Tuesday, May 24, 2016

D.I.Y. Budget Bathroom Makeover: Part 2

In this post we're putting it all back together, basically.

James roughed in all the new/relocated plumbing fixtures.

He added the required venting and drain pipes. At this point the plumbing inspector was called and, once he finished his eggs (we got him at home), he stopped by. We passed our plumbing inspection, phew. The dogs approved highly of this "plumber"* and did their part by wiggling and schmoozing throughout the inspection. An especially enthusiastic Pippi disgraced herself/us by leaping into the air to deliver a lick to his lips on his way out. Thank you, dogs, for your efforts...for your impassioned, clumsy diplomacy. But thanks mostly to James' good work. (*See earlier post re: all visiting tradesmen/officials labeled 'plumbers': http://wildathomeblog.blogspot.com/2016/04/tips-for-calmer-pets-during-omg.html)

Vent pipes in...

The shower got two coats of Red Guard.

With the inspection passed, we could start rebuilding the room. Earlier we'd bought some floor boards from a retired gent who salvages entire buildings solo, using hand tools, and stores everything in his yard. Our floor came out of an old cannery. Since there were two colors, I decided to go with stripes. Because they are making up a bathroom floor, I varnished the crud out of all sides of these boards (using Varathane for floors), James got the ends as he installed, and we'll give them another coat or two after installation. Our walls are cedar--the same cedar we'll use in the shower. We got these boards from a guy who makes store displays, baskets, etc. He doesn't need the better boards, so sells them on. Technically they were surplus rather than salvage. We found these purveyors of well-priced timber on Craigslist and Uncle Henry's, respectively.

Skirting board + salvaged floor. (I painted the border grey because we had more red/brown than grey, and to make it sharper
than the more weathered, arguably character-filled center boards. Fret not, that big chip will be hidden under the tub.)

The walls going in: I started painting them pre-installation, then decided that was pointless.

We had to tear out the ceiling to put in the exhaust fan and plumbing vent pipes. This was a good excuse to go with a tin ceiling. (This is where I confess we are not going for a rock-bottom budget here. I think what we've come to aim for is a reasonably affordable fancy-ish bathroom. Budget is a major factor, but aesthetics reign supreme.) I got possibly a little carried away and went with a design based on an old schoolhouse from American Tin Ceilings. I love a tin ceiling that leads your eye around various patterns flowing from tile to tile. These are a bit bigger than I thought they were, which is just a case of me being a tad dopey when I looked at the website. I kind of wish they were smaller, but I think they'll tie in better with a coat of matte paint (right now they are primed and painted with Rustoleum metal paint).

Plywood ceiling up...

Tin ceiling tiles installed and awaiting final paint job.

The fixtures are prepped and waiting in the wings. These photos touch on just how maddeningly cluttered the workshop has been throughout this project:

Sink, tub, heater, medicine cabinets, clutter, etc.

The medicine cabinet, found at an auction for around $80: an old end cabinet once turned into gun rack, that
I've now turned into a medicine cabinet with the addition of a painted red cross and shelves. I got 29 cigar boxes
and one vintage tin at the same auction for $35...Yup, now I'm just bragging and reveling/salivating over
my finds like a typical bargain hunter.

As for Pippi, seasoned apprentice...

Pips uncharacteristically sat out this phase of the project. She did not approve of the nail gun, and there was
 no swaying her. Here she is eyeing it suspiciously while a headless teddy provides back-up/moral support.

...And here she has decided unequivocally that the nail gun is 100% bad news, and she must seek refuge under the desk with the renovation dust, making this face. She's from the Bronx originally, and her reaction led us to wonder where she's seen a gun before and formed this impression: in the inner city, or whilst sneaking off to tear through the Maine woods (equally likely). I mean, this is a dog who climbs icy ladders and leaps into moving UPS trucks if given half a chance. Sitting Under Desk is usually reserved for when her people argue. (We're a couple spending oodles of time together fussing over a lengthy renovation project. It's/we're going well, but I'm not going to pretend we don't cross wires from time to time, thus leading our dogs to make the above face, alas.)

Friday, May 13, 2016

D.I.Y. Plumbing: Budget Bathroom Makeover: Part 1

Spurred on by a scary-expensive plumber's job quote, we decided to tackle our bathroom plumbing ourselves. A canvass of friends and acquaintances revealed a lot more people have attempted this than we'd thought.

First things first:

1.) Advice and planning: The quote from the plumber ended up being a sort of consultation re: what we needed to do. When I called him to tell him the quote was a bit high for us and we might be D.I.Y.-ing, I asked if he'd be open to consulting us if we ran into trouble...I offered to pay for this service. He said call anytime, and did not seem bothered about being paid. (Some people are just nice like that, and are thinking long term: he just won himself two future clients). He talked me through everything on the phone so we could get started. The guys in Lowe's were also helpful, making sure we had the right size pipes, etc. Chatting to (knowledgeable) people about your project is good practice. You never know what helpful tips it might turn up....And there's always the internet. This was a pretty comprehensive online overview: http://www.diyadvice.com/diy/plumbing/bathroom/

2.) Getting the town permit: It's definitely worth looking into your area's local laws regarding plumbing/building work. Our town is fine with home owners doing their own plumbing, provided you submit an application, pay a small fee, and keep your new pipes uncovered until the inspector can check them out.

3.) Removing the fixtures: The internet is rife with D.I.Y. plumbing tutorials. This Youtube video was all we needed to remove the tub/shower: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmYLGRsg-m0
...And the toilet: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/moving-a-toilet-drain-pipe-4-tips#b
The vanity and sink we dismantled months ago. This was a helpful overview: http://www.aconcordcarpenter.com/bathroom-plumbing-disconnect-the-easy-way.html

4.) Replacing and adding pipes: James is downstairs swearing at lengths of pipe as I write this. We had some old iron pipes and needed to add on new PVC and pex piping (drain pipes and vent pipes). This is pretty impossible without removing and replacing a good chunk of iron pipe with PVC. We had to replace several sections, starting in the basement and continuing all the way up to the roof (for venting).

The old pipes removed, with Pips dutifully adding a sense of scale.

New pipes connected to old in our clearly ancient basement.

5.) Extras: With our walls and ceiling gutted, it was a good time to hook up our new combination vent/exhaust fan/heat lamp and light fixture. James did the vent and exhaust pipe, and an electrician came in to wire it in.

So, demo-ing your bathroom is pretty messy.

6.) More extras: When pulling up old bathroom floor coverings it's not unusual to find at least some parts of the floor/subfloor in need of repair. There was mold and rot under our old floor, and we pulled up the entire subfloor.

Pippi attempts to make sense of the destruction.
The wall on the right of the above picture is a load bearing wall resting on one floor joist. This is not the done thing. Normally the floor joists run perpendicular to load bearing walls, so the weight of the wall is stretched across several joists. We added more support to this area by retrofitting additional blocking.

Cutting the new blocking, in what used to be the second living room (the addition).

The additional blocking going in. We added this to two sides of the room 
and down the center, before putting the new subfloor in.

The new subfloor is in and ready to be paw-tested.

Additional extras...Some of our wall studs were crooked and James employed a trick he learned in carpentry school: sawing into the stud where it bows out, and screwing it back in place to straighten it out.

Getting the shower ready: We're building a cedar shower from scratch, and making the shower pan using the handy tutorial we found here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/12/21/how-to-make-a-relatively-sweet-shower-cheap/

She 'helps' like this sans encouragement: initiative + work ethic.
Drain fitted, cement poured and curing.

Bits and pieces: While James was busy with all of that, I tied up some loose ends.

I made some stained glass panels to go into the bathroom door. This is an old storm door. We have four of these.
My rule of thumb when scavenging materials is: if the price is right and the item useful/characterful, buy more than
you need. You'll either use it later, or sell it on/gift it to someone who will.

I revamped an old heater cover.

Still More Extras: This is our only bathroom, so we needed to sort out temporary bathroom arrangements. By that I mean a bucket and a hose, with some embellishments.

This is the same toilet we use on the boat: a bucket fitted with a toilet seat we found at the dump.
Fishing boats are no-frills. This is basically a composting toilet--we used kitty litter and saw dust.

We ran a splitter into one hose out of these two taps,
connected to a spray nozzle.
A pallet floor lobster trap shower

Completely irrelevant: During this time we also had to get the lobster boat in the water. Wooden boats dry out if left on land too long: that's a bad thing.

The whole thing needed to be painted...
...in time to be loaded onto a huge truck...

...and driven through town and down to the shore.