At the Job Site: A Contractor’s Bathroom Remodel Guide

Bathroom Remodel Guide and Photo Diary


Here’s how the bathroom looked before Steve and the guys got started with the bathroom remodel.

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Just about everything had to go- vanity, toilet, tub, fixtures and tile. The only thing the crew salvaged was a portion of the drywall.

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Bathroom Remodel Guide

You can see in the pictures that the bones of this bathroom were in good shape. There wasn’t any water damage or mold issue. That was a big plus because often you can’t see every aspect of a remodel, and you have to make an educated guess as to the scope of work.

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Plumbing Rough-in

The plumber came in to convert the double sink to a single sink, extend the toilet waste pipe, rough-in the shower controls and connect the new shower pan to the drain.

Bathroom Remodel Guide


The homeowners were smart and had the crew add blocking for a grab bar to be installed at a later date (when they need one). To learn more about the ADA guidelines for grab bars, read all the specifications in section 609 from the 2005 standards for buildings and facilities.


In preparation for bathroom tile, the crew glued-n-screwed Fir CDX plywood over the existing sub-floor. They used Fir because it’s more water resistant and is less likely to swell or warp than alternative plywoods. If you’re not familiar with plywood nomenclature, CDX indicates the grade of the front (C), the grade of the back (D), and that the adhesives are water resistant (X).

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Electric Rough-in

Next, the electrician completed his job, but he had minimal work to do. All he needed to do was re-route the wiring for the bathroom vent fan, install a recessed light over the shower, and install a new box above the vanity.

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Concrete Board

Steve hung concrete board on the shower walls. Concrete board is the preferred underlayment for tile because it’s moisture and mold resistant and it bonds well with thin set.

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Tiling the Bathroom

Steve brought in Rick Smith and his crew to tile the shower and bathroom floor. These guys have more than 30 years’ experience, and their level of craftsmanship is outstanding.  If you’re trying to decide on what tile to use for your remodel, check out the most recent bathroom tile trends as explained by tile expert Phil Green.

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Bathroom Vent Fan

At this point, Steve’s crew installed the new bathroom vent fan.

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Bypass Shower Doors

Next the guys installed the shower doors.

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Bathroom Vanity

The homeowners selected a beautiful, custom vanity and granite top from a local distributor (because you won’t find this quality at Big Orange or Big Blue).

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Bathroom Remodel Guide


After a few final touches (like the mirror, some fixtures and accessories) the bathroom is finished!

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Bathroom Remodel Guide

Shadowing professional contractors is a big part of what we do at One Project Closer, and we call these articles Pro-Follows. Every Pro-Follow is the result of documenting the work of a pro on an actual job site.  View other remodel guides like this bathroom remodel guide.

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10 comments on “At the Job Site: A Contractor’s Bathroom Remodel Guide

  1. J David

    Good job stiffening the floor with a second layer of plywood. It doesn’t appear either backer board or an uncoupling membrane between the floor tile and plywood was used, unless the thinset used was rated for installation directly to the plywood.

    Either plastic should have been installed behind the CBU on the walls or a liquid applied waterproof membrane should have been applied to the surface of the CBU. Water that penetrates the grout will also penetrate the CBU and eventually the wooden studs and insulation.

  2. Alf

    I always wonder where to bring down the concrete board on a shower with a plastic base.
    Above the base or flush to the base

  3. Jim

    Beware of the waterproofing of walls. I always install 30 lb felt over studs before installing cement board. Tape all joints with mesh and thin set. Apply at least two coats of Red Guard before tiling. Seal all mortar joints after tiling. Better safe than sorry.

  4. Garth Krahn

    I noticed in the photo above the first cement board being installed that some type of glue was applied. What kind of glue is it? Are the screws then just placed around the perimeter of each board? Can this same glue be used to place cement board over a plywood floor prior to tiling?

    1. Ethan@OPC

      That’s Quad OSI adhesive, and they still screw the entire sheet in place (kinda like drywall). I wouldn’t use it for flooring though. Use thinset and a 1/4″ trowel to spread it and then screw it in.

  5. deck builder san diego

    I are now living in an affluent county and have many great references. Nevertheless company is actually slow. Other companies are feeling the pinch too and are bidding very low. I actually do bathroom remodeling in San Diego, wood surfaces, painting, drywall, etc. I do have an internet site, but honestly nobody has ever called as a result. Any real recommendations would be appreciated. Thank you..

  6. Andy

    A shower used once a day gets the equivalent of 155 inches of annual rainfall. I’ve seen mold chest high because of neglecting waterproofing. What is it about water and pourous surfaces people don’t understand? Installations like that get wet and stay wet if used regularly. Non porous boards like prova,wedi or kerdi…kerdi membrane or one of the many paint on types of waterproofing would work well and not slow down a job. I’m sorry ,but it was done wrong.

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