Don’t think you need to do the whole job solo if you don’t feel qualified or able to perform all the tasks, especially the plumbing and electrical work. Pros will greatly speed up the project, which is particularly important if the bathroom under construction is the only one in the house.
You must get permits before tackling a bathroom remodel. Contact your building inspector to go over the scope of the project to find out exactly how much you’re permitted to do. When your permit is granted, you’ll receive a schedule list that’ll tell you when to call for inspections.
Remember To Shut Off The Water Before Demolition
The special-order fixtures, fittings, shower pan, tile and glass block panel can take weeks to get in hand, so do the necessary legwork and ordering well in advance.
Before gutting the bathroom, check to make sure that there are shutoffs for all the fixtures or a master shutoff for the entire bathroom. If not, buy ball valve shutoffs sized to fit your pipes. Then turn off the main water supply line where it comes into the house from outside, cut the pipes feeding the bathroom and install the new shut-offs right away (see Photo 7).
Disconnect the trap from the tub, remove any clips, fasteners or screws that hold the tub to the wall, and demolish the old cast iron tub with a sledgehammer (see “For More Information”). Remove the sink and toilet. Turn off the electricity at the main panel and remove light fixtures. Cap the wires with wire connectors. Then rip out the wall finishes and surfaces clean down to the studs and pull out any insulation. If your ceiling is in good shape, use a utility knife to cut the drywall along the edges so the wall materials will separate cleanly from the ceiling.
You Can Complete The Glass Block Project The First Weekend
Converting a bathtub with a conventional window above it to a shower is dicey business, but the result is striking. Order a premade glass block window to fit your existing opening (see “How to Order a Glass Block Window Panel). Look under “Glass Block” in the Yellow Pages to find a supplier.
The key to a weatherproof, attractive glass block window both inside and out is to encase it in a custom-built wooden frame (Fig. A) with inside dimensions that are 1/2 in. taller and wider than the panel itself. That will give you room to adjust and shim the panel exactly and then inject expanding foam between the frame and the panel to lock it into the opening (Photos 3 and 4).
To begin, rip the top and side jambs to the thickness of the wall framing plus the exterior wall sheathing. The cement board will lap over the jambs. The windowsill should also be flush with the interior framing, but hang over the outside sheathing about 1-1/2 in. and have a 5-degree slope toward the outside to help shed water. To keep water from running behind the siding as it drips off the edge, cut a shallow groove (or saw kerf) in the bottom lip (Fig. A). Also, remember to flash behind the trim to keep the window watertight. Trim the window exterior to match the house, using caulk to seal between the trim and siding.
It’s important to set the panel so it protrudes 1/4 in. past the finished tile surface (Fig. A). That way, a bead of caulk can seal the joint between the tile and block to keep water out of the wall cavity.
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