Saturday, September 25, 2010

The 3rd and final bathroom

This is the final bathroom. I needed something "easy" before moving on to the kitchen. It's in the basement, which is the ground level for the front of the house and consists of family room, bonus (ie, junk) room, a tiny bedroom (ie, junk) and this bathroom. The family room was the first project that we tackled 9 years ago, pulling up carpet, putting down laminate flooring (MUCH cleaner, no carpet cleaning needed, and major reduction in allergens) and replacing the wood burning stove with a gas heater, that looks like a fireplace. The bathroom has always been a 'one of these days' project. The shower is large and enclosed, and is the dog-wash station. Part of the family room is the home gym. It would be nice to have a clean bright bathroom with a bright shiny shower, instead of the aged dingy "what were they thinking" ugliest bathroom in the pacific northwest. And of course, because it is so ugly, it has been the neglected step-bathroom, and has become even uglier.

No major wall-moving, no re-framing, no major moving around of fixtures and plumbing. No enlarging. Given the awful condition of the walls, and need to replace tile, there will be re-dry wall work. That's easy.

This is a strange bathroom. I guess the vertical mirror wall was supposed to give the impression of space. This is the only wall that isn't some dark dingy color. The wood is unfinished. I didn't realise it, but the mirror wall actually covers a basement window. It's on the south side of the house, so could be interesting.

"Let's make a small dark space even darker, and tile the shower with dark blue tile with dark grey grout. " At least mildew won't show.

Really kind of pretty tile, but SO dark. This will probably be the most difficult de-construction project. I suspect I will have to just bash through the wall with a sledge hammer, pull of the wallboard and tile, and clean it up. The replace with new cementboard and prep to re-tile.

"Let's be creative and paint a wall dark red! Oh, maybe that's not so good. Let's see if some spare paint will cover the red. Oh, not enough time. I give up." Ugly uglier ugliest.

Another wall is covered with unfinished fir flooring. "Let's go for a sauna look behind the toilet!"

The bare joist ceiling is my fault. When I replaced the bathroom directly above this one, I tore out the subfloor and replaced it. I fell through the absent subfloor, taking the ceiling with me. I've pulled of the unfinished boards between the mirrors. 5 minutes work, barely fastened in. Better for me. Oh look! Upper left aspect, there's a plywood panel. Oh - there's a window! Cool! I went outside. Behind some weeds (bad me) there IS a window down at the ground line. The mirrors are glued to a sheet of panelling - not unusual for the basement rooms in this hours. Once that's pulled off, I'll get a better look at the window, but no reason not to have a real window there. That will let in light, and save energy. We usually just use this bathroom briefly, and now we won't have to turn on the light for every daytime use.

The floor tile. See how square the walls are? I'll fix that, might need to do some minor work on the framing, but not a re-frame job I'm sure. This was a case of "We wont have to clean it if the tiles and grout already look like grime". These are butt-ugly tiles and the grout is a matching shade of butt-ugly.

I kept wondering, "will I be able to pull up the old tile?" Ning suggested just tiling over it. That's the way the other bathrooms were done in the past, with floors that had lasagna-like layers. For those bathrooms, I pulled up all layers, and even replaced subfloor so that all mold and dry-rot were removed and everything was properly water-proofed and sealed. Here, the "subfloor" is concrete, so not an issue. I don't want to raise the floor level, so took a hammer to a couple of tiles. As luck would have it, the floor is sealed, resulting in a poor bond with the tile adhesive. About 15 minutes of work and almost all of the tile is gone.

The sink will be closer to the corner, compared to the current sink. It will be a pedestal sink, to stay clean more easily and give more room. In addition, it will go nicely with the floor and wainscot tile patterns.

The old over-mirror light and plug will be replaced with a GFI outlet next to the sink and a pair of sconces on both sides of the mirror. Almost everything else stays where it is.

Playing with a floor-plan program online. I could not find exact matches for the shower, but this is close.

The window is fairly high on the wall, but that's OK.

I don't want to spent too much time or money on this project, but I also want a nice pleasant bathroom that won't need repair or re-do for many years. I'm planning on a 'retro' white porcelain tile floor with black inserts, and white brick-style glazed tile wainscot. Above that the walls will be painted something light and bright.

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