Remodeling a Bath in a Tight Squeeze: Part 1

By The Old House Web

Mark Clement, practical contractor for The Old House Web and host of My Fix It Up Life radio show, shows you what he's up against while trying to remodel a tiny bathroom in an old house. The inherent problems of dealing with a room this small--and installing a new bath, toilet, and sink--are more than you'd expect at first glance.

Before the middle of the 20th Century, many of these old houses never had a bathroom in them, period. The family used a privy or outhouse. Typically, the small bathroom found in these old houses were originally planned as a small storage room or child's bedroom.

Fortunately, this house had a bathroom included in the original design, but it's still way too small to comfortably host a renovation project. Unfortunately, the layout is a mess. The tub is too big; the toilet is in the wrong spot; and the sink is behind the wall in a room that's only eight by six.

Unique Challenges of Old House Bathroom Renovations

First, there are framing problems. Mark simply can't come in a chop up the floor and bust out the joists to begin the renovation. The room is so small that it makes demolition, reigning in dust, bringing in a new drywall, and installing a larger tub problematic. The original toilet was situated in its corner to be near the bump-out, with its vent stack going up and drain stack going down. The new toilet must be placed where the homeowner wants it.

It will all take skill and a lot of planning. And that means Mark will need to get a permit, which is a good thing.

Remember: just because your space is small, it doesn't automatically mean the problems in renovating it occur on a small scale.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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