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Remodeling a bathroom can be challenging

QuestionMy husband and I are just beginning to discuss remodeling our 1950s bathroom. It seems like such a big project; we just don't know where to begin! Do you have any suggestions for us?

AnswerRemodeling a bathroom can be challenging. You may begin with the thought of replacing a dated or damaged sink and toilet; however, depending on what you want to accomplish, you can pretty easily end up tearing out walls, rewiring, and replumbing.

I think the best starting point is to evaluate your existing bathroom to get a realistic picture of how much work needs to be done. Begin by checking for water damage.

Begin by checking for water damage throughout your bathroom. A good starting place is to check the floor around the toilet. It's possible that you've had a leak for some time and weren't aware of it. Probably the best signs of a leaking toilet are a discoloration of the adjacent floor covering, a spongy floor around the toilet, and/or water coming up through the flooring tiles.

If you have vinyl flooring, the water could be traveling under the floor covering from another fixture. However, the water is probably seeping through the wax bowl or the toilet flange is broken.

Check also for water damage on the floor where the floor meets the front of the tub or shower stall. Specifically, look for loose tiles, discoloration of wood and vinyl floors, and vinyl curled up in front of the tub or shower.

Water might be leaking around and under the shower curtain, under the shower door track, or at the ends of the inside of the shower track where the track meets the walls. Water damage in this area is also an indication that the bead of caulk on top of the flooring up against the tub is either gone or starting to separate, which allows water to siphon between the tub and floor covering.

Check for water damage to the plumbing wall, i.e., the wall that contains the faucets, spout, and shower head (if any). Look for loose tiles about 2 feet up from the tub or shower pan or around the outside of the tub down to the floor. Blistered paint, loose wallboard, and mildew on the wall in the same area are also signs of water damage.

There might be a leak in the fixtures themselves or water might be leaking behind the finish trim.

If you have a window in the tub/shower area, you will want to check for water damage to the interior shower wall and for water stains on the exterior siding under the bathroom window. Look for loose tiles below the window and check for a spongy feel to the wall, both indications that water is leaking down through the ledge or sill of the window. Also, if you have a wooden window, it might not be properly sealed and might absorb water as you shower.

Finally, look for water damage to the soap dish wall. Check for loose tiles below the soap dish all the way down to the top of the tub or shower pan. This is an indication that water is leaking behind the soap dish every time you take a shower, especially if you have a metal soap dish mounted in a tile wall.

Take notes as you survey your bathroom, and be sure to discuss these issues with your contractor. Good luck with your project!

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If you are planning to remodel your own bathroom, you'll find Remodeling A Bathroom to be great asset to the overall project. To order, click here or click on purchase button to the left!

Copyright © 2008 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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