January 3, 2011

Wonky Walls & Bathroom Trim

Nothing in the tiny bathroom we're remodeling is either level or plumb. The walls are bowed, the corners aren't square, and the ceiling and floor both slope, though not necessarily at the same angle. We figured it would be before we got started, but it wasn't so noticable when the entire room was a dull, dirty white. It became glaringly obvious when I wallpapered the room. There's nothing like the horizontal and vertical lines of a plaid to accentuate where something is off. In fact, I had to draw on my sewing skills and cut a few darts in the wallpaper to fit it around a couple of corners, so the sheets would line up vertically plumb.

Unfortunately the wood mouldings and trim aren't as forgiving to work with as wallpaper. Some things though, aren't surprising when they're off.

Like the corners of this ceiling trim. Other things though, one doesn't expect. Take, for example, the baseboard on this wall.

The little red arrow in the above photo is pointing to a gap between the wall and the baseboard. If you click on it for a closer look, you will see that even though both ends of the board touch the wall, there is quite a gap at the center. It would be easy to think that the board is bowed, but it's not. The board is straight. The wall is bowed. Likely this is due to the fact that there is no stud in this section of the wall. Whomever constructed the room apparently thought the corner and shower framing would be enough. Not only has there no support for the drywall, there's also nothing to nail to.

The worst one was the pony wall which contains the plumbing for the shower.

It simply isn't square. Add to that the problem that it isn't a true 90 degree angle to the adjacent wall, and that there is a slight slope to the floor, and well, you see the result. I really had a hard time papering this wall too. I had to paper it twice, the second time overlapping it quite a bit at the bottom so the edge wouldn't slant. Fortunately that's in a spot that won't be noticed. The baseboard on the other hand, is very noticeable.

The solution for all these gaps? Wood filler or painters putty. Great stuff. And once the mouldings all get painted, who will know the difference.

And after painting?

After primer and a first coat, I think it will be alright. I'll apply a second coat if needed. After three days, the frog tape can be removed.

I'd like to make mention of our baseboard. We looked at ready-made ones at the building store, but nothing covered the gap at the bottom of the wainscoting the way we wanted it to. Finally Dan suggested that we get pine 1x6s, and that he use his router to finish them.

It turned out really well.

Next will be to finish the painting. Trims and wainscoting will all be a pure, clean white. After that we can put the sink, toilet, and door back, and then get on with the finishing details!

Wonky Walls & Bathroom Trim © January 2011 by Leigh at http://my5acredream.blogspot.com/


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. Our house is an 1881 Cape, and nothing in that is square, either. The bathroom is looking good, though!

Theresa said...

It looks great! We did the same thing with moulding. Routed out our own design for all the trim in the house.Saved money but not time. Did you use a Kilz type primer on the pine?
Ha, sewing skills do come in so handy for stuff like darts in the walllpaper don't they!

Tami said...

Our house is only 28 years old. There's nothing "plumb" in my house either.

Putty and filler is like makeup...it covers up the flaws in your houses face.

Laura @ Getting There said...

The walls in our house are ALL drastically uneven, and it was just built in 1970! One section of the diningroom floor slopes, and there is a huge crack along one corner of the master bedroom where the house has settled...any time we do anything to the house it's a challenge because I don't think there's a single 90 degree angle anywhere! :)

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Hey, do you live in my house??? Every single piece of trim we have put up needs the same! Aggravating, isn't it?!

Well it looks marvelous now and I think you guys did a great job!

Nina said...

It's a great way to make things "look" right. When we put crown moulding up on the livingroom ceiling, we ran a bead of caulking at the top to make it look like the mouldings all fit. Now you can't tell that the ceiling is wonky because it looks like all is fitted nicely. Good idea on the baseboards.

Woolly Bits said...

the "joys" of renovating an old house - I know all about round walls, funny corners and odd electric cables (it saves so much on cables when you just string them over the wall diagonally - unfortunately this is not really a very safe method:(() good thing that you do up the house yourself, so that you can spend a little more time on working on those oddities - craftspeople would either leave it warped or they'd charge you an arm and a leg to work it out properly:(( your bathroom will look bright and inviting though!

Renee Nefe said...

I think every house has it's quirks. I was just telling my hubby that there is a chunk of baseboard in dd's bathroom that is just sitting in place. Every time I mop in there it comes flying out. and for some odd reason most of our baseboards have scratches on them.

Mama Pea said...

Kind of amazing that so many of us have had the same situations. The original part of our house was a bunkhouse at a resort which was moved over 40 miles to this location. We stripped things pretty much down to the studs when we bought the property. Still we ended up with the same awful "problems" as you.

You and hubby are doing a wonderful job at making the end product look great. No one will EVER notice the wonkiness but you. And you'll even forget over time.

P.S. Ha! Word Verification is ressawn. And re-sawn and re-sawn and re-sawn!

bspinner said...

You came up with some great solutions for some very interesting problems. Can't wait to see the finished bathroom!

Mr. H. said...

Very nice, I like your solutions.

Leigh said...

Well ya'll, I haven't spent much time at the computer so I'm just going to make an insensitive blanket response rather than individualized ones! :o

I'm interested that almost everyone has similar problems with their homes. Some of it is expected I think, as homes settle, but new construction really shouldn't have so many problems, I don't think. I'm guessing it's due in part to the general poor quality of building materials these days, based on what we've seen at our local building supply stores. Then I wonder too, if construction laborers are really paid enough anymore to actually care about the quality of their work. I know for DH and others he's worked with, there is a feeling that an their pay somehow reflects their worth and value as part of the company. If their employer doesn't think that much about them, then why care about the job. I know that seems something of a rabbit trail from the topic of this post, but as I read your comments and think about how goods these days have less quality for higher prices, I can't help but wonder about things like this.