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Bathroom Renovation

This renovation happened in our previous home. It started with wanting to replace the sink faucet and we ended up gutting the entire bathroom. My wife and I were venturous enough to attempt to do all of the work ourselves. Honestly, if you have some spare time, some help for demo and the right tools, its not that difficult.

Here are some tools you will need:

Sledge Hammer | Hammer | Screw Drivers or impact driver | Crowbar | Circular or Miter saw | Tile Saw | Tile Snips |brad nailer | Air compressor |


Quick shot of what the bathroom looked like previously. We decided that we didnt want a tub. just a standup shower.


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Took the room all the way down to the studs.


You will quickly noticed that demo is easy but messy as hell.

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We took measurements of the inside and put together a shower pan. ( 3′ x 5′ )The north wall of the shower had the HVAC drainage running along side the bathtub so instead of ripping it out and re-running it, we made a quick little bench. Mixed about 2 bags of mortar to make the “bed” and create the pitch. We used a product called Quick Pitch to create the pitch (slope).


You need to use green sheet rock for areas exposed to moisture. The green rock is specially treated for moisture and mold resistance.

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Originally this guest bathroom faucet shared the plumbing with the master bath on the other side.  Since we were installing a stand up shower, the faucet was too close to the ground so I cut the pipes and moved them up. NOTE: Make sure to shut off the water and open the faucets inside and outside the house to flush out all the water trapped in the pipes.


Im 6’2 and needed plenty of standing room, so I move the shower head pipe as well. Sheetrocked all the walls


laid down the membrane. Kinda tricky because you cannot pierce any part of the layment.  Its held in place by stapling it a little higher than the water will pool.

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Sheetrock-ed the walls and placed the hardy board as well. Hardy board is screwed in place with specialty screws.

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placed wire over the shower pan lip to hold the mortar in and laod the second pour of the mortar bed.


Mud and sanding. (ugh)

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Decided to go with a natural stone tile ( NEVER AGAIN). We purchased 12 x 12 Virginia spring tile and cut them in half with a tile saw to use the staggered subway tile pattern. NOTE: The tiles need to be sealed before and after installation. Natural stone will require to be re-grouted and sealed depending on usage.

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Started the back wall by dry fitting the tiles. Measured the width and found the middle and started with one tile and worked outward. Then the second row is staggered. Repeated the pattern all the way to the ceiling. We used 1/4″ spacers.


I measured the faucet controls with about a 1/8″ clearance on each side. ( there is a decorative piece that will cover the cuts)


This was a cheap little tile cutter that i purchased for about 50 bucks. I went through this one really quick so bought a more rugged one from Lowes for about 200.


Tiled the back wall using the same pattern as before and using the grout lines as reference to make sure it looked uniform.

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Used mosaic slate tiles for the floor, They are available in 12′ x 12″ mesh sheets that makes it easy to install and cut.

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Followed the staggered pattern down the bench. Once you get to the bottom is a bit difficult for the tile to stay in place because gravity will force it down. We used shims to prop them up just enough to let the mortar set.

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Used shims on the front wall as well and placed the decorative plate on the faucet and caulked it in place.


This is a closeup of the grout color that we decided to go with. Went with a lighter color to offset the dark tiles.

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Once the floor was in place, i decided that I didnt like the round drain so i cut up the floor tiles  around it and placed a square drain instead. It made it a little easier to tile around it as well. I used the tile snips to cut the smaller pieces to fit around the stainless steel.


This is one of the hardest parts of natural stone installation. Cleaning the grout lines and then cleaning the haze it spreads. You will literally get stuck in a repetitive wiping process. You need at least two buckets of water. One to dip the clean sponge in, and one to clean the dirty sponge in. My wife read online that using vinegar in the water will reduce the amount of haze and make the cleaning process much much faster. Once its completely clean it needs to be SEALED 2 to 3 times. And overtime will probably need to grout and seal yet again. Natural stone requires quite a bit of maintenance.

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laid the moisture barrier down for the floor, made the cut for the toilet. I cut small pieces of 1/2″ spacers to use around the perimeter of the installation to allow for swelling/expansion.

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Used spray texture in a can ( available at hardware stores) they are about 8 bucks a pop but give the walls a nice textured look. Sprayed the wall, waited about 10-12 min and knocked it down (flattened) with a hard piece of plastic.

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Measured the wall width and using the miter saw, cut the trim on the floor as well as the crown molding on the ceiling. I tacked them in using my nail gun (brad nailer ) and a 3 gallon air compressor.  Decided to use some of the left over flooring as a border to the shower tile. We used my wifes cake bag to pipe the outer edge and smoothed it out by hand (index finger)


Closeup of the mosaic tile grouting.


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The bamboo floor was a little higher than the previous tile installation so I was able to obtain some spacers at Home Depot. Purchased the vanity at Ikea ($199) and the faucet online.($80)

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Turned on the water and tested it out. We purchased the mirror at Garden Ridge ($20). All done! Take a step back and admire your work!









Here is the before and after!

beforeafter1  beforeafter2

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