Tag Archives: drywall

The Tub Demo

I mentioned last week we had to do a mild demolition of our tub to get the old tiles down – we were hoping we could just chip them off, but it turns out the people who built our house decided, for once, to not do things half-assed and to actually adhere these small tiles quite well to the drywall underneath. Nik was finding he was just denting the drywall in when he tried to chip them off with a pry bar. So he got the Dremel out and cut just outside the tile on each wall. Here’s the tub, (old pic, but you can see the square white tile surround), and after:

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There weren’t any huge issues, other than the studs on the left wall were built up an extra 1/2″ with some plywood so the drywall would reach the tub on one side, but that will be easy to replace when we put the new drywall in.

So, new drywall. We went to Lowe’s last night to buy a sheet of 5/8″ thick drywall, but of course a 4’x8′ board didn’t fit in the car, so here we are cutting it down to size in the Lowe’s parking lot:

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I was envisioning this ending poorly, perhaps because my most recent experience cutting large sheets of things was with the Hardibacker cement board for the shower, which was so difficult to cut. For once, this actually went very smoothly and we had the drywall sheet cut down to fit in the car within about 10 minutes. A simple cut with the razor, breaking the board along the line, and then a razor cut through the paper backing. It’s almost like we’re pros at this! We got home and finished the last few cuts to make the pieces the right size – all that’s left is cutting out a small circle for the faucet, then screwing them into the walls.

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After we get drywall up, we’ll be able to slather on a layer of mortar (we have some left over from the shower), and then lay the tub tile – one row of the 12×24″ tiles, and bullnose to surround it. And then grout. And then patching any exposed drywall seams between the new and old drywall – which will exist, because of course the old tiles went about 1″ further up the wall than one row of our new tile + 1 row of bullnose will go. Speaking of bullnose, I just remembered we forgot to buy those on our Lowe’s run last night…we got excited about the drywall, and apparently that was enough to distract us from our extensive two-item shopping list. All in all, replacing drywall and giving new tile to this tub will probably cost ~$60 at the end of it, which I think is well worth it to not leave behind one part of this renovated bathroom in the 1990s.

In other news, our shower is up and running! We got the faucet in yesterday, and we used it this morning! My only complaint is we had to buy the eco-sense shower head, only because the regular one was out of stock until the end of this week and I didn’t want to wait. And sure enough, it has a pretty weak flow. There might be a way to take out the water restricting device in the shower head, which would work; if not we may switch it out with our old one, or see if we can return it to get the other one when it’s back in stock.

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Also, since we had part of the drywall down around the tub, we toyed with the idea of trying to reach up into the wall to move the valve back from below so the shower handle wouldn’t stick out as far. But, for once, we decided to leave it as it, for fear that we would make a small cosmetic problem into something bigger if we screwed it up.

Gunnar didn’t know quite what to think of the new shower, he just stood awkwardly in the bathroom and watched me while I was using it this morning! I’m pretty sure he was wondering whether there was also peanut butter in this shower, just like there was on the wall of our other shower when we gave him a bath last weekend. Or he was wondering why I hadn’t fed him breakfast yet…we’re pretty confident his thoughts revolve around food approximately 97% of the time.

 

Bathroom Progress

It’s been a little over two weeks since we tore out our bathroom so you’re probably curious about the progress we’ve made. We took a long time thinking about the logistics of this project, so to us it seems like more work has been done than it may appear!

Once we had the room down to the subfloor, we first worked on patching the wall since we had some areas that the drywall had been torn or was uneven. We used a mix of drywall joint compound, regular Spackle, and plaster compound (similar to Spackle but wetter) to patch these areas, and did a fair number of coats with sanding in between to get it just right.

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After talking with a guy who seemed to know his stuff at Lowes, to get the best results on a plywood subfloor we figured out we needed to lay mortar, cement board, mortar, tile, and grout. This was a bit more than we were expecting height-wise (it’ll probably be ~ 1/2″-2/3″ thick when done), and our hardwood floors right outside the bathroom are about 3/8″ thick plus the thin layer of foam, so about 1/2″ total. So we’ll have to think of the best transition piece to use between the two floorings if they’re slightly different heights.

We also learned that we need some sort of device for cutting the tile around the toilet, and decided to spring for a tile wet saw (we got a cheap one on Amazon for $80) combined with tile nippers to make these specific cuts. If we tile a backsplash in the kitchen and eventually tile either or both of the bathrooms upstairs, I think it’ll make this purchase worth it.

So here’s the tile we picked out, for a little less than $2/square foot. Since this room is approximately 15 square feet, and we bought some extra for inevitable mistakes, it was only about $42 for all the tile. It is ceramic, and they’re 12×12 squares. I like that it has a little texture with the striated lines in it, so it won’t be slippery. We picked a gray grout to go between the tiles, and 1/8″ spacers. We’re still debating whether to lay straight lines of the tile (which seems to be trending now) or off set them…

Last weekend we got the cement board cut to size which is done by scoring it with a razor and breaking it. Nik also used a screw set on a piece of wood to trace out a circle for the toilet and punch that out:

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And then this past Saturday Nik finally mixed up some of our mortar, got it spread on the floor with a 1/4″ comb, and maneuvered the 1/4″ cement board into place.

Then Nik screwed the cement board down with cement screws to secure it. And then we waited for it to dry!

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On Monday, UNC had a snow day so I went into work, and Nik stayed home and got 2 coats of our gray paint up. Here’s the paint, if you can get a good impression of the color from this picture (I think its more similar to the left picture, a warmer gray):

You’ll notice we didn’t do the whole vanity wall…I’m thinking I want to do a cool tile back splash on the wall since our vanity doesn’t have a back splash. The vanity will almost go to the wall on each side, so I thought some little accent tiles that will go up around the side of the vanity, and then a few inches above the top of the vanity will add some interest to this room without breaking the bank. Kind of like this, except in our tiny bathroom you’ll see just a hint of tile on either side:

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Our tile saw will show up this week, so I’m anticipating that we can get our floor tile in this weekend, and maybe get this back splash tile picked out so things can keep moving along.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Yard

For this post, I’ll introduce you to our new yard. Nik and I love gardening, and a yard that had some nice trees but also some good sun was important to us. Admittedly, the yard at our new house was not one of the best selling features, but I think it’ll work for us to build a garden that is hopefully pretty and fruitful eventually. With all the work we’ve done cutting back overgrown trees, I also think we’ve gained a fair bit of area which is always good.

I’ll start off with the front yard, which is grassy with two large crepe myrtle bushes on either side of the house. These bushes were way overgrown, so trimming them into an actual tree shape was one of the big tasks out front. Our parents made huge progress on the left bush, here’s the dramatic before and after:

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Then the right bush had some actual trees growing up out of the middle of it, so we invited our friends Lindsey and Dave over with their handy chainsaw and we did a number on this bush as well:

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And here’s the after picture of that bush:

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Next, my dad used his edger to trim back the awful crabgrass encroaching on our sidewalk, curb, and driveway. Here’s a before picture and my dad in action:

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And here’s some after pictures…I think we gained a few inches on every edge!

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In our backyard, the woods were also encroaching and there were tons of big vines hanging down. My parents and Nik’s mom and I worked for hours back there, and these pictures don’t do our work justice because we took down A LOT of brush. You can see the huge brush piles we’ve made, and what a difference it made – we can actually see our woods now and they’re very pretty from the back deck.

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Our playset is still up, and eventually it’ll be taken down. We’re brainstorming some creative projects we can do to use the weathered wood. But Nik had to play in it first, of course.

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Unfortunately, disturbing the trees in the back has unearthed some monsters that need to be dealt with, but also some cute tree frogs:

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Our front shrubs were in need of a trim, which I tackled with a donated hedge trimmer from my parents

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And our grass grows crazy fast – this is only one week after mowing, which I do every weekend:

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We did some upgrades to our deck, some of which I have pictures of. Nik’s dad put our new grill together, and powerwashed the deck – you can literally see the line of dirt that has come off, and it’s looking pretty good now. Nik and his dad also attached a new top railing since the old one was pretty splintery. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of that so you’ll have to imagine it.

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Whew. So much work has been done outside, and it’s looking great! We still need to figure out where to put those huge brush piles, but we just signed up for yard waste bins and they’ll do a big haul away once a year so we’re hoping that’ll take care of most of it.

As for the inside, our floors are coming along decently. We ran into a bit of an issue this last week, which I’ll write about when I do my floor post. The opened-up wall is also coming along great – one more dose of drywall mud and some wet sanding and it should be ready for primer and paint. Here’s measuring to make cuts and putting them in:

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And here’s the (mostly) installed drywall:

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And here’s Nik doing the mudding:

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Now we’re down to the wire. We’re moving in on Monday (5 days!!!) and our to do list is not exactly short. I painted the master bedroom last night, so that might be the last of the painting before we move even though there’s still 2 unfinished bedrooms. The floors are the major thing to get done, but we have an uneven area that needs to be dealt with before we can lay the last 6 or so feet of rows. That’ll be the big task this weekend, that and, oh, just packing up our entire apartment. I always judge TV home improvement shows for always rushing their projects, and I’d rather take my time and do it right, but here we are scrambling to get finished so we can move in!

So next post will be the floors (that will hopefully be finished and even by the end of this weekend!). And then I’d like to nap for a week after we move!