Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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Master Bathroom Renovation, Part 1


Watch this video to see the start of renovation of the master bathroom in Danny’s house, including planning for the new bath, demolition of the existing bathroom, and repair of a termite damaged beam. ...More




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Master Bathroom Renovation, Part 1

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Master bathroom after removing old fixtures, walls, and flooring.

Master bathroom remodel after removing old fixtures, walls, and flooring.

Part 1 of our master bathroom renovation included:

  • Layout and design of the new bathroom.
  • Removing old bathroom fixtures, floor, and walls.
  • Repairing termite damage beam in floor.
  • Framing for new window and skylight.
  • Installing tankless water heater and bath vent fan.
  • Hanging and finishing drywall.
  • Installing wood ceiling, doors, and trim molding.

Read episode article to find out more.

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Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, it’s my turn to update and renovate. Our master bathroom is 22 years old, and is in need of so many changes it will take two episodes to complete this transformation. I think I’ll wear that the rest of the show.

Bathrooms are always popular remodeling projects because we tend to spend so much time there. And for some reason, they seem to get dated very easily, especially when they haven’t been touched for over 22 years, like this one.

But this project is a little more personal for me because this is my own bathroom. But now, it’s time for a change. So, my friend, kitchen and bathroom designer, Cheryl Kees Clendenon, is meeting my wife Sharon and me to get the ball rolling. Sharon and I aren’t 100% together on exactly what we want to do here.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: You may be thinking about it one way because you’re the homeowner and the contractor, which is a double whammy on you.

Danny Lipford: Right, it is a double whammy.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: But I can kind of divorce myself from it.

Danny Lipford: So, we’re counting on Cheryl’s objectivity to help us sort out issues. I’m glad that you’re good at piecing opinions together.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: But I charge extra for marriage counseling. Just remember that.

Danny Lipford: Like whether or not we want to keep the tub we rarely ever use. I just don’t know if a traditional five-foot tub with this surround, you know,

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: What about for a standing tub, though?

Sharon Lipford: I guess the main reason I would want to keep a tub is for more just the aesthetics of it.

Danny Lipford: But of course, the key thing and the main motivation is a little larger closets. Just peek in that one right there. Is that okay, Sharon? Just peek.

Sharon Lipford: Well, I guess so.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Will anything jump out at me? That’s what I want to know.

Danny Lipford: Just take a peek.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Oh, me, oh, my. Yeah. It looks familiar.

Danny Lipford: Yeah.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Maybe my closet.

Sharon Lipford: I like shoes.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Okay. I see that. I see that. I might be able to take some of those off your hands. Okay. Yeah, the closets are small.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, exactly. Right.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: So, that’s what’s driving the bus here.

Danny Lipford: And a little bigger shower.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Larger shower.

Danny Lipford: What else would you say that bugged you?

Sharon Lipford: I would just say the outdatedness is the biggest thing.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: It’s safe to say that we can get rid of the carpet.

Danny Lipford: You can get rid of the carpet.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Can we get updated, can we get rid of the carpet and do…

Sharon Lipford: I’m really fond of this carpet.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: I’m sorry. Well, there you go. I put my foot in my mouth there as usual. The walls can be painted. I’m assuming you don’t want that wallpaper, probably.

Sharon Lipford: No.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Okay.

Sharon Lipford: Do they still make that?

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Yes, they do. And in a lot of bathrooms, it’s really great. I mean I’m a fan of wallpaper, but not necessarily in a master.

Danny Lipford: One of the ideas I had if we need a touch more, and this is running perspective with the tub behind us.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Okay.

Danny Lipford: This area here goes into the master bedroom. Let’s take a look at that and see if we might be able to use that.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: All right, that’s great. Found space.

Danny Lipford: So if we took this door out, changed this to a solid door, and then brought a wall here and went across, and then grabbed all of that space, if we need it. That’s just an option when you start.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Yeah. Well, I think, as long as you’re okay with you know, losing some of the decorative area.

Sharon Lipford: Oh, definitely.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: And all that sort of thing, I think this can be really good space too.

Danny Lipford: Mmm-hmm.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Perhaps we might be able to relocate the toilet room over here because it would be closer to the bedroom, which is nice for access and what not. And then, that will allow some of this to be used for closet.

Danny Lipford: So, we spent some more time with Cheryl, sharing our likes and dislikes so that she can work up some type of drawing for the new bathroom. It looks like it should work pretty well.

The shower will be expanded a bit, but it’s roughly in the same position as it is now. By eliminating the existing toilet closet, we can expand the walk-in closet out even with the shower.

The vanity will stay put, but gets a new window above it. That space we grab from the entry to the master bedroom will be used for a new toilet closet, which leaves just enough space for a freestanding tub between it and the shower.

Now, to put the plan into action, calls for a meeting with Wiley and Mark from my construction company to map out the work. The whole toilet room will go away, so, all of this whole wall here will go.

Mark Bufkin: Cut out part of the closet.

Danny Lipford: Right. You see the new wall.

Mark Bufkin: Uh-huh.

Danny Lipford: For the closet will hit right by that window. The vaulted ceiling will stay, and we’ll use some 1×6 v-groove, and we’ll stain it before we put it up.

Danny Lipford: Anyway, we’ll get in here Monday morning, and, fun part.

Mark Bufkin: Yeah, demo.

Danny Lipford: Just tearing everything up. All right. Well, if you got any questions, let me know. We’ll see what happens Monday.

Mark Bufkin: All right.

Danny Lipford: But before demolition starts…

Wiley Bullock: But we’ll need our first check Monday.

Danny Lipford: Sharon and I have to clean out our closets. What are you going to put in there? Shoes?

Sharon Lipford: Shoes.

Danny Lipford: Here, you’re going to need the rest of these.

Sharon Lipford: Probably.

Danny Lipford: Which may end up being the hardest part of this project. So, how many pairs do you have?

Sharon Lipford: You really don’t want to know.

Danny Lipford: I have 19.

Sharon Lipford: Oh, you have more than that, don’t you?

Danny Lipford: Nope.

Sharon Lipford: I have at least 75. I’ve already taken one box out. I’m a hoarder.

Danny Lipford: You’re going to need all of these. This might be appropriate. I think I’ll wear that the rest of the show. Hey, now, some things you can’t throw away. What about that? You know, I made that.

Sharon Lipford: Oh, yeah.

Danny Lipford: I made that in high school. I had to in some class. Our anniversary is coming up. That would be perfect, wouldn’t it?

Sharon Lipford: Who are you going out with?

Danny Lipford: While our family bonding continues, first grade. Can you find me?

Sharon Lipford: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: Why don’t you check out this week’s Simple Solution?

Joe Truini: I’m caulking this tub with 100% silicone caulk. And I like using 100% silicone for two reasons. One, it’s got great adhesion—it sticks to almost anything. And it’s really flexible, so over time it won’t break free.

Now, the downside of 100% silicone is it is not water soluble, so you’ll have to clean up with a solvent. And also, it’s so sticky that when you try to smooth it out with your finger, sometimes you can either pull it out of the joint or leave a really rough surface.

So, here is the trick, and this works great. I learned this trick from a reader, Herman. And what he suggested is using denatured alcohol. You put it in a little pump sprayer like this, a little plant mister, and just very lightly mist the surface.

That’s all you need, just a little light coating. And that allows your finger to just glide right along. Look at that. How perfect is that? What you end up with is a perfectly smooth bead, each and every time.

Danny Lipford: This week, we are kicking off the renovation of my master bathroom and closet. The hard part is done. My wife Sharon and I have moved out of our closet, so now we can start covering up everything that isn’t changing and protect the rest of the house from the dust that comes in.

With a little jockeying, we managed to get the dumpster close enough to the house to catch the demolition debris coming in from the upstairs window. Tell you what, to get an idea of what the sun will do to wallpaper, even I don’t have any windows in here I still have the sky light. Look at the difference right here.

This picture obviously has been here for many, many years, and, that’s the original color. I thought this was ugly, this, really ugly. The faded wallpaper isn’t the only causality we found in a bath like this. Look at that, look at that water damage right there.

Getting the dumpster closer was a big help because it only takes a few steps to get materials out of the house. Except for the larger items like this massive mirror.

Mark Bufkin: I’m seeing double. It messes me up. I got to get on the other side of it. Who’s going to get the bad luck on this one? Wow. And it didn’t break.

Danny Lipford: And the tub. The stuff that isn’t being saved is much more fun. Ready? One, two, three. I like that. Now, that’s fun.

Mark Bufkin: Do I need to move my truck?

Danny Lipford: Not anymore. Before we attack the shower wall, I have to remove some knick-knacks from the shelves in an adjacent room so that I don’t get in trouble with Sharon. And then, it’s wide open. I’m only into the fun part. Whoa! For a little while.

Mark Bufkin: Bloopers going all around here.

Danny Lipford: I got kind of wet on that one.

Mark Bufkin: I see that.

Danny Lipford: Eventually, all of the fixtures are gone, and the walls that have been removed can start coming out. And once everything is opened up, there are even more surprises. I was hoping we’d get through this thing without a termite. Oh! Ooh! Wow!

Mark Bufkin: Yeah. Yeah, I hated to be the bearer of bad news.

Danny Lipford: Oh, man. Oh, man! What was it a water leak around in here?

Mark Bufkin: No, there’s no evidence of water here.

Danny Lipford: And this is that big beam. That’s right down the middle, because I remember, when I built this thing 22 years ago worrying about the span. There’s a wall right there, downstairs in the garage.

Mark Bufkin: Right, it’s right here.

Danny Lipford: And then, it’s at least, probably, what, 20 feet or so.

Mark Bufkin : It’s 20 feet. It goes four feet into your bedroom.

Danny Lipford: Oh!

Mark Bufkin: But we can take the rock out from below.

Danny Lipford: Uh-huh.

Mark Bufkin: And address it then.

Danny Lipford: I think I’ll let you tell my wife. So, we decide what part of the ceiling needs to be removed in the garage downstairs. Moves terrible tons of exercise equipment, One, two, three, and start tearing up a completely different part of the house. All right.

Temporary walls support the four joists while the guys cut out the damaged beam in sections. The last piece is a beast because it has to be pulled out from under the bedroom floor.

To replace the old 2x12s, we’re using laminated veneer lumber beams or LVLs. These 20-foot pieces have to be fished in through an upstairs closet window, down through the floor system, and then tilted up into position. We’re using four LVLs on one side of the two-foot opening we created, and two on the other.

The chaseway we’ve created between the beams will be used to run the drain lines for the relocated toilet closet. Once the floor system is back in place, Mark and Mike can begin framing the walls that will define the new closet and bathroom spaces. It looks like we’re finally back on track, and just in time for you to check out this week’s Best New Product.

Jodi Marks: You know I love finding neat little ideas to make my DIY projects go a lot quicker and a lot smoother. And if you’re doing a bathroom renovation, here’s a good idea for you. Now, you know, the fixtures inside your shower and tub combination can be tricky to replace, because nine times out of 10, you got to rip out tile, rip out fiberglass, or hire a professional to come in there and change out all your valves. Until now.

Take a look and see what Pfister has come up with. This is their universal tub and shower kit. And basically, this is just a trim kit. This box contains no valves. So, you’re going to have to reuse the valves that are in the wall. The only catch is, is that you got to make sure it’s either a Moen, Delta, or Pfister to make sure that the valve trim kit is going to fit.

So, you’ve got different choices here. You can either get the polished chrome, the brushed nickel, or also the bronze. And there’s two different styles of handle showerhead look that you can choose from as well.

So, again, it’s very easy to do. You just pop off the old fixtures, if they look worn and outdated. Pop on the new fixtures, and you’ve upgraded your bathroom in a snap.

Danny Lipford: I think I’ll let you tell my wife. The renovation of my master bathroom hit a little snag with the discovery of a termite-damaged beam running under almost the entire length of the space.

Hey, man, I think at this point, we’re a lot committed on this project.

Mark Bufkin: No turning back.

Danny Lipford: No turning back now. Golly! But we’re back on track now, and the framing of the new walls is complete. So, now’s a good time to walk through the project, fine tuning things and going forward with Cheryl, the designer, and my wife, Sharon.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Now what I was thinking is that we would have the tub here and then you would have, maybe like a little tuffet or something in here.

Sharon Lipford: I would love a tuffet, as large as possible.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Yeah. And something, be cause it will introduce some fabric in here, which will give it that warmth and the warm feeling that you were talking about wanting from, originally. But it’s a perfect little spot for it, right there.

Sharon Lipford: Just sit down and try to put your shoes on, that kind of thing.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Right, exactly, exactly. And I think that it will look really nice, too.

Danny Lipford: And I’m going to act like I know what a tuffet is. So far, I’m staying out of trouble with these two, and I plan on doing everything I can to keep it that way. Would you guys say that the tower goes to the ceiling?

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Yes, absolutely. 100%.

Danny Lipford: Okay. Is that what you thought about?

Sharon Lipford: Yes.

Danny Lipford: Okay, good. That’s what I was going to recommend.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: There you go.

Danny Lipford: Once Sharon and Cheryl are satisfied that I’m building this bathroom the right way, they head off to talk about tons of selections that are being made for towels and colors, and textures, and who knows what else.

I’m going back to my comfort zone, talking to Artie, the plumber. Are you going to be able to use the same vent?

Artie McGowan: Yeah, we’re going to use the same vent over. That’s going to help revent the toilet that we moved over there.

Danny Lipford: What about that beam? How we ran that beam, did that work?

Artie McGowan: Man, it worked great, Danny.

Danny Lipford: Wow!

Artie McGowan: They were able to turn it in that tight space there without eating too much of your joist up.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, I know. That worked out pretty good. Well, there’s still lot of plumbing to be done.

If you’re moving major fixtures in a bathroom renovation, you really have to be able to depend on your plumber because there are so many details here to be managed. Maintaining the proper fall or slope on that longer toilet drain line, for example, is crucial to avoid problems down the road. You have enough fall. Just barely, I would imagine.

Artie McGowan: It worked out much better. Well, we got five and a half here, so we’re going to end up with about three and a half over there, so it’s going to work out perfect. That’s going to equal out to almost a quarter inch a foot.

Danny Lipford: Is that?

Artie McGowan: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: Perfect. Good, good. At this point, we’re also able to make the changes to the outside of the house. The decorative glass window has arrived to go in over the vanity and it looks great. In addition to natural light, it will also add fresh air because it’s a functional casement window.

While we’re at it, I’m also having the guys replace the skylight in the bathroom ceiling as well. The old acrylic one has seen its better days and now it’s time to replace it with something more dependable. There are a few framing changes necessary because this new fresh air skylight is a slightly different size. The fresh air designation means, it too can be opened by remote control. And the operator is solar-powered, so we don’t even have to worry about getting the electrician involved. We’ll have two sources of natural light and fresh air in this bathroom. And once the brick mason is complete on the outside, no one will ever notice the change.

All of our plumbing fixtures and all of the trim kits for our shower valves started showing up here just the other day, and I’ve been anxious to look at the shower kit, and particularly, the shower head. I’ve seen these at trade shows for years, and have always wanted one. I think, that’s going to work nice and look very nice in our bathroom.

Now something else we’re installing that’s so important to a successful bathroom renovation is something you won’t see in the bathroom, but is being installed in the attic. And that’s where Artie is putting in our new tankless water heater from Rinnai. Even though it’s only the size of a small suitcase, this unit will replace a big, old 50-gallon heater.

Because the Rinnai tankless water heater offers an endless supply of hot water, we don’t have to worry about depleting our hot water supply when Sharon fills up that new, large soaking tub that she and Cheryl picked out. No more scheduling showers around the laundry or the need to wash dishes. And because tankless water heaters operate only when the need for hot water is detected, they use less energy than standard tank water heaters, in some cases, up to 40% less.

When all that hot water turns to steam, we’ll have to clear it out of the bathroom, so the bathroom vent fans that are going in are extremely important. These are from NuTone, and the one we’re putting in above the shower includes humidity sensors, so I don’t have to remember to turn it on. It’s also among the quietest on the market at three sones, so it won’t be annoying when it does its job.

Danny Lipford: Jennifer asks, “Why do I have peeling paint in my bathroom?”

The reason you see so much peeling paint in a bathroom is because there’s more moisture in this room than any other room in the house. So that’s why it’s so important to use your bath vent fan every time you take a shower. And for 10 or 15 minutes after your shower, let it run and make sure you’re getting rid of all of the moisture.

But then, when it’s time to attack some of the peeling areas like this, first of all you want to scrape all of the excess peeling paint off. Then you want to sand it a little bit. Then apply a coat of primer to all of the problem areas. Then make sure you use a good quality caulk to caulk wherever the drywall touches your shower stall or tub area.

After that, two more coats of paint and I would suggest using either eggshell or semi-gloss to really provide a more washable surface and one that’s a lot more resistant to moisture.

Danny Lipford: In spite of the major setback, the termite-damaged beam created, we have made tons of progress on my bathroom. Now, all of the electrical and plumbing changes are complete. We can finally hang some dry wall.

At last, the new look of this bathroom is starting to take shape. And at this point in the progress, I’m starting to be able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. And now that all the dry wall has been installed and finished–it’s trim time.

The guys are starting with the wood ceiling up top and working their way down with the installation of all of the doors and baseboards, and then it’s time for all the other pieces of the puzzle, like our cabinetry, our countertop and some very unique ceramic tiles that we’re using and we’ll complete this whole project on next week’s show.

Now, if you’re interested in some of the things we’re using in this bathroom, you’ll find it all on our website at todayshomeowner.com. You know, every project that I do is really exciting. When it’s your own bathroom, it really starts to be a lot of fun.

I think I’ll grab my tools and help them move this along, and I hope you’ll join us next week right here on Today’s Homeowner.