Saturday, April 22, 2017

Paws Awhile - Guest Bath Remodel

We are getting Paws Awhile ready to be a rental condo!  We finished the remodel of the kitchen/dining/living area/master bath last year.  Both bedrooms have been redecorated, the last project to remodel the guest bath is now in the books!

The old bathroom was in need of an update.  The formica vanity had no storage, the fiberglass tub enclosure was old looking and the decor was a bit dated.

I wanted to get this done during the winter when we were less likely to have friends at the beach so I started the demo work when we got back to the beach after Thanksgiving.

Tony helped me rip out the sink, vanity and half-wall. We couldn't find a bit for the proprietary screws that held the vanity/counter in place so a sledge-hammer and crowbar had to do.  We made a bit of a mess of the sheetrock.

When we removed the mirror, behind it we found a bit of artwork folded up behind it.  We're guessing it was left by a past teen-age boy guest of the condo.  I had to black out some areas to make it safe for posting!

Next on the agenda was to remove the old ceramic tile. Using a hammer and a screwdriver, I carefully loosened the grout and then pried up the old tile.  I was hoping to save the subfloor.

After removing a couple of tiles, I realized that the subfloor was probably not going to be salvageable.  I found some water damage around the tub and it looked like the subfloor had been patched a couple of times.  The edge of the plywood under the tub was not even supported by a joist!

The hammer/crowbar method made the work go a lot faster.  I had to be very careful not to break the flange when removing the tile around the toilet.

To get the popcorn ceiling down, I used a garden sprayer to moisten the ceiling and a sheetrock scraper to remove the popcorn.  It was a messy job but kind of fun!

Once the scraping was done, the ceiling would need a skim coat and some sanding.  That wouldn't be nearly as much fun so I decided to save that job for Herb, the handyman!

We used a reciprocating saw to cut up the old fiberglass tub so it could be removed easily. The power tool was such fun that we took turns using it.  We were careful not to cut through any plumbing.  We cut around the tub handle and drain and left them in place until we were ready for the plumbing part of the project.

Using a steamer, I removed the old wallpaper border. It came off easily after a bit of steaming.

I talked Tony into going with me to Home Depot to get the supplies for prepping the floor and walls for the tile.  After we carried the heavy tub, toilet, plywood & cement board up to the condo, I decided that installing it might stretch the limits of my ability so I contacted Herb, the handyman and asked him to put me on his schedule.  His list of tasks included:

  • Install the new subfloor
  • Repair the sheetrock around the vanity
  • Skim & sand the sheetrock on the ceiling
  • Install the durock for the tub surround
  • Install the tub and drain
  • Prep the plumbing for the new faucet/shower head

While Herb and his helper, John were working on their tasks, I opened the box and inspected the new tub.  I discovered that part of the enamel was chipped off. I got John to help me load it into my van and back to Home Depot I went to exchange it.  This time, I opened the box and inspected the tub before I took it up to the register!

Herb and John did a great job getting everything ready for me.  My next task was to paint (my most hated task).  I had to paint the ceiling and the walls.  Thank goodness it is a small room.

After painting, I installed a new light fixture.

I was planning to use the same tile as the rest of the condo but when I got to Floor and Decor, I discovered it had been discontinued. I found enough of it to do the floor at the Kennesaw Floor and Decor location.  Thankfully my friend Nancy was driving down from Smyrna the next week so I ordered the tile and she was kind enough to pick it up and bring it to me.

I found a great deal on a vanity set at Home Depot!  It included the base, top, sink and mirror for $150!  I found a paint chip that matched the top of the vanity so I took it and a floor tile back to Floor and Decor to pick out tile for the walls.  I really wanted porcelain but couldn't find anything I liked so I settled for a 12 inch ceramic tile. It was very cheap so I bought a couple of extra boxes which turned out to be a good thing because many of the tiles were chipped or broken.

Tiling the floor was relatively easy. The only really tricky part was cutting the circle around the toilet drain.  I went to Ace Hardware and bought a diamond dremel blade to cut the circle.  It took a long time to cut through the thick porcelain.  Thankfully my measurements were correct and the tile fit in place perfectly!

Once I finished tiling and grouting the floor, I asked Herb, the handyman, to come back out, seat the toilet and install the vanity and mirror.  I think I could have done this myself, but since it involved plumbing, I decided to leave it to the expert.  With the toilet and sink in place, at least we would have a half-bath until I could get the tub enclosure tiled.  Oh, I had forgotten to have Herb put a cubby-hole in the shower for the shampoo/soap, so I asked him to do that too.

It was finally time to tile the tub enclosure.  The hardest part was deciding where to start.  I wanted to make sure everything was level and square and that my trim line was in the right place. The tub slanted toward the drain so I knew the bottom row would have to be cut to make it level.

Once I got started, it went pretty quickly.

I utilized the same method with the dremel tool and the diamond bit to make the cuts around the plumbing.  Figuring out the cuts for the cubby hole were a bit complex since the tile I chose did not have a matching bullnose tile.

I decided I did not like the tile I had chosen for the accents so I ran to Home Depot to see if they had something I liked better.  Every home project seems to require about 25 trips to the hardware store!  I needed more pre-mixed mortar too.  I found a glass mosaic tile that coordinated beautifully with the tile.

Grouting came next.  I made the grouting mistake I always make and waited too long to clean the excess grout off of the tile, causing it to take much longer than it should.

With the hard work done, all I had to do was install baseboard molding, add a shower curtain and a few towel racks.

The new bathroom is now ready to accept guests!


  1. I'm so impressed. I should have hired you to redo our bathrooms! It looks so good!

    1. It only took me 5 months! Makes your contractor look pretty good, hunh?