Master Bathroom Remodel

A couple week ago I decided to finally dive into a project that I’ve been thinking about for some time. My master bathroom, like the guest bathroom in my house, was obviously “refurbished” right before I bought the place. Starting at the bottom, the floor was vinyl, the vanity was a 32″ kitchen cabinet base, and the toilet was new. Beyond that, there’s not much ┬áto say about it. For the guest bathroom, I chose to renovate it about 6 months ago and did little more than lay some ceramic tile and put in a new vanity. And while it looks a great and took a good bit of thought and a lot of work, I knew the master would need a bit more work.

A bathroom should be the real attention grabber when it comes to the master bedroom. If the bath is done up well, the potential buyer will think of the entire master suite as something they want! So in order to think about the future homeowner, I really wanted to do a nice job and, of course, invest a bit more than I had for the guest bath.


The first step was to pull out everything from the bathroom. This included the vanity, sink, doorway, and tub. The tub, a one piece fiberglass basin and surround, was quite an undertaking for no other reason than its size. You forget how may square feet of surface there is in a tub[ref]I’d have to ball park about 100 sq feet of material sitting in under 16 sq feet of floor space![/ref], but once it was out of the way the demo was more than half done.

The doorway I removed since I wanted to change out the door for a pocket door because there was not a great swing path for a typical door (and the current one was just 24″ wide). To prepare for the new door, I removed the old door frame and header as well as the dry wall where the pocket door will rest. Installing a pocket door is pretty easy as long as you are willing to expose an entire side of the wall. In addition I decided to expose the plumbing for the vanity by removing a swath of drywall so that I could see the current layout and make an informed decision on how the new vanity will be placed.

Throughout the demolition period I was diligent about cleanup since I really believe that a clean workspace is a safe workspace (a saying that’s even more true when you’re sleeping just 10 feet way from the worksite as is my case).

Putting it all back together

The first step was to install my new tub along with it’s requisite plumbing. Since the tile needs to line up with the tub apron, and everything else rests of the tile, the tub was the obvious starting point. Installing a tub is pretty straightforward and just takes some time and a lot of planning. Anytime you’re installing something this large, logistics become the primary concern even with something as light as a tub (mine is 60 lbs I believe). I installed mine alone with the assistance of some ratchet straps as pulleys because I’m a stubborn yankee, but I would recommend a two person installation.

With the tub installed and the plumbing for it all roughed out, I started laying down my tile. The tile I’m using is from Lowes and is the same 12″ x 24″ ceramic tile I used in the guest bath. The clean lines of large white tile with the subtle warmth of the colored streaks makes it a perfect fit for a bathroom. Large tiles make for a quick installation but also demand either a very flat floor or a plethora of care. Learning my lesson from the guest bathroom, I opted for a wider grout line this time around to help soften any inconsistencies in the floor, and I am very proud of the results so far.

Once the floor was grouted, the next tasks were to reinstall the toilet and setup the vanity. The toilet is trivially simple to install and the vanity is only challenging since it weighs several hundred pounds. For my setup, one of those simple-yet-tedious tasks turned out to be getting the drain setup. While the previous vanity was a single sink cabinet, the new one is a double sink. With twice the drain, it took some figuring to find the best way to hook it all up.

The new pocket door works great and just required a bit of reframing and some drywall. This is one of those projects that certainly behooves you to measure out two or three times, so I even drew it out on the wall next to the doorway to make sure the framing was well setup for the final installation.

The last of the installation involved running wiring and setting up the vanity lights, hanging the mirrors and painting the walls and trimwork. While overall the project could be completed during the weekends over the course of a month or 6 weeks, mine was drawn out substantially due to travel, holidays and whatnot.

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