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Friday, January 2, 2009

Prevent Fixture Hassles With Careful Planning

The job of installing our wall-mounted fixtures was tougher than it had to be, thanks to poor and contradictory one-size-fits-all instructions, metric fittings and duplicate and missing mounting parts. Prevent hard-to-fix future problems by test-fitting the actual fixtures when roughing in framing, plumbing and blocking to make sure everything will work out. Then finish the walls. When test-fitting, simulate finished floor and wall surfaces to get the clearances right.

Shower and Toilet Rough-In
A One-Piece Shower Pan Is The Key To A Leakproof Shower
We opted for an easily installed fiberglass shower pan. Forty-eight-inch wide pans are common and will work well; 60-in. units like we used must be special-ordered. The shower pan has to fit into the space left by the removed bathtub. Most bathtubs are 60 in. long, perfect for a 60-in. shower base. If your room is wider than the shower base, fur in the walls as needed to butt against the ends of the shower base (see Photo 14). Our bathroom is 6 ft. wide, so we added a floor-to-ceiling 2x6 wall at the showerhead end and a shorter 2x6 wall at the opposite end. We made that wall only 43 in. above the floor so we could use the top of the wall to hold shampoo and other shower supplies. The shower base usually comes with a special 2-in. drain fitting that you connect to the drain line (Fig. B).

How Much Does It Cost?

We didn’t pinch pennies when it came to remodeling this 6 x 8-ft. bathroom. We chose top-shelf materials to make the room as striking as possible, but you can go with less expensive materials and still have a bathroom fit for a magazine cover. Here are our costs:

  • Glass block window panel, 40 x 24 in., $160.

  • Shower base, 34 in. x 5 ft., $375. We special-ordered this Swanstone base from a plumbing fixture supplier along with the wall-hung toilet and sink.

  • Wall-hung toilet, $950. It’s from the American Standard “Porcher” line, part of the Kimera Collection.

  • Wall-hung “Porcher” line sink, 27 in. wide, $575.

  • Tile. We spent $3,200 on natural 12-in. stone tile imported from Italy. The stone costs $14.50 per sq. ft. Standard ceramic tile runs $3 to $6 per sq. ft.

  • Other costs. You’ll also need faucets, wall board, rough-in plumbing, lumber and miscellaneous finish materials. We spent about $600 on these items.

Hanging Cement Board
Three Tools Simplify Cement Board Installation
With the rough plumbing complete and the toilet chair carrier in position, finish the electrical and add blocks as needed to support the sink (Photo 15), towel bars, grab bars, etc. Then close up the walls. We recommend cement board for durable tile walls and floors, but other tile backers are available at tile shops. Here are key installation tips:

  • Fasten cement board with special, coated cement-board screws spaced 6 in. on butt joints and every 8 in. in the middle of sheets.

  • Spread thin-set mortar on floors under cement board with a 1/4-in. notched trowel for a more stable tile base.

  • Staple up 6-mil plastic sheeting behind cement board on walls in wet areas.

  • Use a curved linoleum knife to score and snap cement board to length and width. It works better and lasts longer than a utility knife.

  • For cutting notches and holes, use a jigsaw fitted with an abrasive blade. Predrill pilot holes for the jigsaw in “landlocked” openings with a masonry drill bit.

  • Rest the shower cement board on top of the shower base flange (see Photos 14 and 18), not over it. Extend the tile over the flange, then caulk between the tile and the base.

Tile & Fixtures
Why A Wall-Mounted Toilet?
There’s a reason that commercial bathrooms have wall-mounted toilets. There’s no base to clean around. But commercial types are expensive and noisy, and they require special plumbing. American Standard offers a quiet, residential wall-hung unit.

The tank is concealed within a 2x6 wall that’s built in front of the existing plumbing wall. It does require some plumbing rerouting because the waste line runs through the wall instead of the basic floor-mounted toilet flange (see Photos 8 – 12). The toilet can be ordered with a wall-mounted access panel/flush button like ours or with the panel mounted on top of a half wall. A “chair carrier” (Photo 11) comes with the toilet. This steel framework contains the toilet and operating mechanisms and is designed to support the weight of the toilet.

Small Features Pay Off Big
  • We finished off the alcove above the sink and stool by filling it with a floor-to-ceiling mirror glued to the drywall with silicone cement. At $160, it’s an inexpensive, useful way to make a room feel more spacious.

  • Since the medicine chest was eliminated, we needed storage space for the stuff guests shouldn’t see. We bought a small cherry cabinet for those items.

  • Soffit lights over the shower and mirror shed light on all bathroom tasks right where you need it.

  • A glass block window, albeit one that distorts images, may not feel private enough. Consider a second shower curtain rod fitted with a short matching shower curtain for more shower privacy.

  • The two-piece stone chair rail that runs at the top of the half walls and around the window is spendy, but it contributes more in appearance than its $25 per linear foot cost.

  • If you don’t already have a ventilating fan, add one.

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source : The Family Handyman Magazin

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