An unexpected Master Bathroom renovation, phase 1

Welp, I guess I’m doing a renovation in our master bathroom! Just last week Ben and I were talking about our list of needed renovations in this house and prioritized them all. The master bath desperately needs a cosmetic update, but we decided to put it towards the bottom of the list. We’d rather get all the floors refinished and install a new pretty kitchen. Of course, as soon as you make a statement like, “the bathroom should be added to the very bottom of the list”, the universe throws a curve ball at you and basically says, “Oh ya?! Hold my beer.”

Here is our bathroom just after we moved into our house almost 2 years ago. Not much has changed, except maybe pulling those flower bunch decor things off the wall. 🙂

I swear, just like a day or two after we decided to wait just one more year to pull that repulsive carpet off the bathroom floor, I stepped out of the shower and the floor felt WET. I thought it was the shower door leaking at first, but after deeper inspection we realized the water was coming out from under the shower pan. This could only mean one of a few different options: a) the pan was leaking, or b) the plumbing in the wall was leaking. Argh!

I couldn’t really tell exactly where the leak was coming from, so I pulled a little sheetrock off the wall to try to see if it was the plumbing.

That didn’t reveal any new information, so I pulled the cap off the on/off water handle to see if the pipes looked wet. Fortunately no water. So far so good.

Unfortunately that left the pan. The pan itself must have a breech. Oh man.

Before I can get the pan out I pretty much have to rip everything else out first. First up, the carpet. Best day of my life. Carpet in a bathroom is so gross.

Another perk? I can rip out the god-forsaken step into the tub that I’ve loathed since the day we purchased this house. Bye Felicia. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

No step! No carpet!! As much as I don’t want to renovate this bathroom right now, this is still good news that has me giddy!

I placed a few rugs down for us to walk on to get to our toilet and the closet. This will have to work for awhile as we do this renovation.

Next step in getting the shower pan out? Remove the shower glass and doors.

Checking for a leak again. Still no cracks. The water is definitely coming out from under the pan, most likely at the drain.

The shower is almost out. I’m going to see if Habitat For Humanity will let me donate all this glass to them.

The pan can’t come out until I remove a layer of tile and sheetrock. I should probably remove all the tile first, but I just want to get this pan out and try to figure out exactly where the leak is coming from.

Once the bottom few layers of tile was chipped away, the pan easily lifted out. (If you are removing a shower pan, it won’t lift out until you remove the rubber gasket in the center of the pan. Just pry it out.)

Yup, the pan has a hairline crack in the drain. Bummer but also so thrilled to get rid of this monstrosity. I can’t wait to have a custom shower floor that is tiled. Yummy.

What a mess!

And here we are now. I’m doing as much demo as I can by myself, and we will be putting in a new bathroom ourselves as well. We will have to hire out for the plumbing and maybe a few other items as we work through this.

Because this renovation caught us by surprise, we really aren’t prepared for it at all. I’m going to take my time and make sure I get it done the way I want it. Also, we haven’t budgeted for it at all, so this renovation will be very slow-going as we save money for each stage of the process.

I have a few ideas of what I want and don’t want, but all our selections such as tile and products are still totally up in the air. I would like a light airy spa feel with maybe a slight industrial farmhouse slant. What I do know for sure is that I want a free-standing tub, a glass frameless shower, and I want to remove the wall between the sinks and the tub.

The rectangle wall between the sink and tub houses the vent for the gas fireplace. As I get everything ripped out I’m going to have someone come and re-rout it (hopefully!) so I can utilize that corner for a bigger shower. We will also have to address the window as it is in the way.

I’ve got a thousand ideas running through my head. I’m probably going to have a million ideas for this bathroom and will want your opinions along the way.

next master bath post

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful week!

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  1. Awesome photos showing the process and progress – this is going to be a great reno!
    Planning something similar here; once you get rid of the built in tub and all that framing if you still want/need a tub a smaller freestanding style might give a bit of space for a larger shower. I’ve tried to talk the dear husband here into ‘let’s not replace the tub’ but he keeps saying that ridiculous ‘resale’ line…I’m not buying it. I’ve got one just like your Felicia and I’ve NEVER used it in 18 years! And it’s a royal PITA to clean. It felt so good to look at your photos!! I’m in the northeast USA – a huge shower is pretty but in the winter here the space cools down faster than you can dry off – I’m looking forward to watching your wonderful progress – you’re so inspiring with this rip out!!

  2. You have mad demo skills! We had this same issue with our master shower in Texas. Drain seal under the pan failed and water was leaking all over beneath the pan. I know the carpet is gross, but if your floor had been tile you likely wouldn’t have discovered the leak until the ceiling below was showing signs! Can’t wait to see the progress of the new bath. You have lofty goals moving fireplace vent and window!!!!!

    • Thanks Sue! I’ve done a few small renos around this house (new floor in Ben’s office & removing a wet-bar in the basement) but this is our first real big renovation here. I’ve done them before, but my aspirations for this one are much bigger than ever before and I’ll admit I’m quite overwhelmed. I’ll take it day-by-day, one small project at a time and hire out when needed. I can’t wait to get it done!

  3. Oh wow. I saw that title in my email, and thought “Uh-oh! This does not sound good!” Haha! We have a big construction project going on too now, and also did a bathroom last summer. OH THE MESS! I totally sympathize! And bathrooms are so overwhelming too! May you not feel rushed and befuddled, may all the sales align with your shopping lists, and may you get the bathroom of your dreams! : )

  4. I feel your pain. Ours started leaking into our dining room and after 18 months of a very similar process, lots of work, save to pay for the next stage, I can say I love the final outcome. Goodluck.

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