Random (but not really)

Monday, November 4, 2019

Bathroom Remodel: The Tub (Part the Second)

The plumbing bits were mostly Michael, since he’s 1) pretty good at plumbing and 2) has better upper-body strength than I do.

We replaced the fixtures and most everything inside the walls, as well as the tub drain.

The walls extremely problematic. The tub had been put in after the drywall and the cement board we got for the wall was much thinner. That meant we had to put boards up over the studs, to make sure the edge of the cement board was just over the lip of the tub.

Bathrom wall

We got foam board to insulate the wall as well (what we took out looked like shredded cardboard. UGH.

Putting up the cement board involved a lot of measuring and remeasuring, and would have been a LOT easier if there wasn’t a window in the middle of the wall.

Michael replaced all the pipe with PVC, because he finds it easier to work with, and who am I to argue with that.

Because the space between the walls was so deep, I ordered some shelves to inset inside the wall. You can also see here where we added studs not just where the shelves were, but also where the fixtures were going to go.

Once the cement board was up, I taped and then put thinset on all the joints.

I have an extra kitchen scale, so since I was only mixing small batches of thinset (and later grout) I covered the scale in saran wrap and was able to measure by weight, which I always find easier.

After the thinset dried, I applied the waterproofing.

I put two coats of the waterproofing up, because 1) I had the time and 2) I had far more waterproofing than I was going to use.

To keep the bathroom mostly usable during the project, we replaced the sink and fixtures and light relatively early on.

Because the bathroom is so small, and the space for the sink is so small, we had almost no choice in sink and cabinet. I wanted something with a cabinet because a small house means limited storage space, so the remodel was going to give me the most storage space I could get.

Then came the tiling.

The problem here is that no one feels that it’s safe for me to use cutting tools, so while Michael was working on something else, I put whole tiles up on the wall, because one website suggested putting up whole tiles and then filling in the pieces.

This did not work well for me, because getting the tiles the right size to fit in the spaces was annoying and was a problem more than once. I am all but incapable of visualizing things, so I frequently measured tile “backwards” from what I needed, which was frustrating, but also something I was expecting, and so had Michael double check before he cut.

All of which made the process more time-consuming, but wasted less tile.

Also, I did a lousy job bracing the initial row of tile, so they slipped some and were uneven. Don’t screw that up when you do tiling.

We ended up buying a small and inexpensive tile saw, because it ended up being cheaper than renting one. Michael says I probably could have used it safely, but didn’t, since I hate the emergency room.

The good think is that once you grout, the screw ups and errors in the tile become unnoticeable.

Since I had extra cobalt blue tile, I decided to create a pattern with the tile in the shelving niches. It was actually really fun, and if I’d felt more confident in the beginning, I might have done a pattern with the blue tile instead of just stripes. But I’m still pleased with how the tile turned out, despite only making stripes and the number of times I screwed up.

And about that tile…

I went to Davis Kitchen and Tile to see what they had, and in the hope someone might be able to answer a couple of questions for me.

The owner ended up spending probably an hour with me, patiently answering all my questions and helping me figure out what I needed. Considering I went with the cheaper tile, and told him up front that I was doing the work myself, he was amazingly patient and wonderful and kind.

If you need tile (or have a remodeling project), you should definitely go to Davis Kitchen and Tile, because they were marvelous.

Important for the tub & shower
Tile saw
Small metal ruler
Nitrile gloves
Leather gloves
Tile file
Circular tile bits for the drill
Wrist braces (these fit under both my leather and nitrile gloves)

Michael already had most of the plumbing tools, so I’m not 100% what would be recommend there if you’re not already doing plumbing.

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