Renovation & Design

Bathroom on a budget

Shower project sparks full facelift

A one-piece toilet was installed on the far wall across from the new sink-vanity.

Photos by Marc LaBossiere / Winnipeg Free Press

The main area of the bathroom receives a total facelift, including new sink-vanity, faucet, mirror, toilet, venetian blinds, vinyl plank flooring and trim.

The holes for the shower faucet and head were pre-drilled prior to the walls being erected.

The shower stall and base sits atop a framework that allows the new shower drain and trap adequate grade.

When a family’s circumstances changed this winter, the planned basement bathroom project was broadened. What began as a walk-in shower introduction at the far end of the space, resulted in a full basement bathroom facelift. The old vanity and toilet were removed, allowing this dated two-piece to evolve into a wonderfully updated and fully functional three-piece lower-level bathroom within a timely manner despite a hectic schedule, and without breaking the bank.

Sometime mid-summer, the pertinent items required to introduce a pre-fab fiberglass walk-in shower stall were purchased and delivered to the jobsite, to ensure that the items needed to complete the job were indeed on hand when needed. Shortly before the scheduled start date arrived, the homeowner indicated a desire to update the entire space, and asked whether my schedule could accommodate. It all hinged on the successful acquisition of the other items needed to complete the entire room.

As such, a budget was established and the call was made to my commercial reps at RONA on Kenaston, regarding the list of the added items required. In short order, a quote for these items was forwarded back to me, all within the costs allocation provided. These items included a new vanity and sink, vanity faucet, a one-piece toilet, vanity mirror, ceiling light fixture, towel racks, venetian blinds as well as new vinyl plank flooring and the required lineal footage for both new casings and baseboards required throughout. The items were set aside later that day for me to pick-up, and subsequently delivery to the jobsite. Because the larger items (from the original job tasks) that included shower stall walls and base, as well as the shower door, shower faucet and head, were previously delivered to the jobsite, the only outstanding materials needed were for the stages of construction following any necessary demolition; lumber, drywall, fasteners etc. – paint and silicones would be obtained closer to the end of the project.

Once the old vanity and toilet were removed from the space, the existing water feeds were temporarily capped until the shower base was installed. In order to avoid the costs of busting concrete, the shower base was positioned atop a framed base, that allowed the new shower drain and trap adequate grade when tying into an existing vertical drain, already being used for the vanity sink. Once the shower drain was configured and tested, rough plumbing for the new vanity’s size and offset placement was also arranged. The water feeds for the shower were introduced by splitting the existing hot and cold feeds to the sink, later tied-in to the shower faucet and shower head pre-mounted on the exposed studs. With the rough plumbing completed, the shower walls were erected and secured on all sides to the adjacent framing. Holes for the shower faucet and head were pre-drilled using appropriately sized auger bits.

Two slim LED pots were introduced: one within the new shower, the other centered within the entryway to the shower. The switch was mounted along the opposite face of the common wall. All areas that required drywall were addressed, and all seams and corners were mudded, using tape and bead respectively. Once four successive skim coats were completed, a quick sanding of all areas allowed the painting stage to occur, entailing a primer coat and two coats of high-grade mold-resistant bathroom grade paint. The entire space had really begun to reveal an impending evolution by this stage.

Next came the vinyl plank w/pad flooring, a light grey woodgrain that blends well with the muted light tan colour on the walls. New bright white casings were installed around the door, and matching baseboards along the entire perimeter of the room. All bathroom amenities were then addressed: the new ceiling light fixture was installed, the vanity was set into position and affixed to the wall, allowing the installation of the sink faucet and subsequent water feeds and drain tie-in, the toilet was installed, the shower faucet and head were fitted inside the shower stall, and the shower door was mounted within the opening of the pre-fab walls of the shower stall. Two-inch white venetian blinds were placed within the existing basement window cavity, the vanity mirror was mounted on the wall centered above the sink, and various towel racks and the toilet paper dispenser were mounted where most convenient for future use. Two separate tension-held access panels were also introduced for easy access to shut-off valves: one for the garden hose, and another for the dishwasher in the kitchen space above.

To complete the project, all pertinent seams were siliconed within the shower stall and at the stall ceiling, the wall edge of the vanity countertop, and along the tops of all baseboards throughout the space. A matching transition was affixed where the new bathroom vinyl flooring meets the old hallway floor. From start to finish, the entire project was completed within 12 days, including final cleanup and junk removal by Prairie Hauling on the last day.

It isn’t always easy to fulfill a client’s request to broaden the scope of a project, primarily if the request occurs close to the start date. In this instance however, all added items required were readily attainable, and the added tasks themselves did not incur many extra days. The bulk of this project always remained the introduction of the walk-in shower stall, whereas the facelift of the main bathroom was primarily cosmetic. Broadening the scope of this project was a good idea, because the results look fabulous. And I was very glad to have been able to accommodate on short notice, especially during times like these.


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