. www.tileusa.com (http://www.tileusa.com)
It is not expensive, and covers all this in detail

Not trying to harp....but almost anywhere in the country, any work on the plumbing system beyond a simple faucet repair or such, requires a permit. MOST places, you can be your own contractor and pull the permit. I mentioned the drain and vent, because a common mistake made by shadetree plumbers, possibly like your former owner, is to drain a new upstairs bathroom into the pipe which is venting the lower bathroom. Obiously it has been working for you, but it does not mean it is right, and when you submit plans for the remodel, a city inspector will snap you up on it. Doesn't mean you can't fix it, but it will be more work. 24" is pretty narrow, so I wonder if the toilet clearances meet code.

I have watched enough "makeover" shows to tell you that future buyers will react negatively to the slanted ceiling. It seems great to you , because you have a bath in a place where otherwise there would be NONE, but buyers will harp because it is not a "proper" bath.

06-21-2009, 09:12 PM
Jad and Jimbo thanks for the information and the links!

Jad the door does swing out into the stair landing (pocket doors won't work because there are pocket doors for the two adjacent rooms).

I did not know that there was a 15" (or 18") rule. I had a licensed plumber suggest "nestling" the toilet into the corner or buying a corner toilet so the idea that there were codes about distance from obstruction did not occur to me. I just figured the toilet should be far enough away from a wall so as to allow the shoulders to fit comfortably over the bowl.

I am glad I got a rounded toilet bowl even though an elongated would have fit, it might not have been to code if there is one about distance in front of the commode.

I have two outlets in my front yard, I am assuming one is for the upstairs bath and the other for the downstairs bath.

Personally, I don't really like the bathroom under the roof, but I sure am glad there is a bathroom upstairs so we don't have to go downstairs, through the front hall, and dining room and kitchen to get to the bathroom!

If I am ever in the position to sell this old house, I am guessing that the person who buys the property will either have enough coin of the realm to build an fabulous addition, or will like the character of the house as it is.

Oh, there is NO sink in the bathroom. There are sinks in both of the bedrooms though. It works but I often wish there was a sink. But a sink won't fit unless I put it IN the shower. lol.

06-22-2009, 10:38 AM
Reading the downloaded Schluter Shower System installation Handbook 2008.

Here are pictures of the bathroom.