Bathroom expansion

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Topic: Bathroom expansion

Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling October 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Bathroom expansion

We are looking at a brownstone to buy right now that has the classic teeny tiny bathroom (with some updates). Lord knows how they fit a clawfoot tab in there, but it does in fact have one. Adjacent to the bathroom are two closets which I personally would be willing to give up for a larger bathroom space. My question is, how much generally would something like this run. We would be wanting very basic fictures, subway tile, trying to keep the clawfoot and would definitely replace the sink. Any thoughts? The bathroom would be expanding (if it’s possible) about 5 feet more on one side into the closet areas. Would love some feedback or general cost ideas on this. Thank you!

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I do this type of work too.  My specialty is tile and bathrooms.  Like Ed, I can’t say what it will cost without seeing it, and then only with a carefully considered written estimate.  Still, some thoughts:
You are partially right about the cost of finished materials.  Some good quality tile is also relatively inexpensive and you probably don’t need high end fixtures.  But, you will spend most of your money on things you wont’ even see, things which will make your bathroom waterproof, structurally sound, and beautiful for as long as you own your home.   Your pipes are old.  You want to change the locations of your fixtures.  Labor, insurance, a couple of new electric circuits…Is it hard to park on your block?  Just getting materials in and debris out takes time.
Consider a shower stall instead of a tub.  I tile over a waterproof membrane system, with direct drainage, not a pan.  Be clear about how any window or skylight will remain waterproof from the inside and out.  Consider a heating method which will take up little space and not interfere with your shower stall.
I have a new picture of a similar bathroom, which I can send you if you write, but is not yet on my website.
You can find me in the ‘Stoner directory under shower stalls, Green Mountain

This is a very good idea. We would do it if we had any room to expand. A friend of mine who lives nearby in Bed Stuy did it and his bathroom looks great. They kept the clawfood tub in its original place and made the bathroom slightly longer, so now they have a tiled step-in shower with a half-height wall beyond the tub. They moved the sink to between the tub and toilet so they could walk into the shower. They tiled the floor and walls, and inset a cupboard into the wall opposite the shower for storage. They also had to reinforce the floor by sistering some joints, rebuilt the floor (and tiled over it) and did a little more plumbing than they expected. They expanded into the adjacent air shaft (the air shaft remains above, and they have to access the main stack from above and below) and the adjacent bedroom. In the bedroom, the contractor matched the parquet border floor so you can’t even tell they ever remodeled. And of course they sheetrocked, primed painted, ran new electric, put in fixtures. The whole thing cost about $20,000. They used a licensed contractor. The whole thing took months, they said. 

Sound great, what your friends did, Cate.
A caveat: if you only have one bathroom, or one near the main bedrooms, think twice before you replace a tub with a shower only.  If you have room for a tub, and a separate shower, great.  If you have two bathrooms, and only one will have a tub, also good.  Nothing bugs me more as a potential buyer (or renter) than a home with no bathtub (a deal breaker for me, an adult who likes to be able to take a bath every so often, and for many with small children to bathe), or, the palm-to-forehead-slapping unbelievingness when I see a home that has TWO bathrooms, neither with a bathtub.

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