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- Bathroom Renovation: The Hammonds' House, A Case Study
Bathroom Renovation: The Hammonds' House, A Case Study
The Master Bath
The master bath is very important to the Hammonds. Anne and Ned wanted to be able to take full advantage of the view while they soak in the tub. As the pictures show, the Hammonds succeeded perfectly in achieving this goal. Lighting consultant Markus Earley created a sophisticated lighting design utilizing Lightolier fixtures. There are several combinations of illumination enabling bathers to enjoy the appropriate ambiance for every mood.
Another great feature of this room is the two-person shower. The shower was custom built and has two Kohler Revival hand showers which are controlled with two separate Rite-Temp valves.
Across the room the Peach crew built the sunken tub enclosure. They used water-resistant cement board over the wood framing as the underlayment for the finish tile work which was accomplished by “Chip” Randall and his son, Matt. All of the tile work in the home was set in mortar -- tradesmen refer to this type of work as a “full mud” job.
Bill and the Peaches included a small access door in the tub enclosure. This is a critical step. Too often plumbing fixtures are installed with no access for repairs. If this is the case, even if only minor repairs are needed, it will be costly to retile and repair wherever the plumber needs to break through. Bill was careful to make sure that all the critical pipes, joints and connectors can be reached through the door. Prior to installing the tub, Bill checked his lines for leaks. He also checked the water pressure.
Before Bill and his helper Mark place the Thunder Grey Revival bathtub in the enclosure, they mix gypsum plaster which they will use as a skim coat under the tub. While the plaster is still moist, they spread it on the inside floor of the enclosure. The plumbers are careful to make sure the plaster is pitched slightly (many plumbers suggest a slope of 1/8 inches per foot.) Without a slope the tub could be placed at an angle making it impossible to drain.
Before the plaster dries, Bill and Mark walk the tub in and slowly lower it into place. Bill tightens the pipes and hooks up the Antique bath faucet. The workmen caulk all the seams including the under-lip of the tub.
With this view, a telephone, and a television, The Hammonds’ new master bathroom is a place where they can retire to and soak away the cares of the day.
Green with Envy
When friends and family wash up for dinner, they can gaze at the trees and wash their hands in the deep green Timberline sink in the guest bathroom. The tree theme doesn’t stop here. The bathroom is also made from wood. It’s not often that we think of the trees that were felled in order to build our homes. Remember, lumberjacks yell “timber” just before a tree becomes just that.
Bathrooms often require more framework than other rooms in the house. Tubs and whirlpools can weigh hundreds of pounds, even when they’re not filled with water. In order to support that weight, contractors need to reinforce the joists and headers which will support all the fixtures.
Unlike the master bathroom, the guest bathroom has a tub/shower enclosure which is very popular in new construction. Many of these enclosures are similar to the panelized construction of the Hammonds’ house. The enclosures often come in three or four panels which are snapped and fastened together. Kohler’s Sonata bath and shower module is a perfect example of these advancements. Basically, instead of spending the time and money to build a custom tiled shower stall, it is now possible to purchase a complete manufactured bathing unit.
Because this unit is one molded part with no seams it will not crack or seep as tile might. Modules are made of fiberglass, plastics or a combination of each. Many different configurations are available. Consumers may decide they want a simple module or they may want to buy a module which has shelves for shampoo, soap, and other toiletries.
When the Hammonds imagined their guest bathroom, they thought about their guests. They worked with the architects and designed a room which would accommodate both houseguests and overnight visitors. The key to their accomplishment fit into two doors.
Before the doors were hung, Bill Weston and his crew studied the floor plan and blue prints. In order to rough in the pipes, plumbers first measure twice and mark the exact location of where the pipes and fixtures will be installed. When the bathroom is new and unfinished, before locating a water-closet or pedestal sink, the plumber will add the thickness of drywall, ceramic tile, and flooring that is not yet installed. After cutting the appropriate holes, the plumber will begin installing the drainage, waste and vent system (DWV).
Because the DWV pipes are larger, it is easier to work the smaller supply pipes around them. The DWV system is set at a slope towards the sewer main. Many plumbers prefer to install the supply pipes in walls instead of up through the floor. This will make it easier to do the flooring, and it will also be easier to clean the floor without having to work around floor pipes.
As we mentioned in an earlier segment, it is illegal in most regions of the country for consumers to do their own plumbing and heating work unless they are licensed. There are several good books and videos on plumbing which are worth reading and watching. Though you may not be able to do everything you read about, it may make it easier for you to understand and justify the cost of plumbing and other work which you contract to have done around your home.
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