What To Keep When You Remodel Your Bathroom

Written by bprescottJanuary 29, 2012
bathroom accessories in a bathroom

Planning Your New Bathroom

While you’re bursting with ideas and inspiration, it’s time to take the next step and find the exact amount of space you have to deal with. If you’re remodeling within the walls of the existing bathroom, take measurements of the space within the walls, which can vary from 6 to 10 inches thick. Many bathroom remodeling projects involve expanding the space by borrowing it from an adjacent room or closet. You can remove a wall between rooms, assuming that the wall is not a bearing wall and a structural part of the building. If expansion is your plan, measure the floor space, including any walls or partitions, and add it to the existing bathroom dimensions. You may want to make two plans, to see just how much more space you gain by incorporating an adjacent room or part of it in your redesigned bathroom.

To determine whether a wall is nonbearing, look for exposed joists (in the attic) or rafters (in the basement). If they run parallel to the wall you plan to remove, it’s not a bearing wall.

Taking advantage of existing fixtures

Whenever fixtures share the same plumbing on a wall, the wall is called a "wet wall." Because the plumbing lines servicing the fixtures are on the same wall, the cost of the plumbing job is reduced. Consider this factor in your design.

Also avoid changing the location of the toilet, because it’s directly connected to the main plumbing pipe, called the soil pipe or stack. You can rotate the toilet to face another direction without much fuss, but to totally relocate a toilet requires altering the drainage and possible the soil stack. This process gets expensive because the soil stack and the 3- or 4-inch-diameter drain leading from the toilet to the soil stack are difficult to relocate without getting into the structure of the house.

Talk to any plumber and he’ll tell you that just about anything is possible. But unless you plan to fully fund a retirement plan for the guy or gal, think twice before you relocate the toilet or any other fixture for that matter. Don’t rule this relocation out; just work out all the details and expense beforehand.

The same is true for other plumbing lines that run into the bathroom. But new lines can more easily be run for a vanity and bathtub or shower. As you plan your new bathroom, remember that running new plumbing lines means a more expensive job.


From ‘Bathroom Remodeling For Dummies’
Copyright © 2003 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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