Bathroom Remodels Part 2 - First Floor Bathroom
I am currently working on editing all the video's i took so not all the links are up and working.
Here are links to the 4 parts in which i split up the bathroom remodel into.
|Bathroom Remodel - BLOG|
|1 - Materials and Planning||2 -1st Floor Bathroom|
|3 - Karrie's Bathroom and Tub||4 - Dave's Bathroom and Shower|
Here are the links to all the video's i made. You can either watch a full video of the entire bathrooms remodeled or they are broken up into their individual parts. These will be updated as i post more about the remodel.
|1 - Main Video - Materials|
|2 - Main Video - 1st Floor Bathroom|
|3 - Main Video - Karrie's Bathroom|
|4 - Main Video - Dave's Bathroom|
|2 - 1st Floor|
|Fix Rotted Floor||Install Floor Tile||Grout Floor Tile|
|Install Toilet||How to Mix Mortar||How to Cut Tile|
|Install Baseboard||Silicone Caulk Gaps||Bathroom Light|
|Bathroom Sink||New Faucet||Summary|
|3 - Karrie's Bathroom|
|Intro||Demo||Install Concrete Board|
|Waterproof Concrete Board||Caulk and Foam Shower||Install Tile|
|Install Tile Shelf||Tape off Tile for Grout||Grout Shower|
|Replace Shower Fixture||Solder Water Pipes||Water Proof Sealant|
|Caulk Seams||Remove Tile Floor||Cut Tile Floor|
|Install Tile Floor||Grout Tile Floor||Tile Baseboard|
|4 - Dave's Bathroom|
|Intro||Demo Floor Tile||Remove Toilet|
|Check Existing Floor Material||Cut Floor Tile||Install Tile Floor|
|Grout Tile Floor||Demo Shower||Cut new Access Hole|
|Remove Water Pipes and Fixture||Fix Leak in Ceiling||Install Shut off Valves|
|Install New Water Pipes||Install New Fixture||Install Concrete Board|
|Waterproof Concrete Board||Caulk and Foam Shower||Measure and Mark Boards|
|Precut Tiles||Install Tile||Install Tile Shelf|
|Tape off Tile for Grout||Grout Shower||Regrout Everything|
1ST FLOOR BATHROOM
Here is what the bathroom looked like before we started. It wasn't terrible, there wasn't any glaring problems with it. Although the toilet bowl looked a little worse for wear.
And this is the tile floor we had. The off white and green didn't look great.
This is the bathroom on the first floor, here’s the floor plan I drew on Google SketchUp. It’s roughly 5’x5’ and is about 25 sq.ft. not counting the sink and toilet. I mainly drew it on SketchUp to get the number of tiles we would need to buy and where to make the cuts. I drew 2 versions, one with a full tile in the front left corner and one with a full tile in the front right corner. This helped a lot, i didn't have to do any calculating at the time of setting the tile.
Originally our plan was to just replace the floor tile and install the new toilet. Compared to the other 2 bathrooms, this was suppose to be the easy one. That's why we decided to remodel this bathroom first, gradually increase the difficulty of work done in the bathrooms. However before it was all said and done, we ended up doing more work in this bathroom than we originally planned.
The first step, after removing the bathroom door, was to remove the toilet so i turned off the water and drained what was left in the toilet with a sponge and bucket. It wouldn't have been that difficult except for a few problems. The first was that one of the bolts which held the toilet in place, turned as i tried to remove the nut. The bolts are suppose to be locked in place under the cast iron collar. Unfortunately this one wasn't and i had to use a hacksaw to cut the bolt in half.
Eventually i was able to remove the toilet. Here's the bolt and hack saw blade afterwords.
Here's the cast iron collar and old wax. I removed as much as i could. Originally i wasn't sure if i was suppose to leave the old wax in place or scrape it all away. But after talking with Jeff, he said to remove it. We were going to install a new toilet so i didn't have to be super careful while removing the old one. I took it out to the curb and had it hauled away with the trash.
I discovered the next problem only after the toilet was removed. It was related to the fact that all of the water valves in our house are old and cheap. I realized something might be wrong when i went to turn off the valve for the toilet, it was rusted almost solid. I had to use a pair of pliers to get it to turn. After the toilet was disconnected i realized that i could not get it to completely turn off. I turned it with the pliers as far as i dared, not wanting to crack the valve or pipe and have it gush water all over the floor. But not getting it to fully close meant that for the entire time working, i would have to keep a tray under the valve to collect the drips. What i should have done was replaced the valve, but i didn't. Just some advice, don't buy the cheapest valve at the store, get one that works. Here's what the cheap valve looked similar to.
Next it was time to remove the small 1" floor tiles. I was worried that i wouldn't be able to easily remove the tiles, so i made this scraper by welding a piece of angled steel to a ¾” conduit. But it turns out that i caught a bit of a break and didn't need to use it. I was expecting the tiles to be set in a mortar thinset. But the tiles were actually just stuck to the wood floor boards. I guess that they figured that the boards were flat enough and so they just peeled the back off and stuck them to the wood. Here's the floor after the tiles were removed. You can see the valve and the cup to catch the leaky water.
The only problem i found with that method was that some of the wood flooring had rotted. If there was a mortar base, it would have provided some waterproofing between the tile and wood.
While removing the tile floor i also removed the tile base board. After talking with Jeff, i learned that there's a good chance that i will have to replace the drywall behind the tile as well. He said that it's sometimes difficult to remove the tile from the wall without damaging the drywall behind it. Lots of times you will have to cut and attach a piece of new drywall. But again i got lucky. I scored the top of the tile with a utility knife, then pried it off the wall with a hammer and spackle knife. The person who installed it used some sort of weird yellowish glue.
Next it was time to fix the rotted baseboard. Fortunately the floor was 2 layers of 3/4" plywood and only the upper board was rotted. The lower board was in good condition. I verified that by going in the basement and checking it from the underside as well. So using a saws-all, hammer and chisel, i removed as much of the rotted board as i could. Then tried to square it up, to make it easier to cut a replacement board. I used a piece of cardboard as a template for the patch. I traced and cut it out with scissors to the shape i needed. Then i transferred the shape to some OSB and cut it out using a jig saw. Then i screwed the patch in place. Here's it all done and screwed in place.
Everything looked good. I probably could have left it like that and started installing the tile, but since it was my first time, i decided to level that area of floor up before i began. So i mixed up a batch of thinset mortar, poured and leveled that area where i installed the patch. The whole time having to deal with the still leaking valve.
For the first time doing mortar it wasn't too bad. Jeff said that i didn't need to use the admixture that Home Depot was selling. I've noticed that now they don't have the admixture, but instead sell 2 different types of thinset mortar. The $5 bag and $12 bag. The $12 bag has the admixture already mixed in, and on the side it says it's best for tile to wood floor. But from what i've found, the $5 bag works perfectly well.
Finally it was time to tile. I spent an entire day just doing the cutting. Using my sketch i knew roughly where i wanted the tiles to be placed, so i started measuring from the back corner. We were lucky that Jeff let us use his contractors tile saw. It has a diamond blade and is water cooled. Without it i'm not sure what we would have done. This thing was great, super smooth and made great cuts.
I was originally planning on buying a cheap $40 tile saw from Harbor Freight, but this one was great and worked perfectly every time. One of it's best features was that we didn't have to slide the tile. It was held in place at a 90 degree angle and the entire tray slid on wheels. This made for a much smoother and straighter cut.
One type of cut that the tile saw couldn't do was the circular cut around the toilet flange. For that i had to use an angle grinder. Later i learned that i could have used the tile saw to make many little slices, then used metal nippers to break the slices off. But the grinder worked pretty well. Although it made a ton of stone dust, i had to do most of the cuts in the front driveway. Also i learned that i needed to cushion the large tiles because the vibration caused the first tile to crack against the wood sawhorse.
But after several hours all of the tiles were cut and set in place with their 1/4" spacers. Here's the first 2 going in. You can see how i would set the tile, mark for the openings, the have to go downstairs and cut them out.
And here's that tile i cut with the grinder. I learned that line around the toilet doesn't have to be that close. Since it's all covered up it can be farther away.
Here's that tile after being cut and set in place.
This is all of the tiles cut and dry fit. Another thing that i learned is to leave more space around the edge. I only left 1/8 - 1/4" gap around the edge and it made it more difficult when it came time to set them. You can see that i put a piece of baseboard down to check how much of the edge would be covered.
Finally it was time to set the tiles. I dumped about half the bag of mortar into a 5 gallon bucket, added some water and started mixing. Unfortunately i didn't buy a mixer. I thought it would be easy enough to mix with a stick. That was a mistake. BUY ONE OF THESE:
Using a stick worked but was way harder than it needed to be. I actually mixed it this way for one of the upstairs bathrooms as well, before borrowing a metal mixing pole. The pole mounts onto a drill. And let me say that it is much easier and does a much better job of mixing.
But i finally got the mortar mixed and was ready to start. I made another semi mistake at this point. For 18"x18" tiles i should have used a 1/4" x1/4" trowel to set the thickness of the thinset mortar. But instead i only had a 3/8" trowel and so that's what i used. In the end it all turned out fine, but for the other bathrooms i bought the 1/4"x1/4" trowel and used that.
I did run the risk of not having enough mortar set down and it could have caused the tiles to crack or be uneven. Using the larger trowel gives you more free play when trying to level everything. So slowly i poured out the mortar, spread it with the trowel and set the tiles in place. Everything was going fine until about the 6th tile i tried to set in place. As i was lifting the precut piece it broke in half in my hands. The piece was one of the corners to the toilet. I was in a bit of a panic as i ran to the basement to cut another piece. In my rush i accidentally cut the piece upside down. It fit perfectly, except that it was a mirror image of the right shape. So in an even bigger panic i ran down and cut another one.
Everything eventually went in place alright and all the tiles were set. I did have to remove a couple and respread the mortar. I think that was because i was using too small of a trowel and it was difficult for the tiles to line up together flush.
I didn't take a lot of pictures at this time, i was in too much of a panic of the mortar hardening before the tiles were set. But i did make a few video's, you can watch them in the attached links.
We then waited 3 days for the mortar to harden.
Next it was time to add the grout. At Home Depot they suggest the best colored grout to match the tile they sell. So for our travertine tan colored tile, Home Depot suggested linen tan colored grout. Then we had to ask Jeff whether we should buy sanded or unsanded grout. He said unsanded grout for what we are doing. Also he said to get the powdered stuff in a bag, not the premixed stuff in the bucket. He said that the dry grout is cheaper and less messy. They charge extra for the premixed grout and it's really sticky and hard to clean up. Again i mixed it with a stick, big pain in the butt, then started adding the grout with the rubber float. Here's a close up of one of the grout lines.
I learned that with the grout you don't need a lot of water, much less than mixing the mortar thinset. Although i did like the grout a little soupy. It made it a lot easier to work with.
One good thing about using large tiles is that there isn't a lot of grout lines to fill in. If we had used smaller tiles, there would have been more. This was nice because it was the first time for me doing grout and i could take my time and make sure it was right.
Again i started in the back corner and worked my way out of the room. Jeff said that with grout you have to make sure to force it into the joint, don't just spread it. I found that using the front of the rubber float worked best. I held it at a 45 degree angle to the floor and zig-zagged it back and forth, using a lot of pressure to push the grout into the joint.
I tried to keep everything clean, only getting the grout in or around the joint, but it's a messy job. After all the grout was worked into the joints i waited a few minutes for it to start to haze over. Then i started to clean up the excess with a bucket of water and 3 sponges. Basically i took a damp sponge and gently wiped it over the joints. Here you can see the bucket of water, bucket of grout, and sponges that i used.
The trick here is that you only want to remove the dried excess grout that is on the tile, leaving the slightly damp grout in the joint in place.
This took quite a while, wiping the grout, cleaning the sponge in water and repeating. Half way through i had to dump the dirty water and refill it. If i was more experienced i probably wouldn't have made such a mess. Then we had to wait another 3 days for the grout to completely dry.
In order to protect the tile and grout from getting stained a absorbing water it needs to be sealed. When we were buying all of our materials at Home Depot Karrie saw a dual pack of the heavy duty and every day sealer. Alone the green jug of heavy duty sealer cost around $30 and the everyday spray sealer cost $12. Fortunately the pack of both was only $30. So i poured the heavy duty liquid tile sealer into a large bucket and used a sponge to wipe it over the tile. It took a bit of pressure to wipe it into the grout. You can tell when it is fully absorbed by the grout, it changes to a dark color and looks saturated. For a picture of the 2 sealers we used, just look back at Part 1 to see all the materials and costs.
Once the entire floor was coated once i waited a few minutes then added a second coat. After that second coat dried i sprayed everything with the everyday sealer. The porous tile absorbed most of it, but i did take the sponge and wipe it all clean, getting rid of any streaks.
Again we waited 3 days to let the sealer fully dry and set.
At this point i thought we were doing pretty good. But as i said, every step of the process was difficult. Just putting the toilet back in place was a pain. Jeff said i should get the jumbo reinforced wax ring, which cost $6. So that's what i bought. I put the wax ring on the bottom of the new toilet and dropped it in place. When i set it down though it felt like there was no wax ring on the bottom. The outer ring of the toilet was sitting right on the tile floor. I heard a clunk rather then a squish.
So i took the toilet back off and saw that the wax ring wasn't getting a good seal. I realized that because we raised the floor, now the cast iron ring was 1" lower in relation to the new tile surface. So i went back to Home Depot and this time i bought just the $3 jumbo wax ring.
I read that the wax rings can be doubled up to bridge the gap. I added the new wax ring to the slightly damaged wax ring i tried before. This time when i lowered the toilet in place i could feel that it was squishing the wax ring down. I pushed down with all my weight until the toilet was flush to the tile floor.
One good thing about buying the $6 heavy duty wax ring is that it does come with new nuts and bolts. And since i had to cut off one of the bolts to remove the toilet, i guess it was a good thing that i bought that pack. It' pretty tricky trying to lower the toilet down over those 2 bolts. But that's when i realized i had another problem. One of the bolts was not long enough. When i set the toilet down it didn't extend over the top of the toilet flange. I didn't know what to do so i just used a longer bolt from the basement. Probably not the best thing to do, but it worked. I realized that it might spin as i tightened it, but i held it with pliers.
Obviously the bolts have to be set in place before lowering the toilet, then a washer is added and the nuts can be tightened down. I didn't want to tighten the toilet down too much, but i did notice a slight wobble, probably due to the uneven tiles. So i took a wood shim and pushed it underneath the front bottom edge of the toilet. This wedged the toilet in place and got rid of the wobble.
When i knew that the toilet was solid and wouldn't move, i caulked around the edge. I have found that it's best to use 100% silicone caulk. And in the case of the bathrooms, i bought white rather than clear. Here you can see the silicone and the one long bolt i used.
I used to buy the cheap $2 tube of caulk, which was only something like 30% silicone, but it always cracked. That stuff is fine if you are doing something like sealing trim on the outside of your house. I actually used it to try and waterproof the interface between my shingles and aluminum siding. But for things like sinks, counter tops and toilets i've found that 100% silicone is the way to go. Using silicone means that it will never harden and crack, it always stays a sort of rubbery consistency.
If you look in the aisles at Lowe's or Home Depot there are tons of choices. Typically the 100% tubes of silicone caulk are priced at $5 or $6. But if you look, sometimes in a separate display bin at the end of the aisle, you can find a 2 pack. There's usually a sign that says "buy 1 get 1 free". So the past two times i've bought this caulk, i've gotten two tubes for $5, which is just as inexpensive as the cheap caulk.
Next came something i was looking forward to, installing the baseboard. Since buying a new DeWalt 12" miter saw and a Bostitch air compressor and nail guns, i've enjoyed installing baseboard in the house. It didn't use to be that much fun using a hand saw and hammer, but with the new tools it's easy.
We could have used some of the small 4" tile we bought at the auction, or we could have cut the large 18" tiles into smaller pieces and put that on the walls, but we decided to use wood instead. It was easy, cheap and looked good, so that's what we went with.
I measured, starting at the back corner, and worked my way around the room. The only tricky part was having to cut out the top edge to fit under sink toe plate.
When it was all installed, i filled in the nail holes with spackle, then used the white silicone caulk again along the top, bottom and corners. I always add to much caulk and end up wiping 80% of it off with my finger.
Then we were all done!!
Well not really. Because after installing a new toilet and tile floor, it somehow made the rest of the tiny bathroom look older. I was never a fan of the green and white laminate counter top. It had a cheap look and feel to it. We wondered how much it would cost to buy a new light and sink counter top.
I knew changing out the light would be easy and it was. 10 minutes after walking into Home Depot we had picked out a new 3-bulb light, which cost less than $20. But the new sink and counter top would be more difficult. The main problem was the size. Most bathroom sinks come in standard sizes of "small", "medium" and "large". Ours would be considered small, but it wasn't exactly the right dimensions.
Sometimes though it's better to be lucky than good. We looked up on the display wall and saw one counter top and sink, in the color that we liked, on clearance for $110 off. The only problem was that when we actually tried to find that sink new in the box, it wasn't there. We figured that since it was on clearance, they had probably sold them all. We even asked one of the employees if we could buy the display counter top, but it was bolted to the wall. Karrie did see a small piece of the sink backsplash which matched one we wanted. It was also on clearance for $4 and we thought we'd need it if we ever found the sink.
Just when we were about to give up Karrie somehow found it. She walked past the end of the aisle to the front of the store. And in an area by the check out counters there were some miscellaneous boxes of tools, bbq grills, and 1 tan colored bathroom sink and counter top priced at $38.
Now a more keen eyed viewer might notice something at this point, but not us. We thought the sink looked super good and were excited to put it in.
It was super lucky that we found it. Instead of costing us $200+, it was only $60 for a new light, sink, and backsplash. I installed the light the next day.
It only took a few minutes, turning off the power, connecting the wires, and bolting it on with the new bracket. Here's the old one.
And here's the new light installed.
To remove the sink i first scored the wall with the utility knife then started prying it off the wall.
With the backsplashes removed i turned off the water to the sink.
Again i had to deal with these dumb cheap valves. And again it didn't turn off completely even after i used pliers to turn it as far as i could.
But after they were shut off i removed the bolts holding it down and removed the old sink and counter top.
The walls got a little damaged so i filled the dents in with spackle and sanded it smooth.
Then painted the walls. You can see here that i reattached the faucet. This was to stop the slowly dripping water coming out of the hoses.
It wasn't until this point that i realized we had a problem. Actually we had 3 problems, but the most obvious one was that our faucet wouldn't fit. We had a fairly nice faucet, but it was one unit and this counter top needed one that separated for the valves and spout.
After being appalled by how much a new faucet cost at Lowe's and Home Depot, Karrie bought one on ebay. It cost around $60, but if we bought that same one at the store it would have been over $100.
So we got the right faucet, but that's when we ran into problem number 2. I learned the lesson of the non-square walls in our house from installing crown molding in the family room. That was when i couldn't understand why my two 45 degree cuts didn't match up. It wasn't until i measured the corners and found that they were all 92 degrees, 88 degrees, etc. But i was still surprised how non-square the 2 walls were when i tried to fit the sink. You can see the big gap at the top right corner of the sink.
We tried to think of what we could do. I knew that if we angled the sink a bit, then installed the backsplash, we could fudge some of the gaps with caulk. But there was a gap at the back wall that was almost 3/4" and there's no way that caulk could fill that.
That was when Karrie suggested we use a piece of wood round-over on top of the backsplash. It was a great idea, i could cut a taper in the wood to try and make it look like it's even with the wall. You can hardly notice that the white round-over is thicker on the right than it is on the left.
Then it was time for the third and final problem installing the sink, the cheap plastic hot and cold water connectors. Like i said earlier, everything in the house is the cheapest version. Along with the cheap water valves which leak, they also have the cheap 50 cent bendable plastic tubes which connect the faucet to the copper pipe. And when i was trying to connect those tubes to the new faucet they didn't fit. So i had to go back to the store to get ones that did fit. I bought the flexible steel wrapped rubber hose lines and they fit just fine.
After reattaching the bathroom door we were finally done. Well done with the easiest of the three bathrooms anyway.
We learned a lot redoing the bathroom. Nothing is easy. There's always something plastic that can break. Everything takes longer than you think.
But it's all done now and looks a lot better than we started. We were then ready to start working on the 2 full bathrooms upstairs...
Here are a couple lessons that we learned during our work on the 1st floor half bathroom:
- Instead of buying 1 of the $5 heavy duty toilet rings, buy 2 of the $3 XL rings. For all of our toilets i needed 2 rings and wasted money buying the fancy $5 ring.
- Big 18" floor tile is nice because it means less grout and less cuts, but be careful because if they crack, you are out $5 for 1 tile.
- Make sure your faucet fits the holes drilled in your sink.
- Don't buy the cheapest valves and hoses. Spend a couple more bucks and get ones that install easily.
|Bathroom Remodel - BLOG|
|1 - Materials and Planning||2 -1st Floor Bathroom|
|3 - Karrie's Bathroom and Tub||4 - Dave's Bathroom and Shower|