Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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Master Bathroom Renovation, Part 2


Watch this video to see the completion of our master bathroom renovation, including installing a wood ceiling, tile floor, matching vanity cabinets with granite countertops, and a freestanding soaking tub. ...More




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Master Bathroom Renovation, Part 2

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Master bathroom vanity with granite countertop.

Master bathroom vanity with granite countertop.

We complete our master bathroom renovation that began in Master Bath Renovation, Part 1, including:

  • Installing V-groove, vaulted wood ceiling with skylight.
  • Hanging chandelier and wall mounted light fixtures.
  • Tiling the bathroom floor and shower stall.
  • Installing matching vanity cabinets with granite countertops.
  • Painting the walls and ceiling.
  • Putting in freestanding soaking tub
  • Installing toilet with remote control heated seat.
  • Adding hanging racks and shelves in expanded walk-in closet.

Read episode article to find out more.

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Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, we’re wrapping up a master bath renovation at my house. At least, we better be, or my wife may have me looking for a new place to live.

Sharon Lipford: Oh, that looks really good.

Danny Lipford: We’re right in the middle of a renovation of a master bathroom and closet in my own home. Even though I remodeled hundreds of houses, every project has unique challenges. In this one, I’m trying to keep my wife happy while staying on a budget and on schedule.

Fortunately, we were able to work out a plan that we all like. And now, Sharon and our designer Cheryl are busy choosing the materials that will finish it off.

Sharon Lipford: You might want 28 inches width.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Yeah, that might be getting a little big. I mean, you know, let me just put it into perspective for you.

Sharon Lipford: That’s pretty big. That’s a nice…

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: That’s 28 inches.

Sharon Lipford: Oh, that’s 28?

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: That’s 28.

Sharon Lipford: Oh, well, then. Yes.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: OK. And if you’re talking about, what’s that? Well, 30 something.

Sharon Lipford: Yeah. Yeah.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Okay.

Sharon Lipford: It’s a big bathroom but it’s not that big.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Right. Now…

Danny Lipford: Meanwhile I’m wrangling my crew of carpenters and a dozen or so subcontractors to make the work happen. So far, I haven’t lost my mind.

And the work seems to be going pretty well, except for the discovery of a beam that had almost been completely eaten through by termites. I think I’ll let you tell my wife.

That led to more demolition than we planned. Eventually, we completed the new framing, wiring and plumbing so we could finally put in the new drywall. Then we could focus on the really fun stuff.

One of my favorite features is the V-groove wood we installed overhead, to highlight the vaulted ceiling. Now we just have to figure out how to finish it off.

So, Mark, my foreman and I are mocking up some options for a faux beam and some custom trim. Just cut this like, every, just give me three one-foot pieces off of it.

Mark Bufkin: Okay.

Danny Lipford: And we’ll just mock something up there and I’ll tell you, I think I’ll get one of these 1x8s and cut a piece off of it too.

Mark Bufkin: Just for a…

Danny Lipford: Okay.

Mark Bufkin: To play…

Danny Lipford: Yeah, just to play with it a bit. That’s what I’m gonna want right here, I’m pretty sure. It’s feeling right.

Mark Bufkin: Feeling good about it?

Danny Lipford: Yeah. You were talking about it being too big. It’s hanging down too much, is what you’re saying?

Mark Bufkin: That’s what I think. If we maybe rip this down to 3 ½ tall.

Danny Lipford: Okay, what about one inch?

Mark Bufkin: Take an inch off of it?

Danny Lipford: One inch off of it.

Mark Bufkin: Okay.

Danny Lipford: Okay, I’m good with that. You think it needs to be a quarter inch less?

Mark Bufkin: We could take a quarter off of it.

Danny Lipford: Maybe just rip a quarter down?

Mark Bufkin: Yeah. Might work. That might work. It don’t need to be no bigger. That’s for sure.

Danny Lipford: Yeah. Once the details have been worked out, Mark and Mike can get busy building the beam that’ll cap off the wood ceiling. This will be important because we need a nice flat surface to mount the canopy for that chandelier that Sharon and Cheryl picked out. Now, they’ve moved on to selecting tile.

Sharon Lipford: This is one I also looked at.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: I think that’s got too much pink in it. Those have got pink undertones.

Sharon Lipford: That is pretty pink, I guess, when you look at it.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon : It’s got pink undertones. Yeah, but we need a little bit of gray. We do. We need a little, just a little bit. Just a little bit. Like that’s less gray than that. I think that has more brown in it. What about that one? Because that looks like it has less range of movement.

Sharon Lipford: I really, I really like that. I think I would be very happy with that. Now, this is pretty.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: This is exactly what I sent you.

Sharon Lipford: Right.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: But this is, this is dated. Let’s not do that. No.

Sharon Lipford: Now, see, I like that.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon: Just say no, Sharon.

Danny Lipford: It’s a good thing that selection is taking a while, because we have to get the cement backer board installed before we can install the tile anyway. The walls of the shower will also be getting tile, so there’s more backer board to hang there as well. And it extends down over the flexible vinyl pan that covers the floor.

The seams in the backer board are covered with fiberglass tape before the walls are coated with a waterproof sealant. To make water move to the center drain, the tile setter has to create a sloped mud bed over that vinyl pan using a slightly damp mix of Portland cement and sand.

Right now, he can shape it exactly the way he wants but once it dries, it’ll create a solid foundation for the floor tiles in the shower. While the tile setter has been very busy in the shower, the painter has also been busy coating the rest of the walls.

Sharon Lipford: Oh, that looks really good. And the tile I picked out for that little accent wall, I think has some of that color in it, so that’ll probably draw it out even more.

Michael: Oh, yeah.

Danny Lipford: While Michael finishes applying the officially approved first coat of paint, let’s check in with Joe for this week’s Simple Solution.

Joe Truini: Over the years we have shown several ways to use a five-gallon bucket. Here’s another one, it’s called the cut bucket. It’s simply a five-gallon bucket in which I cut two V-grooves—about three inches wide, 2 1/2 inches deep—across from one another. And then, on the opposite side of the bucket, I cut two squared off notches.

The V-grooves are perfect for cutting any round stock—plastic pipe, wooden dowels—in a wide variety of diameters from large to small, like this piece of copper tubing. Then the squared off notches—they’re only about 3 1/2 inches wide, three-quarter inches deep—perfect for cutting wood.

You can cut 1x2s and even smaller stock, all the way up to 1×4. Fits right in there tight. Nice shoulder to hold against, so you get a nice steady cut, doesn’t move around. And even as large as a 2×4 with a circular saw. So it’s not only for hand sawing, but also for using portable circular saw. And the bucket doubles as a place to store hand tools and even the scraps.

Danny Lipford: This week we’re knee deep in a bathroom remodel and because it’s my master bathroom we’re working on, it’s kind of a big deal. At least it is to my wife Sharon and to me, of course. She’s been busy selecting exactly the right materials for the room, while I’ve been trying to keep it all on schedule and on budget.

We finally reached the point where finished surfaces are going in and the tile is one of the first ones. We’ve started in the shower because it will be inaccessible once the floor is laid. Layout is so crucial in this small space with these large tiles, and progress is very slow because each tile is individually coated with thinset before installation.

And most of what goes on the wall has to be cut on a diagonal first. But I have to say, I really like the tile color Sharon settled on, especially compared to the bright red waterproofing it’s covering up in the shower. The floor goes down more quickly because more full tiles can be used, but there are still some awkward cuts to be made before it’s complete.

All of the 20-inch porcelain tiles have been installed, and obviously the tile man doesn’t want us inside so that all of the tiles can completely dry and then he’ll be able to go back in and do all of his grouting. Now, we use the same tile as we used in the shower. We just used them diagonally in the shower and here, just a straight lay.

We’ll also be getting in real soon and installing the accent wall behind where the tub will be positioned. That’ll add just a great splash of color in the bathroom. But before those tiles can go up, we have to build the ledge that will cap off that accent wall. Later, it’ll be covered in granite, but for now we just need to install the wood framing so the glass mosaic tiles can be applied to the drywall beneath it.

While these mosaic tiles are going up on the wall, a different mosaic tile is being laid on the shower floor. It’s a more organic pattern that looks like smooth river stones. When the mosaics are complete, it’s finally time for the cabinets to start going in.

For the bathroom vanity, Sharon selected several Merillat cabinets with a finish that matches the wood ceiling above them. They were being arranged so that the counters will sit at two different heights. This breaks up the long run of countertop and also creates the knee space that Sharon wants for putting on makeup.

Meanwhile the electricians are also here to trim out all of the fixtures. That means more decisions for us like, “How far from the ceiling to hang the chandelier?”

Kevin Presley: Affix it to the beam at the bottom?

Sharon Lipford: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: Yeah.

Kevin Presley: Okay.

Danny Lipford: Over in the closet, the lighting is a little less ornate but very functional. Mark is installing another set of cabinets in here. Now, these will help organize the new closet space, so, it’s both functional and attractive. And there’s a lot of pieces to put all these cabinets together, huh?

Mark Bufkin: Yeah, a lot of pieces.

Danny Lipford: But you’re pretty much…It looks like you’ve pretty much got this whole closet thing done.

Mark Bufkin: Just about got it. I’m down to the baseboard now.

Danny Lipford: Awesome, all right. Well, keep it going. And this is kind of the way it is in the last few days of any project–a lot of little odds and ends, a lot of different materials that we have to pick up right at the last minute.

We have the electricians working on the four wall sconces that Sharon picked out along here. They ought to be really nice. Tomorrow the granite comes in. So, we’re going to have three pieces of granite there. Then we’ll also have granite, the same, that’ll match here as well as the seat right in there.

Matter of fact, they’re testing all of the electrical right now. We have our timer on for our exhaust fan. And this thing is so quiet, you can’t even hear it right now. We almost need a little light to let us know that it’s on. So that should be cool. Then the granite going right along here. And this goes in just two days from now. And all of the plumbing fixtures will be complete in about two days.

So, we’ve got a lot of little odds and ends, a few pieces of hardware that we have to secure so that they can go in and we’re getting really close.

Jodi Marks: You know if you’re in the middle of a bathroom renovation, or you’re just thinking about changing out your toilet for a new one, look no further than right here. This is the Delta Corrente elongated toilet. And there are a couple of good features about this that I want to highlight for you.

First of all it’s got what they call chair height. And chair height means that the—the industry standard used to be 14 inches—but chair height actually takes it up to 17 inches, which is what the typical height of your chair is. So this is perfect if you’re going to age in place, because they say chair height is a lot safer getting down and getting back up.

Now, another feature that I like about this is that right here where the tank meets the bowl, a lot of times you get a lot of leakage. And also where the supply line comes out of the tank. Well, Delta has come up with a SmartFit connection, so that the tank into the bowl gets a nice tight fit. And they’ve also factory installed the supply line so it eliminates leaks there.

Another thing I like about this is it’s got the smart sense, WaterSense certification, so that you save water and money over time. And who doesn’t like to do that?

Danny Lipford: My master bathroom renovation is in the home stretch now. Things are really getting busy. With all of the cabinets in place, the countertops can be installed.

Beneath the granite, we’ve installed these cool new rectangular undermounted sinks from Lenova. The white sink and the bright finish of the new Moen faucets really contrast nicely with the granite counters so we have some relief from all of the beiges and browns.

The big chore for the plumber is setting the freestanding tub. The base of this one from Victoria + Albert will conceal the drain in the floor. The spout and faucets will be wall-mounted. For our newly constructed toilet closet, we picked a new hi-tech toilet from Toto. It ionizes the water in the bowl so that it stays cleaner longer and it even has a heated seat.

We’ve been waiting for this renovation for a long time. So long in fact, that Sharon can’t wait to start moving in. Before the carpet even goes down in the closet, she started moving in her shoes. When I see this stuff going down, I can’t help but think of that old sea foam green carpet it replaced. Before the dust even settles, Sharon is in the bath cleaning up and getting ready to finish moving in.

Sharon Lipford: This turned out so much better than I thought. You know, I was debating whether to keep a tub because we don’t use it that much, and I just felt like we needed to have one. And this one just really looks nice in the room and I really think that I’ll probably use it. Probably more than that jetted tub that we used to have. Just, I don’t know, it just really makes the room.

Danny Lipford: Once the shower walls are cleaned, she’s treating them with a new solution from Wet & Forget, that will prevent mold and mildew from forming on them. Once she’s ready to start decorating, our daughter Chelsea drops by to help her out.

Sharon Lipford: I think I want that on that corner.

Chelsea Lipford: This one?

Sharon Lipford: Uh-huh. What about these? Don’t they look great?

Chelsea Lipford: They do. I like that. Here in the corner?

Sharon Lipford: Yeah, that’s good.

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah, that needs to go there.

Sharon Lipford: I think I’ll put that over here in this corner.

Chelsea Lipford: This?

Sharon Lipford: The candle. What do you think? You think that’s too much to have both of these in here? I just like it so much and it seems to have the right colors.

Chelsea Lipford: As long as you have room for all your stuff.

Sharon Lipford: Yeah. It works.

Chelsea Lipford: It’s probably good. I like that.

Sharon Lipford: Yeah, put that, center that on that ledge.

Chelsea Lipford: Okay.

Sharon Lipford: Yeah, that’ll be good.

Chelsea Lipford: Where to?

Sharon Lipford: Yeah. Kind of like that. And then put the ball.

Chelsea Lipford: Does Dad know you’re decorating his side?

Sharon Lipford: Well, he probably will get rid of it after a while because he likes his space.

Chelsea Lipford: Likes it to be clean.

Sharon Lipford: Uh-huh. But, I think that looks good.

Chelsea Lipford: This goes, that just sits there?

Sharon Lipford: Yeah.

Chelsea Lipford: Okay. Cool.

Danny Lipford: What in the world ever made me think this would be my bathroom too?

Sharon Lipford: Now that’s cute.

Chelsea Lipford: Aw!

Sharon Lipford: But I’ll use this a lot. I need to get a really nice makeup mirror. I had them…

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah. Drill a hole there?

Sharon Lipford: Drill a hole so that I can get a…

Chelsea Lipford: Is there an outlet?

Sharon Lipford: Yeah, I made the electrician put an outlet.

Chelsea Lipford: Oh!

Sharon Lipford: So that way I can have a lighted one.

Chelsea Lipford: Okay.

Sharon Lipford: And I think that will be really nice.

Chelsea Lipford: That’ll be nice. And you have the window above too.

Sharon Lipford: So, what do you think about these? I think they’re really cute. You think I should cut that thing off? Or do you think it looks okay? Well, of course we need to center it.

Chelsea Lipford: You think you could? Center it, oh, excuse me.

Danny Lipford: Even our dog Ricky is getting moved in before I do.

Chelsea Lipford: What? Look at Ricky enjoying the closet!

Sharon Lipford: Chelsea, look at my shoes.

Chelsea Lipford: Oh, my gosh! You really do have a lot of shoes, Mom.

Sharon Lipford: Aren’t they great? Look at them.

Chelsea Lipford: Now you can see all of ‘em.

Sharon Lipford: I found these this morning.

Chelsea Lipford: Oh, no!

Sharon Lipford: I don’t think I’ve ever worn them. Now, I can see them all and look, there’s more.

Chelsea Lipford: There’s, those are yours too? Whoa!

Sharon Lipford: Yeah.

Chelsea Lipford: You’re terrible.

Sharon Lipford: I know. I am.

Chelsea Lipford: This is so nice. You can see all of them at once.

Sharon Lipford: I know.

Chelsea Lipford: And they have room to breathe.

Sharon Lipford: And look at your daddy’s little area.

Chelsea Lipford: His tiny little shoes.

Sharon Lipford: But he’s got a lot of shoes for a guy.

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: I can see I better get busy before I lose what’s left of the closet. Okay, you’ve already moved in here, huh?

Sharon Lipford: I moved in. I moved your shoes in, and some of your stuff.

Danny Lipford: I know why you moved those shoes in. To see how much more space you’re going to… This is all mine, right?

Sharon Lipford: No, I would kind of like half of it, really.

Danny Lipford: I don’t want to mix.

Sharon Lipford: Because, look, you have shelves and drawers.

Danny Lipford: I don’t want to mix. I don’t want to mix shoes. What if I accidentally put on some of your pumps? That wouldn’t work, would it?

Sharon Lipford: Uh, no.

Danny Lipford: Well, I’ve got more space here than I thought. What’s this?

Sharon Lipford: Um…Well, that’s not going on my side.

Danny Lipford: That’s going on your side.

Sharon Lipford: That’s not going on my side.

Danny Lipford: Let me put it, let me put it right here on your side. You got a lot of extra room.

Sharon Lipford: That’s a man tool.

Danny Lipford: Hmm, still got to get rid of some of these things.

Danny Lipford: Jim asks, “Is it OK to have a bath exhaust fan vent into my attic?”

No, it’s never a good idea to have any exhaust fan in your home dump all that hot, moist air in your attic. It can cause you a lot of problems with mold and mildew forming on the underside of your rafters and decking as well as getting into your insulation.

Several different ways you can move that hot air to the outside. One is to route it over to a soffit vent and attach it to the back of the soffit vent, but this can work against your exhaust fan because that’s actually an air intake, so not as good as other methods.

Another method, a little bit better, is if you have a gable-style roof and a gable vent on one end of the house, you can attach this to the back of a gable vent.

But the absolute best way to get that hot, moist air out of your house is to route it straight up through the roof and out a roof cap on it. Even better, instead of using this flexible type pipe, use a smooth metal pipe to route it through the roof.

Danny Lipford: My bathroom renovation has taken a little longer than planned because of a few surprises along the way, but now it’s finally complete. And I’ll have to say it’s a vast improvement on the old bathroom. Now, the old green carpet just had to go and what it didn’t cover, the massive tub and tub skirt did.

The shower had a few issues even if it hadn’t been too small. And our closets simply weren’t getting the job done anymore. The new bath, though smaller in size, actually feels a lot larger and more comfortable. The addition of the window above the vanity gives the room a new open feeling, and the tub and accent wall opposite makes you feel very relaxed without even getting wet.

We got a much more finished look and a little extra space in the shower and the closet, even if I only get to use a small part of it. So, Sharon, can you believe this is the same space that we had for 22 years?

Sharon Lipford: It’s beautiful.

Danny Lipford: A lot different than the old green carpet.

Sharon Lipford: I’m not going to miss that green carpet.

Danny Lipford: What about the closet you’ve got now, huh? Is that big enough?

Sharon Lipford: I can see all my shoes. It’s wonderful.

Danny Lipford: Well, seven weeks of work. What was your favorite part of the whole bathroom?

Sharon Lipford: This.

Danny Lipford: You like this?

Sharon Lipford: I mean, this is. I love the granite. I think the granite, I’m just so pleased with it.

Danny Lipford: Yeah. It really turned out well. Everything did. And what about all the decisions? You had to make a ton of decisions.

Sharon Lipford: I really liked doing that though.

Danny Lipford: Really?

Sharon Lipford: Oh, yeah. I had a good time. I just didn’t like the pressure of having to do it by a certain amount of time.

Danny Lipford: Right. Right. Yeah, well that’s the only way to keep it on schedule. And this was a big project for us. It meant a lot to us. Hope you were able to see a few ideas that you could use at your house. And we’ll be doing a lot of other bathroom renovations in the year ahead.

Of course, there’s a lot more information on our website at todayshomeowner.com. From one happy wife here, to me, Danny Lipford, we’ll see you next week here on Today’s Homeowner.

I’d like to thank the following companies for helping make my bathroom renovation a big success. Merillat cabinets, Moen, Shaw Flooring, Victoria + Albert tubs, Velux skylights, Hy-Lite Windows, Kichler Lighting, Toto toilets, Lenova sinks, and a special thanks for my endless supply of hot water from Rinnai tankless water heaters.

Sharon Lipford: And here’s his, oh, there you go! Here’s his carpenter underwear.

Chelsea Lipford: You’re in so much trouble.