Anatomy Of A Bathroom...

As some of you may remember, I live in a house that was given to me for free, provided I had it moved from its previous location to somewhere new.  At the time, I found a lot, cleared a bunch of trees, excavated, built a foundation, had it moved, and basically did a whole bunch of other shit to make it livable.  For the first few years, I was living in the house alone.  As a bachelor, I was not as concerned about the interior aesthetics, especially in the bathroom.  My requirements for a bathroom are minimal.  When I shit, does it end up on the floor?  Is there water spewing uncontrollably?  If not, I can overlook what it looks like.  I understand that not everyone is like me and I don't want to seem like I don't appreciate it when things look nice.  I do.  And believe me, as you'll see, it looked pretty fucking bad.  I give credit to Megan for dealing with it as long as she did.

This post may be long and tedious, but I like seeing before & after shit, so maybe you do, too.

First, as a reference, here is a comparison of the floor plans.  I made them with Paint.  Sorry.
So, here we can see the main spacial problem:  the vanity is in a shitty location.  It is--believe it or not--only 18" from the tub.  Uncomfortable.  So we decided to have the plumbing moved so that the new vanity could be against the exterior wall and give things at least a little more openness.  Now, you may be asking a few things.  Are you putting a vanity under a window?  Where will the mirror be?  I'll talk about that later.  Isn't it bad to run plumbing through an exterior wall, especially in balls-ass cold Michigan.  Not to fear.  All plumbing comes up through the floor from the heated basement.  The toilet and tub stayed put.  Here are a few before pictures.  Holy shit is it bad!:
 The shitter.  She served us well. I liked to have the brush and plunger to either side of me so I could wield them like swords.
 The tub had this piece of shit plastic surround that was pulling away from the wall in spots.  Nasty.

This shot gives you a sense of how tight it was between the tub & vanity.
A couple of things to notice.  A big hole in the wall, revealing insulation (next to the blue towel).  There used to be a space heater there that was removed when I had a new furnace put in.  I just never covered up the hole.  There is also a very bad acoustical tile that had a bunch of holes in it, patched with duct tape.  We never could figure out what the cause was.  Rodents?  We never saw any.
By now you've probably noticed the super-awesome faux marble Masonite paneling with stunning gold fleckwork (Megan's favorite!).  It is amazing to me that--at some point in time--someone chose this material.  Someone thought this looked nice.  Surely there were other options.  Fuck, there was drywall underneath. They could've just used that.

As you can see, we have our work cut out for us.  This was a project that was supposed to be done last summer.  However, as with most building projects, the kitchen/dining/living space took longer than expected.  And there was a wedding.

So, the work begins.  If you notice things I fucked up along the way, I wouldn't be surprised.  I only ask that you keep them to yourselves:
 So, first we had to see what we were dealing with underneath the god-awful Masonite.  We knew there was drywall, but we didn't know what kind of shape it was in.  We have learned with this house that if there is ever any doubt, it's probably shitty.
 As you can see, it's pocked with rock-hard adhesive for the Masonite.  It is unsalvagable and must come down.

Because we only have one bathroom, I was forced to work in a way that would minimze our inconvenience.  I was daily removing the vanity, then putting it back so that we could still use it for as long as possible.

Because there was no vapor barrier along the exterior wall, a lot of the insulation was mildewy and useless.  More work.
 I love to demo.  Seriously.  There is a certain visceral pleasure in tearing something down.
 I was surprised there wasn't more moisture damage.  Anything that showed signs of mold was removed and replaced.
Now I'm drywalling.  The bathroom is exactly 8' long, so I could use a full 4 X 8 sheet without cutting it.  Somehow I got these two big sheets up myself.  I built a temporary ledge enough to get a couple screws in.
 I have also replaced insulation at this point and installed a 6 mil polyethylene vapor barrier.  This should prevent the new insulation from getting water-logged.

I had to wait on the plumber before I could drywall the wall between the shower and terlet. 
I temporarily put the old vanity where the new one would would go so Megan could have a better idea.
We are doing a tiled tub surround to replace the crappy-ass plastic one.  This required Durock substrate on which to tile.  I've also vapor-barriered the shower walls. 

You can see that the shower control has been moved to a normal position.  Before, it was just above the tub faucet.   
I skipped ahead a bit because I sense you're getting bored and because taping and mudding drywall is miserable.  At this point, all the exposed walls are painted
Still the old toilet. 
This is 1/4" Hardie Backer, substrate for the new tile floor.  The old toilet is now gone.  This is when we had to stay elsewhere, which I mentioned in my last post. 
Prepping for tile. 
This first-half of the wall went up awesome.  I got cocky. 
The rest was not as perfect, but once the grout was applied, a lot of the imperfections became less noticeable. 

Floor tile.  The tiles came in 12" x 12" sheets which made it a lot easier to install than the 4" x 4" shower tiles. 

Now that the shower is grouted, caulked, and sealed, and the new shower curtain rod is up, we can finally take normal showers again, without having to duct-tape up a sheet of plastic all the time.  It's amazing how much a shower curtain rod can make a difference.  The old one was adjustable, so there was a little lip where the shower curtain hooks would bind up and annoy.  Now it is one continuous piece and Megan bought these  ball-bearing-like curtain rings that glide like a fucking dream.
 The new shower fixtures. 
The new shitter!  This was fun.  We went to Lowes and went with their "economy" model.  Once the floor tile had set up, I put together the toilet which came as a kit and had all the parts.  After getting everything in place and triumphantly lowering the new throne onto its base, I could tell that the wax ring that creates a seal between the toilet and drain and ultimately keeps poop off your floor was not thick enough.  Another aggravating trip to Lowes.
Just a brief interlude from the work.  I saved the shower plumbing access panel made from the old Masonite. I am still trying to convince Megan that we should frame it and hang it somewhere in the house.  It's so pretty!
 Holy shit!  A fucking vanity (this went in today--a balmy 95 degree day).  I did most of the plumbing on this. I became familiar with Sharkbite copper fittings which allow a shmuck like me to add elbows and what-have-you without needing a torch and solder.  One of the compression connections on one of the stop valves was a pain my ass.  I must've made 20 trips to the basement to turn on and shut off the water main because of a leak I could not seem to remedy.  I finally got the bastard to cooperate and the thing works.  As for the mirror, we are going to devise some sort of flip-out mirror that has two sides that can fold out and be temporarily in front of the window.  Pics to follow...
This is one of two new light fixtures.  There will be another over the sink. 
So, there is still shit left to do.  I have to finish the rest of the base/door/window/ceiling trim and paint it.  The tub will eventually be re-surfaced white. The rest is stuff like towel bars, toilet paper holders, etc.  When the whole things done, I might post a pic or two.  

Damn, that was long.  If you are still reading this, you must like bathrooms as much as I do!


VEG said...

Well that's impressive, Sir. Seriously, I wouldn't know one end of a plumbing doodad from another. See, I didn't even know the WORD for the doodad, go me!

But that looks amazing at the end.

Also, the faux Masonite? STUNNING. :) I can't think WHY you wanted to remove that. Actually, worse than that was a house I used to live in which had a '70s bathroom set in avocado green, which looked like someone ate a bunch of frogs then threw up everywhere. Gross!

Well done on the reno. I'm impressed. And even more impressed that you realize Megan knows best.

Scope said...

Great job. I was afeared that there was going to be a time when the crapper was going to be replaced by a bucket.

Good thing you decided to vacate.

SkylersDad said...

You rock Some Guy! I am pretty darn good at the demo half of the job, the putting it back nice part?

not so much...

Anonymous said...

Nice work. I love seeing projects like this come together.

Plumbing is magic, as far as I'm concerned. I had to replace a little plastic doodad in the toilet in my old apartment once. After waiting all day for a plumber who never showed up, I got the part myself and installed it. It leaked like a sieve. The guy shows up the next day, unscrews the thing, screws it back in, and presto, no leak.

BeckEye said...

The new bathroom looks great. But I will admit to losing interest somewhere in the middle of this, simply because I expect this type of pictorial to include at least one shot of a sweaty, ripped, shirtless guy holding a sledgehammer.

Mnmom said...

WOW! Great job!! Drywall is tricky and you mastered it.

I'm a fool for construction so I was never bored. My husband can do all this too, and let me tell you it's damn sexy. I love a man who loves Menards.

And what is it with guys and demo? Johnny C loves it too. Must be the primal dna.

Sans Pantaloons said...

Splendid job Chris!
You have put me to shame, as my current bathroom is in a similar condition to your old one. I shall have to consider my options...

Dale said...

Schmancy! Are we all invited over to use it?

joe said...

I have to admit I just sort of skipped over the commentary and just looked at the pics. Nice work sir. I'd like to get mine done. Now I just gotta find someone who's gonna pay for it...

teri said...

Congrats, it looks amazing. the new bathroom, that is. the old was horrid.

Jenny Jenny Flannery said...

I loved the commentary! So many bad words...it was awesome. And the bathroom looks great too!

Sans Pantaloons said...

Happy Birthday Chris!

Cora said...

That is a seriously badass job you are doing there. It looks amazing.

The Real Hipster said...

sweet shitter.

Anonymous said...

Looks great Jeff!

Chase Conely said...

Not only is that too narrow, it's dangerous too! A few steps back and you might bump the tub, ending up with a sore head. Good thing you decided to move it.

Coaster Punchman said...


Anonymous said...

It amazes me that seemingly 'ordinary' people can do the most amazing things like this. Such a lot of work, so many things to know. Always wondered how people can build a house from scratch - I am sure moving it can be just as difficult, or even more so.

Unknown said...

I went looking for posts on Masonite walls in bathrooms annnnd… from your sink picture, your “before” is almost identical to the before in our bathroom - which is currently in a “during” stage. So not only one but TWO people thought the same ugly masonite was a good idea!

Megasealed Australia said...

Nice Post...!!!! I would be thankful, for sharing valuable information. Rely on Megasealed to conduct non-invasive Bathroom Sealing services on your bathroom or balcony. From residential to commercial properties, we offer sealing services on bathrooms and balconies at an affordable price.

Caroline Bradleys said...

I have to admit that the whole plan looks solid and certainly the renovation came out as you planned. In my case, when I am looking for a team to renovate, I mainly check www websites because I also like to read opinions about such companies. Until now, everything was going as it should.