Bathroom Project from HELL !
(Not really, but it's a
catchy title, isn't it?)
Click on the small images to see
project started when one of the bolts holding our toilet to the floor flange
broke off. Imagine my surprise when I attempted to replace the broken bolt and discovered there was
very little solid wood supporting the bathroom. After a bit of ripping and
tearing, I discovered that about all the floor really
consisted of was two successive layers of 1/4" plywood underlayment over
the old tongue and groove subflooring. One
right beside the tub could have caused a broken ankle or worse if anyone had
stepped through the piece of soggy chipboard tacked up under the original flooring.
We had purchased our
little 80 year old house in 2003 after renting it for several
years. At the time, we were very busy caring for my Mom and didn't have
time to spend house shopping. We also were buying the location, which we
had fallen in love with. We
knew the house needed some work but would have preferred to wait until next Spring to
begin this particular project. Oh. well!
started as a simple 20 minute repair turned into almost two months of hard
and has cost about $2500 in materials so far. The bathroom had to be
gutted by removing
all the layers of flooring and soggy drywall down to the
stud walls. Almost
everything we found as we opened up the floor and walls needed to be redone.
clearing out all the trash, the first job was to
top of the foundation sill, then
reinforce all the flooring joists. We sistered new joists to
the old ones by buttering them with lots of very heavy duty urethane-based
construction adhesive and fastening them tightly together using 1/2 diameter
4 and 6 bolts with nuts and big flat-washers. We used up one local hardware
stores entire stock of these fasteners! We then covered the
newly-strengthened floor joists with exterior grade (waterproof glue)
subflooring, using more heavy-duty construction adhesive and coated
exterior-grade screws. We used
4x4 shoring posts and foundation jacks
underneath the joists during this operation to keep everything level until the
construction adhesive set solidly.
The next step was
setting and leveling the new tub
so water wouldn't run onto the floor and soak the wood as it had previously.
Next, we roughed in a new drain line
and trap for the new tub/shower and a new PVC (plastic pipe) 'stack'
for the toilet. We also ran all
new copper supply lines for the toilet and tub. I plan to replace all the
old copper piping in the house with new new water lines before long. We
installed 2x6 treated-lumber
waterproof backing behind the tub perimeter flange to add strength for the
bottom edge of the ceramic tile. We also fastened and caulked the tub flange to
the blocking to prevent any possible leaks.
wall studs were added where
necessary, making sure they were 'plumb' so that the
corners would be plumb and
square for straight tile cuts and grout lines We then added
backing behind the areas to be tiled
to securely fasten the ADA-style grab bars we would add later. Finally, we put
in blocking for the cement
'backer-board' and waterproof drywall to fasten to.
After we were done
with all of this, we hung the
backer board, again using waterproof urethane construction adhesive and
special screws to penetrate through the
cement board without
drilling. The cement backer board edges and corners were taped with
fiberglass tape and skimmed with a light coat of Thinset mortar to make them
waterproof. Now it was time for the electrical work. I ran wires through the
walls from the light switch to the area to above the shower for a
powered vent blower to remove any
condensation from our small bathroom. I added a 3-gang
switch box and wired up some rocker
switches. Then the blower and outside vent went in. The soffit ceiling for the
shower was built and the upper part of the shower walls and ceiling
drywalled and finally, metal-edged, taped
and floated. All of the drywall
surfaces were primed with 3 coats of waterproofing primer and we were ready for
decided on 4" square field tiles with 4" bullnose tiles for the edges and got 'er
done last weekend. The actual tile application took about a day and the grouting
another 1/2 day, with a day allowed in between for the Thinset mortar to dry properly
before grouting. We also installed soap dishes and 2 heavy corner shelves for
shampoo and such for which I allowed an extra day so the mortar would be sure to
set properly before being grouted. I
chose an off-white for the field tile, Pat selected the accent
tiles and we both agreed on a Dorian Grey grout which worked out nicely.
The stainless steel grab bars work well with
the chrome faucets and handles, and the the neutral terrazzo flooring we haven't
yet installed should pull the room together nicely.
There's still a lot to finish, but we finally have full use of the bathroom
again while we finalize the details, including a new handheld shower head and shower curtain
plus selecting a color for the walls and trim. Maybe by the time I take the
final pictures, the grout will have had time to fully dry to its proper uniform light
grey hue also.