Master Bathroom Shower Area / Remodel
For fifteen years I have showered
in this shower stall and hated it. I could
never get the shower tray clean and mildew built up
in here like crazy. While I had the contractor
who repaired my other bathroom still on speed dial,
I played around with the idea of having the
shower room in the master bath remodeled. I did not think I had
any issues, like a leak, at the time.
While the main bathroom was being repaired, I
noticed that the tiles sitting on the shower tray in
the master bath were a little loose. I decided
one day to place some caulk around the tiles to
temporarily patch it until I decided what to do.
When I started to to this, I was curious as to why
all of these tiles were suddenly so loose. So
I pulled out a couple.
OMG the board that was
behind the tiles had disintegrated and water had
been seeping behind the tiles .....for how long???
I immediately stopped using this shower.
Fortunately, none of this water had damaged the
laundry room ceiling below.
I asked the contractor to give me an estimate on
tearing the room up and replacing the shower and
flooring. I told him that I would
do the final work on the room regarding the ceiling
fixtures and room walls which helped bring down some
of the cost.
I could not do the demolition on
this room because my hands had gotten worse.
Doctor's orders. Stop working with my hands!
The other problem with this shower, besides the
obvious, was the shower knob. I had wanted to
change it, but it was welded (sweated) in. It
would not quite turn off. You had to keep
turning it left or right to find the sweet spot that
turned it off. I had a plumber come in
fixed the leak but I wanted to get rid of
the outdated knob.
I pulled out the in-wall soap dish after I stopped
using the shower.
The other big problem was the
toilet. For years we could not flush solid
waste. If you tried, it backed up. If it
was used for liquid waste, very little paper could
be used. Like no more than 6-10 squares of
toilet paper. And even then, every 5-6
flushes, you would have to use a plunger. Two
different plumbers on two different occasions worked
on this toilet. The toilet itself is only
about six years old in the photo below. The
toilet still was a problem.
Water had also damaged the lower
corner of the drywall. We suspected that there
might have been some water leaking in below.
The other thing I hated was the 4 inch tile on the
floor. It was like ice when wet. We
suspect that this tile was added by the previous
owner because it did not match the style in the rest
of the house.
There was also this horrible brocade wallpaper that
had started to peel badly. The picture above
shows the wall after I started pealing the paper.
The other odd feature in this bathroom was the
little door that accesses the valves for the shower.
To do this though, you must be rail thin to fit
beside the toilet and a
In looking at this floor on the
right side of the shower tray, where the missing
bullnose tile was, it appears as if the floor is
slanted down. So we again suspected that there
might be some water damage to the sub-floor.
We would not know until the flooring was removed.
The plan was to remove the shower
wall, the sub floor, and the drywall behind the
toilet with the tile wainscot. Damaged drywall
on the walls around shower would be patched and
remaining wall kept up because it was not damaged.
The ceiling would be scraped and retextured.
A new shower stall would be built. I then
needed to start shopping for a new shower tray,
shower door, shower faucet, and tile for the shower
stall and floor. I needed to find all of these
before the contractor needed it. Since I had
to wait about a month before they would start on
this bathroom, I had a little time.
The first item I needed to research was the shower
tray (also called shower pan, shower floor, shower
base, etc). After the demolition, this would be the
first item installed. I learned more about
shower trays during this time than I ever wanted to
know. I wanted to go with a tray as opposed to
a tile floor. Also the shower tray option was
less expensive and easier than creating a tile floor.
I also like the pebbled flooring on the trays for
The problem was finding the right type of shower
I was on a strict budget, I do not usually buy the
cheapest thing out there. I do want a
quality product that will last a while. There
are many different shower trays available in a
variety of materials, sizes, and colors. I
needed a single threshold tray that measured 32" x
48" and I decided on white because it would match
anything and I had not selected the tile yet.
This space was also so small and not very well lit.
White would make the space brighter.
The tray that I settled on, based on the numerous
web pages I read, was a solid surface tray.
Meaning there was no coating on it to chip or crack.
The brand I decided to go with was Swanstone.
They have two types of shower trays. The solid
surface SF03248MD.010 and the cheaper Veritek
version FF03248MD.010 . I went with the more
expensive solid surface. The price of the
solid surface was about $100 more, but worth it.
Swanstone single threshold shower floor
solid surface SF03248MD.010
It is really tricky
buying this online because the model numbers
are so close. In fact, on the big box
store websites you don't even see the word
Veritek. The item they usually have
available in-store is the Veritek model.
I ended up special ordering the item in
person at Lowe's because they had the best
price and I could made sure I was getting
the solid surface model, not the Veritek.
I opted to pick-up the item in-store when it
I was pleased with this tray. It was
solid. Not flimsy at all. The plumbers
loved the integral drain that came with it.
The next item I needed to buy was
the shower door because I knew I would need to
special order this item also. Again, I was
faced with a multitude of options regarding the
shower doors. Because of the small size of the area,
the door had to slide. Because there were no
walls for towel racks, the shower door had to have a
towel bars. I decided on framed as opposed to
unframed. Also, they had to have the size I
needed for my shower opening
American Standard on the Build.com website
had the shower door with all of my criteria
at a reasonable price. Anything over
$1000 was too much for me. At around
$500, I was within my budget. I
decided on the rain glass design in an oil
rubbed bronze finish.
The door was delivered by freight in a semi
with the extra long trailer. The
driver did phone to make sure the street I
lived on was big enough with no low hanging
electrical lines. I was good.
The doors came in good shape except for one
of the towel bars, it had a scrape on it and
a frame piece that had a bend in it.
These items were deep within the packaging
so they were packed damaged at the factory.
American Standard AM00.770422.224 Oil Rubbed
Bronze Prestige 71
Build.com and they did replace the
damaged items promptly and with courtesy after
getting the replacement parts from American
Standard. So I was very pleased with their service.
The demolition had not been done yet on the bathroom
so the delay did not stall the project.
Delta T17294-RB-I Linden Monitor 17 Series
Shower with In2ltion in the Venetian Bronze
The next item to purchase
was the shower hardware. I wanted a
combination shower head and handheld device.
It also had to be available in an oil rubbed
bronze finish. I decided on the Delta
T17294-RB-I Linden Monitor 17 Series Shower
with In2ltion in the Venetian Bronze.
I purchased it on
Amazon.com along with the
Delta Universal Shower only valve that is
needed for Delta's hardware.
Universal Shower Only Valve Body
The design I decided upon is above. This was the
graphic I prepared for the tile layer. The
shower would mostly be the bone colored tile with
the random mosaic and gold tile at the top. I
would be using the marron (brown) on the floor.
The only thing left to buy was a grab bar and a
tension pole shower caddy.
In April 2013 the demolition began.
The picture on the right shows the bathroom with all
of the shower walls and sub floor removed.
What damage did we discover underneath it all?
Not a darn thing. All of the studs were in
good shape. Other than a little water damage
around were the tiles had given way, we were in good
shape. That black on the wall was not mold and
the insulation was dry.
One thing we did discover was why the toilet would
not flush. Old lead pipes. The plumber
explained to me why my toilet was not flushing.
He told me that older lead pipes get soft over time.
They start to cause a vacuum when they expand and
contract which keeps a toilet from flushing
properly. While this was an unexpected
additional expense, I asked them to p-l-e-a-s-e
replace the lead pipe with the pvc so I could
finally have a toilet that actually flushed.
on the left shows the wall that was removed
behind the toilet. The curious thing
we discovered was the wide open space behind
As I mentioned on the home page, this house
has a unique floor plan. What you are
looking at here is the other side of the
wall with the toilet in the main bathroom a
half level down. The bottom of this
open space is the ceiling of the main
bathroom bathtub and toilet area. The
far wall is the back of the walls in one of
What did it scream out to me, besides
"stupidity", was "extra storage space".
While not really accessible in this bathroom
because of the pipes, it would be accessible
from the main bathroom or the bedroom with a
ladder. I also wondered why they did
not make the 7' high ceiling in the main
bath an 8' ceiling. I decided to
convert this space into storage in the
open space behind master bathroom wall above main bathroom.
Future storage space
Close-up along corner of shower and toilet area.
happened next? Please read on...