I already shared the design plans, budget and timeline (although I've finally let go of the timeline and kind of don't care as long as we finish by Halloween, ha!), the fun of demolition, regrouping after we found damaged subfloors, and putting in joist bridges and two layers of plywood to create a new subfloor (aka, oh-thank-god we no longer have to look at our crawlspace from the bathroom!). All caught up? Ok then!
So this past weekend we had some goals. Plumbing and electrical. I don't even know why I bother to share (or set!) goals anymore. We never get through all that we want to, and everything takes longer than it should. And then even longer. Oh, and then one of us jinxes something by saying "that shouldn't take too long." And it takes longer still. And then we get tired at 4:30 on Sunday afternoon and say "screw it, we're done for today" and go have a drink out on the deck.
We haven't lost motivation on this project yet, but our momentum has definitely slowed down. But it's ok, that means less pressure, and we don't have to kill ourselves working overtime in the process!
But anyway, back to the actual progress we made this past weekend. Plumbing is done, whoo-hoo!
And like everything, it was a lot more work than we were anticipating--we basically redid everything! Here's why, with a look at the old shower plumbing.
Specifically the shower valve. See how tiny it is, and how super close it is to the stud?
Well, that set up just wasn't going to work for us! A) because we wanted a fancier valve to go with our new shower fixtures (a turning valve, instead of basic up and down) and B) because of how close to the stud the tiny old valve was. Our new valve is a lot beefier, and would have been off-center from the tub if we kept it next to the stud like the old valve was.
So we had to do some fancy stud support tie ins, which would allow us to cut the stud that was in our way, and have it supported by the two studs on either side. Just like my husband's plans show below:
Ok, not so clear? Basically we just cut a section out of the stud, and ran horizontal 2x4s over to the studs on either side, distributing the weight evenly from the cut stud. And this opened up a whole new space for us to work with where the stud was before, and would allow us to have our valve centered on the tub.
Once the plumbing was done (which I won't bore you with--mainly because my husband did all of the work and you probably don't care unless you're working on a bathroom too), we added additional supports under the horizontal 2x4s, just to make the cut stud even more secure and sturdy.
Here's a look at the finished plumbing from the laundry room.
While we were at it though, we took the time to upgrade our shower head plumbing as well. We raised it up about 6 inches higher than where it was before. An extra high shower head is always a nice perk, and since we'll be running our tile all the way up to the ceiling, we figured we'd might as well throw in this nice little added touch. Oh, and don't mind the red yarn in the photos, we just used that to hang from the ceiling, to make sure all of our plumbing was nice and centered, and lined up with each other.
All of this plumbing work pretty much took two half-days worth of work. We had some fun with me going down to turn on the water main while on my cell phone to my husband, to make sure nothing was leaking up in the bathroom. There was one stubborn solder joint that took us four tries to get a water tight seal, but the rest of the joints turned out just fine on the first try.
Oh, and since I haven't shown them off yet, here are the shower fixtures and sink faucet we got. Love the vibrant brushed nickel look!
(Same photo source as above photo)
For some things I'm not into the "matchy matchy" look, but for fixtures I definitely wanted things to match. So I couldn't help also getting the coordinating toilet paper holder. The moment I saw it a light bulb went off in my head--never again would we have the problem of someone being too lazy to unlatch the tension roll holder to put a new one on. Yes, some in this household have that problem.
Let me....ok, back with a photo I just took in our master bath. As expected, guilty!
Don't ask me why putting a new roll on the holder is so difficult, but I'm hoping that with this new style there won't be any excuse, since you just plop the new roll of TP right on, with no tension springs to deal with!
One thing I should point out though is to definitely shop around for bathroom fixtures once you've found the ones you like. I had these all in my shopping cart on the Ferguson website, but then decided to check around, and I ended up getting all three fixtures for almost $100 less total on Faucet.com. So definitely check around, since the exact same fixtures are being sold at a lot of different prices depending on which website you go to.
But enough about plumbing. Since that was was mostly a one person job this weekend, I found other ways to stay busy. Namely by screwing the two layers of plywood together that made up our new subfloor.
Every eight inches in the middle, and along the walls and seams got a screw. Let me tell you, this was a lot more work than it looked! I spent about 4 hours screwing just the bathroom floor. I wasn't strong enough to counter sink the screws (so the screw head wasn't sticking up out of the wood) when sitting or on my knees, so I had to stand up, bending over and press down on the electric screwdriver for every screw. It was a good workout for my back though, and my hamstrings definitely got a good stretching!
I also drew a little grid on the floor with a pencil before I started, just so I wouldn't have to constantly be guessing where my 8 inch intervals would fall. It only took a little time to draw out the grid with a yardstick, and made the rest of the process a bit easier. And it had to added benefit of allowing me to avoid screwing this top layer of plywood into the floor joists, which is a no-no. I'd marked off the stud locations on the footer between the bathroom and laundry room, so I just made sure to space my 8 inch by 8 inch grid several inches away from the joist locations.
So now you're all caught up on what we accomplished this weekend. But now for the annoying thing we're dealing with now, which we've got to figure out before we can put up cement backerboard and tile.
See, there is a larger than normal gap to the right side of our tub.
I was hoping it would work out and the cement board would bridge the gap, but sadly it's just not going to work. There are two aspects working against us. First, the fact that we need to install a waterproofing vapor barrier on top of the studs, behind the cement backerboard that will line the shower and support the tile. This vapor barrier is supposed to run in over the lip of the bathtub, so if any water does get behind the tile, it will just run down the barrier and into the tub, through weeping holes in the caulk at the bottom. Well, with the cement backer installed on the studs as it would normally be, there's still a gap between the tub. Which doesn't really leave us anywhere to overlap the vapor barrier without it showing, much less give the tile the preferred placement, overlapping the lip of the tub.
I've illustrated this by using a piece of wood the same depth as the cement backer would be, so you can see the gap between it and the tub.
Now with a tile on the stand in backerboard.
See how the tile is up above the lip of the tub, and not able to overlap it? This is no bueno, for looks, preferred tile placement and hiding the bottom of the vapor barrier.
When people usually encounter this, they could just use strips of wood on top of the studs (called furring strips), to space the cement backerboard out further from the wall, so it will overlap the tub as it should. But in our case, if we did that, it would stick out further than the rest of the drywall on the entire wall. Also no bueno!
So now we're playing around with a couple of ideas on how to overcome this obstacle. I've been hitting up tile forums and doing a ton of research, but it looks like our best options would be to either try to move the bathtub (resulting in having to redo some plumbing, which my husband does NOT want to do), figuring out something with trim or tile to cover the wall transition if we have to bump out the backerboard to get it where it needs to be on that one side, or as a last resort, adding a layer of 1/2 inch drywall over that entire side of the bathroom so the cement backerboard can be in the right position and flush with the drywall. Another thing my husband does not want to do.
One thing is for sure, we're definitely weighing out options to come up with the best and hopefully easiest solution, and reaching out for opinions from experts in the online forums. Of course that all means more delays, until we have a plan for how to proceed. But having a solid plan and delaying things a few days sounds a lot better than a crooked wall, or worse, a shower that isn't properly waterproofed!
Wait, did I say up at the top of this post that I'd be happy if this bathroom renovation was done by Halloween? Thanksgiving, I meant Thanksgiving! :)