Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Emergency bathroom remodel

Oh, I wish it was that it was because my bathroom was *that* horrendous and it just needed to be remodeled because I couldn't stand to look at it anymore.

Oh no my friends... not in the least.

Our only shower was pouring buckets into our basement so we called a few plumbers to get estimates. Only one could get to us this week and while I have an office all to myself at work, I still didn't want to be stinky for over a week.

Unfortunately... it was $600 or so to have our poor shower fixed. Mind you, it wasn't just a "leak" it was flooding buckets. No small fix. On top of that, they installed new fixtures and what-have-you since our current fixtures are considerably older than Garry and I (as in, they were discontinued in the 60's).

Womp womp. So no attic renovation (for now).

But, this is an excuse a golden opportunity to remodel our bath (which was certainly on our list of projects for the year).

First off... we had to do some demo work on the bathroom (to save us some money with the plumber) and take out part of the wall where the pipes to the shower are. In order to do that, our vanity had to live in the living room for a while.

Once that was out of the way, Garry was able to get in there and start taking the wall apart.

Once the sink was out of the way, we could take the molding and beadboard off the wall and start the smashy-smashy. Because our house was built in the 50's, tiles weren't installed with backerboard, but with chicken wire and LOTS of mortar. Fun. 

After the fixtures were installed and the leak fixed, we taped some plastic to the wall where the missing tiles were and I took an incredibly long, hot shower because I felt entirely disgusting.

Now to decide what we're going to *do* with the shower surround...

A few ideas are floating out there. Unless I can find the matching 4x4 tile (which I haven't been able to find yet), we will have to go with something different. Now, we can just replace what "needs" to be fixed, or we can make this more interesting (or as Garry puts it, "more difficult than it needs to be") and just retile the entire surround.

Obviously, only retiling what needs to be fixed will be a LOT cheaper than retiling 60ish square feet of bath surround. However, I know Garry, and I know that if in a year or so if I suggest retiling the bath surround because I want to make it cohesive with the kitchen (using similar materials etc) he won't be a happy panda.

Just to give you an idea... here's our kitchen:

But, in order to keep the project cost low, we decided to just replace what needed to be fixed. So, Garry went ahead and demolished the bottom three rows of tiles (since that is where the old hardware was).

We taped over the holes so we could actually take a shower between the installation of the new hardware and doing the tile work since we waited until Saturday to do it.

While Garry finished up demolishing the tile, I went to Home Depot and bought some tile (you can see it on the corner of the tub). Originally, I was planning on getting white 4"x4" travertine because we used travertine in our kitchen. But, they didn't have any that was light enough (it was too taupey and dark for that space) and then I thought I could find white pebbles. While HD has white/grey pebble tile, it's $10 a sq ft - which was way more than I was planning on spending, even though I only needed about 10 sq ft. When I was thisclose to just saying "screw this, I'm going to just get cheap, plain white tile and just be done with it" I found the glass tile. At only $5 a sq ft, it was still a little more than I wanted to spend, but it was still fairly inexpesive. Not to mention that it matched nicely.

I picked up my tile, grout, thinset and a corner shower caddy (with 4 people living in the house, we needed it!) and back home I went.

First things first, I got the tile situated. Because the space was kind of an odd size, I got some plain white pencil molding to go with the tile. I cut one row off the bottom (it was just a little too big) and cut a few of the sheets into parts to place around the faucet.

This was really the biggest pain of the whole project. Tile isn't terribly difficult, but the faucet being in the way (I couldn't get it off) made it a pain. Hence why little tiles like this make it easier since you can cut it up with just a pair of scissors and piece it back together.

See that odd square in the wall? That used to be where a soap holder was. No we didn't put it back. For some reason it just didn't want to stay there so we decided not to force it. Plus, the shower caddy would take care of that...

Cloud was very interested in what I was doing. Well, mostly he wanted me to turn the water on so he could drink out of the tub... weird cat.

I also haven't decided which part of the tiling process is more messy - the thinset or the grout. I used bright white grout around the tile so it would flow better with the tub and existing tile.

So there it is. The grout has been cleaned off, but I need to go back in with a soft cloth and buff it all down, plus cleaning the tub would be a good idea. It's still kind of gross from all the demolition work we did.

Also, we learned that we're probably going to (someday) have to hire someone to come in and re-glaze our tub. The stuff we initially used to re-glaze it with has already started chipping again and this tile adventure really didn't help things either. Boo :-(

I also picked up some white paint for the beadboard and we have some paint for the walls already. If we can ever (maybe) move the plumbing/electric around, we will make a lot more headway in there. But for now, some progress is better than none!