you're planning to add a bathroom, it's likely that some concrete will need to
come out. Be aware that it's easy to break drain pipes when busting up the floor.
So, if you're not experienced with this sort of work, you may want to hire a plumbing
It can also be difficult getting fixtures, like a bathtub or one-piece shower
unit, downstairs. So if you do the work, get a few friends to help with the hauling.
is always a difficult part of remodeling even when it's not buried under 4" of
concrete, but that's what we had to deal with.
Drains and vents for a basement bathroom had been roughed in when the house was
built, but we went with a center-drain tub instead of an end-drain style and that
meant extending the drain plumbing.
We broke up the concrete by scoring the surface along the edges of our planned
cuts and then rented a jack hammer to chip the concrete away.
It's a job that always demands extra care and protection for the eyes, ears and
lungs, but our task was also complicated by avoiding the radiant floor heating
tubes buried in the concrete.
After clearing away the debris, we glued new ABS drain pipe to the original stubout
to extend the new drain to the center location.
CAUTION: Codes may require licensed plumbers
to handle this work. So be sure to check that before starting for your own health
and safety. If you're planning a whole new service that requires tapping the main
drain line, you may want to hire a pro anyway.
before pouring fresh concrete over the new pipe, we noticed the new drain placement
would put the drain against the wall and be difficult to access. So we rented
the jack hammer again, cut a new hole, relaid the pipe, then covered it with concrete.
Steam Shower Unit
Before framing the front wall of the new bathroom, we moved in a couple of big
plumbing fixtures which wouldn't have fit through the door opening. The first
fixture was a one-piece, acrylic steam shower unit.
We first framed an opening that included short side walls jutting into the bath
a few inches and a new soffit. The unit was 48" wide x 34" deep x 84" high but
we framed the rough opening dimensions according to the instructions. We extended
the soffit over the vanity area to provide a chase for the water supply pipes.
inserting the unit, we also prepared the drain trap in the floor and secured the
drain to the shower unit. Then
we set the unit in place, working it back into the opening and lifting as needed
to get the drain situated properly over the trap. It's critical that the opening NOT be too snug at the top so you've got a little room to lift the drain
the unit was in place, we plumbed and leveled the unit, shimming the bottom as
needed. Then we secured it to the framing by screwing through the holes cast in
the flanges around the rim of the unit.
We drilled holes in the unit (after carefully measuring) for the shower valve,
the shower arm and the steam generator output, using hole saws, then roughed in
the plumbing for the shower.
secured the steam generator alongside the unit, making sure we'd have access to
it through a utility closet opening on the other side of bathroom wall. For plumbing,
that requires one water line coming into the generator and a second line coming
out of it to run steam into the unit. We used 3/8" copper tubing.
The other big fixture we had to deal with was a drop-in whirlpool tub. We planned
to surround it with a tub deck, but the tub weighed in at about 530 lbs. So we
weren't going to be "dropping" it into any pre-built deck, but we didn't figure
we'd be able to build the deck around it either.
decided to first build the back half of the deck, using 2x4 plates and cripple
studs to form the short wall in back.
used plywood to frame the deck surface, but we had to first mark the required
opening for the tub on our 4x8 sheet and that was a bit of a challenge since there
was no cutting template...just dimensions for the width, length and each end radius.
We marked off perpendicular lines representing the center lines of the opening's
width and length, measured back from the end points on the length for the depth
of the radius (19"), hooked a tape on a nail at each mark, set a pencil at 19"
and scribed a half circle with the nail at the fulcrum.
used a jigsaw to cut the opening after starting the cut with a drill and spade
bit. And we cut the resulting piece in half, took the back half and nailed that
over the back of the deck framing.
The tub deck was 52" wide overall, and the plywood sheet was only 48". But we
took care of the difference by nailing in a strip 2" wide along the back and a
second 2" strip along the front after the tub was in place.
got 4 guys (including Dean!) to slide the tub in against the back half of the
tub deck framing. By the way, the tub does rest on its own legs--not on the tub
deck. Once we had it straight in the opening, we leveled the tub by shimming where
needed with metal plates under the tubs legs.
Then we built the front of the deck, securing the short wall and nailing the front
half of the deck over that. After that, we roughed in the drain and the water
supply lines, and finished framing the door wall.