Demolition


Need some elbow grease to finish scraping off that mastic.

If  remodeling all starts with a throw pillow, or a pretty Martha Stewart towel rack,or paint colors, or choosing tile, there’s still a lot of stuff in the middle to get through, before any of the fun pretty stuff can get accomplished.

Our basement bathroom remodel started with a sluggish drain, and it is turning into a big deal. And we have kind of a deadline- I go back to school soon, and I will be teaching full time, rather than half, as I have been for the past several years. More money=nice, less time= not so nice.
The clock is ticking.
So, I ripped off the ceramic tile from the walls. At first I was dainty, sliding the scraper under the edge, prying gently, removing it with my other hand and placing it gently into the trash barrel.
Then it got fun. It was loose enough in most places that it would just pop off- whoever applied my tile so many years ago did it the same way they constructed the shower. That is, they did it  half-assedly. There was no grout, and I think it was mastic, rather than thin-set mortar. The mastic comes off the concrete foundation wall pretty easily, but not so much on the drywall. It’s pretty sloppy.

I used the gentlest tool first, and it worked really well- I read a lot of advice on the web that advocated crowbars and stuff, and implied that the best case scenario for most people was replacing the sheet rock. In our case, it popped off pretty easily.
The main tool I used was a scraper- it has removable 4 inch blades, and I found it in the tile section of the home improvement store.
If you are looking at this as a how-to, rather than just an opportunity to laugh at my hapless DIY skills, make sure you wear shoes, and gloves, and probably long pants, and definitely DEFINITELY DEFINITELY EYE PROTECTION. Seriously. There are tiny chips of ceramic flying around. Your eyes are what you see with. Protect them.

The next step was yanking out the dry wall from behind the shower wall. Rotten drywall. Pretty gross. I used a claw hammer to pull it up and break off pieces. About an hour by myself. I’m not complaining about doing it by myself- it is a 5×8 bathroom- I don’t think anyone else could get in there with a hammer without either taking longer, or someone getting hurt.

The next step is mental- the reason the drain was so sluggish was because the hole in the shower pan didn’t line up with the hole in the floor. I need to figure out how to “fur out” the wall so that the backer board can line up with the shower pan.

The book that has been super helpful is Stanley’s Complete Baths– I read it when we were up in the mountains last weekend.  My niece would say, “what are you reading?” and I would say, “shhh, I’m learning how to tile.”

So, we are working through the messy part, and soon will get through to the fun parts, expect more photos!

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Holy Smokes- it worked!


Every picture should tell a story, right? This picture tells the story of the nasty stuff in my shower drain.

Our basement shower has been draining sloooowly for a long time, and when we had the plumber out to look at it, Dave was his name, wearing his cute little booties to protect our rugs, he just shook his head and said there was nothing he could do. Seriously?
We had already tried to snake it, but the problem was, the shower pan drain didn’t overlap with the floor drain- it was a little 3 dimensional Venn Diagram- this side was the water that came down in the shower, and this was the water that pooled up on the floor, and there in the middle, was the water that went down the drain. Gross.

We needed to do something, so I thought about remodeling. For a while. I set up a board on Pinterest, even.
After putting it off most of the summer, I tore out the shower pan last week, and tried the snake again. Not effective. Then I read somewhere that using a wet-dry vacuum would work.
Really? Okay.
It does work- I borrowed my friend Molly’s, and plugged it in, wrapped a rag around the end of the hose and turned it on.
At first, I wondered how you would be able to tell if it was working, then I felt little jerks on the hose, and looked inside the canister. Globs. Nasty globs of, let’s admit it, mostly my hair. And a piece of plastic that the installers had used to bridge the gap between the drain holes.
I poured an exploratory gallon or 2 of water down the drain, and it made contented gurgling sounds. Yea!
Next step, doing something about the decomposing wallboard behind the shower wall. Seriously? Who installed this thing?

The Bathroom Remodel?


I vividly  remember reading this book when I was a kid about a man who buys new shoe strings, then sees how shabby his shoes look in comparison. So, he gets new shoes. Then his suit looks terrible. So he buys new clothes, and gets into his shabby car to drive home, and winds up buying a new car, and a new house. Maybe a new wife- I don’t remember the ending. Anyway, he changes his whole life because of one tiny thing.

That is what I am afraid of with our basement bathroom.

It is terrible.

I took the curtains down to wash, and realized the window frames are corroding there in the wall. In scrubbing the mold off the walls, I have scrubbed the paint off, but repainting means making a decision about the pink tiles that are popping off the walls, and the floor tile that is peeling up. And the shower stall. And the basin- actually, the basin isn’t so bad.

Last week, the drain got clogged, and water started leaking out of We started showering upstairs, where the pressure is terrible.

 

 

The curtains were the “new shoe strings” in this little parable, but beyond new shoe strings, the bathroom really does need work… a lot of work.

People with bathroom remodel experience- what’s next? How much can I do myself? What resources should I go to? Does anyone else remember that book, or what it is called?