Upstairs bathroom remodel

The upstairs bathroom was the one room in the house when we bought it that we didn’t have major plans to remodel. We didn’t love it, but it was functional and not so hideous that we couldn’t stand it. That’s why we spent the summer tearing it down to the studs and starting over again.

Or not. I was cleaning the grout (there’s a lot of grout to clean when you have 1 inch tiles, don’t ever install them) and a tile popped off. Then another one. Then I noticed the mold and I called Ken to congratulate him. He always hated that gray tile, and now we were going to have to pull it out. Sigh.
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Here’s a set of pictures that will have to qualify as “before” pictures. It’s such a small room it’s kind of hard to get pictures of what it looks like.
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First, we tore everything out and bleached the heck out of all the mold.
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Contrary to what you might think from watching HG TV, tearing stuff out is a lot of work, takes forever, and makes a huge mess. Don’t forget that. What you don’t see here is the fine drywall dust that is tracked all over the rest of the house.
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Once all the mold and tile was gone, I installed new insulation, and Ken installed some drywall. He also moved the shower head up, so that us tall people can actually stand under it, rather than next to it. HUGE improvement.
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We had to remove the window because it was installed on top of the tile, so we spent several weeks (during the hottest part of the summer) with no window. Happily, the door to the bathroom could be closed to keep the hot air contained, but it was still a pain. Once the drywall and insulation was installed, we used caulk to glue plastic sheet to the studs as a moisture barrier. This should keep water from getting back to the wood to grow more mold. This was mistake #1 made in the previous construction: no moisture barrier in the shower surround.
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Next up: cement backerboard for the tile. This was mistake #2 made in the previous install: they used moisture resistant drywall instead of cement board. Don’t do that. That is stupid. At some point in there I also painted the ceiling. We considered sandblasting and finishing it to match the rest of the upstairs, but we decided a white ceiling would make the little room brighter. Also three coats of paint (1 KILZ primer, 2 paint) is WAY less work than stripping and refinishing.
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Taping and mudding cement board is kind of fun. We worked on that together. Taping and mudding drywall is NOT fun. I did all of that. Ugh.
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Here is the tile we chose. It’s cheap slate from Home Depot. I wouldn’t recommend using it in a shower surround. I’m not convinced it’s going to stand up very well to daily showers. But, it does look pretty. Hopefully I am proved wrong in my opinion. It is much better than 1 inch glass tile (mistake #3 in previous install) with a terrible, cracking grout job (mistake #4 in previous install). Besides, Ken adores it. I can’t refuse him.
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Cosmo is helping us lay out the tile. Ken did all the tile cutting, I did pretty much all the actual tile install. It worked out pretty well.
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One wall done!
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And then we had to grout all the tile including the tiles we replaced on the floor (both of us), seal the tile with 3 coats of sealer (me), texture the drywall (Ken), paint the walls (me), finish some wood for shelves and above the glass block (me), install said wood and trim at the edge of the ceiling (Ken), re-install the window (Ken), install a new light fixture and hook up the outlets (me, followed by Ken when it didn’t work. Turns out it wasn’t my fault, the GFI was broken), caulk everything (I think Ken used five different kinds of caulk), install a new tank seal on the toilet (Ken), re-plumb the sink, toilet, and shower (all Ken), clean up the massive mess (me), install the towel bars (Ken), and re-populate the bathroom with stuff (me). Now it’s done.

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It took us about a million trips to Home Depot, we returned a bunch of stuff, and we were building the shop at the same time, so totaling everything up to figure out how much this cost is not trivial. We bought a tile saw, so that was kind of a big expense, but other than that it was mostly just buying varying kinds of dirt – slate, adhesive, grout, drywall mud, drywall. Oh, and caulk. LOTS of caulk. We already had the paint and most of the tools except for the tiling tools.

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I especially like all the cubbies we put in the walls to store stuff.
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I think it looks good. Hopefully it stays looking good. Hopefully I never have to remodel another bathroom as long as I live.


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August 2014
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