Adding a bathroom in our basement was the first project on the list when we moved into our third flip house. The basement level of our home was huge with half of the space finished and the other half unfinished as a storage room. We had big plans for the master bathroom and guest bath upstairs but needed a functioning bathroom with a shower before we started tearing the other two apart.
The door on the right is the entrance to the new bathroom. On the other side of the wall to the right is a full storage room the same size as this finished space.
When we moved into the house, I was four months pregnant and made the decision to hire an au pair to live with us for a year once the baby was born. The basement was the perfect place to create a guest suite for our au pair to stay. This was our first bathroom renovation and we were pumped to get started!
Basement Storage Room | Before
The storage room in the basement was huge, it was a no-brainer to take half of the storage room to create a bathroom. As we began planning, google was my best friend. It is important to follow current building codes so we were very careful with the layout. You have to pay attention to the placement of each item, like the distance between the toilet and the tub, the door swing, electrical outlets, etc.
First, we measured the space we planned to use in the storage room and then we determined the layout.
I found a free program online to create the layout. We came up with a few versions of the basement and went with a similar layout below.
Where we Hired the Professionals
We had enough on our plates with getting settled into the house and happily hired out some of the more manual and skilled tasks for this project.
- Cutting into the cement floor for the plumbing
- Framing (My hubby could do this but we got a good deal on the bathroom and bedroom)
Pro Tip: Remove everything from a room when cutting into concrete! Debris flew everywhere and all of our stuff was a dusty mess. I definitely would have taken more time prepping the storage room because it is still a dusty mess.
The bathroom was quickly plumbed, framed, wired for electrical and heating and drywalled by hired contractors. We decided to tackle more of the cosmetic projects in the bathroom to save money.
Bathroom Tile Installation
With this renovation, I was determined to try my hand at tiling and the basement bathroom was the safest place to learn. We purchased the floor tile at Home Depot and they went down great! I now recognize this same tile in almost every flip and new build. Apparently, everyone appreciates the affordability!
Tile Installation Issues
Once the floor tile was installed, we ran into some issues. First, I had insisted on being the one to grout the floor. I felt I was more detail-oriented but quickly realized the positioning was not ideal for someone 5 months pregnant.
Second, I had been reading all of my handy dandy blogs and learned about the benefits of pre-mixed grout. I chose Simple Grout which was not the most expensive but also not the least.
When I spread the grout into the cracks and waited a few minutes before wiping it off, the grout would not wipe off! I realized it was a really big issue and called for Chris to help. We spent the next few hours carefully adding the grout to the cracks and removing the grout on the tiles quickly, but it still looked terrible.
Here is what our beautiful tile looked like after we added the grout. I was so mad I wanted to cry!
I made one critical error when choosing the materials- I forgot to check reviews. If I had looked at the product reviews prior to using the product I would have seen that most people who used it would not recommend it. So if you are looking for a premixed grout, do NOT go with Simple Grout for filling in the cracks!
Because I was pregnant, I could not participate in cleaning up my mess with chemicals, so Chris had to spend the next few days scrubbing the floors. When nothing seemed to work, Chris found a product that finally fixed the problem – BLAZE! Sounds pretty hardcore, huh? I DEFINITELY recommend this product to remove tough grout haze! 🙂
Here are the floors once Blaze was done kicking its ass. Blaze is my hero.
Shower Tile Installation
Next up was the shower tile. Again, I was convinced I wanted to do this tiling project. And again, sitting on the edge of a tub tiling with a big ol’ belly was not ideal. I also chucked the Simple Grout to the curb and had Chris mix up some basic grout.
Turns out I wasn’t great with this product either! We could not get the right consistency to stick to the walls, so most of it fell into the tub. After the second failed attempt and a lot of pouting/whining from me, Chris went out and bought the most expensive premixed grout at Home Depot.
Guess what – it worked! I never knew a grout could make me SO happy. Fusion Pro was expensive but completely worth the cost for tiling projects.
And here was the shower once the tiling was finished! We went with smaller subway tiles that came in sheets. We learned SO much from these first tiling projects and I am grateful we had this basement bathroom to practice and make some mistakes.
My tiling skills have improved since this renovation – check out my full tutorial on how to install subway tile to a kitchen backsplash.
Basement Bathroom | After
We purchased the vanity, mirror, and accessories at Home Depot and the light fixtures at Lowes. The storage unit behind the shower was found at At Home.
Here is the finished product!
- Wall Color – Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams, satin
- Floor Tile
- Shower Subway Tile
- Fusion Pro Grout for Shower
- Blaze Grout Haze Remover
- Vanity (similar)
- Mirror (similar)
- Sconces (similar)
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