Bathroom Remodels Part 1 - Materials and Planning

I am currently working on editing all the video's i took so not all the links are up and working.

This will be part 1 of a 4 part series about remodeling the 2.5 bathrooms in our house.  I took hundreds of videos and pictures during the process, showing as much of the remodel as i could.  Over the past couple years we have done lots of work to hour house.  If you want to see more of the projects we've done, check out these links:
Past Home Remodel Projects Landscape Block Wall Baby Room Remodel
20% off at Lowe's and Home Depot Carpet Install Coupon Deal From Home Depot Family Room Remodel
Ceiling Fans Gibralter Auction - Materials

Here are links to the 4 parts in which i split up the bathroom remodel into.
Bathroom Remodel - BLOG
1 - Materials and Planning 2 -1st Floor Bathroom
3 - Karrie's Bathroom and Tub 4 - Dave's Bathroom and Shower

Here are the links to all the video's i made.  You can either watch a full video of the entire bathrooms remodeled or they are broken up into their individual parts.  These will be updated as i post more about the remodel.

Bathroom Remodel
1 - Main Video - Materials
2 - Main Video - 1st Floor Bathroom
3 - Main Video - Karrie's Bathroom
4 - Main Video - Dave's Bathroom

2 - 1st Floor

Intro Demo Remove Toilet
Fix Rotted Floor Install Floor Tile Grout Floor Tile
Install Toilet How to Mix Mortar How to Cut Tile
Install Baseboard Silicone Caulk Gaps Bathroom Light
Bathroom Sink New Faucet Summary

3 - Karrie's Bathroom

Intro Demo Install Concrete Board
Waterproof Concrete Board Caulk and Foam Shower Install Tile
Install Tile Shelf Tape off Tile for Grout Grout Shower
Replace Shower Fixture Solder Water Pipes Water Proof Sealant
Caulk Seams Remove Tile Floor Cut Tile Floor
Install Tile Floor Grout Tile Floor Tile Baseboard
Regrout Everything Summary

4 - Dave's Bathroom

Intro Demo Floor Tile Remove Toilet
Check Existing Floor Material Cut Floor Tile Install Tile Floor
Grout Tile Floor Demo Shower Cut new Access Hole
Remove Water Pipes and Fixture Fix Leak in Ceiling Install Shut off Valves
Install New Water Pipes Install New Fixture Install Concrete Board
Waterproof Concrete Board Caulk and Foam Shower Measure and Mark Boards
Precut Tiles Install Tile Install Tile Shelf
Tape off Tile for Grout Grout Shower Regrout Everything

past home projects, wall, carpet, gutter, drywall, vents
The idea of remodeling our bathrooms all started at an auction.  Last year Karrie talked to her friend at work about a home auction that goes on twice a year in our area.  She learned that for a fraction of the price you can bid on many things to remodel your home.  They had wood floor, tile, doors, counter tops and even entire kitchen cabinets.  Here's a blog post i wrote several months ago about the Peak Auction at the Gibralter Trade Center in Michigan.

We had a thought at the time that it would be nice to remodel the 2.5 bathrooms in our house.  Actually it only started with updating the tile showers, but expanded to the floors and more.  The 45 year old tile in our home was a bit dated, with colors ranging from bright blue to dark green.  So we bought  a new low flow toilet for $110, a ceiling fan for $30 and over 225 sq.ft of stone tile.  I won't go into how all the bidding works again, if you want to read about it, click on the link to the auction.  But we ended up getting 225sq.ft of tile for less than $1 per square foot.  Which is a great deal.  More than 75% less than we would have paid at Lowe's or Home Depot.

Scroll down to the bottom to see all about the materials we bought and their costs.

After we bought all that tile the decision was sort of made, we had to remodel the bathrooms.  We figured that if we were going to get rid of the ugly tile in the showers, we might as well get rid of the ugly floor tiles as well.  Looking back i'm glad we did.  There's no point in spending time and money remodeling a shower, just to have old tiles on the floor that are a different color and don't match.  So the bathrooms we were remodeling were the 1/2 bath on the first floor and 2 full bathrooms on the 2nd floor.

There's no way that i could combine all of the work over the past months into one post so i decided to split it up into these 4 parts:

Bathroom Remodel - BLOG
1 - Materials and Planning 2 -1st Floor Bathroom
3 - Karrie's Bathroom and Tub 4 - Dave's Bathroom and Shower

This post will be all about the planning, measuring, materials we purchased, how to get a discount at Home Depot and Lowe's, cost, etc.  Basically everything we tried to learn before beginning the project.

Before i begin i have to say that this was the first time either of us ever did tile, the first time we installed a toilet, the first time we installed a sink and counter-top.  I have to say that by the end of all this we did learn a lot, mostly by making mistakes first.  So use this as a guide of things to avoid.  I always say that the first time i do something, i screw it up completely, learn what i did wrong, then i'm hopefully able to fix it.  By the second and third time, i've already learned from the mistakes and know what i'm doing.

We talked to a lot of people and watched a bunch of video’s on Youtube.  Our friend Jeff who used to be a contractor was the most help of anyone.  He told us everything we needed, what material to use and even let us borrow some of his tools like a tile saw.  I’ll go over all of  that a little more when I list everything we bought and tools we used.

Here's pictures of what the 3 rooms looked like.  The first floor bathroom had green and white tiles, Karrie's shower had green tiles, and mine was blue.

This is the first floor bathroom.  We ended up replacing the floor tile, toilet, sink, counter top, faucet, baseboard, light and a fresh coat of paint.  Lots of work for such a small room.  See part 2 of the blog posts for this remodel work.
first floor bathroom remodel, how to remodel a half bath

Here's Karrie's bathroom.  Originally we were just going to redo the shower tile but by the time we were done we had also replaced the floor tile, new faucets, towel racks and paint.
remodel shower, how to remodel shower tile

Another view of the lovely tile.  Part 3 is Karrie's bathroom remodel. 
remove bad tile, remodel, bathroom

Here's my bathroom.  Similar to Karrie's bathroom but with blue tile.  Same as before we replaced the shower tile, tile floor, shower fixtures, re-glazed the shower pan and new paint.
easy tips for remodeling bathroom shower, shower pan

The fiberglass pan was originally white but has seen it's better days.  I was amazed how well a $20 can of white glaze worked.  Check out part 4 in the blog posts to see the remodel. 
install shower tile, video, how to

The first thing I did was to measure the bathrooms and draw them on Google SketchUp.  That let us know the dimensions and how much we are going to need in terms of materials.  Here's my rough looking sketch after measuring Karrie's shower.  I did one of these for all the floors and also my shower.
calculations, shower, tile, bathroom, remodel, measure

Google SketchUp is a free design software and super easy to use.  In just a couple of minutes anyone can get a real sense of what the room will look like when you are done.  Here's the bathrooms i drew on Google SketchUp.

 This drawing was to determine the layout of the floor tile for the first floor bathroom.
bathroom tile, google sketchup, drawing, measure

By playing around where to start the "whole tile row" i was able to use less tiles and more importantly, make less cuts.
how to measure, floor tile, cut

This is an early drawing i made where i thought about having inset shelves in the tile walls.  We didn't end up doing that after seeing how difficult it would be.
visualize bathroom remodel,

And here's Karrie's bathroom and shower.
sketch of bathroom tile remodel, floor tile, shower, bath, baseboard

Again i drew the floor out separately to get the tile placement.  We ended up going with the layout on the left.  That way we didn't have the small sliver of tile along the bottom of the tub.
determine best use of tile, floor, cut

Another big help in visualizing was drawing the shower tile layout on AutoCad.  Google SketchUp is good for quickly drawing large things.  But to be more precise, AutoCad is the tool to use.  I could offset each tile to account for the grout spacing and figure out exactly how many tiles we needed.  And if we had bought enough.

Here's Karrie's shower.
cad autocad tile layout, spacing, how to , 1/4", 3/16"

And here's my shower.  You can see that for the center wall in this picture i was able to use an tile cut directly in half.  I was really hoping that this would be the case.  I would save me lots of time and effort.  Months later when i eventually did install the tile it worked out exactly how i drew it.
shower, tall shower, tile remodel, calculations, cost, build, materials

This was a bit excessive, but it helped me with two things.  First it let us know exactly how many tiles we would need and if we had enough.  And second it helped me mentally visualize the borders and where the accent tile should be set.

Originally we thought about laying the tiles out traditionally, but you can see from the AutoCad drawings above that we decided on laying them out in a diamond pattern.
tile test layout, idea

But here's us doing a test in the living room to figure out what we liked.
idea for tile spacing, layout, vertical

I also took those drawings of the tile on the floor and Photoshopped them onto the shower wall to see what it would end up looking like.
photoshop tile, what it will look like

After the Gibralter Home Auction we had the tile and the toilet but we still needed to get all the rest of the building materials like grout, mortar, wax rings, etc.   The most important thing to know before buying anything is that you can always get 20% off at Home Depot or Lowe's.  Here's how you can get 20% off your total purchase for Home Depot and Lowe's.
lowe's 10% off coupon, post office, change of address

Here's a table showing what we bought, size, quantity, price, and what room it would be used:
build calculations, shower tile remodel, excel, spredsheet, cost, estimate
LINK to Spreadsheet

These quantities were for the bulk of the items (not including the shower tile we got at the auction) and does not include the things we bought later like the faucets, lights, extra tile, etc..

And here are some pictures and a quick description of what we bought.  (I should say what we bought AT FIRST.  We ended up buying a lot more as we went along.  See parts 2-4 of the remodel for other supply's like RedGuard waterproof paint, tools, sinks, faucets, etc...)

This is where it all started, what we bought from the Gibralter Home Auction.  The stone tiles are in the small boxes and the new toilet is in the large one.
shower tile, auction, toilet, peak, trade center

This is what the tile looked like.
4" stone tile, porous, for shower

Here's another picture of the 4" tile.  If we were to do this all over again i would not have wanted to use this tile.  It's too small and porous for a shower.  I would suggest getting something like an 8" square tile without any holes in it.
natural stone tile

This is the glass accent tile that Karrie bid on and got really cheap.
inexpensive glass shower tile, accent

Here's the 18" travertine tile we bought from Home Depot.  This would be used for the floor.  The tile was nice but it cracked in half easily. 
home depot, travertine tile, 18" square

Another picture of the tile at the store, you can see that a pack of 4 was $21.
cost of tile at lowe's home depot

This is the 3'x5' concrete board we purchased for $11.  It's called Durock and also Hardi Backer.  We purchased the 1/2" thick boards.  I found out later that i also had to buy a special carbon steel scoring tool to cut the boards, they are not like drywall, a utility knife will not work.
home depot concrete board, shower, tile

 This is the mortar, also known as thinset, comes in gray and white.  We bought the $5 bag, not the $11 bag, and it worked fine.  Also we did not need the special liquid shown on the left, just mix with water.  We used about 1 to 1.5 bags per floor.  Click on the link to the other blog posts to see about which trowel spacing we used.
gray thinset, mortar, lowe's home depot, cost

Here's the Tile Adhesive, also know as Mastic.  It's a sticky type of mortar, comes in a pre-mixed bucket, and used to attach the shower tiles to the wall.  We ended up using about 3/4 of a bucket per shower. 
cost, lowe's, home depot, mastic, tile adhesive, shower

Here are the special screws to attach the concrete board.  3 boxes was definitely way too many, we should have only bought 1 box.  The bad thing about that is that each box was around $25. 
hardibacker, screws, concrete board, cost

This is a picture of the sealers we used.  Actually what we bought was not in this picture but the next one down.  We got a deal by buying 2 together for less money.
waterproof tile sealant, cost, home depot, lowe's

Here's a bunch of supplies we ended up getting.  You can see the big box in the middle is the combined package of 2 sealers, which we got for under $30.  Also we bought wax rings for the toilet, sponges, spaces, and color tinted grout.  We ended up needing more wax rings because the gap was more than 1 ring could seal.  Also we bought several more packages of 3/16" and 1/4" spacers.
materials needed to remodel shower, tile, cost

Here's the color tinted grout we bought.  We ended up needing another 1 or maybe 2 bags by the time we were done.  But we did grout 3 floors and 2 showers with the stuff.  Also with the small 4" tiles we used in the shower, there was lots of grout lines.
grout, tile, material, remodel, bathroom

Like i said this is just part 1 of 4 blog posts, so in the upcoming 2 to 4 blot posts i will try to add as much information as i can and lessons that we learned.  So here are the links to all of the 4 blog posts and all of the different video's:
Bathroom Remodel - BLOG
1 - Materials and Planning 2 -1st Floor Bathroom
3 - Karrie's Bathroom and Tub 4 - Dave's Bathroom and Shower