Tag Archives: shower

Shower Doors…and More Demo

The last few weeks Nik and I (well, mostly me) have hemmed and hawed about what faucet set will be most compatible with our shower, and we’ve made some new discoveries, and had some set backs. We did determine that we have a Moen posi-temp valve that is already there, and we also determined we’re not willing to cut through the wall to replace it! So we have several options at this point: we can use a universal kit we got that is made by Pfister and that should work, but it protrudes pretty far from the wall because of our valve placement and it isn’t as nice looking as some of the other sets. This isn’t completely installed, but this is what the ‘protrusion’ would look like with the universal set…not impossible, but not ideal:

Now that we know we have a Moen valve, we started looking more closely at Moen products, and found a line that we like (Brantford) that also sells individual components which we thought would be useful for replacing the tub hardware without having to buy another complete set (spout, shower head, and dial) as well.

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Our tub spout turns out to be somewhat not standard (surprise!), so we did have to order a couple other tub spouts to try (Delta and Kohler make one that should work in theory…whether the metal finishes match the Moen ones perfectly is unlikely but Moen doesn’t make a compatible spout that isn’t chrome). So we ordered all the parts (shower head and temperature dial for the shower, temperature dial and tub spout for the tub) and then started pulling the tub apart yesterday (1 hour after ordering) and realized that the tub  temperature control dial HAS A DIFFERENT STUPID VALVE THAN THE SHOWER!

Soooo…we should be set on the shower when those kits come in this week, but the tub will still take some troubleshooting to find a valve dial that works with it. This part of the project has honestly taken longer to figure out than tiling our floor and shower. If only the contractors that built our house used standard, matching plumbing and fixtures, we could’ve been done with this 2 months ago!

In other news, while we were disassembling the old tub faucet parts, we also started removing some of the square white tiles around the tub – we’re planning to do a quick cosmetic tile update around the tub to match the shower tile. Well, the little white tile squares didn’t come off neatly so we ended up just cutting out all the drywall attached to the tile around the tub so we’ll need to replace that drywall, then tile over it. We thought the demolition for this bathroom was done, but we were wrong.

All that aside, we do have some fun progress to show you! We got the remainder of our walls painted this weekend, and got the shower doors installed! Despite the doors being super heavy (about 75lbs each), we got them in with relatively little hassle and I think they look amazing. We selected Dreamline Encore 48″ frameless sliding door in brushed nickel, which set us back about $450. Here’s the Home Depot stock photo:

DreamLine Encore 44 in. to 48 in. x 76 in. Framed Bypass Shower Door in Brushed Nickel

We thought about using a hinged door for a hot second…but the reviews were much worse for those types of doors, the installation seemed a lot trickier, and they were a couple hundred dollars more expensive. I read a few reviews for these sliding doors and everyone loved them and had an easy time installing them, so that made our decision easy. The hardest part about installing these was drilling 4 screws into the tile to secure the top bar. Nik did a great job with this, but it took him about 2 hours to get those 4 screws through a layer of porcelain tile, mortar, and cement board.

Here’s the finished product:

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In other news, we got a mini-Christmas tree this year to avoid any potential dog destruction:

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Luckily, Gunnar has shown very little interest in the tree. We’ve started leaving him loose out of the crate for about a week now while we’ve been at work, which has gone splendidly for the most part. His one goofy transgression was consuming an ENTIRE banana, peel and all, that Nik mistakenly left on the coffee table. We only figured this out because Nik found a small portion of the stem left behind on Gunnar’s bed, then we realized what had happened. Lesson learned. But really, who couldn’t forgive that sweet face? Gunnar has managed to carve himself a perfect little niche in our family, and I have to say that snuggling with him is just the best thing ever!

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So Close, Then So Far

Well, we had good intentions when we were hoping to have our entire bathroom (shower included) functional by Thanksgiving. I mean, all we really had left to do was some trim installation and popping the new shower faucet hardware on this weekend. We should’ve known better that many things don’t just “pop” on, and this turns out to be the case for our shower faucet dial.

You know what I’m talking about – changing something that looked like this:

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Into a more updated one like this:Image result for pfister ladera

You would think that the old one comes off with some hidden screws (this was true), and then the new one fits into the standard plumbing that is under the old one and voila, updated hardware. WRONG.

Apparently almost every shower valve is unique to each brand of shower dial, and even if you use the same brand but the first one was 20 years old, they likely won’t be compatible. How do you fix this? You need to access the pipes, cut the old valve and surrounding piping out, reattach new copper piping to the new valve, install the new valve mounted to the studs under the wall, then weld those new pipes to the old ones (called ‘sweating the pipes’ as I found out, or you can buy fancy connectors that allow you to snap the pipes together). Home Depot has a very thorough video detailing this process, which was useful, but caused my anxiety to rise with each passing second as I realized what a big job this can be:

https://www.google.com/search?q=install+bathroom+shower+faucet&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8#kpvalbx=1

Fortunately, Nik seems somewhat confident that he can do these things (one of the reasons I love him!), but the one complication is that WE JUST TILED OVER THE PIPES. So now we’re faced with cutting a hole in the drywall directly behind the shower wall (over the tub) to perform this surgery.

We did get a plumber to come over just to advise us and we’re waiting on the quote, but I think we’re going to end up trying to do this ourselves since I’m assuming it’ll be at least a couple hundred dollars to hire someone. We did look back at old pictures from when the wall was open, and realized that the two water lines leading into the old valve are plastic, so there will be only one copper line to cut and reattach which is the one that leads up to the shower head (the shower plumbing is off to the right in these pics – the plumbing that is straight ahead is actually for the bathtub in our guest bathroom):

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We actually have two options at this point, both of which will probably involve cutting into the wall. If we use the faucet set that matches our sink faucets (Pfister Ladera Trim Kit), this will require a totally new valve to be installed (so all the steps I listed above). But, we also ordered a “universal” faucet kit that is coming in the mail today, and that one supposedly is compatible with many types of valves and I believe our old valve pictured here will work with it:

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It still looks nice, but wouldn’t totally match the sink faucets. But, even for that kit I’m about 95% certain we’ll still need to open the wall to recess the old valve back into the wall about 1/2″ since our new tile is not as deep as the fiberglass insert that was there previously – you can kind of see the line where the wall used to hit the valve in this side picture:

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Might be an easier job that replacing the whole valve system, but if we’re going into the wall anyways, we might as well put in the hardware set we like better! We’ll make our final assessment tonight once we have both faucet sets to compare. The two kits were comparably priced, around $105-125, and include the shower head, temperature dial, and a tub spout, which we won’t use, so we’ll just cap off that connection on the valve.

Another annoying thing about this is that we now know we’ll have to do the same thing to replace the tub hardware in the master bathroom, meaning we’ll have to make an even larger hole in the wall to reach that plumbing (it’s in the same wall as the shower plumbing, just lower down). Still blows my mind that switching these fixtures out is so complicated…

Anyway, we did make progress elsewhere this weekend while waiting for that other faucet set to arrive today. I got the shower area all cut in with paint, but we’ll probably wait to fill in the larger areas with a paint roller once we’re all done with repatching the drywall hole to access the plumbing. Nik and I installed the baseboard trim and quarter round for the rest of the room. I got it all caulked last night and filled the nail holes – now all that’s left is the touch up paint! Trim is amazing – these are before and after pictures and the trim is about the only difference, but it makes the room look so much more finished:

I also finished the last few remaining sections on the sink that needed caulking:

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Last night we moved back in to start using this sink so all we’ll have to share with my family in the other bathroom is the shower. Not too bad, and I might even convince Nik and my dad to busy themselves working on this shower plumbing adventure to remove them from the Thanksgiving kitchen madness!

Shower Progress

I was looking back through my summer calendar, and almost laughed out loud when I saw that this renovation was scheduled to be completed in July. HAHA. Makes me laugh again. Sadly, we are still working on this bathroom. Which is partly our fault, since we’ve had plenty of weekend days we just didn’t FEEL like doing work on it, so we didn’t. Fortunately, the light at the end of the tunnel became a lot brighter last weekend with the installation of the shower door, and now most of what’s left is purely cosmetic.

The most difficult part of finishing up the shower has been patching the space between the tile and the drywall, since the cement board under the drywall (the red and darker grey area) was about 1/8-1/4″ thinner than the surrounding drywall:

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This has meant applying a thin coat of joint compound, sanding till smooth, then repeating approximately 932 times:

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I think it is ALMOST there – maybe 1 more coat this weekend, and we’ll be ready for wall paint. We got all the door framing up last weekend, including about 2 hours that it took for Nik to drill 4 holes through hard porcelain tile (and the mortar and cement board underneath it!). After all that drilling, we forgot to take a picture of Nik’s perfect drill holes, but we did take one of the final frame installation:

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We haven’t actually put the doors on yet, just to make the sanding/painting part easier, but at this point it’s just lifting the door panels into place when we’re ready for them:

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Nik also finished caulking and installing the shower drain the other weekend, so that is all done:

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Another problem we had to tackle was figuring out how to caulk between the shower pan and the first row of tiles. This was fine on the right side of the shower, where this gap was a perfectly caulkable size of about 1/8″ thick. However, this gap was significantly larger on the left side of the shower, closer to 1/2″. We couldn’t come up with a better strategy for filling it, so I just squirted in several thick layers of clear silicone caulk. It seems successfully filled at this point, but when clear caulk is that thick, it’s not really very clear.

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Once the door is in place, I’m sure it won’t be noticeable. We’ll just have to clean it regularly and maybe replace it every year if icky stuff grows on it.

Next up is attaching the faucet hardware, which we need to pick up from the store. We’ll probably match the sink hardware, unless we find a set that has a hose attached to the shower head that looks decent. Our new greyhound, Gunnar, appears to lack all sense of agility and grace, so we’re thinking that future baths will probably be way easier in a walk-in shower vs having to help him navigate his bony, long, awkward legs over a tub wall. So it could make more sense to put a hose shower head in there, and they do make some pretty nice looking ones now. Here’s those long, bony legs I’m talking about!

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After those tasks are done, the last few things will be installing the remaining floor trim around the shower and the adjoining walls, which is already painted and ready to go. Although Gunnar doesn’t like people in driveways a hundred yards away, he seems to have no fear of loud noises or power tools, so he’s been extremely tolerant of, if not interested to the point of being annoying, in our bathroom renovation. He’ll probably love the air compressor and nail gun for installing the trim!  We also need to fashion some type of threshold for the room. Once we’re done with those things, we can move back into the bathroom, and at that point we’ll also assess if we want to do any sort of cosmetic tiling around the tub to tie it into the room, and the accent wall I had envisioned behind the tub. This tiling will be a lot easier than the shower tiling since the cosmetic tiles can go right over the existing drywall.

Well, the count down to the end has begun. We’re hosting my family for Thanksgiving this year, so with extra people in the house, this puts a hard deadline on us to get this renovation wrapped up!

Back to the Bathroom!

When we started our master bathroom renovation, the big goal was to have it completed by the time we went on our trip, since Nik would be going to back to teaching soon after returning. Well, we didn’t quite make the deadline but we’re back at it in earnest, so I’m hoping within the next few weekends this project really starts to wrap itself up.

When we left for vacation, we were in the middle of the frustrating cement board installation on the shower walls:

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It was going very slowly, and we were really struggling to get the cement board to break in the right places – it can’t really be “cut”, so you’re supposed to “easily score and snap it”, according to the website. But, it’s 1/2″ thick cement fiber board, and unfortunately, neither of us is the Hulk.

But this past Saturday, refreshed and renewed, we got back at it, and began using a revised method of breaking the 1/2″ thick concrete boards by raising the desired part up off the ground on some 2×4’s, with the part we were planning to break off in the air, and then stomping on the break point that we scored with a blade. This worked about 90% of the time, and we were even able to use a modification of this method to bust out a circle using some scoring and a hammer to  go around the shower faucet.

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I think the big difference was moving the boards outside…where I wasn’t worried about what was under them. Previously, we’d been attempting to do this in the bathroom, over the newly tiled floor, so I think we were being overly delicate. Anyways…

We got the boards mounted and screwed reasonably well into the studs with the alkali resistant Hardi screws. A few of the screws crumbled edges of the board, but nothing bad enough to not move forward. Seeing all the pieces in place after finishing (and no more studs to be seen!) was such a refreshing sight! It made me feel like a legitimate contractor (if I ignored the fact that this single part of the project took us about a month and a half to do). So that was Saturday.

On Sunday, we ran some errands in the morning and ended up at Home Goods looking at mirrors. Nik has been worried about reinstalling our old huge mirror because he felt it would be hard to mount safely, plus building a nice frame around it would take time and I think we’re both about ready to be through with this project. We found some nice sized simple mirrors for $80 each, so we bought two to mount side by side. When I saw how excited Nik was at this purchase, I felt bad that I haven’t been giving him more breaks like this! We also got the sink backsplash affixed to the wall, and I sealed the doors with polycrylic. To fully wrap up the sink area, we need to mount the mirrors, caulk around the backsplash, install the doors and attach the pulls, and line the cabinets with new liners, most of which are easy jobs that we can get done this weekend:

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Later on Sunday, Nik got to work on some of his lesson planning for teaching, and I got to work mixing up a small batch of mortar to patch the shower seams. This involved smearing mortar on the seam, embedding a a 2″ strip of alkali resistant tape, and smoothing it over. I can’t remember if I mentioned our shower niche, but it’s that black thing:

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Close-up of the tape:

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Now that this is done and dry, the next step will be waterproofing everything by rolling on 1-2 coats of red guard membrane, which we may begin to tackle tonight. The next step is mortar and tile, which I can’t wait for!

The Master Bath Renovation: The Starting Point

Nik’s parents were supposed to be visiting for the next two weekends, but their plans got pushed off until early July, so we no longer have an excuse for not starting our master bathroom renovation! I’ve been itching to start this project (is it normal to feel antsy if I haven’t demo-ed something ugly in our house within the last 6 months?), so I’m ready to go! Plus, this time around we have a whole week’s notice (since the change of visit plans) before deciding to rip a bathroom down to the sub floor….last time this happened, it was approximately 10 minutes from decision to demo!

We haven’t actually started anything yet…in fact we haven’t even gone to the store to look at color schemes and tile options, but I have some vague ideas in mind. Here is a picture of our bathroom layout:

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We wanted to move things around (move shower to tub area, relocate toilet to shower area) but we decided it wasn’t worth the investment for the price range of our home. So this project will hopefully be all cosmetic, unless we find issues when things are removed.

Overall, we’ll be refurbishing our current vanity and adding a new top, sinks, and faucets in addition to raising it off the ground on feet to make it adult height (these are old pictures, but you get the idea).

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We’ll be tiling the floor, and painting the walls. And finally we’ll be ripping out our full shower insert and replacing it with a shower pan, tiled walls, a new glass door, and new hardware.

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Do you notice everything is so blah and neutral its hard to even tell the floor from the wall from the tub from the shower in that picture? Our awful garden tub will stay since removing and replacing that will be an expensive pain, but to dress it up, we may built an encasement around it (something like this) and update the faucet and tile above it. It is currently off white, meaning our new shower pan might also have to be off white to match, which I think I’m ok with. Stark white in a bathroom means more need to clean all the time!

So here is the actual planned order of events. We wanted to get this down on paper so we could make a very rough timeline and budget, so I’ll add those details to each bullet point.

Demo (planning to do this over the next couple weekends; cost: free!)

  • Remove toilet, vanity, mirror, and quarter round floor trim
  • Remove linoleum and underlayment, shower doors, and shower insert

Installing the “underparts” of the shower: we assume we will replace whatever is under the shower insert with cement backer board, followed by some sort of waterproofing application (there are actual membranes like Schluter membrane or paint-on options). Then the shower base pan will be added and fitted to the drain. Hopefully no replacement of subfloor will be required, but if there is any water leakage or moldy spots we may need to do some replacing. We’d like to have this done by the first weekend in June.

  • Cut and install cement board ($60 for boards and cement screws)
  • Install shower pan and fit to base plumbing (~$200 for pan)
  • Seal all seams and waterproof the walls/seams (not sure what product we’re using yet, I’ll assume it won’t be cheap! $150)

Next up will be tiling the floor. We’ll be using Schluter Ditra underlayment which is pricey, but it’s a lightweight foam alternative to using heavy cement board. Since our bathroom previously had lightweight linoleum, we don’t want to stress our floors out too much by adding a new, heavy, weight to the second floor. Then tile, then grout. We’re thinking some sort of gray tile, since we generate a lot of dust and hair, which I never clean in a timely manner. We’d love to have this done by mid June.

  • Coat floor with thin-set mortar and lay out underlayment ($200)
  • Apply mortar and lay tiles ($300)
  • Grout tiles ($30)
  • Reattach quarter round trim around floor ($30)

Install toilet and vanity. The installation is easy, but we need to find time to refurbish the vanity as well. Hopefully on weekday evenings we’ll be making progress on the vanity, which will include sanding/painting, and adding a new base with legs. We’ll need to identify a company to install a new counter and sinks, and after that Nik will probably attempt the faucet install himself.  If we could get this done by early July, that would be awesome, but you know how things go…

  • Sand, prime, paint vanity
  • Mount on a new base ($15)
  • Attach legs ($40)
  • Relocate to bathroom; counter/sink/faucet installation ($500)
  • Vanity backsplash ($100)
  • Vanity mirror and light (eventually, we’ll estimate a cost of $200)
  • Reinstall old toilet (free!)

And the final major project is finishing the shower. This will include applying mortar, tiling, grouting, installing hardware, and installing new glass doors. We’re thinking some sort of light gray/cream tone tile for the shower – something that matches the gray floor, but lighter. Our goal is to have this done by the end of July (plus anything else that’s not done yet – I’m sure we’ll be behind schedule!).

  • Apply mortar then tiles to waterproofed cement board ($200)
  • Grout tiles
  • Add new hardware ($120)
  • Install glass door ($500 – turns out these are really expensive!!) We’re still deciding between a pivot glass door or a sliding one. I was thinking pivot, but they all have pretty abysmal reviews and are slightly more expensive, but the sliding doors like this one and this one have fantastic reviews…so this may sway my decision.
  • Paint walls ($30)
  • Someday install crown molding? We have extra left over in the garage…(free!)

If we do the tub, a very rough cost for tiles, a new faucet, and if we build a encasement would be about $250.

So that brings our very rough total, if we include the tub to a little under $3000. Then there will be expenses like new towel racks, rugs, etc. to make the space look nice. I was generous on some of the amounts since we have no idea what tiles, counters, fixtures or anything that we’re picking yet, but I feel like that is a reasonable budget. If we can find ways to save money along the way, even better!

This was a long post, and not many pictures. But once this project is underway there will be plenty of progress pictures to share!