Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day Whatever

Well, it's not pretty, it's not right, but it's a solution. I grouted those gaps between the old tile and the edge tile today by the window. It's still wet so I'm hoping it will look better when it dries. I guess, no matter what, it will be covered by a shower curtain so it's not the end of the world if it's a little wonky. Honestly, most of the bathroom is a bit wonky so at least I'm consistent. Besides that, I thought maybe I'd at least prime the casing and baseboards today but after nail setting all the nails (which was disconcertingly painful given what I would assume to be advancing arthritis), I opened up my painter's putty and spackle to find one dried out and one moldy. Ew. Unfortunately, this Bangor Foursquarer is tapped out until payday until Wednesday so painting will have to wait another weekend. In fact, after adding up the budget to this point yesterday, I found I have spent approximately $2,000 on this renovation. Not bad, I know, but a large chunk of that has been in the past month. I'm an education professor, for goodness sake, I don't make much money. This was my budget all along but a few bucks here and a few bucks there quickly adds up. Luckily, the last items remaining (spackle, caulk, outlet cover) will not cost too much. Perhaps next weekend I can then prime and paint and then even get the lights up. In the meantime, I think I will add another coat of joint compound to the tub ceiling and surround in preparation for said painting.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bathroom Reno - No More Counting

I have had it. I'm done. No, not done-done. Just really sick of this renovation and I need to take a break. I can pretty much call the time of death on the fun - around 10am this morning when I realized I had forgotten to cut a miter corner on the last stinking piece of chair rail and had to run to HD for the billionth time to buy a new piece. Grr. Since that point, I've been pissy, unhappy, and generally fed-up with this process. I haven't felt this way before about home improvement so I'm a little worried. I usually really enjoy the process and while, yes, I get frustrated, I don't feel like I want to crawl into the fetal position and cry - or worse, kill someone. I guess I'm just tired and it's probably a good idea to take a week or two break before I destroy something or someone.

So here is where we leave things for the time being: I did finish the chair rail, dammit. You can see, however, that I still need to put in some corner bead above it. And I have no idea what I'm going to do on the other side where the tile meets the drywall.

I then got a couple new end tiles and installed those along side of the window, realizing, however, that I totally screwed this up and will now have to make a million little tiny tile cuts. Double grr.I am so taking a break. Of course, the reason I'm frustrated is my own fault. I made hasty decisions and didn't think things through and now I'm faced with stupid issues like this. Yes, ma'am, I'm done. Maybe in a few weeks I will regain my ability to see things clearly and calmly and I can finally finish this stinking project. Until then, you can suck it, bathroom.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day 22

Today was trim and casing day. I went to HD last night and bought the casing for the door and window but for some reason forgot the closet casing so I had another run today to make (again, what would a day be without at least one trip there?). Thanks goodness for my compound miter saw - it made a little quicker work of the corners. Below you can see my semi-okay handiwork around the window. I decided to go with a bit more dressed up casing in the end, but still simple. I will need to caulk some corners, decidedly.
I also worked on a bit of the chair rail below the window and to the side of the medicine cabinet. I hadn't really thought that one through, to no one's surprise, I imagine. Under the window was fine but I will have an issue of nailing the chair rail into the wall on that right side of the cabinet because it's not long enough to reach a stud. Perhaps I'm going to need to just use some construction adhesive there.

I bet you're looking at that photo above and saying, "Hey, that's funny. What are you going to do with those gaps between the window and the tile." Well, that's a great question. I don't know. I hadn't thought that one through ahead of time, either. I think I might just put some of those end tiles down the side of the window and then fill in with some scraps as needed. Duh. Nice one.

You can also see that I worked on baseboards today, which took most of the day. There are about 5 corners just around the toilet. I assume they framed it in like that to accommodate some kind of issue but it sure made it a bitch to have to cope all those corners. I am admittedly not very good at coping but good enough that a little caulk will hopefully hide the less than perfect joints.
Besides that, I put another coat of JC on the drywall around the tub and sanded and put another skim coat on the ceiling above the tub. I'm going to call it a day - I'm beat. Tomorrow I hope to finish the chair rail and maybe paint. I have a feeling lights will not get installed, however, until later this week. It's almost's almost's almost done.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day 21ish

Suffice it to say, the renovation is almost done but I've been at work so the time I spend on this is sporadic at best. I ditched out a bit early today and then ran to HD to get a few different things, including some granite sealer for the vanity top ($40 for a small bottle, can you believe that?!?), some electrical tape, and the baseboards and chair rail . I got one baseboard piece in, as pictured above, and then I realized I was going to have to cope. I've mitered before but never coped. I watched a few videos, read some stuff online and in books, and, honestly, I still am kind of clueless about this. I'll go get a coping saw tomorrow and give it a shot. I only have about 12 angles to cope for the baseboard and two for the chair rail. Ick.
Then, despite my vicious bitterness about it, I cut up some old drywall left from our kitchen renovation and put it up around the tub surround. I hate, hate, hate having drywalling but it's done now. I need to figure out what I'm going to do about the corners, however. I hate corner bead - I was thinking about getting some outside corner moulding but I'm not sure how that will fly. Other ideas?

In other news, I was really hoping to replicate the window and door casing that we have in the rest of the upstairs but it seems pretty complicated. Also, I'm not sure how it will look with the little dinky window we have in there (it's one of those crank-out kind). I might just suck it up and buy something basic at HD but I don't want the plain casing we had in there before.

So, tomorrow, I'll put another layer of mud on the joints and on the ceiling of the tub area. I'll go get a coping saw and figure out how to do the dumb thing, and then I'll work on the door casings, try to get the baseboards done as well as the chair rail. It would be nice to paint on Sunday and then maybe get the lights up. We'll see, I guess.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day 19 - Nuh uh

This was my idea for how to deal with the uncovered space going up the side of the tub and the soffit area over it - beadboard. But, guess what? I don't like it. I think what I'm going to need to do is bite the bullet and put up some drywall. I hate putting up drywall. Actually, that's not true, I don't mind putting up drywall - I hate taping the seams and mudding it. Blah. But I think that's what I'm going to have to do. So, at some point soon - maybe this weekend, I will work on it. I have nothing else to show for today.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day 18 - Wiring new switches?

As frustrated as I feel about this, I'm generally pretty happy to just be working now on the nitty-gritty details in the bathroom. I did some pretty major research trying to figure out what kind of toggle switches those on the right are - those for the exhaust fan and light. I bought what I thought was correct - a rocker switch with two switches. But, I don't think it's right - the current ones really have three positions: off (center), low on (left), high on (right). The switches I got just are on/off. Hmm. What do we think? There's really nothing wrong with the current ones, other than they're ugly and I just want to get some nice new white ones to match the decor. You'll also see that the face plate I got for the light switches is too big so, yes, I get to go to Home Depot again today.

In other news, our toilet has a slow leak and I'm bummed out. We've tried tightening everything near where the leak is, where the tank connects to the base. I don't know. This toilet got rave reviews on the website so I don't know if we just have a faulty one or if we're the faulty variable in this equation. I am less than excited about pulling it out, packing it up, returning it, and then starting all over again. Hmm again.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bathroom Reno (Rest of) Day 17

The photo below is the one I showed the guy at Home Depot tonight. I wasn't quite sure what I needed to do, after installing the drain piece of the new faucet (we got the American Standard Williamsburg design, by the way, and it was a breeze to install), to connect the two pieces. The nice young man (the guys in plumbing seem to be the nicest and most helpful there) sold me a couple pieces and away I went. It all connected up nicely.
Then I went for the last part of the install, which was connecting the supply lines to the shut-off valves. On the right side (which you can see in the above photo) worked fine with the 20" line I had. The left side (which you cannot see) obviously did not. I had to run back to HD for the - count it - third time today to get a longer line. Boy, they're going to miss me when this renovation is completed.

Anyway, my only snag was after testing it, it kept leaking from the drain area. Thom finally found an errant washer that was indeed included in the box but was not discussed in the directions. All was well after that. And, yes, siree Bob - I HAVE A FULLY FUNCTIONING BATHROOM! I'm off to take my first shower after treating the grout last night to resist stains. Whoopee!

Bathroom Day 17 (well, part of the day, anyway)

I couldn't resist doing a bit more before going to work this morning. I ran to HD to trade out the faucet for the sink and picked up a plywood blade for my jigsaw (After all, what would a day be like without at least one visit to a box store? I seriously think I may go through withdrawal after this project is done). I then came home and tackled cutting out the bottom of our new vanity. Ugh. That's rough. You buy something new and then destroy it. A necessary evil, thanks to our screwy plumbing that comes through the floor. It's not pretty, but it fits. I guess we really only keep toilet paper and toilet cleaner under there so they don't care what it looks like.

I then attached the new faucet (one that actually fits) to the top. I still need to connect the vanity to the wall and the top to the vanity, as well as the plumbing, but you get the idea. We'll see how I feel after work tonight and maybe I'll try to finish this up. It comes with a granite backsplash piece but I'm thinking about leaving it off. What do you think?
Anyway, after some new chrome pulls and a coat of paint on the beadboard, I think it will look nice. We'll get the lights and stuff next weekend probably unless I'm feeling more ambitious than I anticipate this week before and after work.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day 16 - Almost, Ugh, Not Quite

I had every intention of getting everything functional in the bathroom today. Alas, however, today was not my lucky day. In fact, it was anything other than lucky. I started out the day by having Thom help me carry the new vanity upstairs. Then I had him help me dry fit the granite top and sink that I had gotten months ago at the ReStore. While I had meticulously measured the dimensions of both top and vanity to ensure it would fit, I did not measure where the sink was placed within the top. What we have, folks, is a top that fits but a sink that will not fit. Sigh. Luckily, the vanity came with another granite top and sink that will look equally as nice. Unluckily, the top is designed for a 4-inch centermount faucet. I bought an 8-inch spread faucet. Sigh. I need to go to Home Depot tomorrow and trade it in for a new one.

Then, I tried to tackle the toilet. We got the Glacier Bay Dual Flush from HD. This toilet, according to the reviews online, is very easy to install if you have installed a toilet before - that would not be me. Unfortunately, the directions are less than clear and they do not include a parts list so I was wondering constantly what was a gasket and which washers went with what bolts. Thom finally helped me and we figured it out. It works beautifully and the flange extenders (I used two) worked well along with an extra deep wax ring (the one that comes with the toilet is pretty flimsy). Now I just need to get some toilet shims to level the puppy out on my less than level tile floor. Sigh. Anyway, here is the commode in all its glory; painting touch ups forthcoming.

Next were the faucets for the tub/shower. This was actually pretty straight forward, thankfully. No sighs necessary.

My next sigh came when I tried to get the shower arm to go into the hole correctly as my tile cutting was less than accurate (shocking, I know). I chiseled away at a bit and got it to work.

Paul also guest starred today and came over to do a first skim coat on the ceiling above the tub. It will take a few more coats that I'll probably try to tackle next weekend. I'm not good at it but I'll give it a shot.
So, now, I'm working on figuring out how to cut out the bottom of the vanity to accommodate our screwy plumbing that comes in from the floor. Unfortunately, there is a brace right in the middle of the cheap particle board on the bottom. Sigh. I'll have to rig something else up. After I get the faucet tomorrow maybe I can install it this week sometime.
I am back to work tomorrow but I'm happy to be going back. This has been rewarding in many ways but I am admittedly frustrated that I wasn't able to finish it in the two weeks and that frustration level is now becoming chronic. It's probably good that I take a break this week to do the real work I get paid for and maybe I can come back with fresh eyes and a relaxed mind to finish this project up. I didn't get it all done in this past fortnight but I got close. At least we can pee and hose ourselves off and - hey - that's better than nothin'.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day 15

Well, there you have it, folks - a grouted floor. Of all my predictions and assumptions, only this one held to be true: Grouting floors is much easier than grouting walls. This morning was spent cleaning the house (as it had indeed gotten very nasty in the past two weeks) and doing the six - count them - six loads of laundry. This afternoon, I then spent cleaning the floor and carving out the grout lines. I decided to forgo the mixable kind (the whole 'this stuff causes cancer if looked at funny' freaks me out too much) and went and exchanged it for the pre-mixed grout, which I'm glad I did. Fortunately, the grouting helped to disguise some of the problem areas. Unfortunately, the color is much lighter than it looks on the box. I'm hoping it will darken up a bit as it dries but regardless I will treat the grout lines in a few days. I'll probably do the same in the shower too.

In other good news, Paul has offered to come by during an upcoming weekend and skim coat the tub ceiling for me. Faithful readers will recall that my prowess is less than stellar in this department. I can then paint it and be on my merry way.

Tomorrow is semi-wrap up day. With Thom's help, I will get the faucets on, the toilet in, the vanity and sink in, and then do a little happy dance (I hope). We'll tackle the rest of the punch list next weekend and beyond.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day 14

See that? That's the punch list. One more item crossed off today - the floor tile. I gotta tell ya, it sucked. I have never tiled a floor before and for some stupid reason I thought it might be easier and faster than wall tile. Um, no. I am so disgusted by the whole experience I will spare you many of the details. All I can say is that while the Ditra is nice for adding negligible height to the floor, it is not fun to tile on. It's bumpy and I basically ended up having to spread the thinset (which I got right this time around) once on the floor and then had to back-butter each tile too. Not cool, man, not cool. I'm also very concerned about the tile around the toilet. I must not have smoothed out the Ditra when I laid it out because it was lumpy around there and it a sloped a bit. I am wondering if I will have some cracked tiles. Ugh. I'm also concerned about the level of the toilet flange. I did go buy an extender or two but I have read it's not good to add more than two and I might still not make it to the new height of the floor. Double ugh.

Well, I wanted to finish it today and I did. That's something, right? I will wait until tomorrow night to grout. What the heck will I do until tomorrow night? Sleep a bit, that's for sure, and then probably some laundry and cleaning this nasty house. Thom promises to help get the toilet and vanity/sink in as well as the faucets for the bath/shower on Sunday. I guess that will be it for my two weeks then. Hopefully everything will at least be functional by the time I go back to work on Monday. The following weekend I will plan to finish up the ceiling (still don't know what to do with it) above the tub, add the chair rail, the trim around the doors, baseboards, lights, and new closet doors. I also still need to paint that beadboard. Hmm. Maybe the punch list is not getting shorter after all. I'm off to go bandage my poor blistered hands and find me some grub. Night, y'all.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day 13

I got home around 5pm. I finished grouting at around 8pm. Why did it take so long? Well, I spent a good hour looking for my float. I swear I brought it upstairs just for this purpose a while ago. Could I find it? No. But I looked and looked. Just out of principle, I refused to buy another one so instead I called Paul and then drove across town to borrow his. I got home and then got started. I forgot what a big, stinking mess grouting walls can be. When I did the backsplash in the kitchen last year, I ended up just using my gloved hand. In the end, this is what I basically did tonight as well - despite the float drama. I'll tell you one thing, gravity is not my friend when it comes to grouting vertical surfaces. I look forward to grouting the floor; at least it can't slop all over everywhere. I think it took me just as long to clean up as it did to grout.

I had big designs on finishing the rest of the Ditra installation tonight too. I did finagle it last night to make the piece I had bought work. Then I mixed up my first batch of thinset. Here's the thing: I'm usually lazy and just buy the pre-mixed stuff but Herr Schluter says, "Nein!" when it comes to pre-mixed. So, I followed the directions on the package. Uh, yeah. Big mess. I think I got about half of the package of the thinset to actually turn out. The rest is now an ugly testament to my lack of skills in this area. I will try again in the morning, this time only mixing a small amount at a time (shout-out to Sarah for telling me how to do it correctly).

I'll see how I feel about cleaning off the grout haze around midnight. Doubtful though. I'll have to let it wait until the morning. Then, tomorrow, the rest of the Ditra can be laid and I can start thinking about tiling the floor. I have a feeling with all the twists and turns in that room it will take some pondering to do it correctly. I'll feel lucky if I start laying any tile tomorrow. It would be nice to get the tile down tomorrow and then grout on Saturday and then get the toilet and sink in on Sunday. The trim et cetera can wait. We'll see what awaits me.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day 12

Last night I predicted that hanging the beadboard today would take double the amount of time I expected it to. Yup, just about. I expected to be done by noon and I was done at 4pm. I think a lot of it had to do with the prep work needed to get things actually going. First, I needed to make sure the medicine cabinet would fit. It isn't anything fancy because we were somewhat limited by the 14-inch opening (we have plaster walls in the rest of the house). I also didn't want anything too ornate since we're trying to keep simple, clean lines in the room. So, this is what I picked (Kohler $98 @ Lowe's). The coolest thing about it is that the inside is also mirrored so it seems lit when you open it:
As you can see, I had installed some furring strips a while back to prepare for the beadboard. I wanted it to be slightly recessed from the drywall up above. I plan on installing some chair rail to finish it off. After the medicine cabinet, I then needed to move the shut-off valve for the sink as it was a bit wonky (Ken laughed at it the other day when he was here). After that, I prepared to cut the stuff. Here's my deep, dark, embarrassing secret: Until this morning, I was a bit terrified of our circular saw. You're probably laughing and I probably deserve it. It's strange because I have no problems with our jigsaw, our miter saw, or a reciprocating saw. I think for me it's just like a lot of things - until I do it the first time I'm a bit intimidated. So, I made my daily homage to the box store and got myself a plywood blade for our circular saw, which was awesome. The stuff cut like buttah. I'm now officially over my circular-saw-aphobia. I then had to prime the edges and then I started trying to nail the board to the furring strips. It took me a while of bending nails and getting pretty frustrated to realize that I needed to drill some pilot holes in this stuff first. Then I was rocking and rolling.
The other revelation of the day was how awesome my Dremel was for making the cut-outs around the outlet and the medicine cabinet. This was a great birthday present from Thom (thanks, sweetie!) and I highly recommend getting yourself one - and, besides, who can't use another power tool? Anyway, you'll notice under the window on the back wall there's a pretty significant gap between the beadboard and the bottom of the sill. What am I going to do with it, you ask? Well, my friend, I have absolutely no idea. I was hasty and silly and began tiling that back wall around the tub without really thinking it through. Now I am going to have to get creative at some point. I was really hoping to trim out the window a bit more in line with the rest of the windows in the house, so maybe I can do something interesting there. Maybe not.
So, on to the final project of the day - laying down the Ditra. First of all, let me say this stuff also gets the awesome award for the day. It's 1/8 inch thick and you can just cut it with a utility knife. Simple. The bummer of the day is that I don't quite have exactly enough. I had measured pretty carefully and came up with needing 60 square feet. Ditra is sold in a roll of 54 square feet. Given my lack of prowess in the measuring area, however, I figured I'd be close. Yeah, close but no cigar. I would usually just go get more but this stuff is pricey ($80/roll). So I am reluctant, to the say the least, to buy a whole other roll for about 6 square feet more of it. Sheesh.
I'm going to go back and stare at it a while longer - maybe it will magically expand. If it does, I can then mix up the thinset and lay it down. I'd like to try to start tiling a bit tomorrow but it's probably not going to happen as I have several meetings during the day. It looks like Friday will most likely be the day for tiling the floor and maybe grouting the tub surround tile. I still don't know what to do about the tub ceiling. Ideas?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day 11

> This is how Day 11 started, after my first trip of the day to a box store to buy a diamond-tipped tile cutting bit for my drill. Worked pretty nicely, huh? I then used this little saw thing to widen it a bit. I felt pretty good about it. I then thought, hey, I'll have this tiling gig wrapped up by noon so I can move on to the beadboard. Um, yeah, not so much. For some reason I cannot comprehend, it actually took me longer to do the little side walls of the tub surround than it did for the one large wall altogether. I assume this had to do with all the cutting, but geez already. I just finished the last of the tiling around 5pm. So here's what she looks like now before the grouting:
There were some problem areas on these two sides but hopefully the grout will mask a few of the evils. I guess if anybody looks that closely and complains they shouldn't be in my shower in the first place, right?

Tomorrow is all about the walls, I hope. It would be nice to get them done, put in the new medicine cabinet I got, and maybe start on the Ditra for the floor - but I shouldn't press my luck. I guess I just need to start considering that whenever I think something is going to take me 2 hours, let's say, it's probably going to take me 4 hours in total. So, if I assume I'll have the beadboard in by noon I will probably have it done by 5pm. I'm off to mooch a shower off another friend...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day 10

Wow, it's Day 10. Yikes. And Day 10 has not been as productive as I would have hoped. The day started with a trip to Lowe's to pick up some more tile as I did indeed decide to tile all the way to the ceiling around the tub instead of just beyond the shower spigot. I then proceeded to ask the nice lady at Customer Service about my beadboard that was supposed to be delivered a week ago (remember, this is a stock item). She said it still wasn't in so I kindly asked for my money back and took it over to Hammond Lumber. Not only did they have it in stock (for the same price) but they also delivered it for free an hour later. Nice. I like going there but they often don't have as good of a selection as the box stores, unfortunately. This time it worked out nicely.

Then I returned home all set to start tiling around the tub. The first thing I did was check to see if the tub was level. Phhht, right - HUGE slope. So I played with measuring for about 45 minutes until I found a good place to draw a horizontal line to begin. Then I decided to be smart and try to rig up my little wet saw in the bathroom. Now, I haven't used this thing since a year ago when I tiled the backsplash in the kitchen. So when I turned it on and water started shooting everwhere, I wondered what was wrong. Duh. I forgot to put on the guard. I figured this didn't bode well for the rest of the day so I just took it downstairs and put it on the front porch.

Anyway, after all those shenanigans I finally started tiling around 10am (I had left the house at 7am). Sigh. On top of this, I have just never mastered the art of putting the mastic on the wall and not making a huge mess so I have instead just been back-buttering the tiles individually. I guess if nothing else I know these suckers are going to stick to the wall. I clocked myself at about 20 minutes per row so here's what I had done by lunch time:
Five hours later, I finally finished the long wall, including having to go back and cut each of the bottom row of tiles separately because of the slope of the tub. Anyway, here's what it looks like now with the accent row of glass tiles:
I really had wanted to finish the whole thing tonight but I just don't know if I have it in me. I'm going to at least try to get around the faucet area. Cutting holes in tiles blows.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day 9

Today's blog entry is dedicated to good friends - Ken and Paul. Many of you know Ken from Bangor Bungalow, Sarah's amazing partner in crime. Others may know Paul, my super friend who has lent a hand in just about every project I've done in the Bangor Foursquare. Both of them helped me immensely today and I am so grateful to have wonderful friends who are knowledgeable, helpful, and - most importantly - extremely patient with me and my begging for help. Thank you, guys.

I started the day by doing something smart - I opened the package I ordered months ago containing my tub/shower faucet. See, I really thought I had purchased only new handles, a faucet, and a shower head, while in fact it came with a new valve as well. Very exciting and much more reasonable now that I consider the price. I'm glad I did this first thing, however, as it possibly meant that I would need new holes in different places, etc., thus delaying the completion of the backerboard hanging. So, I called in a pro - Ken. He and Sarah wonderfully came by and he not only installed the new valve but showed me a thing or two along the way. I love learning new things. It generally fit what was already there, thank goodness, and no leaks! Here's the fruit of his labor:

I'm really hoping that this new valve will go a long way in helping us with a little more hot water pressure in the tub - something we haven't had since moving in.

Then I was able to tackle the rest of the backerboard, which I did with Paul's help. Thom pretty much reached his limit today but I am nevertheless thankful for the help he did contribute over the past few days. (As I've mentioned before, Thom hates home improvement and we generally don't work well together in these kinds of projects so the help he gave was wonderful.) Paul came over to help hang the last couple pieces of the DensShield, which I admittedly was a bit chickeny about as it involved cutting the holes. Given my propensity to measure incorrectly it was helpful to have someone as experienced as Paul make short shrift of the whole thing. We got the last three pieces hung up in about an hour.

I then taped the joints and mudded the screw holes. The process is much like drywall taping, except you use fiberglass tape and you use the thinset you use for your tile. I felt a little more proficient at taping after my kitchen experience a couple summers ago but it's still not as smooth as it could be.

My lack of skill in this area has made me rethink the height to which I was planning to tile. OriginallyI thought I'd go a row or two above the shower spigot but now I'm thinking I might go all the way to the ceiling. To paint this stuff you need to skim coat it with JC and, as I mentioned, I'm not the best at doing this. But, I don't know...I know I don't want to tile the ceiling but I don't know what else I'd do with it. Ideas?
So, tomorrow begins the fun stuff! Hooray! I'm going to start tiling the shower (white subway tile with an accent row of blue glass tile) and perhaps Lowe's will finally deliver the beadboard so I can get that put up. Then grouting on Tuesday. Then all that is left is the floor tiling, floor grouting, trim, toilet, vanity, sink, medicine cabinet, paint, and lights (phew!). Anyway, another great day - thanks again, guys.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day 8.46-8.99

Woot for half of the backerboard being up! Woot for Thom helping Susie do it! Woot, woot for not killing each other in the process! I'm ecstatic. While I had really hoped to have it all up by the end of today, I'm nevertheless happy that we got the ceiling done (I really hate having to lift stuff over my head) and the big wall done. The last two side walls are the complicated ones so I'd rather wait and make sure it's done right. Then I can tape and mud the corners and seams tomorrow and then maybe I can at least get the Ditra laid down for the floor. It just feels so good to be finally building rather than tearing down. I guess that's a good feeling for life in general.

So, verdict on working with the DensShield so far: LOVE it. It's really pretty light, super easy to cut with a utility knife, just as easy to screw into the studs, and it has that nice Smurfy color to boot. My only tip: wear glasses and long sleeves with this stuff. It has a layer of glass in it so it gets itchy on your skin just like insulation.

Thanks again to Sarah for the help and ride to the dump. I thank you and so do my neighbors who no longer have to look at an old, nasty toilet. It was a good day.

Bathroom Reno Day 8.01-8.45

I have a renewed sense of hope and optimism today as I round the corner of the first week of this project. On I charge! I finished the furring strips this morning, to which I will affix the beadboard should Lowe's ever decide to finally deliver it. I also dealt with a little bit of a framing issue around the tub so we're now ready to lay some backerboard! Woot! Guest starring today on the Bangor Foursquare is my darling husband Thom. We generally don't play well together when it comes to home improvement so he will be playing a small cameo role this afternoon, as the holder of the backerboard. Three cheers for Thom!

In preparation, I started cutting my first piece. Despite being vehemently talked out of it by the sales guy at Lowe's (he suggested I go to Home Depot and get something else - weird, eh?), I did decide to try the DensShield. I gotta tell you, so far I'm lovin' it. It cuts like drywall (all you need is a utility knife), doesn't need a vapor barrier, and is a heckuva lot lighter than Hardibacker or the like. I'm excited to get things going!

Beforehand, wonder-woman Sarah from Bangor Bungalow will be stopping by with her new truck to help me take the toilet and miscellaneous refuse to the dump - thanks, Sarah! Then I'm back at it. It would be great to get the board up today and get the seams all taped so I can start the floor tomorrow. I guess we'll see what the Home Improvement Gods have to say about that, though.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bathroom Reno Day - Calling it Quits Before Someone Dies

I have no new pictures to show you since I really did nothing much of consequence this afternoon. I need to leave now for a work meeting so I figured it's best just to call it a day and quit while I'm still alive. What did I do? I cut a piece of plywood to put around the vanity area, where it seems they stopped running the luan. I replaced the rotting stud. I unsuccessfully tried to remove the exhaust fan. Oh, how can I forget - I then decided to cut the furring strips I got to affix the beadboard to (which Lowe's still hasn't delivered). I measured twice but somewhere between the second floor and the basement I changed the measurement and cut them too short. I guess it's not that big of a deal - I can attach a few smaller pieces as they're just going to be there for nailing, but sheesh, seriously. I guess knocking off early today isn't such a bad idea after all. I'll probably head to the gym and get a shower later. All I can tell you is that showering in the gym makes me only want to get this bathroom up and running again very quickly - the experience seems to bring back traumatic memories of showering in middle school gym class. Shudder.

Bathroom Reno Day 7.45

Today so far has been slow. I'm itching to start doing something significant but know there are some steps that need to be handled first. I did get in the subfloor around the toilet - it's not pretty, but it's solid - even better, it aligns with the rest of the subfloor, after some creative mixing and matching. Unfortunately, about halfway through the process my drill died so I had to go buy a new one - so some more time wasted there. I now feel ready to start tiling but have to get the framing taken care of first around the shower. To do that, I need help - so I'm waiting for some help. Right now, I'm debating about whether I should tile before or after toilet installation. The flange is set very low and it's not moving (cast iron, welded in there). So I was thinking it might be best to put it in first and tile around it but I know that's not optimal. Anyway, to prep for my tiling job I watched the installation video for the Schluter-Ditra that has come highly recommended by many readers. I'm excited to use it!
In the meantime, I think I'll work on replacing the one rotted-out stud and disassembling the exhaust fan. I've really been thinking that we'd keep the one that's already in there - it works fine, is relatively quiet, and provides some nice light at the same time. I feel weird about keeping old things, though, which is totally wrong, I know. But I keep thinking, what if it breaks? It's going to be a lot easier to replace it now than later.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bathroom Reno - Day 6.26-6.99

I'll admit it, folks: I'm tired. How do I know? Well, when Paul came by to give me a hand this afternoon he pointed to a number of things that need to be fixed before we can start hanging the backer board for the tile. How did I react? I cried. This is pretty much the universal sign of Susie exhaustion. In fact, whenever I call my mom crying she always asks, "Are you tired?" And, yes, I generally am. I suppose all you manly-men out there are saying something like, "There's no crying in home improvement!" I reply, you got to get out your frustration somehow. And, yes, today was another frustrating day.

As I explained earlier, I was all psyched that I was going to get to moving today after ripping out the vinyl and prepping the mostly good subfloor. Then I got to the subfloor around the toilet. I figured, hey, it's just rotten on the top layer of luan. No, it was rotted through several layers of subfloor (there have to be at least five layers on there, including what appears to have been pieces of the original wood floor). It took me several hours to get the rotten layers out. Then Paul came over and helped me think through how to replace what I had removed and then pointed to the many problems with the framing around the tub. One 2x4 had rotted out at the bottom, which will have to be replaced. There is no framing in the center of ceiling so it basically goes for 34" across with nothing - this means the exhaust fan will need to be taken out and put back differently. Then, a lot of the framing is not even square or plumb - heck, in a few places it just doesn't even align. All of these things must be fixed. So why did I cry? I think because I had assumed that since all that board and tile was up there that it would be fine to use what was there. Of course, you know what they say about assuming. Not to mention the fact that there was nothing renovated after 1970 in this house that was done correctly (refer back to kitchen renovation for more drama). Indeed, I remembered later having the same sinking feeling when Paul came by during the kitchen reno, when I was all raring to go, and told me things needed to be fixed first. I think I cried then too.

So, after a trip to Home Depot, I started working on replacing the subfloor. I will be the first to call myself terrible when it comes to measuring - I'm just awful at it and consequently I measure once and cut about twelve times. Anyway, I'm just about there, as you see below - then I get to cut out a few more to get up to the height of the rest of the subfloor. Then I'll work on framing and then maybe, just maybe, I can get to rebuilding this Bangor Foursquare bathroom. G'night.

Bathroom Reno Day 6.5 - The Toilet Always Flushes Twice

I spent the morning removing the old, ugly vinyl floor. For the most part, it came up rather easily. To my surprised delight, the subfloor also was in great shape. A quick measure told me I'll be able to use the Schluter-Ditra with the tile with no problem. I spent an hour or so scraping off the excess glue. What was not in good shape, however, was the subfloor around the toilet:
I thought, hey, no problem. I'll just pull up that bad boy and replace it. So much for my scoffing at the easily removed toilet yesterday. The toilet had its last laugh, I'll tell you. Not only is the top layer of the luan rotted through, but so are all the other layers of subfloor underneath it - we're talking a good four layers of rotted wood. No wonder it was so easy to remove! I'm having a heck of a time getting it all up too. They used regular screws for some of it, which are all corroded and not budging. Sigh. This will plainly be Day 6 trying to wrestle with just this piece. I was all excited thinking that I'd be able to get the new toilet in and get the Ditra down so I could tile tomorrow. Phhht.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bathroom Reno: Day 5.60-5.99

After finishing the last of the drywall removal (woot!), I took a nice break and got me some of that there iced coffee from Tim Horton's. Then I mentally and physically prepared myself for Toilet Removal 2010. I had done a lot of reading, a lot of This Old House and DIY Network watching preparing for this moment. I went in assuming the worst - expecting all sorts of floor bolt nonsense. I was prepared. I was prepped. I was one with the toilet removal. So, how long did it take, you ask? About 15 minutes. It came off so easily it made me think that the Universe was apologizing for the hornet episode. It was nasty business, don't get me wrong, but I'll take toilet removal over hornet abatement any day. I think the most time consuming part was getting the water out. I used an old turkey baster, which worked well. So, we're calling it a day. I'll take out the floor and start working on the new subfloor tomorrow. Maybe I'll get a new toilet in, but we'll see.

So, demo is prettty much all done - at least what I would consider the worst of it is done. I pat myself on my back for getting at least this far. I'm off the gym to find me a nice shower. Good night, hornets. Good night, John Boy.

Bathroom Reno Day 5.5 - Please let this be the last "thing"

Just in case you thought I was overreacting, I snapped a picture of the nest before the exterminator took it away. Icky. I generally consider myself a pretty tough chick but yuck, yuck, yuck. I have no tolerance for that kind of thing. While I was less than thrilled about the $150 I had to spend on the new shut-off for the house yesterday, I am ecstatic to have spent $125 to pay someone to deal with this. Thank you, Maine Pest Solutions.

I now have the cleanest remodel site in the world - I ShopVac-ed the hell out of that bathroom. Nasty hornet carcasses everywhere. He said they got in around the venting for the exhaust fan. I need to go get some caulk and seal off that bad-boy tomorrow when the stuff dries. He says the stuff he sprayed will be good for a year and it's non-toxic - there is no smell or anything either. So I'm back at it. I have definitely learned my lesson about wearing a hat. No need to rain down insect remains on this head twice. Sarah, you offered to let me use your shower. I may be taking you up on that offer tonight...

Bathroom Reno Day 3.40 - Ew!

Oh, #$%&@! I got around my faucet problem by getting around it - just pulling out the tile around it. I was just pulling out the last off the drywall on the ceiling and guess what I found...a huge-ass hornet's nest in the ceiling. Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew. Yuck! I am now cowering like a child in the next room. Do I call an exterminator? I don't know (and I don't want to know) if it's still active. Once the dead hornet carcasses started to fall I headed for the hills. Ew. Yuck. Nasty. I generally don't have a problem with insects (except cockroaches) as long as they're not living in my house.

Bathroom Reno: Day 5.25

I'm taking a break while I call for backup. I finally got the long wall of tile down and pulled down the rotting drywall on the window side, as you see above. Interesting hole cut out there. I wonder what that used to be. A window, maybe?
But now I'm stuck. You can see my handy-dandy pink screwdrivers have only gotten me so far. I got the handles off the faucets but I can't remove the rest. The tile board behind them is ready to be yanked off but I don't want to break anything in the process. So, I'm hoping for a call back from some friends to help. Any thoughts in the meantime?
So, while the water is shut off, I might start on trying to convince the toilet to leave. Once that's done I get pull up the floor. Getting there...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bathroom Reno: Day 4

This picture pretty much sums up Day 4: Chaos. It started around 8:30am when first the city showed up again to give the water thing another shot (you'll recall they said they'd come back Wednesday - today is Tuesday) and then the electrician showed up. Shortly after, Lowe's showed up. Then the city people wanted me to call the plumber back, so he returned around 9am. I pretty much ran up and down the three flights of the Bangor Foursquare for about two hours. By 10:30am, however, all was squared away: new GFCI in the bathroom, new shut-off valve for the water, and almost all materials delivered. Yes, I said almost - they said they didn't want to bring me the beadboard they had in stock as it was not in good shape (which is nice), so they said they'll bring it on Thursday when they get more (which is not nice).

I guess it's okay, though, as I can't seem to get the remainder of the tile in the tub-surround to come off. Despite what I said about Harry the other day, I appreciated how easily the tile on the drywall came off. I don't know what this stuff is behind the remaining tile but it's' not so much coming off easily. It appears to be like drywall but this stuff isn't budging.

I'm so close now I can feel it, but, alas. I'm too discouraged to even bother cleaning up for tonight. I'm officially calling it now - the upstairs bathroom is out of commission for the next few days. We were still using the toilet and I had some semblance of a sponge bath last night but no more, peeps. Besides, the toilet is seriously wigging out now. It knows the end is nigh.
It also occurs to me now, as I pick out tile shrapnel from my hair and I try to stave off this nagging cough, that I should have been wearing a hat and a dust mask . Yes, I know this but I honestly hate wearing them - they both make me sweaty. And, let's face it, I'm getting sweaty enough as it is. I am at least smart enough to have been wearing goggles and long sleeves. I give myself credit for that. If you're keeping score, that's minus one for being stupid and plus one for being smart. In other words, I'm somewhere in between.
So, despite having not had more than an hour this morning to work on it and three hours this afternoon, I still feel like I accomplished something. I also got to observe some masters in action - I got a quick tutorial in soldering as well as one in fishing wire and adding a new breaker. Tomorrow is an uninterrupted day of work. I'm hoping to finish pulling out that tile and to get the toilet out and the floor up - the last of the demo...I hope.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 3.46-3.99

Boy, am I glad I never offered to go on my favorite reality show: Renovation Realities on DIY Network. If I had, you would have been able to watch me break down on the bathroom floor and cry like a big baby. It was that kind of day. After the whole city water/plumber thing, I finally turned off the other shut-off valve to the house and went upstairs to remove the vanity. This was no easy feat - it appears they installed the plumbing after they installed the vanity so I had to cut out the bottom to remove it.

Then I attempted to install the new shut-offs for the sink but the size I got yesterday was wrong. I went back to Lowe's and attempted to find another one that fit. An employee thought I couldn't read so he proceeded for another 30 minutes to come to the same conclusion I did - they didn't have the right size. So then I drove across town to Home Depot, where a nice 20-something thought he could rig something to make it fit. I then returned home and tried to install it. It did not work again, to my sincere regret. And this is where I started crying, I believe. I then realized that if I cut the pipe a bit lower it was a standard 3/8" (I have no idea what the other size was or why there were two sizes of pipe). I dryed my tears and drove back to Home Depot and got the right parts - all on my own, thank you very much. So, our water is back on (which = Happy Thom) and the vanity is out. While I was at it, I also removed the medicine cabinet, which Thom had vetoed as a keeper. You can see below the result - all of this work seemed to have only taken a few hours but with all of the interruptions it actually took all day.

To feel like I had accomplished a bit more today I then removed the tile under the window.
I'd like to say that I'll try to knock out the rest of the tile tomorrow. However, the electrician is coming in the morning to install the new GFCI and breaker and then the delivery guys are coming with my stuff from Lowe's. Then I have to go to work in the afternoon for a student's defense. So, tomorrow is probably going to be a wash. Although, it does feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. Once the tile and drywall is down in the shower I'll be ready to pull out the floor and get rid of the toilet. It seems to sense its demise is near; it was gargling while I was cleaning up a bit ago. The toilet death knell.

Day 3.45

I got some more tile and drywall removed this morning but took a couple hour break as I waited first for the city to come to shut off the water to the house and then for the plumber. Why, you ask? I wanted to turn the water off so I could install the shut-off valves to the sink and remove the vanity. Upon two people trying to turn the supply valve this morning, it snapped off. I called the plumber who instructed me to call the city. After almost an hour of trying, the city informed me that they cannot turn it off but will need to have to come and dig it up...which will be in a few days. Luckily the water is back on so we can use it in the next few days and luckily there is another shut-off to the house so I can get the work done. Unluckily, having the plumber sit around and wait for 45 minutes still cost $60. This is on top of the $114 he quoted me to replace the valve later this week. I am hoping this is the only unanticipated issue for this project. Off to chip away at some more tile. Sigh.