Advice on gutting a bath in 1930's house

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by teadrinker, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. teadrinker

    teadrinker New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    WA
    Hi, I'm new here. Needed some good advice before the insanity begins....

    We're getting ready to gut the full bathroom in our house. We're in a 1930's tudor-esque brick house and I'm hoping to put in a bath that looks like it belongs to the house - not one that will be dated in another 10 years. The bath was last remodeled in the 1960's I think, and then "updated" again by prior owners who went for a retro look and sprayed the fixtures pink. Yikes. There is nothing original left in terms of tiles or fixtures (unless there is tile floor under two layers of lino). I need to make things go as smoothly and quickly as possible - this is our only full bath - we can't do a temporary shower in the basement, as the floor drain down there is a apparently a dry well and not hooked up to the sewer. We'll probably try to hire out as much as we can - I can do most of it, did on the last remodel, but we can't realistically afford to be without our bath for that long.

    Can y'all please vet my choices for quality, durability, etc? We're on a budget, I'm trying to find that sweet spot in terms of reasonable price and getting something that lasts and suits the house. If there are issues with things I'm looking at, now is the time to find out.

    I was thinking a Toto Promenade round front toilet with Sanagloss. There are so few choices in round front bowls, I guess Toto's are some of the smallest - Kohler's Memoirs, are 28"ish compared to 26"ish for Toto. Did I mention it's the typical old house small bathroom?

    Toto makes a 30x60 inch commercial cast iron tub - it looks more like an old tub than Kohler's Villager or anything else Kohler has that isn't $$$ or plastic. And it's, again, one of the few that fit. Are these good tubs? I worry about getting it up the stairs and into the bath - we have winders and a railing at the top of the stairs. Any way to find out before I order the tub?

    The tub in place is steel, probably was a replacement in the 60's. Not salvageable in the least. How do I find out if there is adequate support for cast iron to go in? I'm assuming that it was cast iron originally...

    I've looked and looked for a good sink. Most of the wall hung sinks available don't look right historically - Kohler still has a shelf back sink available, but my hubby and I nixed it because the faucets aren't very ergonomic to use - it only sticks out a little more than an inch, so you're bumping your hands on the back wall of the sink. Console sinks are generally $$$. I'm thinking I'll have a vanity custom made by a local woodworker and have a drop in sink - Toto has Promenade, which looks good. Duravit's 1930 drop-in sink looks nice, but is spendier and I know nothing about the brand. I know pedestal sinks are right historically, but you can never really get the floor clean around the pedestal and when the drain clogs you have a major pain in the hindquarters to deal with it. Any wall hung sinks I'm missing?

    Shower/tub valve. I must confess I love the look of Strom's faucets. But I guess they are not very good quality? I've looked at Kohler, but when I went and looked at the shower components at the supply store, the bath spigot was plastic. Yes, PLASTIC. Really? Nickel plated plastic? I might expect that at a big box store, but the good local supplier? What would y'all recommend for shower valves that work well and look right in an old house? I need volume control as well as scald protection - there are time when I want just a trickle of hot water.

    I think that's enough of a novel for just now. I appreciate any help - thank you!
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,066
    Location:
    IL
    If you are planning to get a new toilet without moving the closet flange, measure the rough-in dimensions down to 1/16 of an inch. That is from the middle of the rear-most closet bolts to the wall (but not the baseboard).
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    Toto makes some nice stuff, but I'd reconsider the round-front toilet...it's something you'll live with for many years, and an elongated really is nicer.

    Plastic parts is becoming almost required...the feds have mandated removing of all lead, and lead-free brass tends to be brittle, so plastic is much easier.

    All code compliant tub/shower valves must have anti-scald functionality. While there are a few that don't have that, it is technically illegal to install one - why they sell them, it's because they are cheaper and some people don't care or are just cheap and don't feel the codes apply to them. The choices with an actual volume control are much smaller than the more common single-handle pressure balanced valves. Having a volume control usually means at least two handles, and two controls, which costs more. Delta has a rough-in valve, the R10000x series that gives you three functional choices: single-handle pressure balance (no volume control); two handle, volume/temp; and two handle thermostatic control and volume control. It depends on the trim (they sell the cartridge with the trim, not the rough-in valve; except at the big-box stores, where they prepackage them as a set) what style the outside looks like and what functions it has. And, 5-years from now, should you decide you want to upgrade to thermostatic control, you buy a new trim package, insert it, and you're done.

    I have Grohe stuff in my home...my mother liked the Delta, and she got a volume/temp version; mine is a thermostatically controlled valve. I like to set the perfect temp once, and it stays the same all year. You can get close with the volume/temp setup, but with winter/summer water temperatures, you do have to adjust it as the seasons change...not a big deal, but it does happen.

    The CI tubs are heavy...getting it upstairs will depend on how tight the corners are and how strong the people trying to get it there are! Worst case, you might take a second story window out and use a crane, but that's not something you want to consider when costs are an issue...you just have to be careful.
  4. teadrinker

    teadrinker New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    WA
    The plumber will be moving the flange just a bit - it's old, and if it is like the downstairs one it is made of lead. He said he thinks he can get me another inch or so. He has final say on whether or not something will work, so I am leaving the measurements to him - otherwise I'd never be tossing around "ish" measurements.
  5. teadrinker

    teadrinker New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    WA
    I don't think we can fit anything other than a round bowl and meet code for clearance. If we had little boys, I'd be more worried about needing an elongated bowl - no worries there!

    So it sounds like Delta's "Monitor" is a thermostatic set up, and TempAssure with Volume Control is what I'm after. Does Grohe have volume control?

    Yep, I'm worried about taking out the window at the top of the stair, unintentionally! ;) I may trying putting a piece of plywood over it when they haul the tub. I just hope they don't have to cut the banister into pieces...
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    Pretty much every company makes what you are asking for. A plumber that is more familiar with these things and might recommend some specific ones. The stuff that fits in the Delta R10000x series rough-in is I think, the 1500 and 1700 series valve/trim.
Similar Threads: Advice gutting
Forum Title Date
Remodel Forum & Blog Big problems arise after bathroom remodel: advice needed May 8, 2014
Remodel Forum & Blog I need advice on sorting slate tiles. Which issues should I avoid? Apr 25, 2014
Remodel Forum & Blog Bathroom remodel with wall hung toilet. Need advice on plumbing and venting. Mar 10, 2014
Remodel Forum & Blog Hit a brick wall...could really use some advice Apr 1, 2012
Remodel Forum & Blog Need some advice in my renovation Aug 5, 2011

Share This Page