Hall Bath Renovation {Post #2} - Details & AFTER PHOTOS!

Hello, I'm back with the post all about how we redid our Hall Bath. For more info on this renovation check out my first post in the series here. In this post I'll try to reveal some of the details of how we got from here:

to here:

Bathtub Selection. There are about 50 in-stock bathtubs at a big box store to choose from. We had no idea how to choose the right one when we went to buy one for the Hall Bath. And then my very practical and wise husband, Dave, pointed out that we should just climb into the floor models and try them out. I have to admit that it feels extremely odd climbing into a bathtub in the middle of a Lowe's store with your clothes on and no water, but it works! You'd be surprised at the HUGE differences between bathtubs! We ended up choosing the widest, deepest tub available in stock at the time - this one. I think it was about $240.

{As a side note, a year later I chose a tub/shower combination like this one for our Master Bath. I'm very disappointed. We wanted an all-in-one tub/shower and this was the widest, deepest that I found in the store but it is not near as roomy as the Hall Bath tub that we chose. In the end it is not all that enjoyable to even take a long soak in the Master bathtub...When going to the trouble of putting in a new bathtub or shower be sure you get something you absolutely LOVE.}

Plumbing. So, back to the Hall Bath renovation, before Patrick headed back to his home 3 hours away, we took full advantage of his vast knowledge of all things plumbing related. He helped Dave to re-plumb the bathtub drain {which involved lots of crawling around in the nasty crawl space...ugh!}, sweat the copper pipes together for the new shower head, and install the new bathtub faucet. Here's a photo of Dave attaching the pipes to the new tub. {Side Note: Do not sit a new bathtub on top of your piano bench. It leaves scratches...part time piano teaching wives do not appreciate this...}

Patrick was very proud of his sturdy copper pipe installation. The old copper pipes for the bathtub faucet were not strapped to the studs and held secure in any way so they could move freely. Not cool...Here he is demonstrating how you can push and pull on the pipes and they don't move anymore.

{Please note the new insulation that I helped install between the studs. This was an added bonus of gutting the bathroom. The blown in insulation that had been in the walls had all settled to the floor resulting in a very drafty bathroom so we now had the opportunity to update that. I was proud to be participating in the project in some way...see, look how happy I was!}

Electrical. Next we decided to go ahead and install the ceiling fan/light. We had never had one of these. So the process involved cutting a hole in the ceiling to fit the box necessary for the fan. Then we vented it into the attic. And Dave had to go up in the hot attic and run wires to it and back down to a switch just inside the doorway. I remember being absolutely amazed that my husband could do this and wondering why we had lived in the house 6 years before he put a ceiling light in this bathroom. The change was absolutely amazing! I love well lit spaces. Especially bathrooms and kitchens. Zero eye strain here.

We had to cut a second hole in the drywall right inside the door for a double gang outlet (I wanted to be sure we could plug in his toothbrush, shaver, my blow dryer and curling iron all at the same time) and the current double gang switch box would now house 3 switches (1 switch for the fan, 1 for the ceiling light and 1 for the vanity light).

Here they are installed.

Drywall. Dave's friends Aaron & Jason came over one evening and helped hang the new sheets of drywall (we ended up re-drywalling the entire bathroom because we already had to do about 75% of it due to water damage and it was going to be next to impossible to make the remaining 25% look nice after our attempts at removing the wallpaper...hhh...) We hung backer board in the shower area since it could potentially be exposed to water and we were planning to tile over it.

Once the drywall and backer was all screwed in, we taped all the joints with mesh tape and mudded over them 3 times with the drywall mud that's already mixed up in a big bucket, tapering out as much as possible with each round of mudding.

Dave went ahead and installed the trim around the window when the mudding was done so that we would know where to start and stop the tile surround. {Yes, we have the infamous window in the shower dilemna... But tiling the surround allowed us to work around it and we caulked and caulked this area to avoid water damage issues in the future.}

Tiling. And then Dave's brother Patrick came back for a fun-filled Fourth of July weekend of tiling. Thankfully he had some tiling experience to share with us. But surprisingly it was not as hard as we had imagined. Here's the process in a nutshell:
  1. Slather mortar (which you can buy pre-mixed in a bucket or the mix yourself powder kind in a bag) on the back of the tiles (or directly to the wall, but we found it's easier to get it about the same thickness by putting it right on the tiles)
  2. Stick the tiles onto the wall or floor, position them with tile spacers and then let that dry
  3. Remove the spacers and grout the joints.
  4. Later you should seal the tiles.
Do all this according to directions on bags/boxes. And be sure to use caulk (which is more flexible than grout) rather than grout around the edges (for example, between the tiles and tub where there will be shifting and grout would just crack).

I believe this photo below shows what we had done after a long weekend of tiling, eating and talking with Patrick. (Food is ALWAYS involved in this family.)

{Side Notes: We used painters tape to hold the soap trays in place until the mortar holding them up dried. Also, we have since realized that we made an error in the floor tiling process. We chose to tile directly onto the wood subfloor to save a step rather than using backer board underneath the tile. After 2 years of the wood floor contracting and expanding, the grout is cracking and needs to be repaired. We believe the backer board would have eliminated this problem.}

And the rest of that summer was filled with a lot of really late nights of me and Dave tiling. This is a frustrated Dave around 2 a.m. one hot summer night when he just wanted me to hand him a tile I'd just cut to fit rather than take a picture. They say if your marriage can survive remodeling then it can survive pretty much anything.

Here's Dave, still tiling...

Looking back, the reason this tiling project took so long is not only that it was our first project but that we also chose one of the most complicated projects. We chose small 6" tiles that were cut on 45 degree angles along with other accent tiles. This resulted in nearly every tile being cut to fit some special way. Using 12" x 12" tiles would have saved many hours. In fact, that's what we ended up doing in our master bath the next summer. But still, the end result was gorgeous.

Grout. Finally, we moved onto the grout. I was adamant that we choose a darker grout color so that we would not have to scrub our grout lines forever and ever in the future to keep them looking nice and clean. Turns out that was a great choice for someone with Indiana well water. Here it pretty much looks like tar but it dried much lighter!

For someone who hates messes, this was pretty daring for Dave to do...

And here we are on our 7th Wedding Anniversary celebrating an almost done bathroom (about 3 months after the project began...)

Toilet. At this point, all we had left to do was set the old toilet back in place. This was the only thing we planned to reuse (however we planned to swap out the wood grain seat with a nice white one...) 

However, the old toilet had a hairline crack in it and when we tried to tighten it back down on the new wax ring the bottom of the toilet broke off. We turned the water back on to test it, but it began leaking all over the place. Out it came and back to Lowe's we went to buy a new toilet. We really had wanted to reuse our old toilet as we had seen my parents purchase a new low flow toilet in the 90s and only have headache after headache with it. But since our old one was not reusable we were forced to buy a new one. 

In the end, that was the best $120 we spent on the entire project. Our new toilet, the Kohler Wellworth, has a 4 star (our of 5) flush rating at Lowe's. Dave likes to say that you can "flush with confidence" with this new toilet. It works incredibly well and we have yet to deal with 1 clog 2 years later. TMI probably, I know. But it's the truth!

Here's the finished bathroom:

I purchased the shower curtain from Home Goods for like $9.99. And the vinyl insert for just $4.99. Home Goods is now my only source for shower curtains. I later got a tan rug from Home Goods as well. Gotta love that place.

Here's a nice shot of the new sink with tiled backsplash, lighting and medicine cabinet. We also installed a brushed nickel train rack (from Target) over the toilet for towels. It comes in handy when guests are visiting and using the bathroom. No searching around for towels.

And here's one last shot of the bathroom before renovation to remind you what we started with. Even though we went WAY over budget, I love our new bathroom and wouldn't EVER go back.

Do any of you have fun bathroom renovation stories? Are we the only ones who've ever grossly under-budgeted a project?
I'm participating in this party over at Homemaker on a Dime:


DIY said...

I found you on Mustard Ceiling. We just finished our 1/2 bath remodel. We didn't really go too far out of budget, but we ended up way over our heads thanks to some poorly painted wallpaper from our houses prior owners. Your makeover looks great!

Katie said...

Thanks DIY. I think I found you on Mustard Ceiling as well. Is your blog called "DIY Theory"? If so, great job on your bathroom too! What an adventure these projects can be, huh?

Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

Well done!! I know bathrooms are a lot of work and tile is A LOT of work especially!! Yours came out beautiful~ Would love if you would come share at Feathered Nest Friday! :)

SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime said...

Absolutely lovely! Really appreciate you linking up this great bath post at the Roomspiration blog party. Btw, I am admiring all your creativity in your blog so may I invite you also to join us at Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop? Hope to see you there at the party :)

Ann said...

Nice job! Wish I had some handy guys round here- Lucky gal!

Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

Just stopping back by to say thanks for linking this up at Feathered Nest Friday! :)

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