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Thread: Tiny laundry room & useless bathroom: need suggestions

  1. #16
    DIY Senior Member suceress's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    Coming up with ideas can be fun. I have so many projects in my head and I need to actually get some things done.
    That one looks like a possibility. It would make the laundry easier to reach without having to squeeze through the hallway while carrying a basket. We could probably even open the back door to shake things out if they have a lot of dirt on them with that layout.

    Now that I look at it I'm not sure on the corner shower. Although I suppose the empty corner could have some sort of storage

    I was somewhat inspired by this picture even though I know it wouldn't work for my space given door/window placements.

    I liked the toilet stall with the window.

    I would love to find a way to re-use the existing between-the-studs mirrored medicine cabinet over the sink. If I couldn't set it in the wall I could always build a frame for it and have it stick out a bit.

    The southern wall of the existing bathroom will probably be the most challenging because it is where the plumbing and wiring seem to be.

    Too bad the toilet sink things are probably prohibitively expensive bc I bet I'd end up with a similar result to this:

    If the toilet doesn't end up near a window I'm thinking of having a surround for it like this:

    It probably wouldn't be that fancy though since I still need to work on my carpentry skills more.

    My kitten just pounced on me and made me lose my train of thought.

  2. #17
    DIY Senior Member suceress's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    Update: I took photos of the vent pipes but they didn't turn out well because of vines growing. I located a total of three vent pipes. Two were small ones (I'll have to try to measure to see just how small) and one looked to be about 4 inches.

    The first smaller one was coming out from under the kitchen sink to the east wall directly under the window. It made a 90 degree turn to go around the window and then went straight up to the roof where it just stopped (nearly touching the soffit).
    Here are crappy photos of the vent pipe near the kitchen sink.

    Here is a shot of the roof vent pipe (also a bad quality pic)

    Here is the largest pipe and how it ends (it comes out from the west side of the house just north of the window to the northwest bedroom)

    Another shot of the larger vent pipe.

    Here is a rough floor plan I sketched of the house. Blue marks the bathtubs, toilets, and sinks. There are two bathroom sinks and a kitchen sink as well as three toilets and two bath tubs. I do not know where or if the useless bathroom's sink and shower are tied in or not.

    I somehow suspect the house is not vented properly. At least we have vents now. When we came back from overseas the tenants had ripped out all of the vents and screwed up our water lines.

    Out of curiosity, what would be the proper sizes, order, and distances for these vent pipes? Is it normal to have so few and of such small size?
    Last edited by suceress; 06-27-2013 at 02:36 AM.

  3. #18
    DIY Senior Member suceress's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    Additional photos: (Click to see larger versions)

    This is a shot of the back door and the wall to the bathroom (the square metal thing is the back side of an inset medicine cabinet)

    Here is a shot of the bathroom from the doorway. The vanity is currently sitting inside the shower.

    Here are the shutoff valves and the cut off pipe (which has electrical tape over it) in the southwest corner of the laundry room (the cardboard is covering floor damage) Is it possible that it was the hookup for a laundry sink at some point? I'm thinking one was hot water, one cold, and the other was the drain?

    This shows the plumbing and junk behind the washer and dryer

    This is a shot of the laundry room. You can almost see the vent pipe if you know where to look (its sort of obscured by the light). The white wall panel was cut and slapped up because (for reasons unknown to me) the tenants ripped out the wall panels.

    That whole area needs some tlc.

    Just for fun here is a mock up I made of my house in Sims 3. Ignore the white squares-- they are lighting things for the game to make things visible.
    Last edited by suceress; 06-27-2013 at 02:41 AM.

  4. #19
    Electrician Chris B.'s Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    Toronto, Ontario


    I don't know what to say, really. I can't imagine why the vents would ever need to be run on the outside of the house in a single-story building. Without knowing what your abilities are and more specifics on what changes you are making to the layout, I can't really add anything else. At some point you have to make decisions.

  5. #20
    DIY Senior Member suceress's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    I've since been told for certain that the vent ending under the soffit is not to code.
    Here is a better picture (I pulled the poison oak vines off of it):

    Here is a better shot of how it goes around the window:

    It has a cleanout at the end-- the pipe came apart and I need to glue it back together underneath the house. The horizontal turn is less than 6" above the sink.

    This is the antique vent/light/heater just in front of the shower.

    This is the vanity sitting inside the shower

    This is the laundry room vent pipe that goes up into the attic and through the roof.

  6. #21
    DIY Senior Member suceress's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    Oops. I missed your post, Chris. I think they didn't want to take off walls, cut holes in the roof, and/or crawl around in the attic. I think I mentioned that I'd had proper venting before but the tenants ripped out all the vents and messed up the plumbing (I have no idea why they tampered with anything). The plumber who put vents back on was in his late 70s and couldn't go crawling in to the attic and didn't want to go up onto the roof (the vent that was in the wall going through the roof was one of the few vents left in place but the tenants had detached it so nothing was tied in).

    I'm thinking that we could still eliminate all of those inner walls and just have the vent tied into in the attic because that will be well above the 6" above flood level for the highest fixture.

    Basically the exterior walls have to remain as-is but the bathroom walls can come down.

    I'm still debating whether or not the bedroom door should be eliminated but I'm sort of thinking "no". I just don't know the most efficient use for the space.

  7. #22
    DIY Senior Member suceress's Avatar
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    Mar 2008

    Default More detailed measurements and ideas

    I know it has been awhile but I've been thinking about this more lately because my bathroom project is almost finished. Also, the laundry area being a cold zone made me think of it. I have sprayed grate stuff into more spaces around the back door but its still not keeping the cold out. I think I need a cat door that keeps the cold out better-- but I still need to put up wall panels.

    Most of the wires for the electrical have some slack so things can be moved a bit, but I recently discovered that one of my friends is a certified electrician (although not licensed) and he will work for food (specifically Popeye's chicken). He did the wiring in his own home and had a licensed electrician watch and confirm that it was done properly.

    I went back and got more measurements and details. My old sketches were pretty bad. In the new sketches I forgot to include the wall mount light on the north wall (on the east side) of the bathroom. It is above the medicine cabinet and has an outlet on its bottom that I think only one thing can be plugged in to. I don't know if it is a 2 prong or 3 prong outlet.

    I also forgot to note that there are two water supply lines for the washer (I think one for hot water and one for cold).

    Here is my latest sketch

    Some notes:
    *The yellow box near the 36" door on the east wall is a light switch. There are actually 2 of them stacked on top of each other. One is to the hall area and the other is to the former exterior light. The box for it is about dead center of the doorway on top of the door (I did not mark it on the diagram). The light was broken during hurricane Rita and we never replaced it.
    *There is a light (I think fluorescent) that is above the medicine cabinet. I need my electrician friend to look at it because it blinks the bulb on briefly when I pull the chain, but then it just blinks back off.
    *The bottoms of the windows start at about 46.5" from the floor.
    *With the 15"H pedestals underneath, the washer and dryer are 53"H.
    *The doors on the washer and dryer are reversible so I could switch their positions if need be.
    *There is a shelf above/behind the washer and dryer but it is just barely hanging on to the wall-- I think it would fall if the washer and dryer were moved.
    *I'm not quite sure where the plumbing for the existing shower is just yet. I'm assuming it may be in that side wall that I want to demolish.
    *I believe the westernmost wall is load bearing but the one I want to remove is not.
    *There is already somewhat of a door frame just before entering the laundry area. I'm thinking of narrowing it to 24" to use the existing bathroom door-- but I have other doors down in the barn that are wider and could be cleaned up and used instead. I would have to measure them.
    *The ceiling fan is a small one that attaches to the ceiling from a rod.
    *There is a toilet paper holder embedded in the east wall next to the toilet but I didn't mark it on the diagram.
    *I'm not sure on the dimensions of the ventilight yet since I'm too short to reach and can't fit a ladder in there to measure. I think it is about 12"x13" or 12"x14".
    *The ventilight doesn't work at all (none of the 3 switches do anything when I flip them) and I don't know if it is even hooked in to the ductwork or if it just vents into the attic.
    *I have a friend who is a certified electrician. He also has experience building doorways & walls and will work for food (specifically Popeye's chicken).
    *I was wondering if I could use an Air Admittance Valve for some of the fixtures to avoid having to mess with the vents, but I have read some negative things about them and I think they are not allowed in my state.

    I got distracted several times while trying to type this up so I lost my train of thought.
    Anyway, on with the sketches and plans.

    Plan A

    Basically this would use the existing floorplan and just tear out the shower, patch the walls and floors, and maybe build some sort of storage around the toilet as shown in the previous post.
    Because the pipes for the old wall-mount sink came up through the floor, they would interfere with the vanity, which has a drawer. My options to rectify this:
    a) Bump the vanity forward and build something around the pipes on the sides and top (the back of the vanity is open). This would make things even more cramped in the room.
    b) Move the existing drain and water supplies backward into the wall but leave an access panel for the shutoffs- this would only work if not over a joist and would require changes under the house).
    c) Leave the plumbing where it is, but make a cutout in the drawer and bottom of the vanity to go around the pipes. This would reduce storage space and would be sort of a pain.
    The laundry room would be left alone.
    Pros: It is the least expensive of the plans and doesn't require much work and should not really involve changes to the venting. This one would leave more money for cosmetic fixes-- such as building a frame around the medicine cabinet to try to match it to the vanity and maybe getting a light that doesn't suck.
    Cons: Lowers house value by not having a shower and still does not solve cramped laundry situation.

    Plan B

    This is about the same as Plan A but would involve rotating the washer & dryer clockwise and putting them against the east wall.
    Pros: Bathroom- same as Plan A. Laundry area might have more space and it would be easier to access the front of the washer & dryer. It seems it might leave enough room to have some sort of wall-mounted fold-down table or some other form of storage.
    Cons: Same bathroom cons. This would still leave unused plumbing jutting out in the laundry room. I'm not certain if there would really be as much room for opening the doors on the washer and dryer since both will be restricted by walls somewhat. The window will be blocked (although it is already partially blocked now). With this plan, the floor and subfloor in the laundry room would have to be repaired. I'm not sure if the power cords would reach the existing outlet so it might need to be moved. The drain for the washer might need to be moved as well.

    Plan C

    This one involves a lot more work and more money. The west wall of the bathroom would be completely removed. The north wall of the bathroom would be mostly (if not entirely) removed. This would leave more room for the laundry and make it easier to reach the washer and dryer. There might be more room for shelves and possibly for things to sort laundry.
    Pros: Uses existing bathroom door (could possibly even recycle parts of the frame). Uses existing plumbing from old removed utility sink for vanity. Maintains value of home by having a shower. Doofusaurus will have his own bathroom to shower in. House guests will no longer have to go through bedrooms to use the toilet. There might even be enough space for a hidden litterpan. Might be possible to just put up shower curtains on long tension rods instead of having to put up walls for shower. Might be able to maintain vent locations and have less alteration to plumbing. Affords a little more privacy for toilet area.
    Cons: More expensive and will require a lot of modification to the floor and plumbing. Might require vent changes in attic if ventilight and ceiling fan are swapped. Shower is directly under wiring for ceiling fan so the light would have to be relocated. Would have to walk through the shower to get to the toilet. Might be a tight squeeze depending on how the shower is constructed. If tension rods are used they could fall down unless there is something under them. No support of someone falls. Dryer duct will have to go through the wall into the bathroom (unless I can find a way to route it through the space in the exterior wall, but I doubt it). Vanity might have to be bumped forward or cut because of position of existing pipes.
    Note: See Plan F below for alternate laundry layout.

    Plan D

    Similar to something ChrisB proposed earlier. This involves having the toilet in the same spot as Plan C, but would move the vanity to the north wall of the new bathroom/former laundry room. For water supply I think there are two options:
    a) Use hot/cold water supply that previously served shower for vanity and continue to use the laundry water supply for washer (just turn faucets to face the other direction)
    b) Use the water supplies formerly for the washer for the vanity and use the former shower supplies for the washer.
    I'm also trying to think of options for the sides of the shower (if we put any up at all). I was considering a sheet of plexiglass but that scratches easily and could break. Another thought would be curtains on a track from the ceiling, but that might get pricey, unless I could figure out how to MacGyver something on the cheap. I would have to move the existing water supply and probably could not use the existing drain from the vanity as I think it would have to be a different size. Anyone know?
    Pros: Toilet still has some privacy. Don't have to walk through the shower to get to the toilet. Don't have to worry about the shower spraying the toilet paper. Shower could be used to spray off some laundry if need be. If ventilight is swapped with ceiling fan, it could remain in relatively the same spot. Could allow for longer shower space.
    Cons: Less privacy for shower depending on what is used for barriers (assuming any barriers are even used). Might require doing something to the floor to make water go to the drain. Tension rods can't be used unless some sort of structure (albeit small support column or wall) is erected. Might be a tight squeeze to get between shower and vanity IF some sort of covering is used for shower. If not covering is used then people might have to walk on wet floor to get to the toilet. So floor would have to be non-slip but still easy to clean.
    Note: See Plan F below for alternate laundry layout.

    Plan E

    This one requires more changes I think. It involves moving the shower up against the east wall and bumping the toilet over to the western part of the north wall.
    Pros: Toilet can be accessed easily. Don't have to walk through shower to get to toilet and floor is more likely to be dry. Vanity can use existing plumbing in southwest corner. Seems to be plenty of room to walk through the bathroom. There may even be space for some sort of storage on the south wall just east of the vanity. Duct covering could be used as a shelf.
    Cons: Same issues with either having to bump out vanity or modify plumbing. Not much room to have something built around the toilet. Would have to find a way to protect the window from water. Would have to cover the dryer ductwork to keep water out. Would require the most changes in plumbing (as far as I can tell).
    Note: See Plan F below for alternate laundry layout.

    Continued in next post due to image number restriction
    Last edited by suceress; 01-30-2014 at 09:57 PM. Reason: typo

  8. #23
    DIY Senior Member suceress's Avatar
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    Mar 2008

    Default more details continued

    Plan F

    Bathroom is the same as Plan E but laundry room is changed. In this version the washer and dryer are turned with their backs to the east wall. The dryer and washer can swap locations. I was thinking the washer needed to be near its original plumbing because I forgot about the hookup for the old bathroom sink. If possible I could use that.
    Pros: This one could give more space to the side of the washer and dryer and more space in the hallway when walking through. Depending on which water supply is used, there might even be room for a utility sink in the northeast.
    Cons: This might require more changes in electrical. Depending on whether the dryer is to the north or south, the duct might have to be longer (but I do have an 8' duct kit). The bottom portion of the window would be covered up.
    The laundry layout in this plan could be used for plans C, D, and E.

    An alternative for Plans C, E, and F would be to rotate the vanity clockwise with the back to the west wall and left side to the south wall. This would allow plumbing and the medicine cabinet to be moved inside of that wall instead of poking in to an exterior wall.

    The shower could be just open like this:

    Or have a little separation like this:

    Or have a curtain like this:

    One more idea I just thought of:
    Plan G

    Similar to plan A only turning the existing bathroom into a wetroom with a floor drain and waterproofing everything.
    Pros: No walls would have to be demolished. Toilet and shower would just be moved over on their respective walls. Open shower would allow move space for movement. Less expensive than many of the other options.
    Cons: Everything would have to be waterproofed and would risk toilet paper getting wet unless there is some sort of curtain. Still rather cramped and not really ideal. Flooring choice might be tricky since tile is not an option. Ventilight would need to be moved if not waterproof or safe to have that close to the showerhead. Existing wall light would have to go since I don't think it is even rated for a bathroom and could not handle the moisture. Might need to install a threshold to keep water from running out of the bathroom if anything clogs. Doesn't improve laundry situation.

    I was somewhat inspired by this image of a wetroom

    And this one because of the floor drain

    Plan G2 would use the same bathroom layout but incorporate the laundry layout from Plan B.

    Oh, here is a better picture of the Euro style vanity

    I wish I had the right attachment for my drill press to create the bullseye rosettes. I also wish I knew how to do the fluting.

    This is the ceiling fan. I think the brackets are on upside down. The blades are about 15" long.

    I got distracted again and forgot what else I was going to mention.

    So, what do you guys think?
    Which solution would be the best (but still not cost too much)?
    Would making the entire thing a wet room be more expensive?
    Tile is not an option so what flooring could be used?

    Any other suggestions/comments?

    Note: I know that I previously said that putting the washer and dryer on the west wall was not an option earlier, but after doing the measurements I realized its possible. I think the shelf got in the way. Maybe part of the issue was not much room to maneuver, but we will have help from someone who moves furniture a lot. With our current setup, my mother can't even really get to the laundry room now that she has mobility issues. Our current setup is just not working for us.
    Last edited by suceress; 01-30-2014 at 10:28 PM. Reason: found better photo

  9. #24
    DIY Senior Member suceress's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    I got extremely bored and did a very crappy rough sketch of the bathroom if I were to do Plan E or Plan F.

    I don't know if I would actually have space for that. And the door would have to swing outward to not block the light switch (unless the light switch got moved).
    Please excuse my lousy perspective and scale issues. MS Paint is not the easiest medium for getting certain shapes right.
    I think I would probably go with at least one linear drain for the shower. I would consider having a very thin partition between the shower and toilet. Depending on how much space either a glass wall, or a curtain, or (if there was enough room) glass brick. I'm thinking the drain would be along the north wall under the showerhead.
    One thing I do wonder about though, is if switching the toilet and shower in location would mess up anything with how they tie in to the plumbing vent. If I understand correctly, the toilet needs to be the one that ties in closer to it than any other fixture? Or am I misunderstanding that?

  10. #25
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    New England


    WHere the toilet connects depends on how things are vented. The order is more critical if you intend to wet-vent anything there. You can always swap the swing of the door, if that would help. You'd need a new handle and lockset (maybe, depends - you can probably just reconfigure).
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  11. #26
    DIY Senior Member suceress's Avatar
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    Mar 2008

    Default Plumbing Codes for DWV

    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    WHere the toilet connects depends on how things are vented. The order is more critical if you intend to wet-vent anything there. You can always swap the swing of the door, if that would help. You'd need a new handle and lockset (maybe, depends - you can probably just reconfigure).
    Thank you. I am just now seeing your reply because the forum does not send me e-mail alerts for some odd reason.

    There is currently just a doorway with no door there, so I can just re-use the current bathroom door and have it swing whichever way I want. I might have it swing outward rather than in since there shouldn't be anything for it to hit when it swings out.

    The plumbing vents are a whole other mess.
    The vent stack that goes through the roof is right behind where the toilet currently is. I'm not sure how the rest of the fixtures tie in. I know the shower often reeks of sewer gas, but it may be because the trap dried up-- if there is even a trap under there.

    This is somewhat how I suspect things are tied together now (but this is on the opposite wall of the theoretical bathroom so things would be flipped)

    I at first thought I could do something like this:

    but was told that was not right.

    So I drew this, but was told that it also was not right-- but no specific reasons were given. I think I know why though. I think the air of the shower is still downstream of the toilet. Am I right?

    I don't have a drawing, but I could possibly move the drain to the opposite wall but both adjacent walls are exterior walls. I could always bump the wall in (making it thicker) or add a bulkhead and add extra insulation and then have the pipes run up to the attic to merge with the vent stack-- or I could just route it under the house, up on the outside of the exterior wall, and have it go around the soffit like the largest vent stack on the side of the house.

    I'm not sure if I would want the water to flow toward the shower bench or away. I considered a threshold linear drain where the shower is entered, but I think it would be unpleasant to step on-- plus it is farther away from the walls.

    Am I barking up the wrong tree here?

    I've been trying to sort out the current plumbing code for my area. I'm getting confused about it.
    Name:  LAplumbingcode2013-commonvents.jpg
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    And then I saw this online but its older.
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    Just for fun, I did a mockup of an idea for the bathroom in Sims 3. The sims3 floorspace is larger than what I actually have to work with though.
    Last edited by suceress; 03-23-2014 at 07:34 AM.

  12. #27
    DIY Senior Member suceress's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    I'll have to nix the idea of a sink in the laundry room since I checked the measurements-- with the doors open the dryer is 50.625" deep and the washer is 50.6" deep. I suppose worst case scenario, we could always rinse things in the bathroom vanity or the shower and then take them to the laundry room.

    Here's another question-- Does the 15" from center of the toilet to wall/obstacle apply for a doorway if the door opens outward (away from the bathroom)? If it does, then if I make the doorway 30" wide I can probably get about 2 inches on each side of the door. I could bump the toilet over and this would give me about 32" width for the shower. If the rule does not apply, I could probably move the toilet over even more (although I wouldn't want it to be too close to the doorway).

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