As one of the most used rooms in the house, bathroom remodeling requires careful planning for the best bathroom design. Building code requirements, complexity of bathroom plumbing, and other important considerations make do it yourself bathroom remodeling a challenging undertaking.
Many DIY bathroom remodeling homeowners depend on a reliable bathroom contractor or contractor handyman to help with at least some aspects of the project. This helps to ensure residential building code requirements will be met, and avoid costly errors.
Basic Standard Building Code Requirements
To make the task of meeting building code requirements easier, the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) publishes a list of standard building code requirements. Helping homeowners design and build safe, accessible rooms. Some of the basic requirements are:
- Toilet enclosures – bathroom stall enclosures must have at least 36” X 66” of space
- Toilets – center at least 15” from walls and tubs; 21” clearance in front.
- Faucets –for bathroom shower and combination tub/showers must include anti-scald devices
- Bathroom Light fixture – at least one that is permanent, controlled by a wall switch
- Wall switch – at least 60” from tub and showers
- Waste and drain lines – must slope ¼” per foot toward the main DWV stack; to aid flow and prevent blockage
- All receptacles must be GFCI-protected
Acquire complete NKBA guidelines by calling 1-800-843-6522, or visit the NKBA web site at www.nkba.org.
Start a Bathroom Remodeling Planner
If you design your own bathroom, start a bathroom remodeling planner to keep notes, ideas, and important aspects of your bathroom remodeling plans. Follow the steps below for planning success:
- Bathroom Floor Plan – Draw your bathroom floor plan and wall dimensions to scale. For help on how to do this, research the topic online or acquire the services of a bathroom designer. Buy or make templates; draw the existing bathroom layout, and then experiment with different layouts for the room. Include plans for fixtures and bathroom plumbing lines. Remember, relocating existing fixture drains can add considerably to cost and complexity of your project.
- Check Local Building Code Requirements – contact the Department of Building and Safety for local residential building code requirements. Pay particular attention to minimum clearances required around fixtures. In addition to space available, this will determine whether compact fixtures and/or built-in fixtures will be required. If you are designing a handicap-friendly bathroom, obtain a universal building code list instead of the standard. Use universal building code guidelines to create a more flexible bathroom design; one that meets the needs of persons of all ages as much as possible, regardless of size or physical ability.
- Detail Initial Bathroom Remodeling Plan – make necessary alterations in order to be up to code. Include all dimensions and fixtures; plumbing, wiring, and HVAC connections. Take into consideration bathroom lighting and bathroom exhaust fan placement, and everything else essential to the bathroom remodeling floor plan and bathroom design.
- Make a Material List – this will include all materials required to complete your bathroom remodeling project. This will eventually include specific types/models of fixtures and materials; where each can be obtained, and estimated cost. Here is another area where the expertise of an experienced bathroom remodeling contractor can help; even if you plan to do all or part of the work yourself.
- Visit the Local Building Department – have your bathroom remodeling planner reviewed to insure you have allowed for all building code requirements and have included everything essential for project success. The building inspector may recommend changes to your bathroom floor plan or building material list. Be sure you understand reasons for any changes and make necessary adjustments.
- Obtain Necessary Building Permits – one or more permits will be required, in addition to scheduled inspections. This usually means one after framing and rough-in plumbing and wiring have been completed; a second after the entire project is completed.
You are nearly ready to begin bathroom remodeling; all that’s left is obtaining the materials to complete the job, and perhaps acquire the services of a building contractor.
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