Bathroom reno, week 1 update

It’s been one week, readers. One week of drywall dust and all my bathroom supplies and getting-ready-for-the-day materials shoved into baskets and kept in the wrong rooms in my house. But the good news: in only a week, we’ve ripped down some walls and put new ones back up, so we’re well on our way to reassembling our bathroom.

Watch your head, here come some updates:

First of all, remember that hint of flooring that was visible under the blue peel-and-stick tile in my last post? Here she is, in all her glory:

I ripped up all the blue tile last Sunday morning, because it was coming up easily and it gave me instant demolition gratification. Chipping tile off the wall was hard work, but sliding a putty knife under barely-attached vinyl tiles was a cake walk.

After sending pictures of this yellowy orange and brown monstrosity to everyone I know, I immediately went ahead with peeling it off the floor as well.

The yellow layer was on the floor in one big sheet, and it was a fiddlier task to get it up. The sheet of vinyl had a cardboard backing, which was stuck really well to the floor in a number of places, so there were patches of cardboard left all over the floor.

Around the toilet area, I was hit with a distinct toilet-y smell as I peeled up the yellow flooring. Without a doubt, the toilet has overflowed or leaked in the past and it got between the layers of vinyl and the plywood subfloor. In case you’re wondering (and judging us), no, it did not smell toilet-y normally when the blue tile was in place. Clearly the layer of blue vinyl tile held in the stink and kept us from noticing anything out of the ordinary. Removing both of the aging vinyl layers unleashed a waft of eau de public washroom. Ick. We lit a scented candle and that made it less disgusting to go into the bathroom.

You’ll also notice some delightful black mold growing on the floor around the side and back of the toilet. Awesome. I spritzed it with a bleach solution, more for my own piece of mind than anything else. I wasn’t sure if this layer of flooring would be staying (spoiler: nope, it got ripped up), and I didn’t want to give that gross toilet-fueled mold a chance to go any further.

I got sweaty and toilet-y for a few hours on Sunday morning, then called it a day and had my last shower in the old tub. So long, socially accepted hygiene practices! Dan stepped in a while later and carried on with removing the blue tile from the wall. I did my patented screwdriver chisel technique for him to remove some of the grout holding the tiles in place, to make things a bit easier for prying off the tiles. Dan, bless his heart, went powerhouse style on it while I was out on Sunday afternoon and got as much tile removed as we could with the toilet in the way. He also made some serious holes in the wall, but we weren’t keeping the drywall under the tiles anyway.

And this was how we left it for Simon to start his portion of the work early last week. He arrived for his first day of demolition on Tuesday, and we had already moved our bathroom stuff out and committed to only using the bathroom downstairs.

I didn’t see Simon at all during the week, so every day I would come home from work to a new progress level update in the bathroom. Here was Tuesday evening:


The mechanics of the jet tub were disconnected, and he removed all the choppy drywall that was behind the wall tile. The acrylic tub surround also came down on Tuesday. I regret to inform you that I never once got a picture of the inside of our shower area. Sorry. Take my word for it, it was gross. The acrylic surround was old, dingy, and cracked. It had built-in shelves in both corners and they were cracked and letting water in behind it. The caulking where the surround met the tub was also aging and cracked, and you could see water damage/mold around the edges of the tub. Good riddance.

Simon also did work on the plumbing for our new shower head and tub faucet. The old copper piping was easily as old as our house (30+ years) and it was at the end of its useful life. New plumbing for us!

The old tub was still in place on Tuesday night, filled with Simon’s equipment. You can see the jet tub pipes and wires, which were all disconnected and ready to be ripped out.

Wednesday evening progress:

The damaged tile drywall that was still in place was neatened up and prepared to be replaced with nice new drywall. This is the area right behind the vanity counter, under the medicine cabinet.

Thursday evening update:

The toilet is gone!! This was a great day. The toilet was also probably as old as the house, judging by the inner tank part of it I replaced last year when it was constantly running. Simon also removed the plywood floor layer that was covered with stuck-on vinyl flooring backing and toilet stink. To provide a nice stable base for our new tile, Simon is putting down some kind of concrete flooring layer.

Friday was new drywall day. Oh baby, oh baby.

Look at that beautiful water/mold-resistant drywall. That green drywall brings me great joy. It was nice to see the room looking a little more like a room again.

Saturday update:

Simon started mudding the drywall behind the toilet area and the vanity, sorted out the plumbing for the shower, reworked the studs in the shower wall to make room for our shower niche recessed shelf, and removed the existing bathroom door.

I’m amazed at how much more open the bathroom seems with only that extra few inches that come from removing the door. The door for our bathroom was two feet wide (I know, right?), with a swing going into the bathroom and taking up precious space where you stand in front of the vanity to do your make-up and pluck your eyebrows. As you may recall, we were planning for a pocket door to free up space in our teeny bathroom. Fun fact: pocket doors go inside the wall when they open, which means you need to crack open some walls and add additional support on a load-bearing wall to make sure your roof doesn’t cave in. Well here’s an alternative that doesn’t involve nearly as much work – a sliding barn-style door. Whaaaaaaaat?!?!

Yup. I confirmed with my coworker Laura (shout out to you, Laura!) that this was a good idea (it is) and that is now the direction we’re taking. Simon agreed that it removes a lot of the headaches (and expense) around putting in a pocket door, especially since it was questionable how much header space existed above the door to add in extra support. It’s a non-issue now. Sliding door for the win.

All the major big box stores carry the track hardware for sliding barn doors (they’re very in right now), and a standard slab door will do the the trick for it. There are a few nice options at Lowe’s and Rona that we need to go and see in person before buying something.

The hardware for the handle on the outside is causing me the most grief. There are too many options, and I hate most of them. I’ve found a lovely supplier on Etsy who makes pretty blacksmithed handles, but I really want to wait until I have the door up and in my house before deciding on the type and size of handle I want.

The options for a lock for a sliding bathroom door are really limited, but this seems to be what the internet suggests:

Looks good to me. Dan and I will never use the lock, but for all you princesses who visit my house and wish to do your dirty sinful business without the door sliding open, I guess we should have an option for you.

And with that, we’re on to week two of our renovation. Simon is here right now adding another layer of drywall mud to the walls, and the new tub should be sliding into place tomorrow.


About joeyandjanice

Two crazy kids trying to make sense of the jumble surrounding making the jump from renting to owning our first home. Join us here as we stumble towards the biggest purchase of our lives.
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2 Responses to Bathroom reno, week 1 update

  1. Great post! I’m now a follower.

  2. Pingback: Bathroom reno, week 4 update | Joey & Janice buy a house

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