Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bathroom Remodel - Day 3 - A new space

Day three took a lot out of me. Sticking your head into a hot attic for awhile really takes a lot out of you quickly.

I was able to remove the fireplace ducting into the attic. Then I started rebuilding the ceiling where the fireplace went through. After that was done framing started going in. My buddy Dean gave me a hand with that, especially when we had to go get some 2x4s. I didn't think of needing them when we made our initial Home Depot order.

Framing everything in helps us see that we have a box that'll be about 22x23 in the corner now. It also makes the bathroom feel so much larger than it was.

We also closed up the hole into the den. We're not going to worry too much about how pretty it is because that wall is going to get cabinets in the future. The den will likely become the new dining room then too. Those are later projects though.

Monday (Day 4) we didn't do much more than pull the paper and boards from the floor of the den and clean up, since we are done in there. It's all bathroom now.

We had an HVAC guy come out today to seal up the old fireplace chimney and help us figure out where to move the bathroom air vent. Glad to have that done even if I didn't like having to bring in a 3rd party to do it.

Tonight we should be able to close up the new space in the bathroom.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bathroom Remodel - Day 2 - More Fireplace Demo

Finally got the fireplace out! It was a lot more work than expected. I think the house was built around it, because it was not really designed to just slide in and out. We had to tear out some walls and drain some batteries for the reciprocating saw (as well as kill some metal blades). Even the sledgehammer came out. In the end it was out. That took most of the morning!

We demoed the wall in the bathroom carefully, saving the 2x4s. I used them to reframe the hole in the wall that the fireplace left.

This left us with a chance to see what space we could reclaim for the bathrooms for the first time. We are going to be able to reclaim about 80-85% of the space, which is super awesome.
In the picture below I've drawn where the new framing will go. We have to box around the exhaust for the water heater and heater, but that's not too bad. The new space we are gaining will become storage/shelving. We aren't entirely certain yet, but in the meantime it'll be framed out and prepped.

The fireplace chimney is proving to be a simple, but labor intensive fix. Basically we need to remove all the piping up to where it's just in the attic. Then cap it off. When we go to reroof the house in the future, we'll remove the faux chimney box and fireplace cap at that point. Hopefully that'll not have to happen for a few more years yet.

That's the project for tomorrow. After that is done I'll drywall up the hole in the den. Then it should be all bathroom from there!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bathroom Remodel - Day 1 - Fireplace Demo

Day one is done. Well we are anyway. We didnt get a much of the demo done as I had hoped we would. The prep work took longer than expected. We put down paper and then 'hard board' to protect our floors. Once we started tearing into the brick we were so glad we made that investment.

The mantle was only held on by three 4 inch screws. One did not even bite into a stud. Once it was down the brick on the wall came down pretty easily. There were only four anchors and they didn't provide a lot of support, not that they really needed to.

We took our time, knocking the mortar off the bricks and stacking them in the garage. We are going to try to sell them. Not sure if we'll be successful or not, but it's worth a shot.

The hearth was a lot more work. The way the bricks are laid it was a lot harder to get under them and there was a lot more mortar used, so a lot more hammering was necessary.

During removal we found a lot of soot in places we wouldn't have expected, like between the brick and the drywall. We are really glad we never used it and that we are now removing it!

Tomorrow I'll have to remove the firebox and then we'll be able to determine what we can reclaim for the bathrooms.

Oh and what we'll be doing with this space in the end is adding some more cabinets for a dry bar/buffet area. We were going to do a wet bar, but decided against it. That's a project for some time in the future.

Bathroom Remodel - Materials Delivery

Well our first hiccup has occurred. The materials delivery from Home Depot wasn't right. There were a few issues. But the most frustrating was that we ordered six cases of 8x10 tile. We got 6 tiles. I'm sure it was one SKU number different but whomever loaded that should have used a couple more brain cells and realized that with all the Hardie Backer and thin-set that we'd probably be asking for a few more than six tiles.

Also our KOHLER tub has an odd oblong overflow cutout, so the standard one we ordered (which they forgot to put on our shipment too) won't work. We'll have to order the special custom one from KOHLER. We didn't know this when we ordered the tub. We might have chosen differently if we had known. The standard drain kit we were going to use is about $20. If I remember correctly the KOHLER one is about $90. So much for budget there.

Off to Home Depot I go to get this fixed. At least they brought the missing tile by already.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bathroom Remodel - The Before

Well tomorrow we officially begin. Or does buying the material count as beginning? Whatever. Tomorrow morning the materials will be arriving. The roll-off dumpster is already here. Tomorrow we'll lay down protective paper and masonite/hard board to protect the floors. We'll also put up some plastic to keep the dust down.

This demo is in two parts:
1) The Bathroom
2) The 'den' fireplace

The bathroom is the major goal, but the old fireplace is a must go as well, because we are hoping to reclaim some space that the old firebox needed.

Here are some "before" pictures:

Photo of Fireplace
We are going to see if we can resell the brick. Not so sure how well that'll go, but we think we should be able to get $30 or so for the mantle. It's good solid wood. The fireplace insert is garbage. Repairing the hole in the wall will be easy. Fixing the floor will be more difficult.

The bathroom floor is one of the reasons, though there are many, for the remodel. The tile are actually kind of cool but they are badly grouted (obvious repairs over the years), there are broken tiles and I fear the sub floor is damaged by the tub.

The toilet, while functional, is a old water waster. We are getting a nice efficient one with a dual-flush function. Since I use this bathroom during the day while working it just made good sense (and cents! ha!).

This picture of the tub illustrates some more issues. The tiles, or more specifically the grout, had not see maintenance for many years, allowing water to get behind, the tile causing mold, mildew and likely damaging the wall behind it. I'm sure the tiles were stuck directly onto dry-wall, now known to be a major no-no. We'll be using Schluter-KERDI to waterproof the tub surround before we tile. Under that we'll be using Hardie Board, instead of drywall.

This is in part because we are using ceramic tiles instead of porcelain tiles. Ceramic is water proof on the glazed side, but pretty porous on unglazed portions. This is why our current shower is falling apart. The grout has to be regularly sealed or it becomes porous too, allowing the ceramic to soak up the water like a sponge, allowing it to get to the also porous drywall.

With the precautions we are taking we should not have any mold growth even if water gets behind the tiles because there will be nothing for that mold can eat.

I'll post more pictures showing the progress as we go.

New fireplace

Last winter our TV room/Man-cave was cold, so much so that we bought a space heater to help heat the room and even then it was uncomfortable without being bundled up and under a blanket.

Earlier this summer we bought a very energy efficient gas fireplace. We then scheduled the install for late August. It was installed Tuesday.

To the left and right of the fireplace box we are going to build some shelves and drawers. On the bottoms will be pull out drawers designed to hold our DVDs and CDs. The shelves, on top, will more than likely be for decorative stuff.

The fireplace box itself is going to be covered with Hardie Board or concrete board and be tiled. We still need to pick the tile out, but I'm leaning towards a large textured tile. I've seen some leather texture tiles that looked cool. We'll see.

In the meantime at least it's functional. The polish will come later. We have a bathroom to remodel first!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bathroom Remodel Status

We ARE still remodeling our bathrooms, but we have rethought a few items.
  1. We are not moving the wall between the two bathrooms. After additional thought we realized we'd be creating a lot of cost and little return. Leaving the wall also allows use to leave much of the plumbing alone, that's a major cost saver. Additionally it allows us to remodel the main (guest) bathroom without permits, as it is all cosmetic.

    Additionally we only have to have one bathroom torn apart at a time. We have a third bathroom in the basement, but neither of us wanted to go through that. With only one bathroom down at a time, we can take our time and not feel like we have to rush because of the inconvenience.

  2. We are doing the guest bathroom first. Since the remodel will be mostly cosmetic, except around the tub, the cost to remodel this bathroom first will be low. We should be able to do it for around $3000 or so.

  3. Rethinking materials. We want the bathrooms to be nice, but watching the DIY Channel has perhaps given us too many great ideas. Many of the bathroom remodels there are $10K+ and we just aren't willing to pay that much. The house cannot really support a bathroom that nice either. We put too much into this house and we'll never see the return, or we'll have to stay in it so long that the bathroom will have to be remodeled again before we sell it.

    That's not to suggest we are going cheap either. We are simply being frugal. For example I designed the guest bathroom tub surround with a nice metal accent tile strip. That metal tile goes for about $20/sq ft. We decided that metal tile was probably a bit much for the guest bath. We found some nice glass accept tiles that run about $10/Sq ft. We saved 50% by being flexible and considering the market our house falls into, plus the fact that in the guest bath, who's really going to get to see those nice expensive tiles?

    Another area of cost savings was to reconsider the 'bronze' colored fixtures. They look nice, but are more expensive than the simple and classic chrome. Will the bronze look dated later too? If we were ever to sell I don't think a potential buyer is going to walk away because we used chrome fixtures, so long as they are quality (and functioning of course).

  4. We are doing this out of pocket, for the most part. Originally, when we were going to do both bathrooms at the same time, we were going to look at a home equity loan and take care of everything easily. Now we've decided rather than take on that kind of debt, we're going to do as much out of pocket as possible. We already bought our floor tiles awhile back. We are going to take advantage of a nice 0% interest deal that Home Depot is running this weekend though. We'll be able to pay that off before it's due, so it's a lot more affordable than the HEL, though certainly not as flexible, though we OK with that.
So we'll begin work soon. The parts list is compiled and ordering will commence this weekend. I'll post pictures as we begin.