Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Done At Last! Thank God It Is Done At Last!

What you are looking at is the completed bathroom remodel project that I began sometime in May of last year. Fifteen months isn't bad unless it happens to be the bathroom your wife uses and then it is a thorn in your side and then 15 months seemed like an eternity.

I must say when you look at the starting picture below, it doesn't look like a lot has changed but a lot of work went into this behind the scenes or more appropriately above the ceiling. This bathroom didn't have an exhaust fan installed like our main bathroom does and so over thirty years of moisture trapped in it had caused tiles to pop off the shower surround and the drywall to rot away. The main bathroom had one but it was just exhausted into the attic with a piece of insulation over it to prevent any moisture from actually leaving the bathroom. So I gutted this bathroom and installed an inline exhaust fan large enough to do both bathrooms and exhaust it outside where it should be. You can see the end result in the picture up top. Now these bathrooms really suck and even the steamiest shower results in no condensation on the mirrors or any other surfaces.

The second part of this project was to replace the tile above the shower. I couldn't get replacement tile for the missing pieces nor did I really want too. The dark tile made this shower dark and foreboding to use and when coupled with it being a small shower, not one that we really wanted to use. So I wanted to lighten things us with lighter tile. Of course the installer warped shower to fit a space too large for it meaning the backer board for the tile was kind of cupped into place which you didn't notice with the dark tile but do a little with the lighter tile. The only alternative was to shim it all even and then somehow deal with a step in the walls but I decided I could live with a little cupping.

I had done just a small tiling project once before and really had no experience doing it but tiling went pretty straight forward and easy. I even bought some larger blocks that I cut up for accents to be all fancy smancy. I must say those turned out well too. The best part was that my dear wife had found a tile cutter at a yard sale several years ago for a buck and I put it to good use on this project. The only thing that remains uncertain for me is the grout. I bought some sealer for it but when reading the grout instructions, it said not to seal at all. So I may just return the can of sealer and not seal it. I'm not sure when I should seal grout and when I shouldn't.

The dark hole of a shower before I started this project. You can't really see any of the missing tiles but believe me they were there or more precisely not there. I wanted to put a sliding glass door on this shower to open up the tiny bathroom a bit since if you subtract the shower area, there is only a four by six foot area for the rest of it. However, I found out that sliding doors for small showers like that weren't an option because by the time you include the necessary door overlap, you would end up with only a 16 or 18 inch slot to enter the shower. For showers this size, the only option were swing open doors and as you can see, there isn't even enough room for that so we ended up going back to the shower curtain though trading it in for a more transparent model to avoid the claustrophobicness that the old one had.

So at last it is done and not a moment too soon.  It was my last room of this house that I hadn't remodeled and in a few months, we may be selling this and moving to another house where I can start all over again. My where have the last seven years gone!


R. Sherman said...


Looks great. I wish I had the a) time and b) ability to do something like that. Alas, I'm all thumbs with home improvement.


Ed said...

R. Sherman - Well all it took was about 1 hour every two weeks for 15 months to finish it so it really wasn't that much of a time drain. :)

geri said...

Yes, I wish I have the ability to do that too. Well done Ed, it's a really nice looking bathroom.

Vince said...

My problem with tiles is finding a level. There isn't a straight or level line in the house. Means cutting to much.
You can dilute woodglue half and half. Then paint on to the grouting. Once dry. rub the tile with finger the over lap with peel off leaving a slightly soaked-in bit of plastic seal on the grouting. try on a small area, you never know things might be different over the water.

Ed said...

Geri - I know you would have the ability to set tile with your artistic background. Tile is easy to do and pretty forgiving once you have the correct backer board for it in place. I actually enjoyed the tile work.

Vince - Yeah I had trouble too finding something square or level or if you look closely at the pictures, even flat. At the end of the day, I found the high point on the shower perimeter, measured one course up and with a level drew a line on all three walls. The first row of tile I put on that line meaning on one side of the shower the tiles were touching the surround and on the other side there was a 3/8" gap. Caulking covers up a multitude of sins. As for the flatness, I just varied the amounts of grout behind the tile to level things out a bit. At the end of the day, it looks good but would look better, in my eyes anyway, if I had something level, square and flat to begin with.

Ron said...

Looks good, nice to get things done, particularly when they get to thorn status.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Its bigger than my own add on bathroom, and nicer. One of my favorite movies is "The Money Pit," one of Tom Hanks' box office failures, but I love it. Everytime he asks the contractors "How long?" always the same answer, "Three weeks!"

warren said...

I am so glad to hear that 18 months is the upper limit. I am a long time from that on my one bathroom!

Ed said...

Ron - Sure but the thing about thorn status is that once the obvious one is removed, the next one down starts getting irritated.

Phil - It's amazing how something so large on the Filipino scale can be considered extremely tiny on the American scale. Just one of the many reasons why I like going to the RP every now and then to set my sense of gratitude for what I've got.

Warren - You are welcome that I set the bar so high!