Arts and Crafts: The Master Bath, Part 1

[check back later for pictures]

Ok, so, to recap: I bought a crappy old house that was built in the 70’s and poorly used since then. I decided to gut the interior and do a major rebuild. The last project was the “Mud Room“, a sort of half kitchen, half laundry room that used to be a very tiny living room. The next major project is the master bath.

The space for the master bath used to be the main bedroom. At approximately 10×10 feet, it is a very small bedroom, but will be twice the size of the older bath. I had been using this room as a painting room. Finished size will be 10 x 12, adding some space by ripping out the existing bath. The rest of that space gets added to the kitchen.

I have been working on it for a few weekends now.

Original room Pics:

Step 1: Demolition. Everyone’s favorite part of renovations. Removing the drywall, ceilings, insulation, electrical and flooring, down to the studs and sub floor. Remove the studs for the old closet and the door frame.

Step 2: Install new electrical for overhead lights, switches, sockets and vent fans. I will be installing light weight LED recessed lights that I got at Lowes. The LEDs are designed as retrofits for existing pot lights. I don’t have existing pot lights. But the cost of these was about $9 each and the cost of the fully installable pots was about $50 each. This will likely be the one thing that won’t be strictly to electrical code. (Come and get me, coppers!). Electrical code requires wiring to the lights be firmly clamped into the device. There is not a place to do that. Plan B in the code, would be to use a junction box to join the lamp wire to the source wires. But then the code also says that junction boxes need to be “accessible”, which these won’t be, since they will be buried under 20″ of insulation. But the fully installable appliances are OK because they have a built in junction box. I will meed the spirit of the code by shielding the wiring connections from contact with the insulation. Otherwise, the lights themselves just hang from holes in the drywall ceiling. I am doing this not just for cost, but to also improve the vapor tightness of the ceiling barrier. Typically, pot lights are a significant source of air migration through the ceiling. They can be sealed, but it is quite difficult, especially working in a very tight attic space, with 20 inches of new insulation. My way, I only have a handful of wires penetrating the barrier.

Step 3: Install vent fans. I need to do this early before closing up the ceiling again. Two fans because the toilet will have an independent room. I vented the fans to the gable so as not to need to perforate my roof. The previous fans just emptied into the attic.

Step 4: Sidetrack: Use the convenience of having the ceiling open to remove all of the remaining duct work in the attic and run some temporary ducts to serve the house with AC and heat, as needed. The finished product will have all the ducts in the basement.

Step 5: Reinstall attic insulation. Previous insulation was R-19. I have boosted that to R-68-ish. It’s hard to calculate since there will certainly be gaps. I laid in R-30 faceless rolls across the rafters, then pushed that up with R-38, faced bats between the rafters. Reinstall exterior wall insulation. I’m using the same Rockwool I used in the Mudroom for this. It is a nice tight install for this and boosts the R value from 11 to 15 plus the plastic sheet air and vapor barrier.

Step 6: Install the vapor barrier. The insulation has paper facing on it, which is perfectly adequate vapor barrier for 1985, but since I have repurposed this room into a wet room, the blocking of vapor travel is more important than before. It is essential in stopping the growth of mold in the walls and attic.

Step 7: Install new stud interior walls to box in the entry area and the toilet room.

Step 8: Install water line rough ins and drains. This will cover the sinks, shower and toilet.

Step 9: Enclose the drywalls and wetwalls. The ceiling drywall is a heavier thickness drywall to be moisture resistant and resist sagging. My ceiling joists are 16″ on center, so this is not expected to be a problem. The ceiling going in first so the side wall support it at the corners. The wet walls behind the shower surfaces will be covered in either hardybacker or a similar product. I like the waterproof foam-based boards but those are not available in my area and they cost 2 to 3 times as much as the simpler products that are just as good. Then normal drywall everywhere else.

Step 10: Create the floor for the shower. This will be a complex project for several reasons. Like all wet area floors, water-proofing will be vital. And I have decided to do this a totally different way than all the pros on YouTube demand. Aside from them demanding that I pay a professional, I will be attempting to install a curbless design shower so I will need a gently sloping floor, to the linear drain. The drain will need to be recessed into the existing floor and sloped on top of that will result in a pretty high edge at the extremities. So managing the slope will be difficult and need my careful attention. Further, the hillbillies who built my house used 1/2 in (or near that) plywood to build the subfloor instead of 3/4. So, I can pretty much guarantee that the floor is not stable enough to support tile without cracking. Too much flexing. So the challenge will be thickening the floor, sloping it, adding tile, waterproofing it and at the end, not having the finished product so thick that I trip on it when I enter from the other room.

As always, no permits will be sought from the local Nazis who govern such things and I will be working alone. So, the added challenge is to not injure myself along the way and have a finished product that is safe, functional, and attractive, as well as meeting codes (mostly).


About No One

I am totally non-threatening
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2 Responses to Arts and Crafts: The Master Bath, Part 1

  1. blueinfantry says:

    You’ve tackled a big project. Nice work… 🙂


  2. Ame says:


    So, the added challenge is to not injure myself along the way and have a finished product that is safe, functional, and attractive, as well as meeting codes (mostly).

    lol! please do be careful … and keep your phone close so you can call 911 if necessary 🙂

    (okay … once a mom, forever a mom … so .. Mom out! 😉 )


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