In the past, I’ve generally done these updates around my houseversary, but this year, it was better saved for after I finished my latest project, which I just finished yesterday. I completely redid my main bathroom.
Although the bulk of the work happened in late-October to mid-November, this was a year-long project, with little prep projects here and there between March and November, and also buying materials ahead of time. I didn’t remember to take a picture of every step involved in the project, but I do have pictures of most of the major steps. It’s worth mentioning that my father and I did pretty much all of the work ourselves, save for the flooring, which a friend of the family did with my father while I was at work. That same friend also gave me the flooring for free, as it was some of the spare flooring he had from his own projects. In case you’re reading this (I won’t say your name here), thanks again.
Anyway, the first job was to rip out the old base heater, which we did early in the year. The furnace in my basement was added at least 5 years before I bought the house, yet there was still a base heater in both the bathroom, and there remains another in the basement, conveniently hidden behind a futon. That took no time at all, although we took about a month to slowly patch the hole in the wall left behind. Second, I replaced the main light switch, because it stopped working. That only took a few minutes.
In June, we replaced the vanity light, which is now the only light in the bathroom. The other light happened to completely cover up the fan, which is a very questionable design choice … at least until you realize that they damaged the ceiling when they installed the fan. We removed that and replaced it with a cover a few months later. As the above picture demonstrates, the old one wasn’t even installed properly … and we could both figure out how to install it properly within seconds of taking it down. Also, the hole in the wall was much larger than it needed to be, hence the cardboard taped to the wall in the below picture to help hold the patching in place.
One of the main reasons I wanted to redo the bathroom is because my previous bathtub was just … too small. It was basically a kiddy tub. Working a physical job, there are days where I feel tired and lazy, so it’s good to be able to lie down for a bath if I feel the need to. The old tub was just too small to do that. I bought the new bathtub during the summer. At that point, I was planning on hiring the husband of a friend from work to do the floor for me, and also tiling for the bath/shower walls.
That eventually fell through, as his main focus is on new construction, and in the fall his town drastically increased the number of new constructions for him to work on. Rather than trying to find someone else in a hurry, we decided instead to buy a simple tub surround and install it ourselves. That, in addition to a family friend giving us flooring, probably saved me over $1000 in the long run. I bought a PS5 with that saved money just after God of War: Ragnorok released.
The bulk of the project happened in late-October/early November. I took a few days off of work, which ended up being necessary. The first main project day was all destruction, where we encountered some more silly stuff. Every time I work on a project on this house, I find something silly from one of the previous owners, who were clearly amateurs. This time, the old surround was pasted on top of an old tile wall, appearing to be from the house’s original construction. They used some sort of strange goop to attach the surrounds on, one that’s not made for surrounds, and one that made a complete mess.
For a good chunk of day one, and part of day 2, we tried prying the tiles off of the wall. Eventually I realized that just wasn’t going to work, as it was either extremely difficult, damaging the drywall behind it, or both. Eventually I tore off the wall from the tiles down. In hindsight, if we did that from the start, we would have saved a lot of time, and would have made less of a mess. Interestingly enough, there were large strips of spare drywall hidden behind the wall we took down, which we were able to use for patchwork after we installed the new, mold resistant drywall.
As for the old tub itself, it ended up being a tub fitter pasted on top of an old, metal tub. Instead of paying money to get rid of the old tub, I actually sold it to the local scrapyard for $50, which we put towards the replacement drywall. That was a pleasant surprise. Putting the heavy metal tub into my dad’s SUV wasn’t easy though.
Also on day 2, we did all of the plumbing. My dad knew how to do plumbing, so he taught me. Because there are transferable skills between welding and plumbing (I work as a welder), it was fairly easy to learn. Neither of us necessarily did the cleanest plumbing job, with solder dripping down the pipe, but no leaks. That’s the important thing. Because the new tub is 5 inches taller than the old one, we needed to raise the piping anyway, but we also found that the old piping was fairly loose in the wall. We secured the new piping much better by drilling a small hole into the wall stud that the pipe could sit on, instead of the large gap the old one just hung loose inside of.
By the end of day 3, the new bathtub was installed and ready to use, although I could only take a bath for a couple of weeks before the surround got installed. Well … I could also use the shower at the gym, but only during staff hours.
The work slowed down after that point. I went back to work, and could only finish further projects on weekends. Those projects included the tub surround, which took the better part of a Saturday. Then there was the painting, which took place over the course of 4 or so shorter days. Then my brother’s first child was born. Yes, in the middle of this project, I became an uncle. It was the weekend after my niece was born that we installed the new vanity – a vanity that had been sitting in my basement for months. By then, the floor had also been installed.
Which finally brings me to yesterday, when we installed the new mirror that I only bought on the 28th. The old mirror was actually too big, and was a bit too plain for my liking. This one features a frame that sort-of matches the floor, while also being wide enough that in the future, I could add coloured string lights to. I like my coloured lights.
Apart from the chance that I might add a sliding glass door to the bath/shower, the project is done. By the end of the 3 days of working on the bathtub itself, I felt kind of tired and needed a break, but overall I’m quite satisfied with the project as a whole, and knowing that I did a lot of the work myself. Sure, I admit that my dad did more work than I did during the busiest days, but I did also cook him lunch on those days. By doing most of the work myself, I probably saved at least $3,000, and I also learned quite a bit in the process. When I say I saved at least $3,000 from doing it myself, that doesn’t count the free flooring.
I currently have no plans for further major projects next year, although there’s a chance I’ll do at least a bit of work in the basement. Whatever I do there, even if we completely redo the whole thing, it won’t be as extensive as the main bathroom. It would just be repainting the walls, replacing the poorly done parts of the ceiling, and replacing the carpet. Compared to redoing a bathroom, that’ll be both easy and cheap … especially if I get end of the line carpet at a big discount.
Anyway, Happy New Year everyone, and let’s hope that 2023 is where things finally start getting normal again.
Sounds like you been really busy. Great work on doing your new bathroom out. We had a new kitchen installed in the latter part of last year, that was a big job, but looks great now it’s all done. Wishing you a very Happy new year and all the best for 2023! 🙂
I also wish you the best for 2023. Also, a new kitchen sounds really nice. That’s at least a few years away for me … if I don’t upsize to a bigger house first.
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The final result looks amazing! And man it does look like it’s a lot of work. My girlfriend wants us to eventually redo out bathroom too, even if it’s quite functional hahah I hope 2023 will turn out to be a great year for you, especially some off time for you to catch up with the comics/movies you’ve been meaning to check out.
Well, it looks like 2023 will be an improvement over 2022 in several ways. For one, by February I’ll be starting my new office position at work. I’ve also been there long enough now that I’ll get another vacation week this year.
Thanks though. It was a lot of work, but in the end, it was definitely worth it. While you shouldn’t try to do anything you’re not comfortable with if and when you redo your bathroom, the more you can do yourself, the more money you’ll save.
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