Bath Basics

By: Danny Lipford
Danny Lipford in remodeled bathroom.

Danny Lipford in small bathroom after extensive remodeling.

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Danny has remodeled a lot of bathroom over the years, but this job is personal, since it’s in his own home. What started as a simple upgrade, expanded into a complete bathroom renovation that included replacing the tub surround and tile floor, upgrading the plumbing and faucets, and installing a new vanity and accessories.


Bathroom before remodeling.

Demolition

Work began by tearing out a built-in closet and removing the existing pedestal sink. Next, the 20-year-old cultured marble tub surround was removed, along with the tile floor. In addition, part of the engineered wood floor in the powder room had to be replaced to cover the area occupied by the closet.

Wiring

Replacing the two wall scones over the sink with a single light fixture required cutting a new hole in the drywall, rerouting the wires, and repairing the holes in the existing drywall.

Wiring Tip

Always turn off the circuit breaker that powers the outlet, switch or fixture before working on the wiring in your home, then use an electrical tester to check wires to make sure they’re not hot before working on them. Non-contact testers can detect electrical current without actually coming in contact with a bare wire.

Plumbing and Fixtures

The faucets for the tub and sink have an oil rubbed bronze finish and are from the Vestige collection by Moen. The tub faucet includes a pressure balance valve that automatically adjusts to changes in water pressure to maintain constant water temperature and prevent scalding.

Flexible PEX pipe was used to connect the existing polybutylene water lines to the copper pipes on the new faucets.

Tile Floor and Shower Surround

Once the plumbing had been roughed in, cement backer board was attached to the studs around the tub. A plastic pan was screwed to a cutout in the backer board to form a recess to accommodate shampoo and soap.

Seams in the backer board were covered with mesh tape and coated with thin-set. Before the tile were laid, the shower walls were coated with a waterproofing compound—such as Durex Blue Shield from Durabond Products or RedGard by Custom Building Products—to prevent moisture from penetrating through the tile or grout. The concrete floor was primed as well, and a floor leveling compound was poured on the slab to make sure it was flat and smooth.

Rather starting the first row of tile on the tub, guide boards were attached to the shower walls to provide a level support for the tile. To minimize the size of the grout lines, toothpicks were used as spacers between the tile.

The walls of the tub surround were tiled with 12”x 12” Crema Cappuccino tiles from The Home Depot. Moroccan Desert mosaic blend glass tile from the Tessera collection by Oceanside Glasstile were used for the bathroom floor and accent band around the tub surround.

Tiling Tip

When applying thin-set adhesive with a notched trowel, use a trowel with small notches for small tile and large notches for large tile.

After the tile adhesive had set, the paper backing on the mosaic tile was peeled off, and grout was applied to the joints with a float. Darker colored grout was used on the mosaic tile floor and accent band, with a lighter grout for the tub surround.

Bathroom Vanity

Once the drywall in the powder room had been repaired, the walls were painted. When all the work was finished, a Socotra vanity with a black Galaxy Granite top and white oval sink was set in place and the plumbing attached.

After a little clean up and decorating, Danny’s bath renovation was complete.

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Homemade Tile Snapping Jig

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Homemade Tile Snapping Jig

When scoring and snapping tile, it can be hard to break off a small strip. To solve this problem, sandwich a strip of plywood the thickness of the tile between two 1x4s. Clamp the jig to a workbench, and insert the tile so the scored line is flush with the jig. Tighten the clamps, and press down on the tile to snap it cleanly. (Watch This Video)

SharkBite Push-Fit Plumbing Fitting

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SharkBite Plumbing Fitting

SharkBite push-fit plumbing fittings can be used to join copper, CPVC, or PEX pipe without gluing or soldering. Simply push the pipe on the fitting, and you’re done. A special tool is available to remove the fitting for disassembly. SharkBite tees, elbows, couplings, and adaptors for 1/2″ and 3/4” pipe are available at The Home Depot. (Watch This Video)

Mercury in CFL Bulbs

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There has been much concern expressed over the mercury found in compact fluorescent light bulbs, but the amount of mercury in each bulb is so small that it would fit on the tip of a pencil. As long as you dispose of burned out or broken CFLs properly, they shouldn’t pose a problem. (Watch This Video)

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