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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Shower: Bits of progress along with delays

Sorry for the big delays in updating everyone.  Here's where we are at with the main bathroom shower project.

Our demolition is done.  Warning...when you pound on a wall with the intent to knock off heavily attached tile, there will be consequences on the other side of the wall.  We had removed pictures, but didn't expect the medicine cabinet contents to jump out and end up all over the place!

The niches in the wall needed to be removed so we can get some newer larger niches.  The tiles were against the drywall.  I removed the tiles, then banged out the horizontal studs a bit too hard.

Before removing horizontal studs.

We ended up with a hole in the wall through to the bedroom.  My fault. This was unintentional, but as tired as I was removing tiles, I ended up not being as careful in removing the old niche supports.  The shower now sits awaiting the replacement of drywall.  We need to 'patch' the hole which we have enlarged a bit (!) before we get our new niches built in.

Initial hole.
Enlarged for 'easier' repair ?

If we are going to order 1 sheet of drywall, why not order more.  Our bathroom needs one piece and we need about 6 for the wall of the workshop in the basement.

Ordered from Home Depot -
Model # 14113411708
UltraLight 1/2 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. Gypsum Board

We need a way to pick up the drywall from the store.  The trailer was at the cottage.  We took a trip and brought it home, but it needed electrical work since one of the trailer wires was not connected and we didn't have rear lights.  Whoops!  All fixed now.

The subway tiles have been purchased from Home Depot - 1.75 per square foot compared to 2.99 and up per square foot at Floor360.  I did end up ordering the mosaic tile through Floor360.  I find they are a great source for variety and for allowing designers to be creative in their showroom with their own clients.  I hope to keep a relationship with them.

Subway tile
Mosaic tile

Our shower base guy has been trying to fit us in.  I didn't want the shower base to be installed while I was in Vegas with my mom.  He apparently attempted to come over one morning without a contact call with Don while I was away!  I appreciate the ambition, but I'm glad that didn't work.  Now that I'm back, we will rush to get the drywall, fix the wall, and hope he can come by soon.  I'll be at work, but that's hopefully okay.

This is the old shower base.
Floor tile GONE!

Our shower base guy came through!  He is from Shower Masters.  Don't expect him to use email or other internet communication.  He is a master of showers, not technology - self admitted!  He created our shower base, walls and niche ready to tile.  I'm just waiting for the cement to dry, the mosaic tile to be delivered, and time to tile.

This corner wall will require some creativity to make it look good.

Oh, how pretty, as wet cement goes!

When cement is dry, Don will add more pink water proofing material.

The niche will require some shelves.

I'm a bit overloaded with projects, so starting to get this tile job done will probably take a few weeks.  I'm currently writing a business plan for my Home Decorating business venture (more to be revealed in future posts), we hope to open our seasonal lake cottage in the next week or so, my birthday is coming, Mother's day is coming, we are planning to move our daughter (and trusty creative assistant) back home in June, so there's a bunch on my plate.  All these events require planning.  My main home garden suffers again this spring from a lack of attention.  Thanks to Don for doing some basic work on it and to my trusty perennials for returning even though they haven't seen me in a few years - it seems.

Happy Spring to all!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Shower: Estimates and Demolition

I've been interviewing plumbers to get an estimate on rebuilding our shower base as well as building and waterproofing our shower walls so that I could tile.

The first plumber let me know that rebuilding a cement base would be an extravagant cost that he doesn't do, but he knew a guy that did it.  He even called this guy while in our home for an estimate which ended up being around $2300.00 sight unseen and didn't even include waterproofing the walls.  This plumber's estimate of over $1400.00 included three parts:
  1. Redoing the drain pipes to code.  Apparently, in 2003 when we had our tub turned into a shower, they did not give us the right pipe diameter.  We have had no problems with draining our shower, but code is code!
  2. Replacing the pressure valve and shower trim.  A pressure valve helps control the water temperature when water is used in other areas of the house by regulating the pressure.  The shower trim includes the handle to turn on the water and the back plate that covers the hole for this handle.  Again, we have had no problems; however, I do want to change out our brass shower trim for an oil rubbed bronze finish.  I had planned to get my current trim powder coated, so I really didn't need this in the estimate.   (More on powder coating later.)
  3.  A fiberglass shower base and drain.  The idea that this would cost less then the cement base was intriguing.  The fact that his estimate stated a 'chrome' drain along with all the other 'additions' led me to believe this plumber was just adding up his profit.

The second plumber - actually both 'plumbers' were estimators for their employers.  They may have had a plumbing background, but their job was to assess the project and provide an estimate.  So, why am I still waiting for the second plumber's estimate?  It has been over a week.  He also suggested updating the pipes to code and to use his company's brand of shower base, along with a new pressure valve and trim.

Today, I might have found my shower installer!  He doesn't do plumbing and did not suggest new shower trim or plumbing changes.  His estimate for creating a cement shower base and water proofed walls ready for tiling was $900.00.  He doesn't give written estimates.   WHY IS THIS SO HARD?  The only reason I'm considering him is because he was referred by a local interior designer and he has been in the business for many years.

Well, regardless of who will be rebuilding our shower, we still need to demolish the old one.  I purchased an angle grinder and a diamond blade disc to aid in cutting through the tile and grout.  I picked up a sturdy face mask knowing that the air would be filled with grout and ceramic powder.  We also picked up a 'Bagster' which is a flexible dumpster bad that will be picked up by Waste Management when we call them.  It holds 3 cubic feet of debris and should hold our shower walls and floor and a few other items we need to get rid of.  Here's a few pics of the fun.

Don starts in on the niche wall.

I held a fan up to the window to try to exhaust the dust.

I was pretty tired at this point and didn't realize I was being filmed. 


At the end of the day, we left the shower floor, a few tiles in the niche wall, a very dusty mess, and damaged drywall to deal with the next day.

Have you had the challenge of demolishing a shower or other structure in pursuit of something new and improved?  Enter a comment below and let me know if it was as fun as they show it on HGTV!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Shower: You know when it's time to remodel when...

Back in April, I completed one side of our main bath remodel.  See the finale post here.  I had planned to wait a year or so to get to the other side.  Well, I think these circumstances are clear indicators that I need to do something NOW:
  • An increasing amount of ants marching across the floor on a daily basis.
  • The exhaust fan is dripping condensation and causing the ceiling drywall to disintegrate.
  • The toilet appears to be leaking from the base.
Believe it or not, the ants were the catalyst to do more investigation.  Don, my dearest and daring hubby, began to chip away at the shower step only to find swarms of ants living in the wet 2 x 4 wood that made up that step.   I'm SO glad I wasn't home to see the event.  He did a very good job of stomping, pounding, spraying, and cleaning up to eliminate the out pouring of those little pests.  He made a second attempt to go further into the investigation after consulting with me.  He was attacked again, but we think we won because we have not seen a single ant for a few weeks now.  Here is where we stand...not a pretty sight:

A few holes in the walls and a mess to clean up

The entire wall by the plumbing torn out to see if there are leaks

The trench where there was apparently a leak from the shower base

Do you know how long it took me to get this corner fixed during my previous remodel?  Hours!

Just Yukky!
What does one do when you're faced with this mess?  Shop!  I sourced a few tile samples and set them up on the sink to see how well they would do for a backsplash as well as accent tile in the shower.
An attempt to move away from the dark tiles I currently have

I really like this look, but it is more modern than my cabinets
I found a sample at Menard's that both Don and I really liked.  When we both like something, it has always been a good indication to me to move forward.  We often have very opposite opinions.

My thought was to use the above sample as an accent and a sink backsplash along with either subway tiles or 9 x 12 tiles in a white that would tie in the sink countertop.  I found these ideas online to help me see how the large tile and the accent would look:

9 x 12 tile vertically applied

9 x 12 tile horizontally applied
 Once again, I'm wondering if the larger tiles conflict with the traditional style of my bathroom, but I like the idea of less grout lines.  The next picture was one of those Ta Da! moments for Don and I as the mosaic 'accent' along with the smaller subway tiles is quite dramatic:

I then found this beauty which pulled me away from the dark mosaic of which I thought I made up my mind.  Don knows me better - I always reserve the right to change my mind :) !

I think this is a great example of a 'transitional' style, which could work for me.
I captured a portion of this picture and did a quick mock up by applying it using 'PIXLR' onto a picture of my sink area.  See before and after:


This led Don and I off to shop in a real store to see what we could find in person.  We went to Floor360 on Verona Road.  We found a contender, but at this point, I don't know its cost:

The tiles that look a bit like a taupe color in my picture really match my apple green walls, not taupe.  My camera seems to be missing some of the green in other tiles as well.  Either that or my lighting was not the best.  The white tile came from Menards at $1.19 per tile.  I really hope I don't have to spend money on floor tiles at this point and if I don't, the above mosaic has some tiles that are a great match to the flooring I currently have.  Luckily I have a box of smaller shower floor tile left from our original work done on this shower.  With the purchase of a small amount of coordinating floor tile, we should have plenty and a new look.

Just one example of adding a different tile color as a border
We are currently searching for someone who can finish the demo of the shower, pour a new shower base with proper waterproofing, and set up the walls so they are ready to tile.  I'm thinking of taking on the tiling myself.  After all, this is a blog for DIY Challenges!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Bunk House Dreams

While between projects I've been searching for ideas on what to do with our lake bunk house.   It's a tiny house about 100 square feet - 9.5 by 11.5 on the inside.  The roof has been leaking for 2 years and there are some moisture problems with some of the structure.  We currently have a tarp over the roof, so we can ignore the problem until we can attack it.  We are planning to attack it this summer.

I do have some wonderful dreams for the little shack.  Here's one of my favorite.  Unfortunately, I don't have the link to the site where I found this.  Sorry.

One bed would not be practical for a bunk house that is intended to sleep more people than we can fit in the main house.  I'd love to be able to put in a bunk bed with a full bed on the bottom.  Here is something that is a bit more than we need, but still very cool with the stairs serving as extra storage.

Bunk Bed King

This one is much more rustic and looks like a great option for a cabin atmosphere.
The Log Furniture Store
Most likely I'll be at a flea market or garage sale and see something much more simple and inexpensive and I'll grab it up.  This one would work for our little lake cab-age (combo of cabin/cottage!).  Where is that garage sail when you need it? :)


I don't actually have many pictures of the bunk house at this time.  The focus has been the main house and the land around it.

Interior before we bought the place

Before any foundation work - Bunk House to the left of car
During our main house foundation work - next to the CAT

Here are some plans while I dream of the end result.  The roof is completely different.

As this project gets going, I'll be sure to blog the progress.  Unfortunately, I can't get to the Cab-age until it warms up.  We usually open up the main house the end of April.  I can still dream.

Tell me what your dreams are for this summer.