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June 2009
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Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 4 – Adventures in Steel Studs

The primary goal in this bathroom remodel was to replace the ‘locker room from hell shower/bath’  into the sybaritic pleasure of a jacuzzi tub. Getting there from here is what makes remodeling fun. Some folks collect things, some folks drink, I remodel.

We decided to install a water heater to furnish hot water to this end of the house. In Episode 1, I mentioned that the original water heater is 80 feet away from this bathroom. The electricity is even further away, but this is a framing episode.

Off the bathroom is a little storage shed created by extending a privacy wall and roofing it. Until recently it was a shelter for the dogs during storms.

Well, the dogs are not that big, and we can put the water heater out here, move the door and add some sorely needed storage space. So we will put up some walls and a ceiling.


Steel studs are my material of choice here. I am using 1 5/8” studs and track. (the blue and orange stores only carry 2 1/2 and 3 1/2” studs and track. You need a drywall supply store to find these. These are non load bearing walls which is why we are using lite gauge (26)studs. I am using these to get the maximum space and to overcome some of the framing challenges.

I could have used 1” ‘hat channel’ vertically, which is another type of steel material, but the size saving, extra work and details made it not worth it. (think shooting yourself in the foot or framing challenges.)

The floor is sloped for water runoff when it was a privacy wall, the block walls are not plumb or square, and they are covered with stucco. The ceiling was framed off the original eave line, and the strangest joist hangers were used.

First up is to frame the doorway.


I probably glossed over how short the ceiling was. Establishing square was interesting as nothing was. Once I had the doorway framed up, I proceeded to frame up the short wall on the left. I insulated the ceiling and short pony walls before drywalling this wall.


I then did the back wall framing so that I had a line for installing the new ceiling. The nice thing about doing this is that you can build a solid straight wall quickly.

Once I had that accomplished, I could establish a line for covering up the low hanging joist hangers as well as creating a line for the soffit needed to carry the electricity and maybe a light or two. Now I will be framing up the door wall on the right, but not until after the plumber and electrician have their way with us.

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