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Bath remodel pictures and story!

Here is a diary of the entire bath remodel, with pictures at the end.

August 9, 2003: demolition

The tub is out.

Everything, in fact, is out, except the studs, the floor, and the (hanging) electrical boxes and switch. Oh yeah, the plumbing pipes are just standing there unsupported, too.

Out in the dumpster are the vanity and sink, the toilet, that tub, and piles of lath and plaster with assorted screws and nails. And the weird thin hardboard with attached plastic wallpaper that was on top of the plaster.

The rest of the building supplies were delivered today: tile, wall board, cement backerboard for the tile, plywood, lumber. The plumbing supply place will deliver the new tub and toilet Monday, which is also the day the electrician comes.

I'm very tired. In a few minutes we will drive over to my friend's house to sleep, and get up in the morning and work all day again. Plan for tomorrow: take up the floor and the subfloor, and put in new subflooring; strip many layers of paint from the window and door trim; some framing around the shower area; measure, layout and possibly cut wallboard, planning seams carefully; and possibly plan tile layout.

The dumpster is less than half full! So we're also going to try to get rid of the junk that didn't sell in the garage sale.

August 10, 2003: Bath remodel: floor

Today we pulled up the floor.

In order from top down: vinyl tile, sheet vinyl, mixed particle board and plywood, fir tongue-in-groove, floor boards, joists. We only had to pull up five of the floor boards and cut and nail in new boards. Then the copper sulfate preservative.

Then the new plywood subfloor: most of two sheets, with appropriate holes for the heat vent, toilet, and tub plumbing.

It was after 9:30 when we finished that, but we still have to screw down the plywood (tomorrow). We had to get at least this far tonight so the electrician has a floor to stand on tomorrow.

It's hard work and I'm tired, but I'm thrilled I can do it and not collapse in a weeping heap at the end of the day.

August 11, 2003: electrician, subfloor

The electrician came. We now have roughed in: the ceiling light/vent fan, the over-mirror light bar, an outlet, and two light switches (one for both lights, one for the fan).

The plywood subfloor is screwed down, and most of the wallboard of the ceiling is done. A bunch of friends came over and put the cast-iron tub (new, not claw-foot) into place; the plumber is coming Wednesday to hook it up.

Sara did some important frame work, making sturdy what was shaky around where the medicine cabinet will go.

I spent a lot of time trying to strip old paint off the window and door trim. At the end of the day we decided to just buy new pre-primed trim.

August 12, 2003: cement backer board, wallboard

Today we put up wallboard on over half the room (cutting it to fit over the outlet, the switch, the plumbing, and the square opening to insert the medicine chest into), plus two panels of the cement backer board for under the tile.

I also put joint compound on the nails. I actually enjoyed that part.

August 13, 2003: a plumber

Today the plumber came, and put entirely new piping in from the basement up (and down, in the case of the drain). The shower head will now be almost 6 feet up, so we don't have to duck under to rinse out shampoo. The tub is level, and the cement Wonderboard is all up (except the last piece which Sara is cutting as I type this).

The plumber will come back Friday, unfortunately, because (after he left!) we discovered that the flange for the toilet is broken, where the screws hold the toilet to the flange. It's cast iron; he will have to cut it off below the floor and put on an entirely new one, with both screw areas functional. That's perfect timing, though, as we plan to put the toilet in on Saturday.

But I haven't completely busted my budget yet, as I put aside a bunch of money out of the total budget for just such chances. You never know what it will look like until you take down the walls.

August 14, 2003: mudding, sanding, and tile layout

Apply joint compound to seams in wallboard, then tape, then more joint compound. Wait for it to dry.

Luckily (?) it was over 90F yesterday, and since the attic access is in the bathroom and we had removed the cover (so as to finish it to match the rest of the ceiling), the attic heat circulated into the bathroom (we had an exhaust fan in the bathroom window pulling the dusty air out).

Apply the stuff that does the same thing to the cement backer board (it's not tape and joint compound, it's fiberglass mesh and thinset). You don't have to sand this, just let it dry, thank goodness.

Trip to Home Depot for more supplies (there's been a trip to HD every day, in case that hasn't been clear).

Return home. Joint compound is dry! Sand, sand like crazy; apply more joint compound. It will be dry in the morning and I will sand it then.

Work out the linen closet shelves and buy them.

Tile layout. First I measured from the subfloor to the base of the light switch, outlet, and medicine chest; then I measured to where the vanity top will go. I want the horizontal line of tiny blue square tiles to run between those. Then we laid out the 4 inch square white tiles until we worked out how to put the accent line in the right place. I think it will be nine rows of white tile from the floor to the line, but we'll see on Saturday when we start tiling.

August 15, 2003: moulding, ceiling texture, primer.

Today: finding the right moulding, ceiling texture, primer.

Quick trip to Home Depot to pick up the stuff we purchased last night. We needed to rent their truck, and only after buying the stuff and walking to the opposite corner to the rental office did we find out they don't rent it after 8:00 pm. I needed to stay home for the plumber, and the cable modem installer, so Sara did the driving and I helped her unload, then she returned the truck.

While she was gone I worked on the bathroom.

First I sanded yesterday's last coat of joint compound. Then I spent about 5 hours texturizing the ceiling to match the rest of the house. The time consuming part was putting on the perfect coat of compound: thin enough not to fall off, thick enough to hold the brush texture I was using.

We went to a specialized moulding place to get the right bullnose moulding for around the door and window.

A second trip to Home Depot left me without a bath/shower faucet set. The one I purchased a month ago was missing two screws. The two other sets (same model) on the shelf had obviously been opened and repackaged, so I asked customer service to open them before I bought one to make sure everything was in there: and it wasn't, in fact roughly the same stuff was missing in both boxes. We'll look a couple of other places tomorrow or Sunday.

I also called the electrician to schedule final work, and he was amazed and at first disbelieving that I want him to come on Tuesday. Go me!

The plumber checked out the toilet flange, screwed in the bolts, and pronounced it fine as is. He was kind enough to charge me only labor, not the truck fee (for coming to the site).

Then I prime painted the trim pieces, then cut in the bathroom walls, then sinanju rolled primer onto the walls. (We can't prime the ceiling until the texture dries; probably tomorrow morning.)

Now I'm off to Sara's for a shower and to sleep.

August 16-17, 2003: tiling, finish work

The bathroom remodel is mostly done.

We finished tiling today, set and connected the toilet (it works!), set the vanity and applied adhesive for the countertop/sink (but didn't hook up the plumbing yet).

sinanju and I cleaned up the guest room at Sara's and moved our stuff home.

Tomorrow night I will paint (ceiling and walls, at minimum; trim might be later) so that Tuesday morning the electrician can do the finish electrical work.

The tile still has to be grouted, then the bath/shower plumbing connected. And lots of other small finish things: cut and place a piece of vinyl flooring in the linen closet; hang shelves in the linen closet (and make a door for it), hang the miscellaneous pieces (toilet paper roll holder, towel bars, etc.); cut and nail in quarter-round trim along the floor, ceiling, and medicine chest; hang the medicine chest door; nail up the trim over the door; get the door dip stripped, prime it, paint it, and hang it; probably other stuff I can't think of right now.

But it's mostly done and looks great.

August 19, 2003: paint, finish electrical work

Last night my husband and I painted the ceiling and walls, then scrubbed the thinset off the tiles in the tub/shower area so that tonight Sara and I can grout.

The electrician is here now. He thinks we should have waited until after grouting to do the final electrical, but I told him I want it done anyway. We'll tape off the outlet and switches when we grout that wall. He was impressed with how good it looks and how far we got since the last time he was here.


Here is the shower area before the remodel. The surround is some kind of plastic, medium beige. The tub and toilet are pale blue.

Shower before

This is the other side of the bathroom, showing the vanity, mirror and toilet. And the ugly blue plastic wallpaper.

Vanity before

This is after some demolition. The surround was removed, and we found this lovely butter and blue painted plaster behind it. When we removed the floor we could tell there had always been blue in this bath; all the flooring we found, right down to the flooring just above the original fir tongue-in-grove, was blue.


Here is what we found after taking down the false wall and the lath and plaster. The plumbing was mixed galvanized pipe and copper, with too many elbows. We had a plumber come out and replace it all from below the floor up.


After demolition and cleanup, the electrician came for rough-in. Then we put up insulation. At one point we were taking a break and I saw this and took a picture.

Dueling Power Drills

We put up wallboard and cement Wonderboard, and Sara rebuilt the false wall around the new plumbing.

Stud wall

Once we started tiling, Sara had some of her Power Tools set up outside:


Taking a break with some of the tiling done. The field tiles are 4 and 1/4 inch square white ceramic tiles; the accent line tiles are small blue glass tiles.

Shower enclosure

The new shower/tub area, mostly done, with the grout in and drying. I still have a lot of cleanup to do!

Shower enclosure-finished?

And the new vanity and toilet. The room is so much nicer and brighter now, with the blue and beige gone and shiny white substituted.

Still lots to do

I'm so pleased with our new bathroom. I can't thank Sara enough for all the hard work, expertise and planning (thanks Sara!), and I learned a lot.



( 7 comments — What do you think? )
Aug. 20th, 2003 10:36 am (UTC)
Is booful!!!! Nice work.
Aug. 20th, 2003 10:44 am (UTC)
Wow, that looks really great! (I'd like to say that I'm in awe of your remodeling skills, too.)

I really like the blue stripe. :)
Aug. 20th, 2003 11:00 am (UTC)
Thanks! My friend Sara (srunning but she doesn't actually use it, just to have a friends page) is the expert, I was just the helper. I handed her stuff, did cleanup and grunt work; she did all the planning and execution. She has remodeled both bathrooms in her house already.

I really like the blue stripe, too. We don't have a good picture of the flooring; it's sheet vinyl with a dark blue, white, grey and light blue spatter pattern that looks kind of like dark blue marble.
Aug. 20th, 2003 10:44 am (UTC)
Looking good. I really liked the work in progress pictures; I'm always fascinated by what's under the skin of a house.
Aug. 20th, 2003 11:02 am (UTC)
I learned so much, never having done anything like this before. It was fascinating watching the layers of the past come down.

A few weeks ago I had a garage sale, and a lady stopped by who had lived in the house (as a child) until 1984. I asked her whether she wanted to see inside but she declined. I wonder which layer was the one she lived with.
Aug. 21st, 2003 02:35 am (UTC)
remodelled bathroom
oh! that looks wonderful! sara is a rocking remodeller, *grin*.
Aug. 21st, 2003 04:37 pm (UTC)
Re: remodelled bathroom
Thanks, but I'm hoping to never 'rock again (as in hanging and taping sheetrock.) The wonderboard isn't so bad. Eventhough they weigh about the same (4X8 sheetrock vs 3X5 wonderboard), it's the size of the piece that makes a bigger difference. the 3X5 is easier to maneuver.

I will, however, willingly lend my tile-laying skills to others. I find it much more enjoyable than other elements of the remodel. However, I am glad I did it.
( 7 comments — What do you think? )