Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bathroom/Shower Build Details

The following will be my attempt to describe the build process for the shower project from the last post. There was a lot to it, but hopefully someone will find the information useful. Forgive me in advance for it being a bit long and not too exciting!

The process started by first pulling the toilet, shower curtain, door and any other hardware from the bathroom. The covers from the tank vent pipe were next. The upper shelf removed and then the process of moving the tank level monitor panel was started as detailed in the last post.
After pulling the shelf out and re-routing the wires down and through a hole made below the second fixed shelf in the Armoire, all the button head screws in the bathroom were pulled, holes countersunk and new flathead screws installed. The next step was to create new covers for the upper vent pipe area and fill the holes left from the old monitor panel.

It was right about this point that I got the clever idea in my head that magnets would be a good way to keep the ends of the shower curtain in place. So, off to the hardware store I went to get a sheet of 20 guage sheet metal. I cut it into 3" strips, drilled it and pounded recesses in to allow the flathead screws to sit flush. I roughed up the surfaces with a grinder to help the liquid nails grip the surface on both sides. then installed the strips on both opposing side walls.

The next process involved creating a contoured shower pan to keep water from settling behind the toilet etc. in this image, you can see the back of the toilet before modification. The visible gap is where the water feed pipe comes up from under the floor when installed.

In this image, the contour of the pan is more obvious. starting from the back to the front on either side of the toilet, the pan is ground down to produce a path for the water to follow toward the drain which is located in the isle floor.

Here you can see the modification to the toilet which is meant to keep the incoming water line sealed so water cannot get under the floor. The rubber fitting is a part for a garbage disposal which fit perfectly on the tube I have fiberglassed in place and steps down to fit the 3/8" line.

In this lower image, you can see the shower pan fiberglassed into position. The fiberglass also is used in this case to seal all the corners and up the walls an inch or two which will be overlapped by the FRP and create a pretty safe corner to keep water from causing damage.
Here you can see the new covers in place for the black tank vent pipe. Also visible is a mistake. My first choice in wall covering was a more flexible Poly wall designed for this exact purpose according to the kind salespeople at Home Depot. It looked fine for a day, then obvious bubbles formed and it had to be removed. It was at that point that I chose the FRP which was both really nice to work with and made for nice flat bubble free walls!

The FRP was installed on the walls in a somewhat specific order. It made sense to do certain panels before others as in the above image. The panel on the left was glued in place(using FRP specific adhesive) then, the attaching lugs screwed into it to hold the vent pipe cover. This was a pretty slow and carefully scrutinized process to keep everything tight clearance and prevent future issues with water getting past the caulk and seems.

The next step was to finish the floor. You can see in this picture I was half way through cutting and fitting tile. This was really just for looks, th shower pan is already completely water proof and this part of the floor has no weight put on it or other stress. The red color that can be seen is a product called Redguard which is a waterproof coating that also prepares the surface perfectly for laying the tile.

From this point, the tile is finished out and grouted/sealed then the shower track modified, toilet and plumbing put back in and everything caulked appropriately. Quite a bit of work was involved in this project but I do like the way it came out. Anyone could duplicate this effort and likely improve upon it. The trick is to separate the process down into small manageable pieces and to focus on each until you are satisfied before continuing on to the next.

Go forth and modify!