6 Bathroom Remodel Structural Considerations

By Robert Robillard on Bathrooms, Remodeling

Installing header at point loads

Out of Level Floors and Walls

While not always noticeable an out of plumb wall may show itself better when covered with tile and the grout lines taper off.

If you plan on installing shower glass doors and walls like Basco Shower Doors – you want to make your walls as straight and plumb as possible. On tip I use is to install solid surface strips, like granite or Silestone for the glass to butt to.

Deficiencies in the Floor Framing

The time to address structural floor issues, like reinforcing floor joists, is at the time it was built or during a retrofit or remodel.

Contractors may cut through floor joists to accommodate plumbing or HVAC mechanical equipment as long as they properly transfer the floor load to adjoining joists by adding headers.
Understanding the different types of basic framing methods will help you to identify load paths in homes built using different framing methods.

Being able to locate key point loads will also help you know where to look for structural problems. Homes are built to transfer the structural load down through the framing to the foundation.

This is called the “load path” and it’s where most of the weight forces in a home are concentrated. Point loads are loads that are concentrated in a small area, such as where a post supporting a beam or supporting a window header.

New floor system

New floor system

Heading Off and Framing Floor Openings

In a perfect world any floor joist that is cut should have a header installed, preferably two and doubled adjacent joists. All headers should be nailed to the cut joists and their ends attached to two adjacent, uninterrupted floor joists.

The purpose of the headers are to transfer the floor load to the adjacent trimmer joists. The use of joist hangers facilitates this repair.

TIP: A single header nailed to the cut joist and two uninterrupted joists will work for openings less than 4 feet. If the header spans more than 4 feet, both the header and the trimmer joists should be doubled. We often refer to doubling up of joists or other structural framing as “sistering,” or “reinforcing.”

The doubled trimmer and header joists must be nailed together properly with spaced pairs of 16d nails every 16 inches so that they are reinforcing Floor Joists like beams.

Reinforcing floor joists is best done by doubling of floor joists. Doubling of joists is recommended under walls, heavy objects like tubs and at large openings. Doubling of joists can solve a lot of problems like sagging, uneven or undersized floor joists.

Sometimes on a remodel you can’t install a full length floor joist because of plumbing, existing walls or finished floors or ceilings. In these situations it sometimes makes sense to reinforce the floor joist or even all of the floor joists.

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob If you have a building or remodeling question you can have rob respond to your answer via video. Click here for more information. https://jointruly.com/robillard Invite code: x22r2

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