The “Bathroom” upgrade is almost finished, and as for my “project managing”, I’ve worked very hard, and mostly managed, to stay out of the way.
With the ever present virus reminders, I’ve had to rein in my curiosity. Normally, if I have to let workmen into my house, if I have to share my biggest toy, then it’s not at all unusual to find me looking over their shoulder to see what they’re doing, or standing behind their elbow, asking questions, watching and learning so that I can do it myself next time. But this time I set myself a large knitting task and a list of films I would like to watch, and supervised from afar… Mostly.
The bathroom was just about useable when we bought the house. I did some patching up here and there to prevent any broken bits causing more damage, and replaced the old bathroom cabinet with a new one and a mirror and shelf, but that’s as it stayed. The convenience had a very inconvenient fill time which has been getting longer and longer over the last couple of months, we were almost to the stage of not using it from about lunchtime to ensure we had the use of it overnight. To be honest, I was dreading having to fix the bathroom we had, and was quite relieved to be able to let someone else do it.
Needless to say, as with the rest of the house, the bathroom was no exception to the bad DIY of the previous owners. The tiles, floor and wall, were mostly put up, or down, with the wrong adhesive so came away easily with a bit of gentle encouragement. The previous preparation, if you can call it that, was pretty much nonexistent, and bad workmanship was an ongoing theme throughout. The Bathroom Man spent the whole of his first day taking away the old, rubbish work, and completely gutting the entire room. You can see that even with my fixings the water had found its way between the wall and bath at the shower end.
After the electrician had been to put wires in for a light above the mirror, and an extractor fan, Bathroom man spent the rest of the second day making good the bad bits and preparing for the next day. We had a worrying crack appearing along what looked like a plasterboard join on the ceiling, it was almost a relief to find out it was down to more bad workmanship inside the bathroom and not a leak from the roof.
After hardly any discussion it was easily decided that Bathroom man would put up some new plasterboard on the ceiling and a plasterer, who worked with him often, was able to come and skim it with plaster the next morning.
Things moved on, the ceiling looked way better, a large hole was cut through the wall to outside for the extractor fan, a couple of dodgy floorboards were cut away and replaced, along with the apparent attempt to fix a leaky pipe underneath said floorboards.
The bath was connected and after working out which was the best way to fit a rectangle bath into a diamond shaped corner, everything was sealed and primed ready for tiles.
I had to work the next day so Hubby was left in charge, when I got home Bathroom man was still hard at work, but already I could see the bathroom taking shape.
I’m not good with decisions, and I wasn’t really bothered too much about what the bathroom looked like so long as we got rid of that horrible brown floor, although I was going to miss the little girl pushing her big brother on the swing hiding in the “Squiggles” in the tiles.
Hubby particularly liked a pair of taps which had quite a square appearance and I sort of went on from there. Most of my planning worked around making it easy to keep clean, I’m planning on getting old here so I want a very low maintenance bathroom. We chose a rectangular sink and bath to echo the taps, and as for the tiles, I wanted matt tiles on the wall, and good grip on the floor and Hubby wanted grey, so we sort of ended up with these as default.
More decisions followed… How did we want them on the wall. I had a little help deciding here, it would seem we’ve picked the exact same tiles as our Bathroom man has recently fitted in his bathroom, so I could make use of his hindsight. He said some of the wall tiles had a slight bow in them due to the size and shape, he put his up with a brick design and can see the bow here and there, he recommended a slightly offset pattern instead, maybe a quarter way in. I went with dividing the tiles in thirds and was happy as the result gave the impression of dividing the tiles up into three squares.
More decisions… Did I want the floor tiles in the same staggered pattern? I closed my eyes and imagined the result… No, I wanted the floor tiles layed in brick formation, they’re twice as wide as they are high so that would give the appearance of squares to go with the wall tiles.
As with the building trade, Bathroom man stops at weekends, which worked well for us because we were away visiting the girls, and as much as I was looking forward to our new bathroom, the kitchen sink, and “Downstairs inconvenience” is all well and good as a temporary solution, but it was really nice to be able to take a long shower in someone else’s bathroom.
We came home on Monday morning and I used the Monday evening to put the first coat, the watered down coat of paint onto the newly plastered ceiling. Of course, I didn’t just paint it as it was, I scratched at the top corners of the wall to make sure it was all looking good first. Unfortunately when it came to clearing up my dust I wasn’t sure what I could move or not so I thought I’d better not touch and left most of the dust where it had fallen.
The Tuesday morning arrived soon enough, and so again did Bathroom man.
He set about the gap above the wall tiles, cutting a hole for the extractor fan, and tiled into the window alcove. Then he cleared everything out and started on the floor tiles.
I was to wait for an hour after Bathroom man had gone before stepping into the new floor tiles to add more paint to the ceiling and walls, but I needed more pollyfiller on the walls first so I filled and left the painting for another day.
Another day came and Bathroom man brought the last tiles needed, and the coloured grout we had chosen. I pulled rank on the grout colour, wanting darker grout between the wall tiles than Hubby.
After Bathroom man had left, I set about the wall above the sink with its first coat of super scrubbable matt paint, but what a disaster, I know I’m too much of a perfectionist, but it went lumpy and bumpy, and looked terrible, I frowned at it and didn’t touch the ceiling. It didn’t look quite so bad the next day, apparently the paint before had been painted straight onto the wall without a watered down coat to soak into the plaster first, so there wasn’t a lot I could have done to make it better except to scrape it all off and start again.
All I can say, is thank goodness I used matt paint.
During the next day, the bath panel was cut to size and the toilet fitted. The cupboard above and behind wasn’t quite as I had pictured it, but I contented myself with the new taps instead. What fun.
We were so close… But when Bathroom man came next morning he discovered a crack in the back of the toilet. Another was ordered, but couldn’t be here until after the weekend. Lots of finishing off happened though, the sink pipes were boxed in, as was the side of the toilet cupboard, grey bath sealant was added to the corners of the tiles and by the end of the day the sink and bath and shower were ready for us to use over the weekend.
Bathroom man drilled holes, first in his new tiles above the window and put up my brackets for the new blind, then in the wall above the sink ready for my mirror. The bath panel remained loose for checking the plumbing underneath after being used, and of course, the cracked toilet waited back in its box for its replacement
I painted another coat of white matt on the wall, then had a shower in my own bathroom … What a treat.
The downstairs inconvenience was very much appreciated at this point, but it was starting to struggle with constant use, it was what it was after all, an outside loo, brought inside. Hubby was brought up with finer things, the downstairs loo was outside in the house where he grew up, but he had a bathroom upstairs. Our bathroom was downstairs, at the back of the kitchen so as a child I made many trips “upstairs and downstairs, in my night-gown”.
Bathroom man stopped for the weekend and it was again my turn to play. He had taken the bathroom door off to work behind it and the hinges, being just cabinet hinges, and completely unsuitable, had buckled and so the door wouldn’t swing closed. While he made plans on how to fix them, I explained I had new black hinges to fit on the door and would hang the door myself over the weekend.
The weekend turned out not to be any of my finest hours, the last coat on the mirror wall bubbled again, and the ceiling which had been given every careful preparation required did the same, I began to think there might be a problem with my paint. The worst bits of wall were in the mirror space so once the paint was dry I set about putting it up… On my own… Disaster… I dropped it.
OK, not compete disaster, just a couple of chips, one in the mirror… And one on the sink. The chip on the sink is right near the wall, and tiny so hardly shows.
As for the door and the hinges. It would appear the cabinet hinges were the previous answer to another problem. The bathroom suite had at some time been in a different arrangement and it would appear that when the bath, which was originally behind the door, was moved to underneath the window, the wall next to the door was covered up with a sheet of plasterboard. Not a problem in itself, but then, to neaten the edge at the door, the doorframe was built up over the edge of the plasterboard.
To hang the door on proper door hinges I needed to remove the extra framework and build it back up smaller. Once the extra framing was removed, the door went back up easily on the new hinges and fitted nicely back into place with just one slight problem… One floor tile had been cut around the frame.
With the mirror up and the door back on its hinges, the bathroom was ready to hand back to Bathroom man.
As Bathroom man returned, I explained my disasterous weekend, and we worked out how to fix it… Also when I mentioned my thoughts about the paint, he said he’d had problems with the same brand. PHEW!
Bathroom man added the last bits of bath sealent, and as the replacement toilet didn’t arrive, he busied himself with another plumbing job with the kitchen sink. This left him with just the final checks to make downstairs, and the toilet to fit upstairs on the following day, and his part in the new bathroom was finished. Meanwhile the electrician returned and installed the extractor fan and connected the lights in the bathroom. I had originally planned to keep the bathroom light, but when it had to be removed for the ceiling replacement, I suggested a light I had bought for the landing could go up instead. I bought another light ready for the landing and when I checked on the electrician’s progress, he had not only finished, but had almost put up my landing light too. Of course I got his name and number to add to the file of tried and trusted workmen for future reference.
The workmen finally left, I had my toys back and could play again. But first, a day sitting around in my pj’s and napping on the sofa was needed.
I set about the bad walls with some pollyfiller and a coat of trusted paint, things started to look much better. Then with the last of the dustmaking finished I gave the bathroom (and the rest of the house) a very much needed good clean.
Hubby bought a new “singing and dancing” weighing machine, and I bought a couple of new “Trinkets” to finish things off nicely, and there you have it… Finally (and well worth the wait) … The new bathroom …
Now that it’s finally done, I feel it’s a little too grey as it is, Hubby thinks it’s good this way, I think… Maybe it needs some orange towels.
More “Fixings and finishings“.