Tuesday, May 12, 2009


click pictures to enlarge So where have I been, you wonder? I started a bathroom remodel project back in January and I found out it is more than I bargained for. I have no plumbing experience or tile experience, for that matter. This project has had my attention for every day off work accept for three since January. The task has become burdensome, frustrating and a tension creator. The dry wall portion of the project was a pain also. I would apply the joint compound and have to wait 12 hours to sand it. Apply and sand. Week after week the same process continued. There was always a spot that needed compound application; and of course sanding 12 hours later. It seemed never ending. I finally stopped fooling with it and started applying tile to the floors and to the walls. The tile are 6"X6" stone tile; all different surface textures. They are extremely porous on the surface and vary in thickness. This porosity caused me major headaches with the grouting process. As I wiped the tile and grout joints with a wet sponge; the grout was smeared over the porous surface causing the grout to adhere to the porosity on the face of the tile. This would have to be removed from each tile after it dried with a fine wire brush and steel wool. Presently the tile are dirty and will be wiped with tile cleaner. The photos will show a haze on the surface. The toilet rebuild went well and fit the reconstructed waste pipe and closet trap perfectly. I really thought I would have a problem with that fitment but, didn't. However; there is a serious set back. The bathtub plumbing went well. The project was nearing the final hours. I turned on the water and there was no hot water. coming out of the water spout. I had no idea how to adjust the water valve that supplies hot and cold water to the tub. I did call Home Depot and gained information pertaining to adjusting the hot water gate in the valve. Great! The plumbing is done and now I have to access two slotted adjusters that now lie tight against the tiled wall on the back side. I drilled several holes in a row and chiseled away pieces of tile and backer board to allow access to the adjusting screws. Why the factory didn't set these during production I'll never know. I turned the adjuster for the hot water and water started spraying out behind the adjuster. Oh no! That's it! That's it! I'm done. Call a pro plumber time. I had to cut the hot and cold water lines and put caps on them so the water could be turned on in the house. I hate to do something and then have to tear it apart and redo it later again. I believe the word is frustration. Now, I enjoy building things from wood. I like the accuracy of it. Wood working is exact. I know what I need to do in order to get from point A to point Z. But this plumbing, tile, Spackle junk is like working with a puzzle and not knowing what I'm supposed to see when its done, and no idea how to get there. I feel bad about not being able to adjust that water situation but, then, I told the person who asked me to do it that I am not skilled at plumbing or dry wall for that matter. One other point I'd like to make is that the process of building something like a bathroom calls for a lot of personal input from the installer. Start here with full tile and end here with full tile. It's difficult to ascertain how the owner will view decisions pertaining to final visual results. What is suitable to the person putting the tile on may not be satisfactory to the person who has to live with it. One thing for sure. I'll never do another bathroom. Ever! Everything is some kind of kit, or erector set, tricky kind of part with specific applications to the install. I'll give you a tip. When installing water faucets on anything; buy a water valve that has a hot valve and a cold valve. That way the hot water pipe simply goes onto the hot water valve and the cold pipe goes onto and is regulated by the cold water valve. Simplicity! Single lever or handle units all have complex water regulators that require a skilled plumber to adjust. A hot spigot and a cold spigot; easy. Some photos follow if you care. It is a great looking bathroom though. Here is a look into the bathroom from the adjoining wash/closet room. Note the wall and passageway. Here's another view into the bathroom The wall separating the wash/closet room was removed. The old bathtub was made of fiberglass and had a fiberglass surround. I cut the surround and the tub in six pieces with a circular saw and removed them from the room. The toilet was ripped off the floor and the closet drain saw off even with the floor. It would later be prepared for the inclusion of the new closet drain. This is the old closet drain that the toilet sets upon. I cut the drain flange off with a hack saw and filed the inside edge down. This procedure will allow the new drain parts to fit inside the old plastic drain. The new bathtub was moved into place and leveled perfectly. The studs on the walls were straightened or removed and replaced. Backer board would be installed on the studs and everything had to be perfectly level and strait. Tile will not bend and the tile will be cemented to the backer board. I then screwed the backer board onto the studs that surround the bath tub Next the backer board is screwed onto the underlayment of the floor. Below is the fitment of the backer board to the edge of the bathtub The backer board was measured for the closet drain before it was attached to the floor Bingo! The cut hole matched up perfectly to the toilet drain. The water supply valve for the toilet was pitched. A new one would be installed The backer board is now applied to the bathtub and the floor. Almost ready for the tile Note the sanded joint compound. The tile installation begins. Note the soap dish in the corner A better shot of front of the tub Fitment of the tiled wall to the wash cabinet Look closely and you will see a baseboard made of tile. I cut tile in half and set them flat against the tile on the wall touching the floor. Remember the hole that was cut in the backer board for the toilet drain. Here is the new closet drain with the bolts that attach to the toilet A gasket made of wax is applied to the toilet bowl to match up to the floor closet drain. This will totally seal off the possibility of gasses and liquid from escaping from the drain. And here is the toilet install onto the new closet drain The old parts to the toilet water tank were ripped out and pitched onto the lawn. And replaced with these new flashy, modern parts. The additional height of the backer board and the tile combination raised the bathroom floor higher than the adjoining room's floor. A threshold will be created to eliminate this situation. Grout is then applied to all the tile joints A granite table top was applied to the old wash cabinet and an external metal, antique wash bowl and spout installed. The tile was continued around the back of the cabinet to form a splash guard This open entrance leads from the bathroom to the bedroom It now sports a set of new oak French doors. Note the neat mantle surrounding the fireplace to the right. Yep; one of my creations So there it is. That's where I have been. Not too many boat rides and no motorcycle rides. All that is soon to change. The canoe is going out tomorrow as a matter of fact. Stay tuned for more fantastic adventures filled with daring do's. This bathroom has been a chore for me. I learned as I went and there wasn't anyone around to ask or show me how. That's why it has taken so long. I did the best I could with it and I hope the owner is happy so far. Until next time---------stay cool!