My dad made the two and a half hour trek from Akron to Columbus yesterday, and boy do I owe him a big thanks! In my post from Day 3 of the Bathroom Renovation, I credited my dad with keeping me from accidentally killing myself during the many near death moments that can unnecessarily arise during DIY projects (maybe y’all are just much more prudent than me, but seems like I always encounter at least three of these a day).
However, I would like to amend my compliment from yesterday, as I was the one actually talking some life-saving sense into him. This crazy old dude wanted to carry the 335 pound cast iron tub down the steps in one piece! He reminded me that my grandpa – a very strong dude in his day, much more thickly built than me – once carried a similar tub up the stairs by himself by putting it on his back like a turtle shell and crawling.
Well I definitely didn’t inherit those genes and grandpa is probably rolling in his grave. After we failed to slide the tub more than a couple of inches on a blanket, I decided it was best to break it to shards with a sledgehammer. If you’ve never broken cast iron with a sledgehammer, let me tell you, it is as thrilling a demolition project as you’ll find. It is also a bit terrifying, as both tiny and large chunks of razor sharp metal and porcelain jettison into the air with every swing of the hammer that lands true.
Alas, we were left in one piece, though the tub was not so lucky. Best of all, I took the broken shards to a nearby scrap yard and made $23.19 just for recycling my garbage. On a project like this, every penny counts!
Let’s recap the progress so far and the goals for today:
Wiring and Electric
This is an area of pseudo-expertise for my dad. Unfortunately, we did not go as far as roughing in new wiring for the bathroom though we did open up the wall, remove some old wiring, and plan the next steps. Looks like I’ll be doing most of the rough in on my own!
Shut off the electric to the bathroom Disconnect and remove the old fixture, switch, and outlet
- Replace the knob and tube wiring with new 14 gauge wire
- Replace the outlet boxes
Cut a hole for a second outlet, one on each side of the vanity
- Move the light switch closer to the door, adding a second switch for the installation of a new exhaust fan and light combo
- Cut a hole for the new exhaust fan/light system over the shower. Install system through attic, attaching the boy to a ceiling joist.
- Run two separate power feeds from a box in the attic (already installed during a previous project) to first outlet and the light switch box. Then run power in a series from the 1st bathroom outlet to the second bathroom outlet and then to the bedroom outlet located on the same wall. Finally, run two lines from the light switch – one to the vanity light and one to the exhaust fan/light.
No news is good news. We’ll revisit the final step after the floor tile is down:
Turn off the water to the toilet Flush the toilet draining as much of the remaining water as possible. Unscrew the water feed line and drain water into a nearby bucket Remove bolt caps and unscrew toilet from the bolts holding it to the floor Lift toilet from its place and dump water from bowl into a bucket or the tub. Have towels handy for water spillage Stuff a rag into the drain to prevent sewage smell from entering room
- Replace flange and/or wax seal as needed (flange may still be in good condition)
- *Note: the flange looks good, though the wax seal will need replaced
- Install new toilet, hook up water feed
Bathroom Vanity and Sink Installation
Holding pattern continues for the vanity. Everything is ready to go for when the walls and floor are installed.
Turn off the water to the sink Unscrew the water feeds and the drain pipe – have a bucket handy to catch drips Detach the faucet from the drain pipe (plug plunger) and remove Lift off the sink and carry it out Detach the vanity frame from the wall and floor using a hammer and crowbar Replace plumbing, valves, connectors, etc as necessary
- Install the new vanity on top of the new flooring. My new vanities stand on legs atop the flooring, rather than sitting flush with it all the way around, as the old one does.
- Silicon the sink to the wall as gaps between them dictate
- Install the new faucet hardware and connect to the water supply and drain.
- Turn on!
Removing the Cast Iron Tub and Shower Surround
YAY!!! It feels good to check this one off. The entire area where the shower and tub once stood is now clear.
Shut off the water to the shower Disconnect the spigot, handles, and shower head Rip out the frame around the shower. Break apart the overhead frame to open up the shower to the ceiling, and tear out the built-in shelving Remove tiles and plaster from the shower surround, taking the walls down to lathe Disconnect the drain pipe from the tub Break the cast iron tub with a sledgehammer and remove in pieces
- Replace or repair any plumbing as necessary, including installing a pressure balance valve and extending the pipe to raise the shower head. *(A new problem arose when we broke the old galvanized steel hot water feed which runs from the sink to the shower. This will need replaced)
- Build the frame for the new shower and closet, preparing the walls and ceiling around it for cement board and/or drywall. Frame spaces for in-shower shelving for soaps, etc
- Install the new tub and glass shower door
- Cement board the walls around the tub, mortar, tile, and grout over the cement board
- Add the exterior wood frame for the facade of the tub
- Caulk in any cracks or space between the tub and wall or frame
Tiling Bathroom Walls, Floors, and other Cosmetics
Yesterday we cut holes for the outlet and switch boxes but did not yet run wire. I need to make sure the boxes are flush with the new drywall, which may require buying new boxes or an extension plates for the boxes that I already have.
The other question I’m wondering is whether or not I need to take out the plaster behind the toilet to accommodate the additional thickness of the drywall that will be placed there.
Finally, there is a little bit of linoleum flooring left to be torn up. I should have this done today.
- Rip up the linoleum floor. (half done)
- Repair or cover floor as needed – the looming question is how much flooring will need replaced, now that we were forced to cut out several floorboards to get to the broken pipe.
Remove the paneling from the walls.Repair or cover the plaster as necessary Pull down the tiles from the ceiling. Repair or cover the plaster as necessary
- *Additional step completed yesterday:
Chip away all the plaster against the wall alongside the tub up to the ceiling.
- Attach cement backing board as the underlayment on the subfloor
- Mortar, tile, and grout over the floor, using spacers to keep the tiles in line and a tile saw to make cuts as necessary
- Install open shelving on the backside of the shower wall. Leave an access door below in order to access the shut off valves for the shower water lines
- Install the mirror, towel racks, toilet paper holder, or any other decorative pieces
Back to work for now! Stay tuned for Day 5 of the Bathroom Renovation Project.