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The main bathroom was totally hideous and also suffered from poor waterproofing, ventilation and design. By day 49 it was a completely different story. Kirsten ditched all unnecessary cabinetry and did the whole area over in tiles. She also cleverly recycled the bath from the ensuite, finding a perfect home for it here. Taking on the waterproofing and tiling tasks themselves afforded the team the luxury of this stunning frameless glass shower.  And it might look like a million bucks, but this beautiful bathroom cost the beautiful sum of eleven thousand dollars.

Getting started
The three most important things in any bathroom are, ventilation, waterproofing, Design. This bathroom is lacking on all of these counts as water has penetrated the framework which is now rotten, there is no extractor fan to help remove moisture and designwise the generous space has not been used to it's full potential.

When planning your bathroom you should carefully consider the fixtures you need and want, their best position, then select the product or materials, maximising your budget without compromising waterproofing qualities. Include adequate ventilation. Don't skimp when selecting your extractor fan by buying an undersized or underpowered one.

Because I have the luxury of space I am going to reinstate the bath we pulled out of the ensuite, as well as replace the shower - in it's original location. Keeping the shower tucked in behind the door means we can make the most of the glorious natural light from our great expanse of windows, letting the bath have the limelight.

The toilet sits in nicely where it is but I will upgrade it with a modern white porcelain one. I'm replacing the vanity with a beautiful square and chunky white wall hung basin and will reallocate some storage in the form of a freestanding Kauri unit, a basket for towels and a wall mounted medicine cabinet with a mirror.

The total cost for all of this is in the vicinity of $6500.00 but I had to shop around to get tiles on sale, cheap but attractive fixtures and saved myself several hundreds by not having to replace the bath.

Generally speaking it takes approximately 10 days to complete a bathroom, which is along time to go without, so we are lucky we have the ensuite.

I'm lining the walls and floor with a range of ceramic tiles, including a mosaic of colour under the window and surrounding the bath, and painting the tongue and groove ceiling with our stone colour.

Our existing bath has great proportions and is quality porcelain on steel. In my opinion it is far superior to the new acrylic options, so we are going to reuse the existing bath. It will save us money as well as the feel-good factor of recycling.

The shower I have selected is an entry-level, frameless glass sexy number, fully tiled.

I'm paying about $500 more for this shower than a standard budget acrylic shower, but will end up with a stunningly modern equivalent. We'll have to tile the floor and walls ourselves but the glass gets professionally installed as part of the cost.


The main bathroom was a bit of a challenge with all sorts of rot and mould, varying floor levels, panel walls and ceiling. We also wanted a new bath, shower, toilet and pedestal basin. We had to make do with using the bath from the ensuite.

All the plumbing had to be moved, all the walls re-lined with aquiline gib board and the floor had to be repaired. These are all standard type building activities. The more specialised part was the shower area, which was a tiled base and walls. Tiling the walls is not a problem but the base needs a professional touch.

I had to make a 'fall' to the waste, which needed to be equal and well supported. Because the shower base was a rectangle and the waste was in the centre by the time I had made the 'fall' it resembled the Union Jack.

The shape fell away from the outside to be 15mm lower to the centre. Once built, a 18mm sheet of tan H3 plywood was cut to shape to fit the opening. Then came the tricky bit. On the underside, from each corner, going through to the centre I cut a groove with my skill saw about 10mm deep, which when fitted to the shower base it allowed the ply to bend (without stress) into a 3D form which followed the contour of the shower base / floor.

I glued and screwed this down into position (screw from the centre and when tight to the joists / supports work outward, screwing approx. every 150mm working in a circular motion until reaching the outside) It's extremely important to screw and fix the centre down, tight first.

The next job was the tile and slate underlay, nailed down using special underlay nails. Where the shower area is I did the same on the underside as I did on the wood but instead of cutting a groove with my skill saw, I scribed a line / groove on the underside which when fitted over the shower base allowed it to bend to form the desired shape. Again, this was glued first then nailed from the centre, radiating out.

If this all sounds a bit tricky, try doing it with people watching you, a large camera and a microphone hovering over your head. A little tough on the concentration, which is needed for this job&

The next thing to do was to waterproof the floor, (primer and two coats) tile the walls and floor and then grout. Finally complete all the finishing bits.

Note: Many different jobs and trade skills are needed to complete this work. Unless you are very sure of what you are doing, leave it to the professionals.

Building consent
Building consent is only required when you are moving the plumbing work or
white ware.

It can be a DIY job but because of the inconvenience of not having a bathroom I would recommend getting in (if you have the budget) under normal circumstances chippies, plasters, tilers, plumbers and electricians.

Replacing floor
Remove all floor cover / timber and check for rot and replace if necessary. We are going to use 18mm tanalised ply, which is left over from the porch.

You will be able to tell if you have rot in your floorboards by, looking under the house. There will be no structure, there may be a spring in your floorboards and the timber will crumble in your hand.

If you discover rot, you will have to cut it out until you reach sound wood and then replace it.

Rotting vegetation - mould and similar natural oxidation processes may lead to an oxygen-deficient atmosphere inside the space you are working in. You must have adequate ventilation to this area, by opening a window or door.
When handling or removing, rot or black mould you should wear a mask and gloves.

You will require new materials in your bathroom. It's important to use the right materials and when choosing, don't base your decision on price but rather on longevity. This will have a huge impact on the resell value of your house and maintenance.

Materials required for the bathroom:
- Tile and slate for the floor
- Villa board for the walls
- Aqualine because it is a wet area

If you don't ventilate your bathroom you will end up with mould growth, dampness, condensation and rot.

Safety glass
You should use safety glass if windows are near a bath or shower. Any glass within 2m of a wet area needs to have safety glass.
Toughed glass is 5x stronger than normal glass, in the event of fraction the glass will break into harmless particles. Because of it's mechanical and compression strength it is ideal for creating a total vision and concept in all glass assemblies i.e. foyers, entrance ways, doors, side panels, balustrades, showers, bath screens, and all wet areas.
If you are doing any work in your bathroom that requires consent you will have to replace the glass in your bathroom with safety glass.
Get advice from your glazier, as there are so many regulations.


Bathroom floor
When putting down your particleboard there is one side that is sealed and it's clearly marked 'this side to joist'. Make sure this side goes down because it protects it from the elements. Any off cuts you should mark which is the down side.
When fixing particleboard use screws or groove nails.
Space them at a minimum of 150mm around the edge.

Tile and slate
Tile and slate is a cement-based product. We have to put this down before we can tile the bathroom. Tile and slate has marks on it where you need to put nails, it is ultra rigid so won't twist or buckle your tiles.
Tile and slate goes down on top of your particleboard and is easy enough to cut using a tungsten blade or even a nail. All you need to do is score a line where you want the tile and slate to break and then snap it along the scribed line.

Primer consists of 50% membrane and 50% water; it is just like an undercoat you would use for your floor or walls.
Give it a good mix and then apply to your floor before waterproofing.

Flooring options - benefits of each
Ceramic or Porcelain tiles - Very clean look, very serviceable, but cold underfoot and not sympathetic to falling objects! Vast range of prices, colours, sizes and styles and can save you money by laying them yourself.

Vinyl or Linoleum - Vinyl is thought to be a cheaper option, but the best vinyl work's out quite expensive, especially when the labour cost is included, as it is hard to lay to a professional result. Again, there are many different colours and qualities available.

Timber - Lovely, natural look and feel, but not as serviceable in a wet area, although there are some well sealed options available. There is a large range of prices and finishes available.

Tiled shower base and wall:
- In the main bathroom we are having a tiled shower base and wall, you must use villa board on the walls and waterproof to a specific height.
- The shower floor needs to set on an angle to obtain water run off which is a very time consuming process. You will need to mark shower base out in position to be placed and obtain an equal fall to the waste trap, which in our case is the centre. Allow for the waste trap in the middle. Tile and slate area over and then waterproof it.
- The better the preparation work, the easier it is for the tiler to create desired look.

Waterproofing membrane
Because we are having a seamless entry level frameless glass tiled shower, it is crucial to have the essential waterproofing product to seal the structure from the water. It is a specialist trade, use an accredited applicator, your bathroom depends on the waterproofing being done right.
Waterproofing should be applied in accordance with relevant standards and written instructions supplied with your waterproofing product. Your waterproofing will need to be inspected by your Building Inspector, once dried, or a Producers report supplied.

Waterproofing wet area floors (bathroom or laundries etc.)
- You will need to apply 2x coats of Liquid Flash II to area
With a minimum thickness of 1.2mm
- Waterproofing applied below or above the screed
- Apply 100mm up the wall & hob
- Allow 3-4 hours between coats

Waterproofing showers
Waterproof 1.8m up the wall and 1.5m in a horizontal radius from the rose. (Waterproofing is ceased at shower, when screen is provided)

Plastering is quite an art in order to get finished but if you have the time and you want to give it a go here are a few pointers.
When you join sheets of plasterboard it's important to ensure a flush finish so there will be no visible joins once plastering is complete.
Apply first coat of jointing compound to the join using a 150mm knife. Apply joint paper scarping the knife along the join to embed the paper into the plaster. Apply a skim coat of plaster over the tape trying to get it as smooth as you can and make sure it's completely covered. Allow to dry. Apply a second, wider coat to fill any recesses. Feather the edges and allow to dry. Apply a top coat to finish. Feather the edges at least 50mm wider than the previous coat and allow to dry. Lightly sand and brush off residue of dust with a soft, clean brush.

Follow the instructions on the back of pack.
Mix to a creamy consistency
Your plaster, once mixed, will be workable for about 90mins before it starts to dry out.
Spread plaster on slowly and then bring your trowel down nice and easy
Always use paper tape, as it will give you a nice finish.

To check your work has a good finish, shine a halogen lamp, or similar, along the plaster. This will show up any imperfections. Marl them with a light pencil and use your finish plaster to go over them. Allow to dry and sand lightly as before.

Check until you are 100% happy, then, when you paint it... oo lala! Stand back and admire a job well done!


Mike's guide to tiling     
My beginners guide to tiling is
- Always start with a square and plumb surface
- Use tiling mortar and follow manufacturers instructions, I normally swear by the one that comes with it's own bucket
- Apply an even application of mortar with the bevelled edge of your trowel, about 2 ml deep
- Peel off the tile backing
- Apply the tiles promptly and ensure they line up evenly.
- Sponge away any excess mortar or grout before it gets a chance to dry
- Cut tiles individually to fit into odd gaps
- Leave at least half a days drying time before grouting

Tiling walls and floors
Prepare the surface to be tiled by making sure the surface is flat and free of grease and dust. Fill any holes or cracks and remove any loose paint or wallpaper. In areas subject to moisture especially showers, use a waterproofing membrane to seal walls before tiling. Tiles and grout alone are not 100% waterproof.

Plan your layout, get the first row of tiles level and in the right position is most important, as this will determine where all the other tiles are placed. Normally you will start from the centre of a wall with either a tile or grout joint placed on the centre line whichever will give you the largest piece of tile when you reach the corner. It is important to check your levels. Try to avoid small or narrow cuts; tiny pieces tend to make the job look unbalanced.

Once the adhesive is dry, mix a small amount of grout and work it well into the grout joints using a grout float or rubber squeegee. Remove the excess grout from the surface of the tiles before it dries with a damp sponge. Have a bucket of clean water and rinse the sponge often. Wring out as much water as possible from the sponge and lightly wipe all the grout off the tiles until the tiles look really clean when wet.
Don't let grout dry on the tiles, and don't grout too big an area at one time before you start cleaning the excess grout off the tiles (it may take longer than you think).
After you have sponged off the grout so that the tiles look clean when wet and as the job dries there may be a light grout haze that develops but this haze can be buffed and polished off the tiles the next day. This buffing acts like a good cut and polish. Change your water often when cleaning the grouting off the tiles especially for that final once over. Putting grout haze remover in the final rinse often helps too.
Mix the grout up according to the instructions, unless using pre-mixed.
Remember a grout additive will make your grout perform better for little cost and you can also seal your grout. After the grouting has fully cured, 1 to 3 weeks use a grout sealer and seal your grout. This is a simple and easy way to make your tiling look better longer and also make cleaning a lot easier.

We do not recommend using white grout on floors but if you must, use an epoxy grout to avoid it staining. Normally floors are grouted with a light, medium or dark grey, charcoal, black or terracotta as these colours will be a lot easier to maintain. 90% of floors are grouted using a shade of grey grout.

The shower I have selected is an entry-level, frameless glass sexy number, fully tiled.
I'm paying about $500 more for this shower than a standard budget acrylic shower, but will end up with a stunningly modern equivalent. We'll have to tile the floor and walls ourselves but the glass gets professionally installed as part of the cost.