Thursday, June 14, 2012

master bath construc[tion] - Part 1

hi all - brian here - y'all recall our mostly unfinished master bath, arranged hotel room style? well we have thoroughly enjoyed our "GODMORGON" sink cabinet from ikea (did you know "god morgon" means "good morning" in swedish? (that's what it says to me every morning as i splash my face, but more in a norwegian accent).

And we have certainly put our new American Standard dual-flush toilet to good use, since installing that back in March, even though it's sitting on unfinished plywood floor with bare white sheetrock walls, and across the room, two rough-in pipes for hot & cold water poke out of the wall reminding me of their one-day purpose to steam up a beautifully-finished fully-tiled master shower (preferably w/ glass door and a bench and soothing ambient spa music playing sounds of the costa rican rain forest). One can dream, right?

So with November right around the corner, and our personal goals quickly moving to the back burner, and a little help from tax returns, we placed the order for tile, shower faucet and the DIY shower kit, and started 'learnin up' on how to do all this ourselves!

It may sound easy enough, but I quickly learned that we had some 'undoing' to do first before we could start 'doing' - meaning DEMOLITION! The sheetrock walls around the shower must be replaced with cement backer board (to support the tile), and of course the plumbing for the shower faucet must be installed in between.

Jennifer cleverly chose Demolition Day to go upstate for her niece's first dance recital (who can blame her?) while I sweat away breaking down the sheetrock that was just so freshly installed last year by the pros. If you didn't already know, demo-ing sheetrock makes for a white, dusty, mess! Even though the door to this room was closed the entire time, we had to replace both our central air filters in the house soon after to clear the dust!

At the end of the day, I had it pretty well cleaned up and gotten down to the studs where the new backerboard and tile would go.  

Next I needed to frame out the "wet wall" where the shower faucet would go, for a couple reasons: 1) this wall needed horizontal framing supports for the faucet and the showerhead; and 2) furring out this wall would bring the overall width of the shower to just under 60", which is a standard maximum width for glass shower doors (more is cu$tom); plus 3) the existing framing in that location was slightly off-square and out of plumb; not to discount 4) backer board comes in 60"x36" sheets, and narrowing the width from 64" to 60" would allow me to run the backerboard horizontally on that back wall rather than piece-mealing them vertically... enough reasons to warrant the purchase of (7) 2x4's and a little time framing (which i rather enjoy anyway).

Once the framing was in place, I could get to plumbing! As mentioned before, the rough-in water supply was already in place; so that leaves me to install the shower faucet and connection to shower head. For the shower faucet we were looking for a clean, chrome, contemporary fixture for a reasonable price (cheap, which is why we're doing all this ourselves).  The "Parma" collection by Danze appeared to satisfy our needs and have good reviews.

I am not an experienced plumber, but I can follow instructions and research google, youtube, and DIY forums like nobody's business. Plus I regularly expect to make multiple trips to the hardware store with each step of the process. Here I am assembling the connections for the water supplies to the shower faucet (1/2" pex to 1/2" threaded brass at a 90deg. elbow in this case). Side note: This photo actually shows the 2nd round of assembly after the first trial resulted in a leaking system. The first time I used only a minimal amount of teflon plumbers tape at the threaded connections, and got slow leaks (i.e. a drop a minute = no good). After speaking w/ the plumber dude at Lowe's, I learned I'm better off using "pipe dope" in conjunction with teflon tape; so I went with his favorite dope called "RectorSeal" (gotta be good with a name like that ... gives me constipation). 

While the threaded brass connections get the double-duty tape & dope treatment, the pex and copper pipes get the "Gatorbite" fitting - a much more simple plug-and-play connection - which concerns me ever-so-slightly about the reliability in the long run, but so far I've seen not a single drop of water back out of one of those push-fit fittings. Let's hope it stays that way once it's sealed up inside that tile wall!

Next comes screwing the backerboard to the studs - sounds simple but this stuff is heavy!! And cutting it down is also labor-intensive. 

Stay tuned for our next installment of Master Bath Construc[tion].

1 comment:

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