Posts Tagged With: bathroom remodel

Bathroom remodel – the framing

So apparently, none of the walls in my house are straight. It happens. Nobody’s perfect. The problem is when you buy straight things to fit in rooms with not-so-straight walls. Like a bathtub for example. Then, you gotta straighten those babies up and it requires some framing, and since I’m not a carpenter (not yet!) then I called one.

I have to say he did a great job, putting in the new subfloor, straightening up the walls with wood strips, he even installed little metal pads for the bathtub feet.

New subfloor and little metal pads.

He was only slightly pissed when I announced that the tub ordered was cast iron, weighed over 350 lbs, and was sitting in the driveway, waiting for him to just “slide it in”. I have to admit I had not thought of the practical aspect of sliding a 350 lbs mass 10 inches on raw wood. Well, practically, it doesn’t “just slide”. “We’ll do it tomorrow when you’re at work,” he said, “that way you won’t hear us because there is going to be some serious language flying around.” Really, dude? I’m French, I grew up with more nudity and cursing you will probably be exposed to in your lifetime. We don’t have blips on our TV. Sergeant Murtaugh says “I’m too old for this SHIT” and all the Battlestar Galactica characters use fuck, not frac…oh, and you see A LOT of Mel Gibson’s ass. Also, since I grew up in a different language, none of the curse words or embarrassing subjects trigger the feelings of shame they usually would in a english native brain. So I’m all set. Curse all you want. In fact, if you stay in this house too long, I might shock YOU. Seriously.

The drop in tub.

My Kholer Highbridge. Isn’t she nice? Now all she needs is some really big guys and a little cursing.

Bathtub in place with the knee wall

Bam, she’s in. Then the knee wall is built.

The valve

Time for Jeffrey to put in the Kohler valve before the Durock goes up.

So, then I called my tile guy, told him it was all set and he said “I’m gona rock your bathroom tomorrow,” and I got really excited. Yeah! Awesome! I like this guy! and then I realized it was short for Durock. Less exciting.

Categories: Home improvement | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Bathroom remodel – the demolition

Honestly, we had not planned on doing the demo ourselves. We both have been very busy lately, and since I had a carpenter coming to do the tub framing, I thought “why not have him do that too?” But then I saw his estimate and changed my mind. There is really no reason to pay 3 guys $45 an hour to rip shit out and destroy. I can rip shit out and destroy just fine, and it saves me money on therapy .

Here is a before:

The bathroom before destruction

The vanity was easy. After disconnecting the water and drain, placing a rag in the drain pipe and removing the doors and drawers, the whole things came apart just by using a hammer. Piece of cake.

Removing the vanity top

vanity demo

Taking apart the vanity

We found weird writing on the inside. They totally stole my idea of weird messages under wallpaper (see except the execution was poor if you ask me. Go big or go home.


Removing the toilet was also relatively easy. After shutting the water valves flushing once and disconnecting the water, we removed the bolts, the tank and then the bowl.  A little bit of water spilled out on the  floor but nothing that a towel cant fix. Word to the wise, have a empty bucket near by. Also once the toilet is gone, place a rag into the drain to avoid breathing septic fumes. All was left to do is scrape off the old wax ring.

Removing the old wax ring. I probably should be wearing gloves.

I wasn’t sure how to disconnect the fiberglass tub so I called Jeffrey, the Plumber of Last Resort (all caps because it says that on his business card, I swear).

"Someone called a plumber?"

After taking off the shower trim (that’s the part with the handle), he turned two screws (on the top right and the top left) to shut off the water.

Turning the water off to remove the tub stall

After watching some Youtube videos online, I thought I needed a special magic plumber tool to disconnect the drain. Jeffrey used the handles of a pair of channel lock pliers shoved in the drain and a screw driver to make it turn. Genius!

The plumber's magic trick

The floor was a little more involved, multiple layers of  plywood and linoleum on top of the old original hardwood.

Layer number one reveals layer number two

Layer number two reveals old bathroom floor plan on hard wood.

Then it was the turn of the fiberglass tub/shower stall. Now everyone told us that we would need to cut it to get it out, and that it would create evil fiberglass dust that would get everywhere and cut your skin and make you want to rip out your own eyeballs (contractors are drama queens, just saying). Well it is true to some extent but we were very careful. We bought a respirator, a real one, the Darth Vader kind ($35), and a saws-all for $99. Louis got into a Tyvec suit, rubber gloves, I taped up the suit at the wrist and ankles. He wore  a hood and the respirator. He went into the bathroom alone with the fan on and a shop vac.

Removing the nails that hold the tub surround in place

After cutting the tub in manageable pieces, he vacuumed out and wiped down a bunch of the dust. We threw away the rags and the suit, and took the whole shabang to the dump ($16 of dump fees). That’s it. We lived. But not the mouse we found in the wall.

RIP mouse

Categories: Home improvement | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Bathroom remodel – the plan

Believe it or not, picking everything is not the easy part. Especially when you are quite indecisive. Me? …hmm …never. Anyway, I did a tremendous amount of research to plan this bathroom remodel, compiled a lot of information and ended up with this:

My inspiration board

The tub: I wanted cast iron, nothing else. I don’t like the feel of the other stuff, and I wanted the durability and the heat retention capabilities of cast iron. Well, they don’t have a whole lot of choice out there when it comes to cast iron. Here are the best options:

The Villager: the most affordable cast iron tub around, $350, by Kohler. It has an apron front so no need to tile the front. The problem with the Villager is that it is really shallow: 8.6 inches to overflow. 33 gallons capacity. Great to bathe your kids, not so great to bathe yourself.
The Mendota: $800, by Kohler. Apron front. Depth to overflow: 10.8 inches. Better, but still not a great soaking experience. 45 gallons capacity.
The Bellwether: $600, by Kohler. Very slick clean lines. Apron front. Depth to overflow:  11.3 inches, getting there. 44 gallons capacity.
The Tea for two: $1,500, by Kohler. Needs a special drain that cost about $300 to $400.Drop in tub, which means that a carpenter has to built a knee wall which has to be durarocked and tiled (more $$). Depth to overflow: 13.6 inches, nice, the deepest from Kohler. 60 gallons capacity, not so great if you have a 50 gallons water heater.
The Highbridge: $ 1,350, by Kohler. Needs a special drain that costs about $150. Drop in tub (see above). Depth to overflow: 12.8 inches. 50 gallons capacity. The highbridge has a really large front lip to allow built in storage but you can just built a knee wall and tile it if it is also going to be a shower.

I chose the Highbridge. I really wanted those extra inches of soak and it was more affordable than the tea for two. I ordered it through Faucet and it was delivered 5 days later.

The tile: I love glass tiles, love. I had always planned on dimensional glass tile until I saw their price. Holy thinset! It’s $20/sq ft and up, and when I could find tiles for $5-6 per sq ft that are really great, well, I just couldn’t justify the expense. Especially in the bathroom where I needed 77 sq ft for the tub surround and 50 sq ft for the floor. You do the math.

Here are some good affordable choices:

Marble mini hexagon, Crema Marfil: $6.99 sq ft   Tumbled-p/m-hex-cre-t.htm





Lantern white porcelain tile, Merola: $6.95 sq ft





Large multicolor slate floor tile, Daltile: $4.84 sq ft




Penny tiles, Merola: $5.94 sq ft



Ceramic white pebbles, SomerTile: $8.6 sq ft×11-in-Quarry-White-Gloss-Porcelain-Mosaic-Tile-Pack-of-10/4513164/product.html/ 





I went with mat white penny tiles for the tub surround and white ceramic pebbles for the floor.

Vanities:  Vanities are sooooooo expensive. It’s insane. I looked and looked and found a few options I liked at Lowes that could have worked but Louis wasn’t sold on the traditional look. So we went modern with Ikea’s Godmorgon. We bought a 55 inch vanity AND a high cabinet for extra storage, all for $700. And that includes the sink/top! and it looks really slick. So yay for IKEA.

Faucets: For the faucets I did not go with IKEA. I wanted something a little more heavy duty. So I went with Danze D236010 single handle faucet from the Prince Collection for the vanity, and Kohler K-T10581-4P from the Bancroft Series for the shower.

Lighting: Turns out recess lighting is pretty much rocket science and I will be dedicating a full post to what I learned while trying to make sense of it all. Let me just say that I picked halogen compatible gimbal trims and IC rated new construction cans that have yet to be installed.

Art work: A Picasso lithograph that was in my bathroom growing up and that my mom gave me.

Toilet: I almost forgot the toilet! We went with a Sterling Karsten double flush round. It is really nice. It saves a ton of water and also takes less room than the old toilet.

All is picked and planned, now let the work begin….

Categories: Home improvement | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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