Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Building A Bathroom Shower

Like I said Tuesday I will be publishing some posts written June 2009 on our hall bathroom. I am so glad I wrote these posts while everything was fresh on my mind. I have forgotten so much already and we have had to refer to these posts several times. Hopefully they help someone in the same situation!

The most time consuming project in the bathroom was demoing and building the shower.

This is the best before picture I have of the shower, but you get the picture white 4x4 tiles with dirty grout, some of the tiles were even coming off the wall.

After the demo was all done and before the dust settled, more was made. Our house looked like there was smoke coming out of all the windows and doors we had made such a mess with the grinder. Funny now, then not so much.

After HAND chiseling the walls for 2 weeks, going through a mortar bed and concrete plaster we mostly Eric got them down to this. We did use a grinder to get off some of the mortar/plaster but the hand chisel method worked best.

Once all of the mortar and plaster was off of the concrete block walls, we coated it with a special water sealer. It was dark purple and it looked like what Gumby is made of. You can never waterproof too much, we waterproofed that bathroom 5 times before it was over!

One of the best parts about getting a new shower, if you are over 5' tall you will be able to stand under the shower head! Eric raised the shower head about a foot.

We put Portland cement thinset on the concrete blocks then adhered the backer board to the walls. Since the backer board was secured to the wall with portland cement, we didn't have to use as many screws as usual.

All of the backer board is up and it went a lot easier than we expected. We thought we would have to use 2 pieces in some areas since the previous mortar bed was so thick and feather them together but we didn't. Major relief!

After the backer board was up, we went over it with 2 coats of the purple water sealer. Then Eric taped and put thinset over the backer board joints. And finally we were able to tile.

The tile was pretty easy after we figured out the math part. I put up the tile and E cut the corner pieces. We used a brace to keep the tile from sagging and left it up overnight just to be safe. The next day we finished the tile below the brace.

After the tile was set for a couple of days, it was time to grout. The decision of grout color wasn't an easy one to me. I decided to go with dark grout. The color I chose is Woodsmoke by Prospec. I didn't want black or gray, so the WS is a grey with a brown undertone, just like our walls. We caulked the corner seams (after this picture) and used silicone at the tub/tile joint then went over it with caulk to match.

Since we didn't change the fittings on our faucet and handles, we had to reuse the old ones which was very disappointing because they are UGLY. But when we have a chance we will do the necessary work to be able to change the fixtures.

Our tub was sagging. I don't even remember why now, but don't worry it isn't about to fall through the floor. As a result our tiles weren't perfectly level on the bottom row. If our caulk line had been white, I don't think you would have noticed but since it was dark it looked really bad.

But we were in a hurry to get the project finished because we had a kitchen in the same demolished shape and company coming so we left it with an uneven caulk line.

Remember the tub,

It wasn't that bad when we bought the house but we used that tub to clean out paint brushes so it got pretty bad. We weren't too worried about it because we thought we would have NuBath come out and just take care of it. Nope that was going to cost $6k for the most basic unit. Um ok no thanks.

So instead we bought the reglaze kit from Lowes. I had heard good and bad things but for $40 why not. I put the reglaze on myself. That was all fine and dandy for about a year. Then we had one bubble come up and it was all over. We scrapped every bit of reglaze off (not fun in case you were wondering). And called Miracle Method to come out and professionally reglaze the tub.

And since we were reglazing the tub we decided it would be the perfect time to redo the bottom row of tile. Eric decided to run the tile vertical instead of horizontal and it was the perfect choice. Much easier to cut instead of cutting slivers off at a time and it looks like a border, instead of a mistake.

before reglaze & after!

I still haven't found a shower curtain that I want. I need one that is 84" long and they are a little hard to find. So in the mean time (going on 2 years) I made one out of extra wide quilt backing and painted a little charlie brown stripe across the bottom with wall paint.

A couple of tips:

**This was our first shower project. We aren't experts but we read the books and learned. Plus I am fortunate to work with some people that are experts on tile and I asked a lot of questions.

**Make sure you stuff a rag or something in the drain of the bathtub to prevent debris from going down and clogging the drain. Same thing on the toilet hole (not sure of real name).

**Also we didn't think about the bathroom fan. Ours isn't connected to the outside so a TON of dust went into the attic. It wasn't fun having to wipe down EVERYTHING in our attic to get the plaster dust cleaned up. So cover the fan and close your air vents.

**We initially thought this bathroom would be a guest bathroom. Being used every now and then and every weekend during football season. But now it is "Eric's" bathroom. So I am very happy that I chose the dark grout instead of the white. Much easier to clean!!

**I am not a fan of bullnose, to me it will ruin the whole look. So I used a bullnosed edge on the 3" side of the 3x6 tiles for the edges. At the top we used a bullnose on the 3" & 6" side of the tile for the corner and a bullnose on the 6" side of the tile for the top tile. Not all tiles come with a bullnosed edge, but check hopefully yours will and it will look a lot cleaner than going with a separate bullnose piece, and in most cases cheaper!


Rachel said...

It looks great! We have to completely gut Nate's bathroom and the tile project makes me nervous! Hopefully ours will turn out as pretty as yours. :o)

Nikki said...

I'm a big fan of the white tile and dark grout. Nice choice!

And the shower curtain is super cute too!

Natalie said...

you are my hero. i WISH i was this handy. but, alas, i am not. great work!!!

Wendy Thompson said...

Looks like a great remodel. We remodeled our bathroom a few years ago and it was pretty simple with a stesteam shower. We just took out the old bathtub, prepped the area, then were able to put together the unit and place it where we wanted. Great job on your project!

Michelle said...

Great job! This looks oh so familiar...

HA! Parallel lives i tell you!

Frances said...

I think your hard work definitely paid off after you finished remodeling your bathroom with the shower as well as after cleaning one of those corner tubs.

Chet Johnston said...

I can only imagine the work you had to put into the whole project. Awesome DIY job! How’s “Eric’s bathroom” holding up, btw? :D

Just a question though: Had you gone ahead and made it a guest bathroom, would you have considered a separate shower, maybe a frameless glass shower? Or was the idea to still make it the homey shower/soak in the tub type of bathroom?

Chet Johnston

Elina Henry said...

You did such a great job. Looks like a new bathroom not just a facelift.

Designer Shower Sets

Almas jain said...

You did a great job, Amber! These are fantastic! It’s time to do makeover of your bathroom with the help of GROHE Designer Alliance .

grdiy said...

What subway tile did you use? I'm seeing that the Home Depot and Lowes version is sort of 'off white' even though it is called Bright Snow White. Apparently Ice White is 'white' and it is special order. Trying to decide if it makes a difference and I like the look of yours!

obladi555 said...

We are in the process of tiling our shower with subway tile and ran into the same problem with the bottom row of tile, and I am so happy to have found your solution, it is perfect! Thank you!

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