Friday, 17 July 2015

Bathroom Makeover

Do you know what I have just realised?  I have never written about the process of overhauling the bathroom - and it was almost 18 months ago now!

It didn't last long.  We had the keys for all of about 2 hours before we started ripping the ghastly thing out. We had a three week period between getting the keys and moving in - and in a one bathroom house, when doing it up while you are living there is much more difficult, we decided there was no time like the present.

So buckle up.  This will be a longish ride I think.

This was what it looked like in the beginning.  I'll admit I took these before the previous owners had vacated the premises while we were viewing the property.

So on the first evening, we began the process of removing the shower, bath tub, basin and floor covering.

We kind of thought the flooring was just lino.  How wrong could you be!  It was some sort of vinyl tiles and every inch was glued down with what looked like black tar.  It took HOURS to get it off, and the floor remained sticky afterwards too.  Two hours into the house reno and we were already behind schedule! Nightmare!

The next few days and everything started to look brighter.  It was much quicker to take off all the tiles than first thought.  The back wall just seem to come off in a large sheet.  I was downstairs at the time and I heard an almighty thud followed by silence...  "Dan! Dan! Are you alright????" Few more seconds of silence.  Then I hear "COOL! Come look at this".  Obviously during these few seconds I had imagined all sorts of terrible things had happened like the house had collapsed and squashed him.  But obviously all was dandy.

Safety first kids!

What we didn't realise when we had measured up for the bath was how many tiles we might find.  Tiles on top of tiles on top of tiles anyone??? Yeah.... So that slightly shorter than normal bath I bought because a standard 180cm one wouldn't fit, looks a bit silly now doesn't it?  It was too late to change the order as the bath was being delivered on the same day as we made this remarkable discovery and there was not enough float in the programme to send it back and get another.  So onwards we went.

The dust from the tiles also helped lessen the tackiness of the floor so that helped too.

As you can see from below, the electrician was also simultaneously re-wiring.  So he had hooked up wires for the new lights.  Can you see the brown bit in the middle of the ceiling.  Fancy a closer look?

Yes that's right.  That's a cork tile ceiling under that layer of white paint - which removing the old light fitting had shown up nicely.  Good job we were getting the room replastered then hey?!

We weren't going to plaster the back wall as this was all going to be tiled anyway.  So rather than wait for the plaster to dry before tiling etc - we decided to build a fake wall and put tiling boards up that would be super flat ready for tiling.  It probably on took a few centimeters from the bathroom but it was totally worth it for the speed and convenience.  We also built out where the shower head would be to so that it left just enough space for the bath, and also some room for the plumbing.

So we needed to put effectively a stud wall in.  But we needed to screw it to something solid in the ceiling.  Of course the joists weren't in the perfect position to do this, so I sent hubby up into the loft to screw something to the joist that we could then screw into.  Complicated huh?

Below is after the plasterers had been in, with some of our stud wall work on show too.  It's not perfect, I'm not going to lie.  But hey, we are two novices, and we were willing to learn and make mistakes.  That's what your first house is for right?

And with some supports for the bath to go in.

We had an extractor fan put in too (which you can just see in the photo below), as there was some mould in there when we viewed the property.  Always good practice I think to had a god extractor fan in the bathroom.  This was the bane of our lives though during the bathroom reno.  After a few days the fan started making this god awful noise - just horrible.  It made you want to strangle the nearest thing.  It was also connected to the lights, so if the light was on the fan was on.  And because it was february at this point, and we had full time jobs, it meant we were often working when it had long since gone dark.

Times got tough.  I think its the closest me and the hubby have ever come to having a marital argument.  The whole 40 minute drive home that night to our rental house was just silent.

So the next night, we just worked with iphone flashlights on.  It was difficult, but it was a heck of a lot better than that bloomin fan!  (We had to send the fan back and get a replacement in the end).

This is with the bath in and the aquapanel tiling board all screwed on.

By this point the plaster was slowly beginning to dry...

Look at that.  Flat as a pancake :) That's how good our carpentry was.  We just slid it on the supports we had made for it, put the spirit level on and BAM - 0! (Yes that is an iphone - who knew they could be such multipurpose tools when doing DIY.  One night its a light, the next its a spirit level...)
(FYI the bottom of the bath already has a fall on it to help drain it.   This photo was on the edge of the bath)

And then tiling began.  I had done a lovely layout plan on AutoCAD on the computer with exactly where all the tiles were going to go, with all the joints as well.  But with the whole tile on top of tile fiasco, my beautiful plan no longer worked.  It would have meant cutting a slither off a tile and that just wasn't possible.  So we rehashed the tile design on the spot and came up with this.  

I would highly recommend the Rubi Pocket 40 Tile Cutter.  We had a cheap one which just shattered the tiles basically.  One quick trip to Topps Tiles later and I was the proud owner of a Rubi.  It did a splendid job.  Not cheap, but at our own peril we discovered you get what you pay for.

On a quick break, I had a check in with the schedule.  Occasionally I had to move some things around on the programme, but we were doing very well.

As you can see I covered the bath with a dust sheet to stop tile adhesive getting all over it.

Next up was the floor.  I ordered some lino from Carpet Right, but before we laid that we needed to put down some 6mm thick ply board.  To get all the right notches in it, I lay down a really large piece of paper (quite a few bits of brown paper stuck together) and traced around the edge of the room.  This was essentially my template and I used this to cut the ply wood and then the lino.

Obviously for this bit we removed the old toilet.  We were probably without the toilet for a few hours, but it was bearable.

After the tiling came the painting - once the plaster had time to dry properly.  This is the best bit in my opinion :) I love a good old paint!  This time sheeting up the tiles and the bath to prevent any splashes.

In went the basin, and we were almost there then.  You can see on the far right of this picture a bit that looks suspiciously not painted.  This was going to be tiled, but we had to leave the plaster for a few weeks before we could so we just showered with this bit sheeted off for a few weeks while it dried.  I must admit the bathroom pretty much stayed like this for 2-3 months before I actually got on and finished it (skirting, bath panel, window sill etc.), but we had all the essentials in there which meant it could function as a bathroom in the meantime.

And this was it when I finally got round to finishing it.  I will have to take some better pictures of it soon, but I'm sure you'll agree - it looks way better than when we started!

Apart from the plastering, installing the lights, and plumbing in the shower (which looking back we totally could have done ourselves now), we did the rest ourselves.  We did do all the plumbing for the basin and the toilet though ourselves.

All in, I think it cost about £2,000, but £1,000 of that was labour (£500 plastering, £500 plumbing).  So the remaining £1000 for materials was split up something like this:

£100 Taps (Bristan Prism from clearance at Screwfix.  Includes Basin mixer and bath taps)
£50 Toilet (absolute bargain from B&Q - it's their value Plumbsure range, but it's pretty good for £50!  18 months later it's still going very strong!)
£70 Basin (Also B&Q - can't remember which range from though.  Not their value one)
£150 Steel Bath 170cm long incl. pop up waste (Bathroom Trade)
£100 Flooring (Carpet Right and B&Q for Plywood)
£200 Extractor Fan (Extractor Fan World - it's an Airflow Icon 30.  Very good customer service from these guys)
£30 Light fittings (LED Hut)
£250 Tiles, adhesive and tile cutter (Walls and Floors for the actual tiles and adhesive, Toops Tiles for cutter, and cement tile board was from Tile Giant)
£50 Paint (Dulux Bathroom+ in Magnolia and White)

It quickly (and scarily) adds up!

All in it took us three weeks but this was mostly evenings and weekends, and we were doing the rest of the house at the same time, so give or take a bit.

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