Bathroom reno, week 2

The alternative title for this post was “Everything is covered in drywall dust”, readers. But I like the direction I took; it’s more straight forward.

It’s true though. Literally everything in my house is covered in a fine layer of drywall dust. But you don’t care about my troubles, you want to see some updates!

We purchased our bathtub last week. It’s beautiful. I paid for it at Rona and arranged to have Simon pick it up with his truck when he was ready for it. Simon left it outside in our driveway, in the box, covered in a tarp, while he prepared the space for it. Late last week, the weather was mild enough for the tub to come inside, and I came home from work to find a bathtub in my kitchen.

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The red tag inside the tub is a big fat warning to not install the tub without a mortar base. Simon says he’s never installed a tub that required that before, but it would void the warranty if he didn’t. So tub sat the kitchen for a day or two while Simon prepared the space and the plumbing, and then one glorious day, I came home to this:

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Hey y’all! That’s a bathtub in the correct place in my bathroom!

Now, don’t get too excited. What I’m about to share with you will break your heart, but I promise it’s all going to be OK.

So here’s the deal. My old bathtub, the circa 1980 jet tub, was 1 inch too wide and 1 inch too long for the space it was sitting in. The old tub stuck out from the wall about an inch, and you could see that a notch was cut from the drywall to tuck it an inch or so into the wall. It looked sloppy. It was more evidence to support my theory that this bathroom was an absolute afterthought in this house.

This is the picture I took and sent to Simon before we even started ripping down wall tile to illustrate the problem. I sent this as a “is it still OK for me to buy a tub that is slightly bigger than this tub, which clearly doesn’t fit in the space” double check, before I went ahead and bought a tub. He said it would be fine, and he would sort it out.

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The solution the previous tub installers chose was to let it stick out an inch, then tile the part that juts out, and just glob caulking on it and walk away.

While my new tub was in place and looking spectacular, it too was sticking out from the wall about 2 inches. I’ll pause for a moment while your shoulders slump down in disappointment. Me too.

So, what can do about this? The day I came home and saw this, Simon had already left, and Dan relayed the options to me: do something similar to what the old tub had, but with drywall instead of tile, or create a drywall angled pieces to make it less obvious. Between these two options, I was leaning towards the angled bit of drywall, but none of it was what I thought would happen to correct the original problem of the opening in the wall being too small. From the beginning, from the day I sent that picture of old tub sticking out from the wall, I thought we would be looking at moving the wall to accommodate the tub. Leave that in your minds for a moment, we’ll come back to it.

Another great thing that happened this week was receiving our shower shelf. The day that Simon cracked open the wall behind the old tub, we took measurements to find out the distance between the studs for ordering our niche recessed shelf. I placed the order that very day, and after finding out expedited shipping was not an option, I crossed all my fingers and toes that it would arrive soon and not delay the project (we can’t tile the tub surround without the shelf opening marked in, now can we?).

We ordered a triple shelf from Tile Redi, which cost is $109 US plus $25 US for shipping. I ordered it on Tuesday, and UPS was trying to drop it off to my house on Friday. Wa-bam! That’s spectacular! I was floored. I really did not think it would come that quickly. We weren’t home when UPS tried to deliver, and after some miscommunications with UPS over the weekend, I stopped in to pick it up at their depot on Tuesday after work. It cost us an additional $65 in duty charges, bringing the whole cost of the shower shelf (with a rough US to Canadian conversion) to $259.59. Shhh, don’t tell Dan. He thinks I like to waste our money on frivolous things. I hate the look of those hanging shower caddies, and we’re loosing the build-in shelves that were in our old tub surround. This is a neat, clean, elegant solution to where you store your bodywash and razor. End of discussion.

Here is the shelf the day I picked it up, being held in its future wall space by Dan:

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And here it is when Simon screwed it in place on the wall the next day:

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Isn’t it beautiful?

Now back to the heartbreaking part. Well, less heartbreaking and more like a minor setback. Two steps backward and eventually four steps ahead, really.

On Friday, I was off work for the first time during the reno and could actually talk to Simon about things instead of leaving texts and notes and using Dan as a go-between. We were both on the same page. The wall needed to be bumped back to make room for the tub. He wasn’t happy with a sloppy patch job to make it work the way it was, and neither was I. Brilliant. This meant that the tub had to come back out, and for a short time, Dan could enjoy the view of his ensuite bathroom from his office.


The wall needed to move over about 4 inches to make room for the tub. This looks a lot more dramatic than the finished changes will be, don’t worry. The wall came down on Friday, and by midday on Saturday, the framing and some of the drywall were back in place.

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Four inches really isn’t much. See the row of wood along the ceiling just in front of those studs? He only bumped the wall to the outer edge of where the the old wall stopped. That’s it. The new framing now sits on top of the existing flooring in the office. There will be a gap in the ceiling finish at the top, which will be hard to match with new product because of the California style ceilings in the bathroom. I’m thinking we should tile the ceiling above the tub too, so it all looks the same. Thoughts?

Here’s how the finished wall will sit in the room:

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See? No big. Our sliding curtain track closet door can’t go back up again because of the jig-jog of the wall, but we have other plans for it, and an alternative closet door in mind for the office.

My favourite part about this was another ghost of our house’s past. Notice the orange and green floral print on the edge of those drywall pieces?

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The whole office was once covered in this wallpaper. Someone wisely painted over it in the yellow that used to be in our office. Come on! You can’t make this stuff up.

Yesterday, Simon was busy framing the wall and setting things up to put the tub back in place. The tub part gets a bit trickier because the plumbing connections all need to shift over a few inches to line up with the middle of the tub.

Hello down there! Here’s the quick access hole to the basement bathroom below:


Putting in that drop ceiling in the bathroom basement was a great idea, otherwise accessing the tub plumbing would have meant ripping a hole in a freshly drywalled ceiling. The tub drain needs to shift over the floor joist you see in the above pictures, and then the pipes for the shower controls move over to match.

And that’s where we sit right now. Simon should be back again today to complete the wall and finish up the plumbing. I’m not sure if the tub can go back in its rightful place yet, but I bet that’s not too far off. I’ll leave you with a snapshot of my life at the moment, with my current getting ready for the day set-up in the basement bathroom.

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I miss counter space.

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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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