See how we helped homeowners Stephanie and Pat Greenwood remodel a dated family bathroom in their home that their four children share.
Family Bathroom Remodeling Projects Included:
Walls: Removed dated wallpaper, patched drywall, and painted walls.
Tub Surround: Installed cement backer board and tiled tub surround (Captiva 12”x24” Sterling tile) with mosaic glass tile inserts.
Floor: Removed vinyl flooring and installed tile floor to match tub surround.
Vanity: Painted cabinet, replaced hardware, and installed new vanity top with Moen Darcy faucets.
Toilet: Removed old toilet and installed new water-efficient American Standard Optum VorMax toilet.
Light Fixtures: Replaced light fixtures over vanity.
Mirrors: Removed mirror over vanity and installed new dual mirrors.
- How to Remove Wallpaper (video)
- Tiling a Bathroom Floor (video)
- DIY Toilet Replacement (article)
Danny Lipford: Everybody’s got a bath they’ve been meaning to update or improve, and this week on Today’s Homeowner, we’re taking on a classic one.
Pat Greenwood: I actually started working on the bathroom when we first moved in, and that was, what 11 and a half years ago?
Danny Lipford: Stephanie and Pat Greenwood share this four-bedroom, two-bath home with their four children: Robert, Maddie, Mary Linda, and Grace.
Stephanie Greenwood: You know, the house was really a great solution for us, because it offered the space we needed for our growing family, and yeah, it’s a great location… yeah.
Pat Greenwood: And at the time, at the time, Maddie was two, Robert was five months, Grace was on the way, and we needed a single-story house. We needed the bedrooms close to us. So the house was perfect.
Danny Lipford: The hall bathroom the four kids share, however, is something less-than-perfect.
Pat Greenwood: I’ll take credit for the bathroom, because I had all these grand plans of painting and carpeting and wallpaper and all this kind of stuff. And I actually started working on the bathroom when we first moved in.
I took down some of the wallpaper, and that was, what 11 and a half years ago? And about half the wallpaper’s down, and it’s been like that ever since we moved in.
Stephanie Greenwood: I know. It’s hard for us to really carve out the time and everything that we need to put in to home projects. You know, the flooring in there currently is just old, probably original vinyl to the house and there’s some tears in it.
Pat Greenwood: And the lighting. The lighting is very dated, too. I’d love to see a different light.
Stephanie Greenwood: We’re really excited about working with Allen and Danny on the bathroom project.
Danny Lipford: So, there’s my cue.
Stephanie Greenwood: Mary Linda was so excited because she knows this bathroom needs some work too. So she made a welcome sign for you. “Under construction. Do not use!”
Danny Lipford: All right. They’re trying to move the process along, huh?
Stephanie Greenwood: I know! Well, this is the kids’ bathroom.
Danny Lipford: All right. Let’s take a look at this thing.
Stephanie Greenwood: From day one, we knew that it was going to need some updating and some work, but we just did not know where to begin.
Danny Lipford: Sure, sure.
Stephanie Greenwood: I mean, we were a little overwhelmed, so…
Danny Lipford: Well, a lot of room in here that’s the one thing, because so many times, these hall bathrooms will be just so small. So, you got a little space. two vanities. That’s good.
Stephanie Greenwood: This is a huge blessing.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, oh, absolutely. I’m sure.
Stephanie Greenwood: With all the kids.
Danny Lipford: So, updating. I know you want to do some updating. I have ideas. What’s on your wish list, though?
Stephanie Greenwood: Can I put everything on my wish list?
Danny Lipford: Well, we’ll see. We’ll see, depending on how hard you want to work.
Stephanie Greenwood: OK, well, I’m sure you noticed the strip of wallpaper that is missing. The house was built in the mid-eighties, so we need to press the fast-forward button about 30 years and bring it into the modern era.
I think that going with kind of a gray color scheme is what we had in mind. I think that’s really modern, and you know in terms of materials, we’re looking for something that’s really durable.
Danny Lipford: Sure.
Stephanie Greenwood: Kid-friendly.
Danny Lipford: Right.
Stephanie Greenwood: Easy to clean. They are messy little monkeys, so…
Danny Lipford: You guys fairly handy? Can you do a little bit of the work? How about tearing up things, tear out?
Stephanie Greenwood: My kids are really great at tearing things up.
Danny Lipford: Is that right? OK, you got a good crew. OK.
Stephanie Greenwood: I have a good crew. I take direction well, yes.
Danny Lipford: All right, so we got that figured out. The hardest thing about this project, as most projects, is picking everything out. So, I’m making a list for Stephanie and Pat before they head to the local Home Depot to begin selecting materials—paint to replace the dated wallpaper, ceramic tile for the floor and tub surround, plus new fixtures for the tub and vanity.
When the materials arrive, we’re ready to offer some tips for demolition, but Stephanie only has one concern.
Stephanie Greenwood: Do you think we can leave the toilet for Monday?
Danny Lipford: Do you need the toilet over the weekend?
Stephanie Greenwood: You know, four little Greenwoods running around, I think that it would put us in quite a spot if we were down one toilet.
Danny Lipford: OK. We can wait till Monday. We’ll take that out on Monday morning instead.
Stephanie Greenwood: OK. I appreciate that. Don’t you think, Allen?
Allen Lyle: I think so, too. But now I’ve got something for you. This is in case of emergency. I don’t think there will be one, because I have faith in you, but this is for cutting off water. I’m going to show you how this works in just a moment.
Stephanie Greenwood: OK.
Allen Lyle: So take that.
Stephanie Greenwood: OK, that’s not a tool to keep my kids in line?
Allen Lyle: No, no, no, no. Not at all. In the meantime, Danny and I are going to go ahead and take this mirror down for you so you don’t have to deal with that.
Danny Lipford: Cause we don’t want you guys fooling with a mirror like that.
Stephanie Greenwood: I’m so grateful. OK. Thank you so much.
Danny Lipford: Once the mirror is removed, it reveals yet another layer of wallpaper.
Stephanie Greenwood: Patrick and I removed wallpaper in the kitchen of our first home, and it came off in about one-inch strips. And we very quickly learned that he and I were not good at home improving together for fear of divorce. So, this will be a true test of our marriage, I think, if we can get in here this weekend and do the bathroom.
Danny Lipford: But this time, the whole family is getting into the act, because they only have the weekend to rip out all of the old to make way for the new.
Joe Truini: Caulking around a bathroom is a simple enough job until you need to caulk around the back of the toilet. Because the space is so restricted, there’s no way to easily get the nozzle of the caulking gun back behind the toilet. So here’s the trick.
Go out and pick up a roll of tubing. This is clear tubing. It’s quarter-inch inside diameter—that’s what you want, the inside diameter. And cut off a piece maybe eight to 10 inches long. And then just wedge it onto the end of the caulking cartridge—right on the nozzle—put it on nice and tight. There you go. Just like that.
Now, you’ve a nice flexible tube that allows you to deliver caulk exactly where you need it. Just squeeze some through, here it comes. See that? Nice and easily, right through.
Once you get to the end of the tube, then you can apply it where you need it, back behind the toilet. Here it comes. Look at this, it reaches all the way around.
Now, it won’t be too neat, because you can’t really see what you’re doing, but it comes out real easy. Then you can come back later and spread it with your finger. And once you get out here, you know, you can pull off the tubing and just apply it with the caulking gun.
Now, if you want to reuse the tube, which is a good idea, all you need to do is pick up a length of wooden dowel that’s about the same size as the inside diameter—in this case, again, it’s quarter-inch.
Just push it through. Clean out most of it. You’re not going to get it all out, but you get most of it out. There you go. Now you can reuse it for your next caulking job.
Danny Lipford: The children’s bathroom in Pat and Stephanie’s house is in dire need of updating. The plan is to replace every surface and fixture in the room except the tub. So the family got us started by doing the demolition over the weekend. Now it’s time to start rebuilding.
Stephanie Greenwood: All right, Danny. Judgment day!
Danny Lipford: Hey, this looks pretty good. Looks pretty good. You and Pat still talking? Everything OK?
Stephanie Greenwood: We’re still speaking. You know, the wallpaper was really tough. It wasn’t coming down easily.
Danny Lipford: That will test any relationship. Whether you’re taking it off or putting it on, wallpaper is no fun.
Stephanie Greenwood: It was.. we made it through, though. We powered through.
Danny Lipford: Well, it looks good. Everything looks good here. And I understand you really hit it lucky with your brother-in-law is going to take care of the tile work at night.
Stephanie Greenwood: Oh, yes. Mike is very talented, lots of experience tiling. So, I’m looking forward to learning from his expertise.
Danny Lipford: OK, so you’re going tile on the walls here, also putting tile right down over the vinyl floor. That works perfect. And on electrical, I understand you’re going from one fixture to two fixtures.
Stephanie Greenwood: We are. I think it’s a little more modern. And we also got two mirrors. So I think that’ll work well.
Danny Lipford: The plumbing and electrical chores come first before the walls are covered or repaired. Once the old tub valve is removed, the new one is soldered in its place. The existing electrical box is also removed and the wiring routed to two new boxes cut into the wall above each sink.
As each patch goes in place, it’s covered with joint compound, followed by drywall tape, which is pressed into the mud to smooth it out. Another coat of compound covers the paper, and we wait for it to dry.
OK, I assume this was not you. I assume this was Pat that got a little aggressive.
Stephanie Greenwood: Oh, all the areas that are ripped off were Patrick. Yes.
Danny Lipford: That was him. OK, all right. Well, we’re going to repair his problems here.
Stephanie Greenwood: Oh, yes. I always have to clean up after him.
Danny Lipford: So, here’s all you have to do. Okay you take a little bit of this, just like that. And then, apply it like that and then just pull it across it like that. See what I mean? Now, you getting this?
Stephanie Greenwood: Danny, that looks like putting on my makeup in the morning.
Danny Lipford: All right! Whatever you might relate it to, give it a try, so…
Stephanie Greenwood: Okay, you just got to slap it on?
Danny Lipford: Yeah. Meanwhile, Allen and Pat are framing a recessed shampoo ledge for the shower surround. While the joint compound dries, Stephanie and I can remove the toilet. We have to get rid of all of, as much of this water as we possibly can.
Stephanie Greenwood: Do I need to get a straw?
Danny Lipford: No. No, no! We’re going to do it much more humane than that. Turning off the water supply and flushing removes some water. But quickly pouring a large bucket of water from high above the toilet helps force out most of what’s left.
Stephanie Greenwood: How did you make it do that, Danny? It’s like magic.
Danny Lipford: It’s physics. Might be a little too elevated for the typical homeowner to learn. Then it’s simply a matter of disconnecting the supply line and removing the flange bolts on either side before we lift the toilet off of the floor. And now just spin it.
Stephanie Greenwood: Okay.
Danny Lipford: There. Outside, Allen and Pat have cut the cement backer board to size so it’s ready to install.
Allen Lyle: I’m going to lift, get it to the top of our rock.
Pat Greenwood: Okay.
Allen Lyle: And if you can give me a screw here and a screw here…
Pat Greenwood: While you hold, I get to do the easy part.
Danny Lipford: While they finish filling in the shower with backer board, I’m disconnecting the plumbing under the vanity so we can remove the old vanity top to make way for the new one.
Now, this is doing it right. This is how you can build a shower that just will not leak. First of all, we have the cement backer board on properly. Now we have our tape over all of the seams.
I’m about to put some of the mortar right over the seams, just like this, so that I can seal it completely off. Then we’ll put a red waterproofing over the whole thing so that even if the water gets through the ceramic, it won’t get through the wall.
I’ve remodeled a lot of bathrooms, and this is the key part of remodeling a bathroom to make sure the water never causes you problems down the road. After the thin set dries, Stephanie breaks out the RedGard waterproofer and rolls it onto the shower walls.
Early the next morning with the waterproofing complete, she finishes priming the vanity while Allen drills the cabinet doors for recessed hinges. Then, Stephanie and Pat can begin priming them along with the vanity drawers.
Stephanie Greenwood: Okay now, let the record show that we are out here priming together.
Pat Greenwood: I know.
Stephanie Greenwood: In the same dance space.
Pat Greenwood: It’s a big step.
Stephanie Greenwood: I don’t know how that’s going to work out. We’ll have to see if we can make our relationship last through this process. I’m just not sure, babe. I guess if I don’t look too closely and criticize your work then we’ll be okay.
Okay so, now that we have these new hidden hinges, what are we going to do—don’t we have holes in the cabinet from the old hinges?
Pat Greenwood: We do.
Stephanie Greenwood: Do you know how to fix that?
Pat Greenwood: That’s why we have Allen and Danny.
Stephanie Greenwood: Well since Allen’s going to do—that’s true.
Pat Greenwood: I don’t know
Stephanie Greenwood: Since he put the holes in, I’m going to make him fix the old holes.
Danny Lipford: Mr. Lyle, this one’s all yours.
Allen Lyle: what this is, this is going to actually harden, just like it was metal, really, like part of the car.
Stephanie Greenwood: Okay.
Allen Lyle: And it’s going to get rid of not only the holes, but those indentations from the old footmark of the old hinge.
Stephanie Greenwood: Oh, yeah.
Allen Lyle: I’m going to smear it on, smooth it.
Stephanie Greenwood: With some pressure.
Allen Lyle: Smear it, smooth it, and then we’ll come back and when we sand it down, you’ll never know it was there. Ever.
Danny Lipford: While Allen wraps up that repair, check out this week’s Best New Product.
Jodi Marks: Did you know that there are over 600 different toilets on the market today? So if you’re in the market for a toilet, that can be overwhelming. But let me tell you about this one from American Standard.
This is their VorMax technology. It’s a 17-inch comfort height, which is awesome. It has a slow-close lid, which is great so that you don’t bang it and make a loud noise.
Another feature of this seat, which I like, is that for you guys, instead of having to reach underneath and lift the seat, all you’ve got to do is use this tab and it gets it out of the way.
But I think the most impressive thing about this bowl is that it has incorporated into the surface of the bowl an antimicrobial. So what that means is, is that when it flushes, and it’s got this jet stream that shoots around the edge, as opposed to just water pouring to the center. With just mere water, you wash away all of the bacteria that causes staining and odor.
So if you’re in the market for a toilet, this might be the one for you.
Danny Lipford: The renovation of Pat and Stephanie Greenwood’s bathroom will include the replacement of nearly every surface in the room, and the first new one to go in is the cultured marble vanity top.
Stephanie Greenwood: Oh, it’s beautiful!
Danny Lipford: Now, this is the same material the old one was made from, in a color that’s much more in line with Stephanie’s taste. Any time we do a bathroom remodel and you get a lot of great reactions, just like the reaction we got when the vanity top was installed.
Sometimes you get some bad reactions, and that’s what happened here when I applied the joint compound to the damaged drywall. It just reacted to the actual paper on the drywall, and I’ve got bubbles everywhere. Well, I’ve tried sanding it. That didn’t work very well.
So I talked with one of my buddies that’s an expert drywall finisher, and he told me the only way I can fix this is to actually remove all of the bubbles, not the drywall, but just the actual face of it, put fiberglass tape on it, and then have to put more coats of drywall compound.
This process of cutting, taping, mudding, and drying takes up what’s left of the day to get the walls ready for paint. When we’re done, Stephanie’s brother-in-law arrives in the evening to begin the tiling, but he and Pat were only able to get part of the shower done.
Stephanie Greenwood: It’s taken a whole lot longer than I thought it would, and that’s frustrating. You know, I mean, you know how patient I am.
Pat Greenwood: Right, very.
Stephanie Greenwood: You know, it just comes naturally to me. But I think it’s looking really good.
Pat Greenwood: I thought there was a possibility we’d finish the shower and the floor.
Stephanie Greenwood: Oh yeah, in the same night.
Pat Greenwood: Yeah about nine o’clock at night I said, “well, I don’t think we’re going to hit the floor yet.” But I’m pleased so far.
Stephanie Greenwood: Yes, and I’m gaining some confidence. Like, it did take a long time and everything, but I think, you know, we have a feel for it now. I’m hoping that tonight will go a little bit more smoothly.
Danny Lipford: So in the meantime, Allen and Pat installed the new faucets on the vanity top. And Stephanie stays busy applying the finish coat of paint to the cabinet and its doors and drawers. Later, Mike will return to help finish the tile in the shower and on the floor. Finally, on day four, we’re ready for grout.
Allen Lyle: I fell in love with this stuff. This is fusion pro.
Stephanie Greenwood: Okay.
Allen Lyle: You don’t have to seal this. Ever. Ever.
Stephanie Greenwood: Is that a big deal?
Allen Lyle: It’s a huge deal.
Stephanie Greenwood: Okay.
Danny Lipford: This grout also includes Microban antimicrobial protection. So, it’s ideal for the kids’ busy bathroom.
Allen Lyle: And in case you’re wondering, this is a float.
Stephanie Greenwood: A float.
Allen Lyle: A float.
Stephanie Greenwood: Does it float in the water?
Allen Lyle: It’s spongy. It does not. Spongy on the bottom, but flat. All right. So we’re going to apply this. Just push it into the grooves.
Danny Lipford: Application is a little different, though, because you can only cover a small area before you immediately have to clean it, rather than grouting the whole project and cleaning it later.
Allen Lyle: Alright at this point, I’m going to take as much of the excess off as I can.
Stephanie Greenwood: Okay.
Allen Lyle: And then we’re going to come back with the sponge.
Stephanie Greenwood: All right.
Allen Lyle: We’re going to start with a circular motion, wiping this down. And what’s important with this is that you go to that bucket frequently. The sponge will actually shape your grout lines.
Stephanie Greenwood: Smooth it out. I see what, I see what it’s doing. Mm-hmm.
Allen Lyle: Now, we’re going to come in with a microfiber.
Stephanie Greenwood: Okay.
Allen Lyle: Use this. And again, it’s easier to do this on a horizontal surface than it is. And again, I’m just going to come and I’m going to drag this across diagonally. So, now, we’ve got a little bit left on this wall. I’m going to let you tackle that.
Stephanie Greenwood: Okay.
Allen Lyle: And see what you think.
Danny Lipford: Stephanie is able to pick up the technique.
Stephanie Greenwood: Allen, are you ready to hire me for the crew?
Allen Lyle: You’re hired!
Stephanie Greenwood: I’m a floater!
Danny Lipford: But since we’re a little behind schedule, Allen takes over the float to finish the job more quickly. Then we can install the trim for the bath fixtures as well as the grab bar on the back wall.
When the grout is thoroughly dry, the walls get one final sanding before the primer and wall paint start going up. While the paint dries, Stephanie and Pat plot the placement of hardware on the walls and Allen sets the new toilet. They chose the Optum VorMax that Jodi told us about earlier because those easy-clean features will be important with four kids.
Finally, we can install the new light fixtures, the shower rod, and the other hardware to wrap this renovation up.
Danny Lipford: When someone’s bathroom vent fan dies, they often want to know how difficult is it to replace it. If you choose the right replacement, it can be very easy.
The EZFit fan from Broan-NuTone makes it simple, because everything can be done from the room side without having to go in the attic.
A template makes marking the larger opening quick and easy. Then you can remove the old fan. The EZFit housing has four tabs that simply twist to clamp the housing directly to the ceiling material.
The height of the unit is just five inches, which means it fits easily into two-by-six frame ceilings. And you can even connect the duct without attic access. Plus, the included reducer allows connections to either a four-inch or three-inch duct.
On top of that, the EZFit motor is up to 50-percent more powerful and up to 70-percent quieter than typical fans. Plus, it uses very little power, so you’re saving energy every time you use it.
Danny Lipford: The hall bathroom in Pat and Stephanie’s home was stuck in the eighties. The seashell wallpaper was begging to be removed, but the job was only partially done.
The light fixtures and the plumbing fixtures were decades out of style, and the stained vanity cabinet was dark, heavy, and showing its age. Plus, the 30-year-old toilet was far from efficient.
After a week of work, the room is completely transformed. The cooler color palette sets the tone for a much more contemporary feel. And the new vanity faucets have crisp, clean lines that fit right in with the new countertop. And the new paint and hardware on the vanity give it a light, clean feel.
The new toilet is not only more efficient, but a lot easier to clean. And the new tiles on the floor and in the tub surround set the tone for the contemporary look Stephanie was trying to achieve, especially with the addition of those glass mosaic accents, not to mention that the prints she added are far more appealing than the seashells she traded in.
Stephanie Greenwood: Well, Danny, we’re just so pleased with how everything turned out.
Danny Lipford: Well, you guys made it look good with all of the colors and picking things out. Pat, you’ve got a real good taste of choosing colors.
Pat Greenwood: You know I had nothing to do with that. I said, “yes, honey.”
Danny Lipford: Well, it turned out great, and it was great working with you guys. And hey, thanks so much for joining us this week on Today’s Homeowner. Hope we see you next week. I’m Danny Lipford.
Allen Lyle: You’ve got the happy sponge. That’s it.
Stephanie Greenwood: I like that.
When you have damage sheetrock from removing wallpaper, should you put a waterproof sealer on the bathroom wall before mudding sheetrock?