Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day 2

A few updates since yesterday. Thom and I drove around to the box stores yesterday looking for a vanity with which we were both happy. Here is what we picked - it doesn't have drawers like we wanted but the color is right and so is the shaker style. It comes with a granite top and sink so I don't know if we'll keep it or use the one I got from the ReStore a few months ago. I'll donate whichever one I don't use.

I also had Paul come over last night to give me a second opinion on the tub issue. After taking turns jumping up and down in the tub (no, really) and not seeing any movement, I feel a little better. It appears while they did cut into the top of the floor joist, they only did so to accommodate the drain so the rest of the joist is intact. I guess we won't have a bathtub falling through the kitchen ceiling after all. Which is nice.

A little bit more progress today with the tile, but just a bit, as I have a church function for a few hours this afternoon. The rest of my morning was spent scheming - trying to figure out the sequencing of what I need to do in the next two weeks - and spending money at Lowe's. Since we do not have a truck (nor do we know anyone who has one -- I know it's hard to believe), I just decided to get everything I needed at one place so they can deliver it all. I guess this way I don't have to do that part of the heavy lifting. They say it will be delivered Tuesday morning, which gives me tomorrow to knock out the rest of the tile.

You can see what's left for me to tackle tomorrow. I'm hoping to get the tub surround and ceiling tile taken down as well as the tile wall that goes behind the vanity.
The rest of today we're going to find the breaker for the bathroom (poorly labeled box) and I'm going to go ahead and install some shut-off valves for the sink. Paul also thought we would be fine leaving the plumbing under the sink as is. It's not pretty but he thinks it's a waste of money to just get it re-routed. So that's that. I think I might instead just call an electrician to help us put in a new breaker and run wire to a new outlet. I hope that is cheaper than a plumber.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

To Mildred From Harry (Bathroom Reno Day 1.5)

> I don't know who Harry is but I'd like to give him a swift kick in the ass.

I did decide to start pulling down tile after all and starting with my smiley face tile (see earlier post) I got a good pace going, mostly because the tile was stuck to drywall, which as you see below, got moldy. Nice one, Harry.

After that, it came down relatively easily until I got to the wall by the vanity. Again, because it was stuck to drywall, trying to pry behind the tile to loosen it only made holes in the drywall. So, I went to HD and got a drywall saw and just cut along the top of the tile and then pryed out the whole wall (and subsequently found the nice note to Mildred). It appears Harry just decided to use drywall for all of the tiling backer. Here's what else I found behind the wall:

I don't know if you can see this very well but it appears that when they did the bathroom renovation (circa 1970 I would guess from the decor) they cut a hole in the floor joist and through the subfloor to accommodate the plumbing. This looks to me like the tub is really just balancing precariously on a few shim-type things that Harry the Boob put underneath it. I'm having a second opinion (Paul is coming by) before I start freaking out but I'm pretty concerned about the tub falling through our kitchen ceiling and I'm also concerned that fixing this mess will be beyond my skill set. Seriously, Harry, you can suck it.

Not smiling (Day 1: Prep for Demo)

This may look like a smiley face but I'm not smiling. After about a 45-minute battle with the safety rails (they used drywall anchors) I came to find what appears to be drywall under the tile. I'm hoping that I'm wrong and that I'm not going to find a big, moldy mess under the tile when I pull it out. After complaining to Thom about this he remarked, "Well, maybe this is our thing." I asked what he meant and he replied, "The one thing we find in each room we work on where we say, 'Why did they do that?'" Indeed, this may be it. Idiots.

In the meantime, I'm just doing some other prep work: removing base boards, removing hand rails, etc. I may deign to start pulling out tile on the walls today but I'm not sure I'm mentally prepared. I started to feel a little sick to my stomach this morning thinking about the project and what all can go wrong. I'm mostly going to tackle this puppy myself (with the help of Paul and Thom to do some lifting of wallboard, etc.) so I'm hoping it will be okay. I am also trying to map out a schedule of what I'm going to do and in what order. I will need to bring a plumber in because of this mess:
Once I pull out the tile wall I hope that the plumber can then reroute the plumbing through the wall so we don't have to cut a huge hole in bottom of our new vanity (which Thom assures me he will be going today to help pick out). You'll also notice there are no, I repeat, no shut-off valves. I know I could handle putting those in myself using those compression fitting kind we used in the kitchen but I do not at all feel comfortable trying out my blowtorch skills for the first time to be able to pull off running new pipes. So, this Bangor Foursquarer will be calling in a professional for the first time (well, if you don't count the floor refinishing people). I admittedly feel a little wimpy about having to do it (as well as a bit miserly) but I will certainly rest easier knowing there is not water running down my walls...and that's worth $300, right?

So, the rest of today is probably going to be dedicated to filling the coffers of the box stores. I need to get the rest of our supplies including the vanity, the beadboard, the plywood for the subfloor, and the backerboard for the tile.

Speaking of backerboard, I am feeling lured in by what appears to be a DIYer's dream - EasyMat. If you'll recall, we have quite a height differential currently going from our bathroom floor to the hallway floor. I am hoping that a thinner subfloor will help (I think it's just the old hardwood under there, but we'll see) to bring that down but I also know that installing DensShield or Hardibacker or the like plus the height of the tile will be much too much. EasyMat seems to do the trick in terms of height and ease of installation but I've read mixed reviews on the web. So, I'm torn right now. I think I've learned by now that what seems too good to be true in home repair generally is, but maybe this time I'm wrong. Any thoughts, fair readers?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Bathroom Reno: Before Pictures

In preparation for the Bangor Foursquare Bathroom Renovation 2010, I thought I'd give you all a quick overview of why the renovation is needed and what's on its way outta here.

Let's start with the hideous vinyl floor:
See that nice burn mark on the bottom left of the picture? Nice one. You can also see the front of the existing vanity with its gold highlighted paint and those classy 1970s-esque pulls.

Then we move on to the closet. First, let me say that I'm ecstatic that we have a closet in the bathroom and one so large. Nevertheless, these doors have to go with their gold hinges and gold knobs.

Here's an inside view of the shower/tub. This cream with gold flecked tile goes all the way around the shower, including the ceiling. This should be fun to remove. You'll also notice the multiple safety handles throughout the bathroom. We bought the house from an elderly woman's estate and there were tons of these things throughout the house when we bought it. These are the last two.

Another shot of the inside of the tub surround. We'll also be getting the tub resurfaced in white at some point - probably this summer.

Here's a shot of the overhead light, which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the gold. Too much gold!

Here's one thing I can't WAIT to get rid of: the toilet. This thing usually takes two flushes and seems to run at strange times. It's also just nasty and beige. Ick.

Here is the vanity (see tile that surrounds it - goes all the way around like wainscoting) with the beautiful gold faucet. Double ick.

And last but not least are the vanity lights. I like the placement of them and height of them but the olympic-torch theme has got to go. You can also see the edge of the medicine cabinet. I'm honestly not sure if I'm getting rid of it. I might try painting the frame silver and see how it looks first. You'll also note the switches - two for the lights and two for the exhaust fan and light. I'm interested to see how the rewiring goes for those. Since these vanity lights also have electrical outlets in them we're also going to need to run some wiring and put in a couple new outlets. Hopefully with the tiling taken out it will be a bit easier to run the wire (famous last words, right?). Finally, I'll probably be replacing the door with one of the original doors we have in the basement, the door trim, and the baseboards in the room since they don't match the rest of the house. Of course, these will be the last things to be done.

So, these are the collective challenges I have laid out in front of me in the next two weeks. Wish me luck as I'm sure I'll need it. I'll keep you posted with the ongoing saga.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Making Final Decisions

I am committed. Really. I mean it. I'm doing it. Yes, I know many of you have heard this before but this time I am serious. With two weeks off for spring break and an able-bodied accomplice, Paul, who has agreed to help with some backer-board action, I think it's time to truly and honesty say that I'm going to do it: In t-minus 7 days I will begin renovating our upstairs bathroom.

So I'm at the final decision-making stage on one major item: the bathroom vanity. I was hoping for a different one but with budgetary and time restrictions I'm going to have to go the way of stock materials. Right now, it's down to color. Right after buying the house a couple years ago, the local Home Depot closed down and moved to a new location, which meant big discounts. So we got a sweetheart of a deal on floor tile. So, we've kind of had to design around that choice. It's hard to explain and I'm not sure a photo will do it justice but it's a light colored blue base with tan and darker blue accents.

So which way do we go? Since we're planning to put white beadboard as wainscoting on the bottom half of the wall and we'll have white tile on the shower walls and this lighter colored tile on the floor (white toilet, white sink, white bathtub, eventually), I was really thinking that a dark-colored vanity might be the ticket. It's not a huge bathroom so I was originally worried about anything dark but I now wonder if the darker color might anchor it somehow - especially because we can only work a 30 incher in there anyway. Our shower curtain (that we're keeping) also has a dark brown color accent in it. Maybe this will work? It's the last thing I need to get and I've been very hesitant about it. I'm concerned I'll spend a bunch of money and hate it. Anyway, here's one I'm considering from HD they call Java ($279):

I really want drawers but I also wanted something more shaker style, which this is not - either way, I'd change the ugly hardware. Lowe's has one - a bit darker colored, which they call "Pepper" ($268), which is shaker style:Thom is going to hate it but I might make him go with me and help choose. I'm torn.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yes, I finally fixed the doorbell

How long has it been now? At least a few months. But, yes, I finally fixed the doorbell. What was wrong with it after all that rigmarole of wondering if I needed a new transformer, wondering if it was the wiring, or the actual bell? It was the button. I feel fortunate it was the lesser of evils because my motivation has been lacking, to say the least.

So, I finally fired up the awesome Dremel Thom got me for my birthday and hacked away at the doorcasing to make the new one fit. I think it looks pretty nice. Once summer comes and we can repaint the front of the house, it will look even nicer all touched up.

In other, less exciting, news, I finally bought a tool box (well, I actually bought it back in December with my prize winnings) but I finally put actual tools in it instead of leaving them on the heap of crap that's been continuing to build on the shelves on our basement landing since we moved in two years ago (happy belated houseiversary, Bangor Foursquare :). My super sweet niece-in-law also got me an HD gift card for Christmas so I think I might continue the productivity and go buy some shelves on which to put our amassed paint and miscellaneous crap that has been piling up in the basement.

Other than that, just waiting for spring break to start on the bathroom. I was really hoping for a big, fat tax refund this year to pay for the bathtub resurfacing but no dice - the government decided to cut taxes to put more money in our pockets and now we owe money. Makes sense, doesn't it? Anyway, it looks like bathtub resurfacing will wait until summer when my grant money kicks in. We'll just have to live with a nice new bathroom with an icky old cream-colored tub for a while longer.