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September 2021
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Guest Bath Finish

The Guest Bath is finished. Working with constraints is an opportunity for creativity. The Tub was kept in place. We insulated the entire bathroom to make it a quieter place. We also installed a grab bar for safety.
To add visual interest we tiled the bath walls right up to the ceiling. We moved the shower head higher,The window was clear glass unit that the client used an etching compound from her stained glass bag of tricks, to provide light and privacy.

The toilet is a one piece Kohler unit. One of the neat features is the lid/seat. There has always been a war between the pointers and setters over the position and dispostion of the seat. Pointers leave it up, setters want it down. This seat magically goes down at the lightest touch, as if it was on an electronic control. No electronics, so it must be magic.

One of the toughest things to find was the glass shelf over the toilet. Looked and tried a lot of them before settling on this one. Same thing for the grab bar, towel bar, tp holder, and the faucets. Fixture companies do half the job. You can buy a faucet, but need to go somewhere else to find the various bars and holders that a bathroom uses. There is an astonishing variation over finishes and colors. A Brushed Nickle finish has as many variations as there are companies.

The sink is a two piece Kohler unit with very modern styling. It is such a new product that we are still waiting for a single trim piece. The lights are George Kovac’s units we picked up at a Lamps Plus store. The Medicine cabinet is unit from Home Depot’s EXPO store. EXPO is a high end store for remodeling, or design.

The project was interesting in taking a small space and making it bigger without moving walls. The open towel cabinet, was a nifty feature. A lot more work than stuffing a box in the wall and tacking trim on it, but it was worth it.

Here is a shot through the looking glass.

Guest Bath 4 Towel Storage

The Guest Bath is a little bit awkward, as they built a storage closet in the hallway, which ‘notched the floor in the bathroom. We decided to incorporate some open storage for towels, as a design element and to provide a soft surface for absorbing sound. Having folded and measured towels, we decided on a three shelf box whose top would be inline with the top of the cabinet, and wide as possible taking into account the sconce fixtures that would bracket the medcab.
We ended up with an 11 1/2” wide shelf.

Having framed the walls for the medcab, I opened the wall to see what was behind the drywall.

The closet side was already no mystery. It was a relatively useless space having too close deep shelving. I measured and plunged my trusty drywall keyhole through the wall to establish a rough cutting guide in the closet, and let me know how many shelves to remove.

I drew the lines on the bath side and cut the hole. This opening will be trimless so I will be using ‘J’ bead for the drywall opening. The shelf unit is made out of 12” poly shelving from the home improvement store. I could have made it out of raw particle board or plywood, but by the time you added in finishing, priming and painting, pre-finished shelving was faster and cheaper.

Here is a view from the closet side. the hole is larger as the front of the shelf unit will butt to the back of the drywall and ‘J’ bead.

Note: Because of the texture and the rough edge on the drywall. I am using 5/8” ‘J’ bead. 1/2” bead will not fit without more problems than you want to think about.

Here is the unit installed and bagged. I bagged it as we are bring the Anderson’s back to texture the walls. Clean up is much easier this way. I am all about easy….

I am not a fan of texture on walls, but Rich and Cody are magicians when it comes to texture. Folks in Phoenix can have their walls done, the rest of you are out of luck.

Guest Bath 3 Insulation and Backing

In working on the Guest Bath, insulating the walls was a given. Bathrooms are neck and neck with kitchens in being the noisiest rooms in most houses. In opening up the walls, we decided early on to replace the drywall on the back wall of the bathroom. It shares a wall with the guest bedroom, and is across the hall from the master bedroom.
The bathroom has three distinct wall thicknesses. The wet wall is 2×6, the long tub wall is 2×4 flat on the slump block, and the bath/guest bedroom party wall is 2×4.

The wet wall is 5 1/2 fiberglass. the dry wall is 3 1/2 fiberglass and the long wall is 1 inch styrofoam.
The Styrofoam at 1 inch leaves a small air space, but compensates for the uneveness of the slumpblock and the mortar joints that were not cleaned up. Trying to flatten walls that have foam that is higher than the stud plane is a recipe for disaster. Not only will your fasteners ‘pop’, but your walls will not be flat. Since this is going to be tiled, this is really important.

It is already very quiet. We are also replacing the window with a dual pane slider unit.

Bathrooms get more abuse than almost any other room in the house. It pays to install backing for cabinets, fixtures, and towel bars. This photo shows 3/4” plywood as backing for a shelf above the the toilet, and backing for the back of the pedestal sink.
Backing installed to provide secure area for screwing bars and fixtures
We also installed backing on the dry wall for the towel bars. I made the backing wide and tall to give the client latitude for the shelf and to have enough for bolting the sink to the wall.

Guest Bath 2 - Fixtures

In the guest bath,we are going with a 1 piece Kohler toilet, like the one in the Master Bath. Nice Units. Comfort Height,(which means that it is 16” or so, about the same height as a standard chair)
Kohler One piece toilet
The sink is another Kohler unit. This is a pedestal unit. We have our own faucet so we will not use the one in the photo.
Pedestal Sink
They are the same color, it is the photographer.

Color Note:
White is only white as a concept. There are many shades of white. Everybody has their own idea of white. In a stroke of good fortune while looking for tile for the shower, we were at the daltile showroom looking at white tile and explaining to the guy what we were doing. They make a Kohler White Tile! And it matches! How cool is that?

Pedestal sinks make a room feel bigger, but care needs to be taken when deciding to use them. Specifically the plumbing supply lines. To keep a clean look, the supply and waste lines need to be placed close enough to be covered.

Here is our original plumbing. These are your typical tract house shutoffs. Two or three turns, plastic handles, and in places with bad water a tendency to get crapped up.
Original vanity plumbing
Here is our new plumbing. My plumber is a magician. These are 1/4 turn ball valve shutoffs. Much better in function and style.
Re-routed plumbing with 1/4 turn shutoffs
We are installing a 24” mirrored med cabinet. I installed backing as the light selection is not yet final. sconces or overhead.
Inset mirrored medicine cabinet opening

Meanwhile, I am building the towel cabinet.

Guest Bath 1

The Guest Bath Project is moving along. There were a couple of things that were a little weird. First up was the tile. They drywalled and then added concrete tile backerboard. Weird as usually you do one or the other.

Builders usually spec these houses down to the last nail and screw. There was a lot of extra labor involved in doing it this way.

Shower wall opening showing backer over drywall with chickenwire mesh.
I used a 4” grinder with a diamond blade to cut the tile and board into chunks to get it out of here. This is the most time effective strategy, but has the down side of being really dirty. They used spray foam on the exterior wall to insulate. After 35 years, you can see the cracks in the foam. One other interesting bit is that it is brittle and disintegrates to the touch.

Tile demo

The Framing

Having gotten that mess out of the way removing the rest of the drywall, we are down to the skeleton. The wet wall is 2×6”, which we will insulate as well as the rest of the bathroom walls. The outside wall is 2×4” laid flat and attached with cut nails. The window being off center is a result of some bad design. The outside of the house has a pleasing balanced look, but as you can see the balance is gone inside.

Shower demo done

Tile Mystery Surprise

Here is a closeup of the wetwall and tub. See that gap? The tub is 60”, and the rough opening is 61” This explains the tile mystery. They had to put the concrete board on this wall to overcome that framing gap. To make the bullnose tile detail come out they had to put concrete board on the other two walls, and get deep bullnose tiles to finish the ends. There was enough room with the plumbing stubs to move this wall in an inch, but they didn’t and this was the result. Surprise, Surprise, Surprise…

Framing surprise. Tub is shorter than framing. Part of the reason for the backer board over the drywall
The Fix

The plumber showed up and replaced the old shower valve and moved the supply lines for the new toilet and pedestal sink.

So I furred out the wall with 1×2 strips, and will cover the entire area with green board. The shower area will be tiled from the tub to the ceiling.

1x firring strips to correct elevation problem

I mentioned that I am not fond Surprises. But this is what makes remodeling interesting.