Jun 15, 2010

Upstairs Bathroom

All I want at this point before we move in is to have a working bathroom. This project has taken priority over everything else and will get most of our attention until it's finished. The main bath in the house needs a pretty major face lift. Points in its favor: new tile floor, new toilet and a linen closet. Detractors: the linen closet needs refinishing inside, the outdated vanity, sink and faucet, the old shower hardware, the peeling paint on the window, the too-small original medicine cabinet, the exposed radiator, the corrosion in the tub, and the totally bizarre wooden shower cubby with lid. The biggest problem of all? The wallpaper. Everything, including the shower was wallpapered.

Wearing masks and terrified of finding mold, we removed layers and layers of wallpaper and got the walls down to the plaster. The parts treated with a water-proofing sealant were completely mold free. In the regular plaster, places that received the most water while showering had just a few small specks that disappeared in less than 5 seconds with a spray of bleach. Over the weekend Mike took out the vanity and the sink so we could get everything ready for our new vanity.

Our plan for the shower is to use white subway tile from the tub up to the ceiling all the way around. We chose subway tile specifically because it goes so well stylistically with our 1920s home. Since the premiere of the subway system in 1905, according to This Old House, subway tile was all the rage through the 1920s. With the tall ceilings and long walls, it's a lot of tile and a lot of work to cover everything, but we wanted to accentuate the height and have continuity. We also decided to board up the strange cubby with a lid at the end of the tub and turn it into a tub shelf, removing the cracked lid and boarding it up, waterproofing and then tiling over the whole thing. This past weekend, we managed to tile the back wall of the shower. We couldn't do any more because 1) we ran out of thinset, 2) we ran out of time, and 3) the plumber came today and had to poke giant holes in the wall around the hardware and we didn't want to have our work damaged.

 The tub re-glazers are coming Tuesday. We have a very tight schedule to finish tiling, and a pretty big wrench in it. Like I just mentioned, the plumber found some major issues in our pipes when changing our our shower hardware. He fixed it the best he could, but if we want optimal water pressure the bathroom requires a full gut and remodel because the problem is under the tub. And now we have giant holes in the wall around the hardware that have to be fixed. Then when the plumber tried to fix our drain, he had to go in through the half bath ceiling, poking another giant hole with tons of debris flying everywhere. The whole drain turned out to be shot - leaking into the ceiling and causing rot, so now our whole ceiling has to be replaced in there. And it turns out the drain was like 98% clogged with something that looks like old plaster. The good news - we caught it early and won't have any more problems, where it could have become a devastating disaster down the road. The bad news - it was a huge, all day job to fix and the plumber charges hourly. And he has to come back to finish the rest of it. It's the first major unexpected dent to our meager home improvement budget. We know to expect this kind of thing with old houses, and we're relieved it's fixed and fixed right, but it still hurts.

From my previously posted to-do list, here's the rest of the plan again:
  • Fix the giant holes in the shower wall
  • Sand, prime, paint and seal the window sill the best we can to protect it from rot and future water damage.
  • Cover the window itself with a layer of translucent contact paper for additional privacy.
  • Re-glaze the bathtub (the appointment is scheduled for next Tuesday the 22nd)
  • Install the new vanity and have the plumber hook up the new sink and faucet (plumber's next visit)
  • Remove the old medicine cabinet to reuse in the downstairs bathroom and install the new one
  • Repair, sand, smooth, prime and paint bathroom walls for a clean finish
  • Sand and re-paint the existing shower curtain rod
  • Buy and install new towel rods and hardware
  • Clean, sand, repair, prime and paint the linen closet (sanding done by Katie on Saturday, Sunday I repaired the cracks)
  • Remove the current light fixture above the vanity and install the new one
  • Install GFI outlets in the bathroom (electrician)
  • Add a bathroom fan/vent to pull the steam outside
  • Eventually cover the radiator with a radiator box (a future project planned for all the radiators)

1 comment:

  1. Wow the tiled wall looks amazing! You and Mike did a great job :) Can't wait to see the tile and finished wallpaper in person this weekend