Remodeling A Bathroom, by Leon A. Frechette
This is a pretty decent book about a subject that is apparently very popular if my local library system can be believed, namely the topic of remodeling one’s bathroom. In reading this book, I came to the not entirely surprising conclusion that while I would readily help someone else with a bathroom remodel that doing the task by myself was probably beyond my own modest skills. There are simply too many areas to go wrong, and the authors themselves even recommend that most people should probably hire others to do certain tasks like the electrical work, since few people are really knowledgeable about that sort of thing and the codes for electrical work in the bathroom, especially if one wants one of those lovely jacuzzi bathtubs, is quite a challenge. It is, to be sure, the sort of challenge that many people will relish on its own terms, but something that will likely be a bit more of a challenge than others are willing to undergo. Of course, if you are reading a book like this you likely have at least some interest in acquiring the skills necessary to do one’s own work with regards to remodeling, which is something.
This particular book of a bit more than 150 pages of well-illustrated pages contains ten chapters that focus on a case study of the author’s own efforts at remodeling their bathroom, a fairly averaged sized room that gives a good indication of what would be required for most people to undertake the same task. After a short introduction and a note on how the book should be used, the author looks at the question as to whether a homeowner should repair or remodel a restroom (1). After that the author takes the reader on a sequential tour of the various steps that are involved in remodeling a restroom, beginning with demolition and framing (2), then moving on to the plumbing rough-in (3), then the electrical rough-in (4), after which the author explores working with wallboard (5). After this the author discusses various options for flooring, cabinets, and countertops (6), after which the author explores tub and shower enclosures (7), and doors and moldings (8), after which the author finishes with a discussion about fixtures (9) as well as various finishing touches to complete a remodel job (10). After this the book closes with some resources as well as an index to help the reader find some specific advice in the book.
In reading this book, a few aspects struck me as particularly noteworthy. For one, getting the right sort of materials for a good bathroom work is a very important challenge, and one that many people tend to underestimate, especially given the high humidity environment of the bathroom. For another, there is a lot of equipment that can cost a great deal of money to buy that people who remodel bathrooms frequently might take for granted and that allow a job to be done much faster than it would be done by hand. For another, I was struck by the complexities of plumbing, and the way that so many commonly used plumbing fixtures and techniques were against the rules because of the repercussions of such techniques. There are a lot of ways that working in a bathroom can go wrong. Pipes can leak. Mold can grow. People can flush some truly disgusting things down the toilet and create fatburgs that block sewage lines. Doing things right, on the other hand, requires a certain degree of knowledge and experience, and while nothing replaces practice, at least books like this (and there are many, many others) are worthwhile in helping someone acquire some knowledge in the craft.