Saturday, January 31, 2015

Demolition Day

Today is the day. Today is the day I finally tear out the thing we call our master bathroom shower. The builder and I got up this morning and jumped head first into the project. 

First we tore out the drywall on the other side of the shower wall to determine how bad the water damage was to the wall studs:

As you can see, the water damage was limited to just the bottom portion of the wall where the leak was. We had opened up the outside of this wall during the fall to let the wall dry out (it had been heavily saturated at one point) and only closed it in with a piece of drywall during the holidays (because nothing says Merry Christmas when you open the front door like a glaring hole in the entryway wall!)

From first inspection, this really didn't seem so bad and was about what we expected to find. The Builder had already told me we'd need to replace the one wall stud and of course the drywall we ripped out.

What I wasn't prepared for was what we couldn't see. I felt like we were on a HGTV show where the host has to come tell the family the bad news that the damage is worse than they initially thought:
See the arrows?  That's where the stud is complete disintegrated from the water damage. And it's not just in one spot, it was two different beams. Thankfully, the one closest to the wall is not a structural beam. In fact, after closer inspection, that stupid part of the wall that juts into my shower and makes it the 30 tiny inches that it is is purely by design. So we're removing that section and moving the electrical to widen the shower and make it more functional.

Just in case you forgot, here's a close up of the actual shower itself:

Those gloss blocks were from a renovation after the house was built. No one in my neighborhood with my floor plan has a shower built like this. The arrows point to where we first started seeing signs of mold and water damage.  It was coming in BEHIND the grout and caulk. So no matter how much I bleached the shower, it was never really clean.  In the last couple of weeks, it started doing the same thing on the wall where the shower handle is too. There was just a little bit of water seepage when we pulled down the tile, but no stud damage, which was good. Can you tell how narrow this shower really is?

Here's what it looked like after we tore things out:
The tile on the back shower wall pulled off without any effort. Not even a hammer. The Builder just stuck his pry bar in to wedge out a corner and the whole thing came sliding down. The other side he did use his pry bar and hammer to remove the tiles. Except for the bottom corner, they took a bit of muscle to chisel out. That's how all the tile should have been!

This was all reduced to a pile of rubble by the time The Builder was done. We're going to have to remove the tile and that small shower pan so the curb is coming down too.

Let's take a minute to look at the section of wall that juts out to my shower:
The only purpose of that small section of wall that juts out the 8-10 inches is to house the only electrical outlet in the entire bathroom. No, you didn't read that wrong. That little plug is it. It charges The Builders shaver, my electric toothbrush, my curling iron, my blow dryer, etc. And of course, the vanity you're looking at is not mine. It's The Builders. He really loves sharing with me. Really...

If you look at the side between the shower and the vanity though, you can see that there is quite a bit of yuck building up:
Yes, that's water damage on the wall. And that section is SO hard to clean. My blow dryer typically hangs on a hook on the side here, but due to the dampness, the hook recently fell off. This vanity is coming out (we're buying new ones for this renovation) since we're widening the shower and we're moving the electrical. None of that will get done this weekend. This weekend is just about the demolition and repairing the rotted studs. We'll have to install new drywall too or you have a straight view from the front door to my toilet. Not my definition of room with a view! Also, since my bedroom is an "open concept" with no door to separate the mast bath from the master bedroom, the wall being down leaves no privacy whatsoever. 

The Builder is doing all the stud repairs as I type so expect another update soon!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Another Bathroom

The Builder and I are about to embark on another bathroom renovation, this time in our Master Bath. We've been putting it off for a good six months, but it really is time. No matter how much I bleach my shower, it looks gross in a matter of days. Plus we're worried about the structural beam getting damaged from water. In case you forgot, here's the bathroom at it's present state:
The shower in it's present state is 30" wide.  It's TINY. Since it has to be gutted, we're widening it to 47". We're also putting in a shower niche for a more practical storage for shampoo bottles. Instead of glass blocks (I really, really won't be sad to see them go) there will be a solid wall so we can have dual shower heads. Say goodbye shower curtain that hides the ugliness behind it and hello to a glass shower door.

The first step was to decide on tile. I stalled here because I wasn't really impressed with the selection at either Lowe's or Home Depot.  Then I happened on a local tile store and found this:

It may be hard to see in the photo, but these are large, rectangular tiles. And while I would love the diagonal (over and a herringbone) pattern, The Builder emphatically said no. Something about too many cuts, the expense of extra tile, blah blah blah (yep, that's what I heard after he said no, lol).

We also plan to run a band of decorative tile in a vertical stripe all the way up the middle of the back shower wall. The tile I fell in love with was on clearance that day, so we bought it. This will run through the niche as well:

I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but when I saw this tile, I knew it had to be my accent and we'd need to find a tile to coordinate with it (I suspect you're supposed to do it the other way around!). I was OK with the price, but when the cashier rang it up and it was 50% off (I literally spent $40 on one box and two extra sheets) I was beyond pleased!

Surprisingly, it was the shower floor tile that was the most difficult to decide on. We looked at a river rock style, but it was too dark. We looked at a "penny" style tile in gray, but the The Builder thought it looked too cheap. Then we came upon this octagon tile:

If you look closely, there's a band of dark tile sort of in the middle. On the left is a large tile, on the right is a smaller tile. We both agreed we like the larger tile better. This tile picks up the darker color in the accent tile, as well as coordinates with the carrera marble tiles in the wall. 

The shower doors we're ordering custom from Home Depot. A little over $200 for a custom fit, frameless shower door is a good price. Before we can order it though, we have to rip out the old shower, replace all the damaged studs behind the wall, replace the cement board, drywall, build a new floor pan (thank goodness for YouTube videos!!) build the new wall and redo the plumbing - not necessarily all in that order! It's going to be a lot of work, but definitely worth it in the end.

Since this is our master bath, the full renovation will have to be done in stages.  Here's the current plan:
  1. Shower renovation - we're hoping for a 6 week turn around, unless The Builder has to start working weekends again, then it could be longer
  2. Replace both vanities, which will include reworking the plumbing and adding more electrical (there is ONE plug in the whole bathroom, and it's not on my side). We estimate this to take about 3 weeks since we're purchasing vanities from Ikea (more on that in another post).
  3. Tub re-do. We're either going to refinish our existing tub, which we're not 100% excited about since the jets have recently started leaking rusty water even when we don't use them, or buy a updated tub from Restore, which still may need to be refinished. We're seriously leaning towards the second option, since we'd like a larger tub as well.  I'm a bath girl!! We also want to do built in shelving behind the tub for decorative and storage purposes, as well as tear out the medicine cabinet and put in a recessed panel there as well. I don't have a time frame since I'm not 100% sure which option we'll go with
  4. Add a bathroom door! So we have an "open concept" master bedroom where there is no separate of space. I hate it. If I leave for work first, I have to tip toe in a dark bathroom to get ready with only the light of my cell phone to do my hair. If The Builder leaves first, there's no way he can be quiet, and I'm going to get woken up anyway. Plus if the kids are hanging out with us watching TV, I have to have them leave if we need to use our restroom, or go use our powder room toilet. Not practical. This should be a weekend job for The Builder and is last on the list of priorities.
Huge list when I look at it, but since we won't start a new phase until the first one is completed, it shouldn't be too bad.  Famous last words...