It’s been a busy month in the house renovation world with lots of updates in every space. However, the one room we have been most excited about getting finished is the upstairs hall bathroom. This one has given us the biggest challenge so far.
When we bought the house, it was definitely a functional bathroom, but because it was the only shower in the house, a lot of the repairs made were quick fixes that would allow it to stay operational through the project.
When the house was built, the shower was tiled with the retro robin’s egg blue tiles above and, of course, the tub matched. The previous owners tired of the blue hue and decided to apply shower panels over the tile. This is a quick fix that isn’t too hard to DIY, but the panels they purchased didn’t go up quite as high as the original tile work, so they opted to paint those tiles peeking out of the top. No big deal, but we definitely wanted to start fresh and tile the shower with something more modern.
First, Mark took down all the old shower panels and tile, and then the drywall behind it. Because this is a bathroom with not a whole lot of ventilation, we weren’t surprised to discover moldy drywall. Ah, bathrooms. A little bit of prep work goes a long way, so he decided to put up cement board and then seal it off with waterproofing material. It’s basically this rubbery goo that you paint on all over the area that will be tiled.
We chose a gray glass subway tile for the shower walls which we got from subwaytiledirect.com. I’d never heard of them prior to our project, but working with them was amazing and they have a lot of great tiles to choose from. Ordering stuff online is hard because you don’t get to see it and match it before you buy, but we ended up really happy with it!
It is common for glass tiles to not be colored through the entire tile. Think of a glass beer bottle. If you break it, the chips of glass are solid brown, green, etc. throughout. However, with a lot of glass tiles, the color is actually coming from a paper-like backing that shines through the clear glass body of the tile. This means that when you cut it, you might be exposing a clear edge if the paper does not cut cleanly. We fixed this by painting in those little spots. Fortunately, I painted the vanity to match the tiles so I had TONS of extra paint to spare.
We found our shelves at Home Depot online and were completely excited to get them until I got an email saying the order would be cancelled. Why? Oh, there was a labor union strike at the port where the shelves were to cross Lake Erie from Canada into the United States. Until further notice, all orders crossing via the lake were cancelled. Thank goodness for eBay!
With shower shelves and tiles in hand, we were finally able to start working. By we, I mean, Mark. He does tile work professionally so I took to painting walls, baseboard, and the vanity.
After a DIY fail, we decided to hire a professional to come and reglaze our tub. We’re so glad we did that because it worked out wonderfully! One important thing to remember is that reglazing does require you to be a little more careful with your bathtub. For example, you cannot clean with harsh acids (this includes accidentally spilling Drain-O while cleaning your drains!), mats and things that suction onto the tub are restricted, and you should not stack bottles on the corners of the tub. All of this stuff can cause the surface to erode or become discolored. We think it’s worth it considering we get to reuse an existing, LEVEL tub!
At this point, we are in the finishing stages and trying to find fixtures that we like to complete the look. I can be picky about shower fixtures because I hate low-flow shower heads. I know, I’m killing the planet, but I can’t spend three hours in the shower trying to get shampoo out of my wavy hair every day. Cake problems.
I snapped this quick “after” (but more like “during”) shot before Mark reinstalled the toilet. I’ll get some better “after” pictures when the job is really finished, but it is way too early for all of that and way too dusty, too! So much dust!