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June 2009
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Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 8 – Blocking

The key to any successful remodeling project is planning. Once you have your parts selected, and have made the various choices and tradeoffs, especially for DIY’ers, before you start the rebuilding process, review what you have and where it is going. This¬† will help you to have a successful project.

One of the most important aspects of any project is providing blocking for the various things that will be attached to your finished walls. Bathrooms are probably the most involved rooms in providing blocking for towel bars, grab bars, backing for various things that will be mounted on the walls. There are amazing anchors made for hollow walls, but since you have the walls open, providing solid blocking takes little extra time and will pay big dividends later.

Let’s take a quick tour around the LSB project.
This is the wet wall for the control valve, spout, and shower head. As I mentioned in Episode 6 I designed this wall to fit the new tub, and to get as much storage into it as possible. The studs are on either side of the water center-line to allow the plumber an easy way for connecting the shower. The fiberglass insulation in this wall was recycled from the long wall as it has been replaced with the foam board that you can see on the right side of the photo. It is a sound control measure, as bathrooms are second to your kitchen in noise.


The left side of the wall has a built up corner so that there is solid backing for the shower curtain rod that will be attached to the solid surface after it is installed. The outlet on the wall is for two switches we are installing to shut off power to the tub when not in use. One is for the pump, the other is for the inline heater. Despite the tub having a dry pump feature and the inline heater not operating when there is no water present, it is cheap insurance as the controls for the tub are at little hands grab height.

Moving along to the long wall, I left the original 2×2’s in place, because they were solid, and worked around them. The glass block frame I made out of 3/4” plywood and added a 2×2 to the top and bottom to act as a stop for the assembly and to provide nailing for the drywall. I added blocking below it horizontally to have an attachment surface for the drywall and to stiffen the wall so the solid surface does not come down in a few years.


That’s the top half. Let’s look at the bottom half. Here we provided blocking for the grab bars that we are installing on this wall. They seem high now but will be at a convenient height when the tub is installed. These blocks are attached to the vertical studs with 3” screws drilled in at an angle top and bottom. when the drywall is glued and screwed, the solid surface applied and the mounting brackets for the bars are installed, you will not be pulling these off the wall without a come along or a shot of adrenaline to the heart.

The framing on the glass block side is different as the two openings are made for specific purposes. The lower one will allow access tto the back side of the tub should it ever becomes necessary, The upper one is a future shelf unit for the other side of the wall.

Moving along.  to the glass block wall. We are installing a Jeeves Heated Towel Bar. This requires an electric outlet and solid blocking for the unit itself. The outlet for the heater is bleow this photo. The electric box you see is for the timer to turn the warmer on and off.


Everything that will attach to the walls will have a solid surface to attach to. A little planning now and you won’t have to investigate the wonderful world of hollow wall anchors.

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