My wife said it couldn’t be done. She didn’t think we’d finish this job by Thanksgiving. We cut it close but we did it.
For the past two months on weekends and evenings we’ve been working on upgrading our son’s bathroom. It still had the original floor and vanity installed in 1980 when the house was built. To say they were out of date is an understatement. The vanity was not just ugly, it was hideous with this really, uh, quaint brown faux-marble shell shaped bowl. Did that ever look like a good idea to anyone? Behind the toilet was some wall and water damage from a leaky pipe 8 years ago or so and then and ensuing termite infestation we had cleared up 3 years ago. The room was freezing in winter from all the drafts. Some quickly slapped up wall board and a tub surround was all I had time to do to repair it about 5 years ago. A job I never finished because I knew I’d gut it in the future anyways.
Gut it we did. We pulled out the old toilet and tub, pulled down the old tub surround, then smashed the old vanity to bits. A job my son relished. We then took down all the wall board on two walls. It was heavily water damaged and the studs behind them were very termite eaten. We took down the old wallpaper and scraped off the ‘popcorn’ ceiling. Why do they do those popcorn ceiling? They’re ugly. I replaced some sections of studs and we took care of a mold problem. I then repaired some old plumbing getting ready for the new tub. We also replaced all the insulation on those walls as the old stuff was falling to bits.
Next we started reconstruction. First and worst part was wrestling a cast iron tub we got for $20 at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. $20 for that. Nearly perfect condition. It’s so much nicer than the cheap plastic thing that was in there. It took four grown adults to get that thing into place. Once it was in, up went the new dry wall. Mud and tape finished that job. Now we were ready to start the fun work. The stuff people will actually see. If you don’t do the foundation right though the rest is just going to fall apart.
A new floor to ceiling tile surround was the first part. For some reason I thought that setting the square 6″x6″ tile on a 45° angle was going to be a good idea. It made for a lot of cut work around the edges. Not making it any easier was the fact that the walls in this place aren’t square. Every cut tile needed to get measured and cut individually before laying. It turned into a 3 day marathon of cutting and laying. We inlaid a nice tumbled slate railing to give it some interest. It came out amazing.
We then papered off the room and I sprayed new texturing on the walls and ceiling. I bought a texture gun for this. With the air compressor it was a 1 hour job. I spent far more time mixing the stuff than actually spraying.
Next we laid the genuine slate floor. We got an amazing deal on it at $.89sq/ft. We spent a whopping $50 on the floor. After the tub it was the biggest bargain of the job. Working with natural slate can be challenging. It’s not all the same thickness and can vary by as much a 1/4″ in depth. Took a lot of playing to keep the joints smooth. White grout finished it off and complimented it nicely.
It was a long process but my son is overjoyed to have a bathroom back that doesn’t look like it was designed in the 70’s. He was rubbing it in that he now has the nicest bathroom in the house. I’m actually a bit jealous. Our bathroom is next. After I find a new job to pay for it of course. Who knows, maybe I can remodel bathrooms for extra income.
All the pictures of the remodel can be found in our gallery.