Once you start making DIY improvements to your home, it is difficult to stop. Every room starts to look like it needs upgrading or updating, from the kitchen to the living room to the garage. A common problem many DIYers face, especially new ones, comes in an unsuspecting form: the bathroom. One of the most frequently discussed problems on DIY forums and websites is being dissatisfied with the state of one’s bathroom but not knowing what to change about it. This week’s blog post covers 5 relatively simple things you can do to take on a bathroom remodel and have your bathroom feeling brand new. Let’s get to work!
One easy bathroom upgrade is to replace the caulking surrounding the tub. For this project you will need:
- Caulking (Silicone caulking requires more work but is sturdier, acrylic latex is easier to apply but has a shorter lifespan)
- Caulking gun (both push and pull guns are fine)
- Cutting tool (painter’s tool, utility knife, plastic razor blade)
- Dry, non-abrasive scrubbing pad
- Mineral spirits (if you use silicone caulking)
- Painter’s tape
After you have your materials in order, the first step is to remove the old caulking. Carefully use your cutting tool to remove the old caulking with short, quick strokes. Once you have removed the old caulking, use your scrubbing pad to remove any excess residue. If your old caulking was silicone, you will need to soak the pad in mineral spirits to completely remove it. Once the area around the tub is caulk-free, use your painter’s tape to tape off the caulking area. After that, simply use your caulking and caulking gun to re-caulk the area around the tub. Finally, use a damp paper towel to lightly press the caulk into the desired shape. Carefully remove each piece of tape and do one final round of smoothing. That’s it! Just make sure to wait 24 hours before using the bathtub to ensure the caulking is dry.
Another great way to improve your bathroom is to replace the toilet. Although it may sound like a daunting task, DIY toilet replacement is quite simple and much easier than calling an emergency plumber. For this upgrade you will need:
- Closet bolts
- Closet bolt caps
- Wax bowl ring
- Closet flange extension ring
- Toilet flapper
- Toilet tank lever
- PVC Primer and Cement (Optional)
First, turn off the water supply leading to the toilet and drain the water from the tank by removing the refill tube from the overflow pipe and flushing until all the water has drained. There will be excess water, so either use a rag or the Oatey Liquilock to dry it up. Finally, disconnect the water line and unscrew the bolts that hold the tank in place. This should allow you to remove the tank from the rest of the body. Remove the nuts and bolts from the base of the toilet and gently rock it back and forth to loosen it. There will most likely be excess wax on the floor, so use a small knife to remove it if you need to do so. Finally, remove the old toilet body, place new wax rings on the floor, and move the new body into place. The last step is to simply do the removal in reverse to finish installing your new toilet.
Another easy upgrade that provides a lot of mileage is replacing valves and piping in your plumbing system. Unless your plumbing pipe is made of galvanized steel or lead piping, this upgrade isn’t necessary, but we find it to be very beneficial. Each pipe type has its pros and cons, so whichever pipe type you use is up to you. Copper pipe is the least prone to breakage, but it is very expensive and subsequently not practical for larger projects. PVC piping is inexpensive but more prone to cracks and breaks. We recommend going with CPVC piping and valves for your bathroom’s plumbing system. Although it is more expensive than standard PVC pipe and PVC valves, CPVC is still much cheaper than copper piping and is resistant to hot water, making it perfect for the water lines leading to sinks and showers. Be sure to visit an industrial piping supplier for your piping and valve products.
Tip #4 – Install A Soap Dish in the Shower
Even though this is probably the simplest of the upgrades, it still packs a big punch! Installing a soap dish into your shower wall is aesthetically pleasing and help keeps your soap from constantly being soggy. For this upgrade, you will need the following materials:
- Hammer & cold chisel
- Electric drill w drill bit
- Grout saw or awl
- Tile adhesive
- Soap dish
- Painter’s tape/masking tape
Once you have all the materials, the first step is to remove the wall tile from where you want the soap dish to be placed. The location of your soap dish is up to you, but we recommend picking a tile that is around shoulder-level and out of the direct spraying path of the shower head. Once you have chosen your location, use the grout saw or awl to remove the grout from around the tile. Next, use a hammer and chisel to make notches across the tile in an x-shaped pattern. Using the notches as starters, use the drill to bore into the tile (but not the wall behind it!). Next, use the hammer and chisel to knock off the tile in pieces. Finally, apply some tile adhesive to the wall and to the back of the soap dish and put the dish into place. Use tape to secure the soap dish and wait 24 hours before applying grout to the cracks around the soap dish. Wait 8-10 hours for the grout to dry, and you have yourself an installed soap dish!
The last (but certainly not the least) tip for sprucing up your bathroom is to frame and/or tile your bathroom mirror. If you don’t have a mirror frame, installing one is quite simple. Most big-name hardware stores sell pre-made mirror trim kits, and adding a frame is simply using adhesive to install the frame around your mirror. You can also tile your new (or old) frame by using glass tiles and tile adhesive. Tiling your mirror frame can easily spice up an old-looking bathroom and is a great way to add another dimension to the color scheme.
Tim McFall is the Marketing Manager at Commercial Industrial Supply, a distributor of industrial pipe, fittings, and more. Since 2009, CIS has been dedicated to providing the best piping products to every customer.