December 26, 2012

Bathroom Remodel: The Unseen Stuff

If it hadn't been for plumbing problems in our hall bathroom, we probably would have done nothing more to the room than a coat of paint, new flooring to replace the poorly installed, curling vinyl, and possible a water efficient toilet.

Our hall bathroom when we first moved in.

Oh, and I probably would have replaced that medicine cabinet too. And Dan would have wanted to refinish the tub and sink, with their pitted, badly worn, and stained enamel surfaces. That, some new towel racks and a curtain, and we could have lived with the rest.

When we bought the place, the hot water faucet on the sink didn't work and we had recurring drainage problems with that sink. Nothing seemed to be able to permanently unclog it until at last, it quit draining altogether. We also discovered there was a leak in the toilet and that there had been enough water damage there at one time, to make the floor mushy and the toilet lean a bit. The final straw was when the tub faucet started to leak and couldn't be fixed. Dan turned off the water to that bathroom about ten months ago and the room has been nonfunctional ever since.

So far we've repaired the floor and replaced the window. The next step was plumbing repairs and electrical work.

Medicine cabinet will be replaced with a mirror

Plumbing upgrades have included replacing the cast iron drain pipes with PVC, and replacing the cast iron supply lines with copper tubing. Dan also added a vent for the sink.

Electrical work has been moving the outlet so that it's not directly over the sink, and an exhaust fan.

Beginnings of the framework for the drop ceiling

We lived almost nine years in a house with no air conditioning and no bathroom exhaust fan. I battled mildew on the ceiling and walls the entire time we lived there. Dan said never again, so both bathrooms have better ventilation.

The fan was the primary reason he wanted to drop the ceiling; it made it easier to install. All the ceilings in the house are tall, 8'9", so this one will now be a standard 8 foot height.

The fan in the kitchen bath included a light and heater, but this one is an exhaust fan only. The lights we installed on either side of the mirror are adequate, and we're doing to do something else about heat - more on that later.

Next we'll finish the ceiling and do the walls. After that, the floor. Then we can start putting things back together.


Theresa said...

Heaps of work Leigh, but it must be done. Geez, you guys will have rebuilt close to 85% of that house by the time you're done. It's going to be wonderful though. Is this the last of the big indoor remodels or do you have a bedroom to do too?

Anonymous said...

Just impressed, that's all I can say. You both remind me of my parents, who basically rebuilt a 4 room summer camp, project by project, into the 3 bedroom home they have now :).

Farmer Barb said...

Something about seeing framing done gives me goosebumps!

Sandy Livesay said...


When all done, you'll have the bathroom you've always wanted, and there won't be any leaks. I have to say, I'm extremely jealous but happy for you. OMG, do I know what you're talking about when you mentioned not having an exhaust fan or air conditioning in the bathroom. This house were renting has no exhaust fan in the bathroom. There is a window, and a small ceiling fan (which does absolutely nothing). I'm constantly cleaning this room, it holds moisture we have to open the window when taking showers (no matter what the temperature is outside). I can't wait to own our own home (a normal home, lol).
I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of your final product.

Leigh said...

Theresa, at least 85% LOL. Dan and I were just discussing projects and making our goal list for next year. The next house project will involve the walls on that side of the house. Under the vinyl siding, the original siding has many gaps in it, so that you can see daylight through the walls! We need to insulate the wall, replace the old leaky windows with energy efficient ones, and put up the new, air-tight siding. I think all that will make a huge difference. Right now the bedrooms are the coldest rooms in winter and hottest in summer.

Stephanie, Dan often grumbles that it would have been easier to start from scratch and build our own house! ;)

Barb, LOL. In some ways I wish we didn't have to do all this, but it makes the house so much more comfortable, which in turn helps us save more kWh!

Sandy, living in rentals is tough for that very reason. Dan actually installed a ventilation fan in that rental house it needed it so badly. We lived there for 9 years and I used to wonder if the owners even remembered that the bathroom never had that. :)

Renee Nefe said...

When you replaced the pipes did you locate the drainage problem? In the house I grew up in they had clay pipes and tree roots would find their way in and clog up everything. My father was frequently digging up the yard to clear out the roots. He just left a shingle over the pipe.

Nina said...

Bathrooms always seem to become a bigger job than one hopes for. At least any renovations and repairs done, tend to be lasting, so one doesn't have to redo them again in the near future.

badgerpendous said...

I can't wait to follow along as you progress through your list in 2013. We finished our list last weekend -- a somewhat daunting project itself, but we'll tackle it one project at a time.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

it's a boatload of work but will be what you want and beautiful when you're finished.

Leigh said...

Renee, the drain was stopped up in the pipes; clogged so badly that no amount of drain cleaner would have made a difference. We have had tree roots clog drains though, and you're right, that's a nuisance.

Nina, they seem humongous when one is in the middle of them! Knowing most of it is a one time project really helps. :)

Badgerpendous, good for you! We've just got our goal list figured out and I'll be putting it up on the blog on January 1st. They do seem overwhelming, but as you say, it's tackled one project at a time.

Sandra, even so, it's not as bad as the kitchen! ;)

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

I giggled. When you listed what you simply would have done if it was easy and straight forward. Appears to me you would have still changed it all, regardless! :)