Random (but not really)

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Bathroom Remodel: This House (Part the First)

This project started on the 17th of May, 2019, and finished on the 3rd of November, 2019.

Yes, it was slow, but 1) we didn’t always know what we were doing 2) we had to learn a lot of new skills as we went (see previous) 3) we did it in our free time 4) we were extremely flexible in what we were going to do, and finally 5) we had another bathroom in the house.

We knew it was going to be difficult in parts, because this is a 1930s house, and things are often just weird. And we discovered plenty more weirdness as we went, which is what this first post is going to be about.

When we first moved in, the toilet leaked and the shower leaked, so we replaced the tub assembly, replaced the sink fixture, and attempted to replace the toilet–except that the bathroom is so small the door wouldn’t close with the new toilet in place, so that fixture sat in the basement until we put in the second bathroom when Grandmom moved in.

That project (adding a second bathroom) is why I felt that we would be able to do this project. We built two rooms (bathroom and computer room) from nothing, and did all the work ourselves, except for tapping the sewer line (because we had two months to get everything done (including emptying the spare room) before Grandmom moved in, and we did NOT have time to for major screw-ups)).

Was this hard? At times, of course it was. We didn’t know what we were doing. We often didn’t have the proper tools. And some things are just hard work. But I learned so much doing this, I feel like when the zombie apocalypse comes I’ll actually have value to contribute.

So here is how things looked when we (mostly) started.

Ugly Bathroom

Ugly Bathroom

We’d replaced fixtures (as I said) and Michael put in shut-off valves (because this house basically had the whole house shut-off and no others), but otherwise, this is how it’d looked since we moved in in 2001.

The we started tearing things apart, and found all kinds of excitement.

This was the first–but far from the last–time I wondered what the hell we were getting ourselves into.

It was nasty.

Ugly Bathroom

We also discovered they built walls across walls and put the tub in after they put in the walls, and just…. ugh. All kinds of ick.

We discovered multiple sockets / switches that had just been plastered over.

I found (I kid you not) razor blades in the wall.

We discovered creative ways were used to make things fit.

I discovered wood floor under the linoleum in the closet.

And some pretty disgusting plywood under the rest of the linoleum.

If that picture doesn’t make it clear, the bathroom is tiny. The floor space is 4′ x 5′ , not including the tub and the closet, so it was often problematic for both of us to be in the bathroom at the same time–especially when the toilet and sink were installed.

So what ended up being important for the demolition?

Tetanus shot
Utility knife (one for each person, really)
Shop vac
Many old shower curtains to be used as drop cloths
Leather work gloves
Dust masks
Rubber mallet
Drywall saw / knife
Audiobooks / podcasts

Did I mention to make sure your tetanus shot booster is up-to-date? And definitely the dust masks. Even wearing them both of us ended up with a respiratory thing when we were tearing out the shower walls–most likely due to the combination of mold, mildew, and dust particles.

And patience. Lots and lots and lots of patience.

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