Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Story of My Bathroom

We all need a place to shit. And for many of us our bathroom is a sanctuary away from the ills and pains of society and the world around us. Once that door is shut and the fart fan is engaged we are transported from a confusing, hectic life full of despair and reward-less responsibilities to a safe haven that relaxes our minds and colons. Often while planting one's ass onto the toilet a small sigh of relief can be heard.

So a bathroom is a pretty important place for me. Since I moved into my home in 2006 I have already remodeled one bathroom, and was basically forced into remodeling another one. The latter being the bathroom off of my bedroom. Why was I forced to remodel this bathroom? I think the picture below speaks for itself.

Yes, your eyes are not being fooled. That is a pink door with a pink ceiling, with pink highlighted wallpaper with a sort of butterscotch toilet. Add to this, that the linoleum floor is stained beyond all comprehension, the vanity is rotted beyond all repair, and the shower..... UGH THAT FUCKING SHOWER!

The shower has been a consistent thorn in my side since even before I bought the home. It was a sticking point on the contract when it came to buying home.

I was up against a lot back then. I currently lived in Florida and had to line a job up within a reasonable distance from where I was planning live, I had to close up shop on my old job, prep and sell my home in Florida, and a whole other host of things that were going on that I will not go into detail about here.

So with all of this going on, I had a business trip to Philadelphia planned for my job at the time. I had arranged to stay and extra three days at my parent's house. While up in the region I lined up three job interviews and got to walk through a few homes in the neighborhood I was looking to move into.  All throughout the trip I had the flu, so I was not in any state to be deciding on such a large purchase. Unfortunately I was sort of pressed to do this because of the dizzying timeline I had carved out for myself. While walking through the house I had not seen anything terribly bad (boy was I in for a surprise), and in the end the decision was really based on the height above sea level that the house was because I had experienced so many flooding issues in the past. (Again a big surprise awaited me)

To get back to the shower, one of the things I noticed in the walk through was that the master bathroom shower had cracks in the tile. So in the contract I had them spell out that this would be fixed. This of course was met with resistance. The guy selling the house was a jerk. He was in the middle of getting divorced so the house was up for sale as a result. He wanted as little to do with the whole process as could NEVER be expected. He was already making out like a bandit on the sale because of the artificially inflated housing market, and still he bitched, whined and complained like a three year old the entire time. So all the work he needed to get done on the house he did himself and half assed it ALL, then greased the palms of the inspectors.I reviewed the progress of all of this via pictures that were taken to see the results. From my perspective everything looked fine.
This is a shot of the shower being fixed. New shower pan and tile.

So the shower got fixed, we moved in, blah blah blah, such is life. The first year into it's use the tile started to crack and grout was falling out. We continued to use the shower simply because we needed a second shower with all the people living in my house. 

At this point water was now getting behind some of the tile and that just accelerated the process of the shower's demise. So at some point we stopped using the shower. I would just have to get to it when I could get to it. There were a host of other problems with the home that needed to be addressed first.

Finally when I was able to take a breather from all the other problems that the home had, termite damage, flooding, electrical problems, etc... my wife finally could take it no more and told me to demolish the bathroom.

I gleefully ran upstairs armed with a pry bar and sledgehammer.


Demolishing a bathroom is never as fun as one would think it could be. Sure you get to smash a hammer into a wall like you are Thor on a drinking binge one night, but in reality you are removing a toilet from a twenty plus year old leaky wax seal. So you get the real experience of being able to touch the shit of the five families that lived in the home prior to you. Luckily I wore gloves.
Once everything was ripped out I needed to re-insulate because what passed for insulation in 1959 is pretty sad. After this I had to cut and remove all the wood around the drains of both the toilet and the shower drain due to some wood rot.

A little fancy measuring and cutting made this problem go away. The hole for the shower drain was closed up since I needed to make a new hole for that. The multi-tool helped a lot in that effort.

While under the bathroom I took the opportunity to install ball valves in the plumbing that led to the shower. In the past there were no valves and I had to shut off the entire water supply to work on it. I also got all the measurements I needed to build the plumbing for the shower drain.

Because there are so many people living in my home, it began to be a real challenge for everyone to share one bathroom while one was being worked on. So in the meantime I installed the new toilet and built a temporary stand for the old bathroom sink to at least have SOME sort of bathroom.

Next it was time to start in on the shower. I used mortar to secure the shower pan to the floor. I ran into a lot of frustration with the shower and ultimately ended up having a plumber help me with the faucets and securing the shower surround.

Once the shower was in place it was time to remove the toilet and old sink so the dry-walling could begin. This is one of my most hated tasks. I don't have an issue hanging the drywall but I definitely have an issue with finishing it with Spackle. GOD HOW I HATE TO SPACKLE!

This is me after a day of spackling and sealing with caulk. I definitely was not a happy camper.

 At this point I installed a new sub-floor so the stick on tiles would have something to adhere to. Once complete the project really started picking up momentum.

After the floor was installed it was time to take care of the trim.

Sink and toilet came back, its really starting to look like a bathroom now.

FINALLY we have a bathroom again complete with all the mess. And although it might not be the best or the biggest bathroom.....
It still beats the hell out of shitting outside.

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