Thursday, February 28, 2013

We Really Need To Do Something About Those Cracked Tiles…

This was mentioned more than once to my husband.  We are both to blame.  I noticed them because I’m the one who generally cleans in there.  I think we both knew what we find-it was just a matter of willpower and budget.  Before that happened or any before pictures were taken-the peeling two layers of wallpaper had to go.
Upstairs bathroom, the one used mainly by our kids-cracked tiles  around the toilet.  It doesn’t take any imagination to know we were facing some rotten subfloor.  We just didn’t expect to find that the joist had been cut into for the toilet… or to be playing name those pipes Jeopardy Edition.

I had cajoled my husband into this project by promising to do all of the wallpaper stripping and painting on my own.  He took a day off to make a three day weekend to tackle the floor with my help.  Not that I could do much other than help with handing him tools and fetching other needed items-that and making him a sandwich.  We had already figured out our needed budget and ditched the idea of replacing the countertop and sink.  I know he could have tackled this on his own, but the cut joist made us both nervous.  I encouraged him to call our handyman.  He stopped by and gave us a price to deal with the remaining rotted subfloor, bracing the joist and laying down some luan and top of all of it.  It came out lower than what we had considered for a new countertop and sink.  Sold!

Once again I got out my trusty wallpaper removing tools.  Sadly my husband couldn’t find any more Piranha Wallpaper Remover and bought me the DEP gel.  I don’t think I saved anytime with him picking me up some supplies.  I just work better with the Piranha.  The layers around the tub and vanity light came off just fine.  All other areas took jumping back and forth from steaming and the DEP.  The first layer of wallpaper was stuck on plain drywall just like the kitchen.  It was the same baby blue and light pink pattern with flowers and butterflies on a white background.  It had to have been cheaper than paint with the original owners putting it up in all three bathrooms and kitchen.  They certainly did not want to waste time or money on primer.  Three rooms down and one very tiny bathroom to  go.  I will try and remember to  take a picture of this hated wallpaper-not because I ever had to live with it, just that I am so intimate with it by now.  A lot of patching and priming later and I was off and running.  I was so excited to be done with the stripping get started with painting the cabinets I had to stop in the middle of wiping the wallpaper mess off and taking doors down so I could take before pictures of the cabinets.

I wiped them down with Krud Kutter and rinsed with vinegar.  One coat of Zinsser Gardz and I was ready to paint on some homemade chalk paint.  My kitchen cabinets have held up well, and they go through a lot of abuse from my kids.  Fingers crossed these will also.
I wasn’t choosy about the paint color-really just rushed through and found something that looked like it would work.  Serendipitously the color is a match to the countertop.  I’m not sure that I would have planned it that way if I had taken my time, but I am happy with the result.

By the time the handyman showed up a few days later the walls were painted, the subfloor had been scraped, new faucet, vanity lights, frame around mirror, cabinets were done.  I wasn’t worried about a second coat of paint on the cabinets at this stage-I figured I would get it after the floor and wall were repaired.

He performed his magic in a couple of hours.  I was thrilled and I know my hubby was as well.


For flooring we choose Traffic Master from Allure.  We had originally intended to put tile down again, but after adding up the cost of installing just the waterproofing underlayment this was less expensive…and less work involved.  I really liked the feel and look of it.  It looks like nice wood flooring.  It’s basically a big vinyl mat that is sealed to itself.  A no brainer to get it installed, although we did have a slight learning curve-there would be a few things I would approach differently.  If it doesn’t work out, or we want a change all we will have to do is pull the toilet and quarter round and lift it out.  A much nicer option all things considered and especially after chiseling out tile and the condition of my hands at the moment.

The gray area is the lower ‘grout’ line.  There are similar ‘grout’ lines on opposite sides underneath the flooring so that the two ‘grout’ lines stick to each other.  For runs next to walls or other surfaces you simply cut off the ‘grout’ lines so the flooring will be the same thickness throughout.  The directions say to place it at a 45 degree angle-I found that it needed a rolling motion with pressure put on the run you are joining the piece to-similar to putting contact paper on.  Done that way your join is tight and seamless.  I think in hindsight I would have removed the molding and finished the walls lower-put the molding back on flush with the flooring with caulk underneath the molding.  That was the trickiest and most frustrating job of all.  There is a slight grain on this flooring that catches caulk and can cause profanity to ensue.  I overcame this best I could-neither one of us likes this job to begin with.  I used tape to help control the mess.  I’m  still not thrilled with the job I did-I was hopeful for a crisp transition and failed.  That’s why I would skip the quarter round and just put a bead of caulk under the molding and then installing the molding.  Ah well live and learn.

I’m still very happy with the semi finished product.  I had three oriental paintings my mother gave me with sweet little birds sitting on branches.  I tried them out after I got my towel rods hung up and was happy with how they look in there.  I was even happier with my shower curtain and rug that I found in target with the birds sitting on the branches.  Another serendipitous moment.  I wasn’t thinking about a bird theme, or any ‘theme’ for that matter, but I am happy it turned out that way. 
Another bonus was that my youngest son was the first to try out the new bathroom.  I had run out to buy dinner and when I got home he was in the shower-a miracle in itself.  On top of that he actually cleaned up after himself including hanging up his towel.  Good stuff all around.
Now I just need my new light fixture from Amazon to come in.  I might leave it for my husband to put up when he gets home.

A bargain for $23!  It was being sold as used because the box was damaged.  Normal price is $111.  Happy dance…at least until I get it and make sure it’s whole.


With a little help from my kids and some great advice from my mom we got it up! A nice surprise for hubby when he gets home.

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