Bathroom Renovation

You know that saying “you’ve bitten off more than you can chew”? or “your eyes were bigger than your stomach”? Well, this is how I feel about the bathroom renovation I just completed. I knew it would be a decent amount of work. I have actually done pretty much all of the renovation tasks before, either by myself or with Tom. But I highly underestimated the amount of time each task would take. I would still be working on it if not for the timely help I got along the way.

My extra hands and labor: Nate Stahlecker who took the bathroom down! He pulled all the tiles off the walls, broke up the tile floor, and wrestled the old vanity into submission. Carlos Melendez who cut the backer board down to size so that I could get the shower walls ready for tile. Andrew Cottle who came and helped me hang said backer board (it’s pretty impossible to hold those sheets in place and screw them at the same time). Amy Kraus who helped me caulk the shower. Alex Cottle who helped me reset the toilet and reconfigure the drains so they would fit under the vanity (this was a step that I did not anticipate and required opening up the walls and doing some PVC surgery!)

I seriously underestimated the time it would take to cut and lay tile – I would come home from work and mix some mortar and cut a few tiles and set maybe seven tiles and I had spent two hours and was beat. And most of the tiles had to be cut on the wet saw so it was messy and wet and cold working out in the garage. So fun!

I fell off my step stool while trying to reach the top row with a tile in my arms – I thought it would be a huge disaster but I was so lucky and didn’t break anything – not even the tile in my arms! I did, however, have some gnarly bruises.

I’m getting better at drywall repair – my patches are pretty much invisible so I’m patting myself on the back for that one. And the painting part went so quickly that it made me remember why I really like painting a room. I also managed to hook up all the water and tighten everything just right so that there were no leaks at the end. I think that was a first in my plumbing experience. But … I did have to replace three of the four shut off valves at the beginning of this project. When I turned the water back on after replacing them, one of the valves was open! Water was cascading everywhere – but fortunately, the bathroom was completely gutted at that point so it wasn’t a big deal.

I love the way everything turned out and it does feel good to know how much of the work came from my personal efforts and time. But I think this might be my last solo renovation project … It ended up being way more stressful and much less fun than I thought it would be. But you never know … I might get a bee in my bonnet about something that needs to be changed up!

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