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Bathroom Renovation Advice...
Old 09-10-2011, 06:57 AM   #1
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Bathroom Renovation Advice...

One goal of mine, post retirement, has been to tackle a laundry list of renovation projects around the house.

So far, I've replaced some windows... replaced all outside light fixtures... and tackled a few electrical gremlins along the way. I'm now into may most ambitious project... a full bathroom remodel... and have already completed the demolition of the old 1980's tile & vanity.

This will be my first time hanging cement board and tiling so...

1, Can any of the pros out there offer sage advice? (I think I have the basic steps down... but perhaps there are some "tricks of the trade" that can only be gleaned from experience.)

Also...

2, I'm in the market for a new 18V battery-powered drill/impact driver to hang the sheet rock/wonder board. (My old DeWalt 12v is underpowered.) Does anyone have a favorite?
Reading the online reviews are beginning to make me dizzy. I'm leaning towards Makita or Ridgid. Thoughts?
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:16 AM   #2
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This forum is a great resource for ceramic tile work.

Tile Forum/Advice Board - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

My first big project after I retired was a bath remodeling. One of the most dramatic features was installing a 14" solar tube into what was a dark, gloomy room. I also added a large mirrored "medicine cabinet" that really enhances the extra light from the solar tube.

Can't help you with the drill - I've been happy with my Ryobi from Home Depot.
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:28 AM   #3
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This forum is a great resource for ceramic tile work.
Thanks for the lead... I'll be sure to check them out...

Quote:
My first big project after I retired was a bath remodeling. One of the most dramatic features was installing a 14" solar tube...
I really like these Solar Tubes... and, while one wouldn't work for this bathroom (it's in a walkout basement)... I was thinking of adding one to my windowless master closet - The project AFTER the bathroom.

Quote:
Can't help you with the drill - I've been happy with my Ryobi from Home Depot.
But you did (in a way) Ridgid Drills are made by the same company as Ryobi. In fact, I think there are only 2 Chinese factories that make most all brands of these cordless tools.
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Old 09-10-2011, 09:39 AM   #4
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I replaced the vinyl floors in my two bathrooms with tile. When it comes to floor tiling plan your layout well before hand to minimize your cuts and so you don't have small cuts in the most visible places (not always possible), like next to doorways or the bathtub. If your doing the work by yourself it will probably take longer than you expected. You only want to mix enough thinset that you can spread in about 30 minutes, it takes a little practice to get the right consistency. All tiles pros will tell you not to buy premixed mastic, buy the stuff in the bag and add water. This is where having a helper will help a lot. One can mix (and clean the paddle and tools) and cut the tiles while the other is laying the tile. Get some padded knee pads. Take your time laying the tiles, use spacers, and use a level board to keep the tiles set at the same level. Do you live in the north (cold winters)? You might want to look into adding radiant heating under the tiles, you will really appreciate it on cold winter mornings. Think about getting a good wet tile saw. They have good resale value so even if you only use it for this one job you should be able to sell it for close to what you paid for it.
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:16 AM   #5
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I replaced the vinyl floors in my two bathrooms with tile. When it comes to floor tiling plan your layout well before hand to minimize your cuts and so you don't have small cuts in the most visible places (not always possible), like next to doorways or the bathtub.................
+1 on this - my pet peeve. Nothing looks worse than thin strips of tile or worse very wide grout lines, on an otherwise good tile job. Make sure any cut tile used is more than 1/2 a tile wide.

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Think about getting a good wet tile saw. They have good resale value so even if you only use it for this one job you should be able to sell it for close to what you paid for it.
Harbor Freight has a little wet saw for about $50 - about the same price as renting one. I found it adequate and much easier than scoring or nipping tiles to fit, plus I could take my time. YMMV

4" Tile Saw with Wet Tray
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:54 AM   #6
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Regarding solar tubes, we had one installed in our kitchen about 4 years ago.
I can honestly say, that was the bestest, smartest 400 bucks I have ever spent on a home improvement project...
I think they are wonderful for dark stairwells, kitchens, bathrooms, and perhaps a garage. Don't think I'd put them anywhere else.
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:18 AM   #7
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I would also highly recommend the solar tubes, put one in the kitchen a few years ago. I would have tried to tackle the job myself but didn't feel comfortable cutting cement roof tiles. Not sure if the tax credits are still available but got both a state and federal tax credit so it only ending up costing about $250 for a 16" solar tube, well worth it.
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Old 09-10-2011, 01:35 PM   #8
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DH and I watched a lot of do it yourself videos like this before we did our bathroom remodel:

How to Install a Bathutb and Shower Surround with Tile - The Home Depot - YouTube

You may also check into free "how to" classes at your local Home Depot and Lowes.
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Old 09-10-2011, 01:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Seeking Hobbes View Post
1, Can any of the pros out there offer sage advice? (I think I have the basic steps down... but perhaps there are some "tricks of the trade" that can only be gleaned from experience.)
I'm far from a 'pro', but one thing no one else has mentioned is these projects are rated PG-13. Be sure no young children are within hearing distance unless you don't mind them learning some new words...
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Old 09-10-2011, 02:31 PM   #10
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As as DIYer, whatever time estimates you make, it's always takes longer. I ended up doing so much tile work (kitchen, 2 bathrooms), I bought my own MK wet saw (same unit they rent around here). I can recommend using a good dead blow mallet, making your own beater board (scrap 2x4 covered with carpeting), using a rounded grout sponge and plan your layout to center your work. As for your drill, check your battery, it may need to be replaced. I own an 18v Dewalt cordless and a corded Milwaukee hammerdrill to do the holes for plumbing. This type of work kills almost any cordless drill. Also bought Fine Homebuildings Setting Tile book by Michael Byrne (Fine Homebuilding), this was a great reference. Oh yea, don't take a meal break when you grout, my BIL did that and spent days removing the excess that hardened!
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Old 09-10-2011, 02:37 PM   #11
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As as DIYer, whatever time estimates you make, it's always takes longer. I ended up doing so much tile work (kitchen, 2 bathrooms), I bought my own MK wet saw (same unit they rent around here). I can recommend using a good dead blow mallet, making your own beater board (scrap 2x4 covered with carpeting), using a rounded grout sponge and plan your layout to center your work. As for your drill, check your battery, it may need to be replaced. I own an 18v Dewalt cordless and a corded Milwaukee hammerdrill to do the holes for plumbing. This type of work kills almost any cordless drill. Also bought Fine Homebuildings Setting Tile book by Michael Byrne (Fine Homebuilding), this was a great reference. Oh yea, don't take a meal break when you grout, my BIL did that and spent days removing the excess that hardened!
+1 on all of this. Didn't buy the book you mentioned but did check out every book our local library had on tile work - about 5 of them. It was helpful to have reference materials as we went along.
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Old 09-10-2011, 02:53 PM   #12
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Also consider that the type of tile you select can make the job more difficult. Some of the textured porcelain tiles have small crevices on the top as part of the design and can be a real pain in the a** to clean the grout out of. If you go with that type of tile I would suggest you select a grout that is a similar color to the tile.
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Old 09-10-2011, 03:49 PM   #13
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I forgot to mention earlier, if you need to drill for plumbing holes through the tile, make sure you get carbide tipped hole saw bits and not the plain ones. Combine that with a hammerdrill to save waste, time and money.
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Old 09-10-2011, 05:48 PM   #14
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If you can put your hands on a copy of "Family Handyman" for Oct/2011, the lead article is --"Bath Remodel in a Weekend."
The article looks like it has some good info.
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Old 09-10-2011, 06:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeking Hobbes View Post
...

2, I'm in the market for a new 18V battery-powered drill/impact driver to hang the sheet rock/wonder board. (My old DeWalt 12v is underpowered.) Does anyone have a favorite?
Reading the online reviews are beginning to make me dizzy. I'm leaning towards Makita or Ridgid. Thoughts?
I bought DS a Craftsman 19.2V drill some years ago when he was working as an electricians helper. He went off to college and I got the drill back. Wow, that thing was way better then my underpowered 12V drill. It also has an LED light to seeing in low light situations and a leveler.

I'm a fan of reading the Amazon reviews. I'll read the 5 star and then the 1 stars. You want to know why people hated the product. Sometimes they have good points and other times not.

Good luck on your project. It's way more ambitious then I've attempted. You have my admiration!
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Old 09-10-2011, 06:42 PM   #16
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I've never remodeled a bathroom but I'm about to. When my Mom told me she was looking for someone to do her small bathroom my brain shorted out and I said "don't do that. I'm retired and I can do it". Maybe we can help each other out as we go. As for the drill you won't be sorry if you get the Makita. By far the best cordless drill I've ever owned. And it comes with two batteries.
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:41 PM   #17
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If your floor tile is going to go on a concrete slab, I recommend Redgard as a decoupler. Sold at H/D. It isn't cheap, but it is easy to apply with brush for cut-in, roller everywhere else. Need to lay it on thick enough as per directions on custombuildingproducts website. A black sharpie marker can then be used on it for layout lines. Keep applied cured Redgard clean until mortar is spread. I use cardboard to lay down over it.

Also recommend using a good modified flexible thinset mortar. Here again, it ain't the cheapest stuff. I go with the white, as the grout colors I have used have been light or lighter.

I would use only porcelain tile. And from a tile company that has a handle on their production process. That puts the wear #, co-efficient of friction, moisture absorbency, etc. info on their boxes. No variable caliber crap from China in different color boxes at a big "tile outlet store".

If you will be putting tile directly onto cement board in a tub or shower, remember that cement board is not waterproof. You will need a 6 mil plastic barrier behind the cement board.

I definitely agree with travelover about the John Bridge tile forum!

When I grout, I do not smear grout all over the tiles! I only put it in a band near the edges of the tile. Makes cleanup a lot easier. So I have not had an issue with tiles with a lot of texture or pits getting filled up with the grout and being a pain to clean up. If you're putting in 2" tiles, well, that idea won't work then! But then I would avoid small tiles. Small tiles = lots of grout per unit area... not the best idea when over a tile's lifetime, all the cleaning work or any problems will be with the grout itself, rather than the tile, so minimizing grout sounds like a good idea.

In the past, small higly glazed tiles were used in many wet locations, like bathroom and shower floors. The glazing on non-porcelain tiles helped keep the tile surface easy to clean, but slick. But the tiles were small, so the many grout lines needed in the field of the tile is what gave the surface the non-slip. Today we can use much bigger tiles with a reasonable wet coefficient of friction, and much less grout to do the job.
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:28 AM   #18
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Thanks to all!!!

There are some really good ideas here & I already feel better prepared!
(the tile forum is GREAT)

I've already completed the demo work - VERY SATISFYING! - and plan on getting the last few supplies needed to needed hang the sheetrock in my tub enclosure.

JmfromTx - I'd be happy to stay in touch through this process... perhaps I'll start by posting some pic's in the next few days. I don't really have any before demolition shots though.

Top Tip - Part of the demo process involved determining whether I should keep the old tub which, while perfectly good, was showing signs of age... especially with staining in the unglazed (non-slip) areas of the porcelain floor.

Well, after trying to clean it with a cacophony of household chemicals - all to little or no effect... I eventually tried a "Magic Eraser". Low and behold!... the 31 year old tub looks like new. Those things really are "Magic".
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:18 AM   #19
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............I would use only porcelain tile. And from a tile company that has a handle on their production process. That puts the wear #, co-efficient of friction, moisture absorbency, etc. info on their boxes. No variable caliber crap from China in different color boxes at a big "tile outlet store"...........
This reminds me. If you buy tile from the big box store, look at the lot number on the box and try to buy all tile from the same lot for best color match. Then, when you do the work, have multiple boxes open at a time and work from all boxes to keep the tiles mixed up. The last thing you want is a dramatic color shift from one row to the next.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:48 AM   #20
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I have lots of remodeling projects upcoming. Bathrooms are on the list.

I really like the solar or light tube concept for my living room that has the fireplace. Very dark in there. It is in the center of the house.
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