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Bathrooms – 25 Construction Tips

25 Must-Do Bathroom Construction Tips

1. Plans - If you are fortunate and are in the design phase of building or remodeling, consider making your bathroom a little bigger. You would be surprised what an extra foot in width and length will do for you.

2. Framing - Bathrooms need studs at weird places. And they also need studs to be out of the way of critical elements. Place double studs at the centerline of a shower door frame or track. Place the CENTER of a wall stud cavity at the centerline of the tub and shower faucet. Frame recessed medicine cabinets at the right height.

3. Blocking - Don't throw scrap framing material away. You can use it to create solid fastening locations for towel bars, toilet paper holders and grab bars in bath and shower areas.

4. Quiet Piping - If your bathroom is going to be on a second floor, consider using quiet cast iron drain pipes. Plastic drain lines are very noisy. Save the plastic for the vent lines.

5. Water Flow - Do you want a high volume of water to flow from all fixtures? Make sure that you extend 3/4 inch diameter hot and cold piping to the bathroom and branch off this size pipe with 1/2 inch lines to serve each feature.

6. Hot Water NOW! - Tired of waiting for hot water? Install a hot water recirculating loop. If this is a major remodel or a new house, it is simple. See my website for this past column and bulletin!

7. Ventilation - Bathroom fans need to be sized to the room. Make sure you buy a powerful fan and use solid metal exhaust piping, NOT flexible plastic pipe!

8. Skylights - If you can work one in do it. Make sure it has a ventilation flap you can open to minimize condensation or get hot moist air to flow outdoors. Buy the most expensive soft coat Low-E glass you can for this unit.

9. Electric - If this is a remodel job, by all means extend a new 20 amp circuit to the bathroom for a new GFCI receptacle. Hair dryers, electric curlers, etc. need power and lots of it.

10. Indirect Lighting - Think out of the box if you want dramatic lighting in your bathroom.

11. Cement Board - Forget about using water resistant drywall behind tile. If you want the tile to stay up forever, you must use cement board.

12. Vapor Barriers - Vapor barriers in the walls of a bathroom are a must. Be sure you install at least 4 mil plastic.

13. Steam - Now is the time to consider a steam generation unit. They must be installed right!

14. Sound - Some people get up before others. Insulate the walls of the bathroom with sound batts to minimize noise transmission to other parts of the house.

15. Access - Old houses often had access panels for tubs. Try to do the same so you can get to all of the tub plumbing.

16. Toilet Space - Create a space at least 36 inches wide for your toilet. Who wants to bump elbows into cabinets and walls?

17. Shower Shelves - If you are doing tile in your shower, you can get nice marble corner or end wall shelves for shampoo and other body care products.

18. Multiple Shower Heads - On more than one occasion, I have installed multiple faucets or shower heads in bathrooms. The big faucet companies have expensive faucets and body washing systems if you just won the lottery.

19. Heated Towel Bars - Need I say more?

20. Heated Tile Floors - You can buy electric mats that are installed under ceramic floors to keep them warm.

21. Tall People - Most vanities are short. Consider installing kitchen sized cabinets to prevent stooping.

22. Laundry Chute - Now is the time to do it, if you can make it work.

23. Heat Lamp - For those of you who want to be cozy after a shower.

24. Storage - Install a wall cabinet over the toilet!

25. Mirrors - They make small rooms seem big.

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4 Responses to Bathrooms – 25 Construction Tips

  1. Great tips. I've noticed that as many houses get older, leaks or mold start to appear in the ceiling right under a second story bathroom. Is there a way to help avoid this in new construction?

  2. If we're going with acrylic walls as opposed to tiles, would you still recommend cement board, or is water resistant dry wall ok?

    Thanks!

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