When I started dreaming about remodeling my bathroom, my mind would wander to visions of paint colors and tile options. I spent many hours browsing through Pinterest imaging my new glorious bathroom. I was giddy with excitement. Then reality came crashing down.
I started to think through the technical side of that walk-in shower that caught my eye, and realized it might be more than I wanted to tackle. Or that nice drop-in tub might take up ALL the floor space in my really small bathroom. There are some real limitations to remodeling. You have to work with what is already there and be realistic about your options.
The good news is, if you take these limitations into consideration from the beginning of the project, you can save yourself some grief and maybe some money along the way. So, where do we start? The layout. Draw it out. Write everything down. And take it with you everywhere. You will need those dimensions for everything.
Measure your room and draw it. Be sure to include the height of the walls for tiled shower and door measurements. Also, include any feature of your walls such as a built-in ledge or wall that encloses the tub or half wall beside toilet. Include any you plan to build during the remodel or that will remain from before. No need to include something you are going to tear out.
Bathtub and/or Shower
I decide on this first mainly because it takes up the most space in your bathroom and what you decide directly affects the rest of your space. Will you have a bathtub or shower or both? Start checking out tubs you like on sites like Home Depot or Lowe’s. This will give you a general idea of the dimensions of the type of tub you are looking for. Typically, tubs are 60” long and 30-32” wide, however every tub is slightly different.
The depths are different as well. Do you take long soaking baths? You might want a deeper tub as opposed to someone who mainly takes showers standing in the tub. Perhaps you want to consider a separate tub and shower or only a shower in your bathroom.
You could have a freestanding tub or one that is built-in. Some tubs are built into a niche with walls on three sides (called an alcove) and some drop-in to a base built to support it. These drop in tubs are unfinished on all sides so you often see the base tiled on the outside. Tubs also come with aprons that look like the outside of the tub at the bottom.
Also consider what the tub is made of. Acrylic is common because it is very economical however porcelain or enameled tubs have a more luxurious feel and durability. If you are feeling creative and have the space, check out the corner tubs. And don’t forget to think about the jets options and color options, of course.
Should you opt for the tub/shower combo, you have some choices to make here as well. They make shower surrounds or kit showers that are budget and install-friendly. Quick and easy. You could also upgrade to an Onyx system which is similar but indestructible and more customizable. These include walls and the shower base. A better product, but not as budget-friendly. It has to be custom-installed. If you are really ambitious, go for tile. I did and I love it. Your room truly is one of a kind.
If your family is like mine, no one uses a bathtub. And since we have small bathrooms, it made sense for us to put in a stall shower. Showers can also be built into an alcove with three walls or some people use half walls to make it feel more open. General rule is, more glass makes it feel more open and costs more money, so find the balance that is right for you. For those of us with small bathrooms, a glass shower makes the room appear larger. So, our shower is in a corner and the walls are glass.
If you are going with tile, you or your contractor can build a shower base for not a lot of money. If he has had success in the past with it, great. We don’t have a contractor so we decided to buy a Tile-Redi shower base. They come is lots of sizes in squares, rectangles, and neo shapes. The bases are easy to install and come with the pitch of the shower already done. So, if you install the shower base level, it has a pitch to make sure the water drains toward the drain instead of standing in the shower.
Speaking of drains, Tile-Redi comes with options of standard drains, trench drains, or tileable drains that create the illusion of an invisible drain. Tile-Redi also makes tileable shower benches, niches (for storage), and shaving ledges (to prop your foot on to shave). All are easy to install and ready to tile. They also make a flashing system to install at the bottom of the walls to direct any water that gets behind the tile back into the base.
Tile-Redi sells their products on their website as well as at all the big box home improvement stores so you can shop around prices. Their bases are around $600 and up, but you have to consider how confident you are in your waterproofing abilities. I guess I questioned mine, because we bought another one of these bases for my downstairs bathroom too!
Tile-Redi does not sponsor my site nor did they give me any product. This is the company we used for our remodel because we liked the options and they thought of everything. It works well for do-it-yourself remodeling. If you have a contractor, I’m sure he can custom build most of this for you and that’s great (especially if he can line up the drains and save some plumbing costs)!
Waterproofing is very important. If not done properly, it could cost a lot of money later. To ensure waterproofing, we used concrete board for the shower walls instead of drywall and then coated the concrete board in RedGard waterproofing membrane. These steps are recommended for all shower walls that will be tiled, even in tub/shower combos.
That concludes Part 1 of Beginning Your Bathroom Remodel. Check back in a couple of days for Part 2. In the meantime, get started browsing around and measuring. I have created a printable for this post to help you keep track of everything along the way. Sign up for my weekly newsletter to gain immediate access to my free library of printables. The sign up is in the sidebar. Please contact me with any questions or leave a comment below. You can find me at [email protected]. See you next time!