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Upscale Remodel of a Utility Room with Ceramic Tile Floor, Wall Wraparound and Raised Catch Basin

The utility room needed to be remodeled and repaired, but like most people I didn't care if it was more than just a little bit ugly when finished. As you can see from some of the before pictures below, I had some wall damage from water overflowing the washer drain. In addition, I had returned from a trip back East in January of 2001 to find the floor slightly wet. The water heater had begun to leak while I was away. These events led to an ambitious project. I would remodel the utility room with ceramic tile on the wall behind the washer, dryer and electric water heater. I would also build a catch basin with a drain for the same three items.

I call the project ambitious because I have never installed ceramic tiles on a wall before. I didn't even know how ceramic tiles were secured to the wall. I thought there was a special mastic that was used. The catch basin was a great idea. It would give me some peace of mind while traveling. There is nothing quite like having a discussion with your mother while you are vacationing and she asks you if you remembered to turn off the water to the washing machine. Yes, this really happened though I have no idea how the topic came up. I think it was when we were discussing a previous trip when I returned to find water on the floor from the leaking water heater. When you are 2000 miles away from the aforementioned washing machine valve there's damn little you can do but worry about it. And that won't do any good.

The remodel was also ambitious because I had never designed and built a catch basin. I really didn't have any idea where to begin.

The utility room project has been broken down into the pages below. Click on the topic that you are interested in or use the navigation bar on the footer of each page to move to the next topic:

Engineering Washer, Dryer and Water Heater Raised Catch Basin
Engineering Ceramic Wall Tile Layout
Wall Work
Catch Basin Install
Ceramic Tile Floor and Wall Install
Catch Basin Perimeter Install
Twelve Inch Ceramic Tile Replacement
Plumbing Problems
The Finished Project

I don't claim to be a remodeling expert. I have remodeled four bathrooms, and a couple of kitchens and bedrooms but this was my first utility room remodel. I am patient and take a lot of time to plan the work, purchase the materials and extra care and time when doing the actual work. This is perhaps the best advice I can pass on to you if this is your first remodel. Plan carefully in advance and take your time.

If you have questions or need further information, feel free to email me.


Utility Room Before

I ripped apart the utility room in the spring of 2008. Then I got busy and it started getting hot. I lost all ambition to do the work. I had determined that I would use some brick pavers that I had leftover from an outdoor patio and walkway project. I had moved a few of these into the utility room that I had put on the now tileless floor to try to get some inspiration just how the raised catch basin would be built. But there they sat along with the washer and dryer in my family room until late 2008 when I decided that it would be really nice to take a hot shower and wash my clothes in something other than my kitchen sink.

Click on thumbnail to see a larger image

Floor Before Old Vinyl Tiles
This is a good overview of the rear of the utility room with the vinyl tiles already removed. The Hoover canister vacuum is almost as old as I am. It is a handy companion in my remodeling projects and it just keeps running. The gray box on the table is the irrigation timer. The old vinyl tiles were already removed. There are a few on the table and leaning up against the shelves in the back.
Entrance Before Pavers and Drain Waiting for Elves to Install Them
The entrance before with another picture of Hoover. With the washer and dryer and vinyl tiles removed I set down some pavers and the drain that would eventually become part of the catch basin. At this point I had no idea how to design the catch basin. I put the pavers down to get some inspiration. There was also some wishful thinking that elves would show up at night and design and build the catch basin for me.
Wall Damage
The wall behind the washer had quite a bit of damage. I had to remove part of the wall to fix a leak behind the washer shut-off valve. Water had also spilled out of the washer drain and onto the wall when I had a clogged main sewer line. I was oblivious to the damage being done. The damage was one good reason to put ceramic tile on the wall.


Here is just one teaser shot to show you what the utility room looked like after the ceramic wall tile was installed. The catch basin perimeter tiles have not been added yet.

The Finished Project The Finished Project
Engineering Washer, Dryer and Water Heater Raised Catch Basin Engineering Washer, Dryer and Water Heater Raised Catch Basin

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