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My name is Lisa and I'm a crafty girl with wanderlust working as an engineer by day. My blog chronicles projects in my home as well as pictures and stories from my travels.

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Entries in Remodeling (4)

Wednesday
Jul302014

Still Tiling...

When I last left off with sharing my bathroom tiling exploits I had finished the back wall of the shower enclosure along with the shampoo/soap nook. From there I proceeded to start working along one of the walls. I lined up my ledger board snugly under the bottom tile on the back wall, placed a level on top, adjusted the ledger board until it was level and then screwed it into the wall.

From there I set about tiling up the side wall just as I had the back wall. Once I got to the chair rail I used my 45 degree miter attachment (which came with my saw when I bought it used) on my tile saw to cut the miter for the corner on both pieces and set them in place.

Tiling the field tile with no special cuts actually proceeded fairly quickly.

My intention was to tile the shower enclosure up to the ceiling and stop the tile around the rest of the room at the chair rail. To make sure that my line was straight at the end of the shower enclosure I used a level to align a piece of painters tape plumb along the wall. I then used this as my guideline for the tiling.

With the slanted ceiling I had to make some tricky cuts so I bought a new attachment for my wet saw, a 90 degree protractor. I am sure that a professional might have a better way of setting it but I simple held it face back to the wall snugly up to the ceiling and the adjusted the arm until it was parallel with the top row of the tile I had laid. This seemed to do the trick and I was able to use the protractor to cut the correct angle on the top of the tiles.

On the second row of tiles that needed to have the angle cut I had a slice of a tile that was smaller than a full tile. In order to cut that tile I used a scrap tile against the protractor followed by the tile I was intending to cut. By doing this I was able to get a clean cut on the small tile slice. If I had just lined it up against the protractor the blade of the saw would have hit the metal of the protractor instead of continuing through the scrap tile.

Next, I needed to provide a finished edge to the shower surround. Since the regular bullnose tile was a little too wide for my tastes, I used bullnose tile that I trimmed down to the width of the liner bar (the same way that I did for the border of the nook) to create a clean edge. In order to keep the slender pieces in place I used painters tape to hold them in place until the thinset cured.

With one side wall completed I can start to see how the bathroom is going to shape up. It is a very laborious process with about 500 tiles laid on the walls so far, but I think it is going to look fantastic when it is done. I just need some more free time to devote to it!

For other related posts about this bathroom renovation check out the history of my downstairs bathroomfixtures for my bathroom renovationplumbing in the downstairs bathroominstalling the floor tile underlaymentinsulating the ceiling, installing the vapor barrier for the shower, installing drywall and cement board, tiling a vintage mosaic border, mudding, taping, sanding and painting, taping the cement board joints and tiling part 1. If you are interested in my completed master bathroom renovation check out master bathroom renovation recap. 

Wednesday
Jun182014

Tiling Progress in Downstairs Bathroom 

Between work and traveling, finding time to work on the bathroom has been tough, but I am inching along and made some headway on tiling the shower surround. I last left off with taping the cement board joints and setting the first two rows of tile. Since then I broke out my tile saw and pretty quickly I had set six more rows of subway tile plus the black liner bar.

At this point things got a little more complicated as I had to tile around the niche and had to modify my tile spacers to work with the chair rail tile. The chair rail tile is dimensional so the flat spacers wouldn't fit. I used some wire snips to trim the arcs off of one side and then put them in perpendicularly under the chair rail tile. I used the snipped off part between top of the chair rail and the next course of subway tile. Whatever works, right?

The other complicating factor was that the chair rail is just a smidgen under 6" so I couldn't line it up with the subway tile. I ended up offsetting it a bit from the subway tile to disguise the mismatch in length. 

I used painter's tape to keep the row that spanned the top of the niche in place since it had no support below. I had to work quickly at this point before the thinset set up too much make small adjustments in order to make sure that the rows that stacked up on the right side aligned with the row over the niche.

Next, I tiled the back of the niche, making sure to line it up with the surrounding tile.

At this point I had used up the batch of thinset that I had mixed up so I decided to pre-cut some of the tile that I would need for the rest of the niche before I mixed up the next batch. I wanted to trim out the niche with some bullnose tile but I didn't like the thick width that was available so I cut down my own from some tile that I had with a bullnose edge along the top.

I set the rip guide on my saw to the width of the black liner bar tiles that I was using and cut a bunch of thin bullnose pieces. It is hard to get the rip guide in the exact same spot again so I always cut a few more pieces than I will need just in case.

I also pre-cut the mitred corners for the niche before I mixed up the next batch of the thinset. To get the 45 degree angle I butted my tile up against my small speed square. When I am doing something like this I like to make the mitre cut first and then I cut the squared end down as I fit the piece when I am setting the tile.

I feel like at this point I should mention that I absolutely love my tile saw. I bought it used from Craigslist for $100 (a strange story in itself) back when I was tiling the master bedroom shower and it has been worth every penny and more. I couldn't even imagine doing this with tile nippers, plus I feel like everyone should own their own wet saw.

Back to the tiling, I mixed up some more thinset and tiled the top, bottom and sides of the niche trimming it all out with the thin bullnose I had cut. Again I used painters tape to hold the pieces without support in place. By the time I had the niche finished the row above the niche had set enough that I could remove the painter's tape that was supporting it and finish tiling to the ceiling.

I'm not going to lie, the niche took me a while with all of the cuts and it isn't perfect, but I really like it and think it was worth the effort. With the niche out of the way I don't have a lot of complicated cuts left so tiling the side of the shower and wainscoting should go fairly quickly. I can't wait to get the tiling done!

For other related posts about this bathroom renovation check out the history of my downstairs bathroomfixtures for my bathroom renovationplumbing in the downstairs bathroominstalling the floor tile underlaymentinsulating the ceiling, installing the vapor barrier for the shower, installing drywall and cement board, tiling a vintage mosaic border, mudding, taping, sanding and painting and taping the cement board joints. If you are interested in my completed master bathroom renovation check out master bathroom renovation recap. 

Tuesday
May272014

Mudding, Taping, Sanding and Painting!

Of all the basic remodeling jobs, finishing drywall is my least favorite. Covering screws and flat seams aren't so bad, but corners are the worst for me and unfortunately, even though my bathroom is small it has a lot of them at strange angles because of the sloped ceiling.

I had done my initial mudding and taping a while back but had been procrastinating about finishing everything up. Since I had a four day weekend from work I used two of the days to mud, sand and repeat. Because the spot where the sloped ceiling meets wall with the door is less than 90 degrees, my small angled sanding sponge came in handy to get in the tight spot for a nice finish.

After several rounds of mudding and sanding I finally had things smooth and to the point where I could finally move on.

I used my shop vac to clean up all the sanding dust and wiped down the walls and ceiling before putting on a coat of tinted primer.

Two coats of paint later and the ceiling and walls were all a nice dark charcoal grey (Valspar's Mark Twain Gray Brick). To help disguise the low ceilings I painted the ceiling and walls the same color and I thought the almost black color would be nice to balance out all of the white tile and woodwork that will eventually be in the room.

Next up is tiling the shower surround, which I already got started with on Monday. Despite having a hard time finding time to get this bathroom done I can't wait to get it finished!

For other related posts about this bathroom renovation check out the history of my downstairs bathroomfixtures for my bathroom renovationplumbing in the downstairs bathroominstalling the floor tile underlaymentinsulating the ceiling, installing the vapor barrier for the shower, installing drywall and cement board and tiling a vintage mosaic border. If you are interested in my completed master bathroom renovation check out master bathroom renovation recap.

Wednesday
Jun122013

History of my Downstairs Bathroom

When I moved in to my house back in September 2007 the small downstairs bathroom was functional, even though it was ugly. It had a small fiberglass shower, an oak toilet seat and an acrylic shell shaped sink, which wasn't exactly what I would choose for a house over 130 years old.

While I was gutting and remodeling the main part of the house I lived in one of the bedrooms in the side wing and used this bathroom. Although I didn't tackle remodeling the bathroom at that time, I did make some cosmetic changes for around $150 just to freshen things up.

I patched holes in the walls and painted them pale blue. The 1980s oak medicine cabinet and vanity were primed and painted white and a new mirror was hung above the sink. I hunted around at the Ann Arbor ReStore a few times until I found a used sink that I liked and would fit the dimensions of my vanity for only $20. I then replaced the sink faucet, toilet handle, toilet seat and added some hooks, a towel bar and a white waffle weave shower curtain to the bathroom. I finished the room off with some red accents to break up the blue and white, like red towels and vintage reproductions of drawings of red coral. For almost no money it was pretty presentable until I had time to get around to remodeling it.

My bathroom remained like that until January 2010. Over the winter holidays I went to Australia to hang out with some of my friends that I had made during my time living in Japan. Beside me, two people from from England, a girl from France and a girl from Japan had made the trek to visit our Australian friends. We had an awesome time catching up and enjoying traveling around together. 

When I arrived home from my vacation late at night, exhausted from the time change and my long flights, I discovered that my heat had gone out and my pipes were all frozen. Darn Michigan winter! I turned off my water main, slowly warmed up my house and crossed my fingers that the damage to my pipes wouldn't be that bad. Needless to say, despite being exhausted I did not sleep that well that night. 

The main area of the house that had been gutted and fully remodeled with copper pipe faired quite well. I only had to replace my pot filler in the kitchen and one of the shower controls in the master bathroom. I was so relieved that I didn't have to open up any walls.

The downstairs bath was another story. It had PVC pipes and when I turned on the water to that area of the house I could hear water gushing in the walls, which meant major work had to be done. I didn't have time to deal with it then so I just let it sit broken with the water disconnected until the next winter when I decided to tackle it during my time off over the winter holidays. Unfortunately, I never took any photos of the bathroom after the little makeover, but I did grab these two pictures after I had cleared the room before I started opening up walls.

My original plan was just to open up the walls to fix the plumbing. As I got into it, however, I realized that the PVC was smashed to smithereens and other things needed fixing in order to bring the bathroom up to code. I soon realized that I was going to need to pull a permit and demo and redo the whole bathroom. The problem, however, was that due to certain structural areas of the house it was going to be really hard to bring the bathroom up to code. I finished demoing the bathroom so that I could see exactly what I was working with and make a plan to submit to the building department. 

This is where I stalled. I was having trouble getting around how to bring the room completely up to code without raising my roof and honestly it wasn't a super huge priority since I lived alone and my master bathroom was great. So I casually worked on some plans while I let the carcass of the former bathroom sit empty. Now, however, is a different situation. With getting married and Frank moving in this summer, having a second bathroom has now become a priority. I've been working on some plans and am getting ready to finally pull a permit and tackle this downstairs bathroom this summer. Wish me luck!