The Great Bathroom Project of 2011

Part of what's been keeping me away from my blog lately is a bathroom, er, situation we seem to have found ourselves in. We first started noticing a small spot of mold near our shower in the master bath a few weeks ago, and the shower wall had started to pull away from the drywall. It seemed like just another thing we'd have to take care of whenever we eventually sell our house, and Jack and I began to think about eventually redoing the bathroom. Eventually.

But then we started wondering how big of a problem we were dealing with. We noticed what seemed like a leak in our shower behind the wall, making the drywall puffy. It started to seem like more of a "fix this now" problem. We asked advice from Jack's dad, who suggested we call our insurance company in case the mold problem warranted an insurance claim.

Cut to now... about half a dozen people have been in and out of our house in the last two weeks. First, we had a visit from a mold abatement subcontractor, who left a dehumidifier in our bathroom for three days and sprayed anti-microbial stuff to stop mold growth. We had a plumber come cut a hole in the wall and fix the shower leak, which we learned was due to hairline crack in a cheap plastic pipe. (I'm just going to point out right now that the metal replacement pipe cost $6.50, which means this entire problem arose because of a decision some cheap person made before we ever owned the house to save a few dollars. Keep this in mind as you read, and as this story unfolds over the coming months.)

Our insurance adjuster has also been here, and today, a contractor came to rip out the wall and find out exactly how much mold was back there. The drywall was pretty disgusting, as you can see.

The drywall is gone now, and according to our insurance adjuster, it would be less than our $1000 deductible to replace the drywall and glue the shower wall back to it. But in a particularly rocking visit to Lowe's last week, Jack and I thought, "Hey, why stop there?" We've never really liked this bathroom, but it has a ton of potential. A little sugar and caffeine prompted me to suggest that we turn this into a mostly-do-it-ourselves awesome remodeling project. So now we're pricing deeper tubs, wall tile, floor tile, toilets, fixtures, and storage. We have great plans. Great plans, I tell you. I can't really sketch this sort of thing like a designer would, and it's still a fluid vision in my head anyway, but I envision neutral beiges and grays on the walls and floors with hints of color, a big white soaking tub, possibly some glass tile in the shower, a dark piece of wood furniture for storage at the opposite end of the bathroom, a mirror to open up the space, and maybe a dual flush toilet. Oh, and before anything else, we're getting rid of the popcorn ceiling. We always told ourselves we'd do that someday, going room to room at our own pace, so this is as good a time as any to start that.

Mostly I'm eager to get it underway, but since we have a second bathroom and are waiting on a tax refund, there's no big rush. This will give us time to do the research we need to do, and acquire the many skills we need to acquire, which we currently do not have. But these are skills we need, and I know we can do it. I just have no idea how long it's going to take, since we also happen to be parents of two very active tiny persons.

My goal is to get this done by my birthday. We shall see.

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My mom had a similar situation with our downstairs bathroom. Our contractor had to cut a hole in the wall to install under cabinet lighting in the family room on the other side. She thought they would be the perfect excuse to have him repaint it now, until three coats later when he discovered he was painting over wallpaper. He had to strip it all and six weeks later we had a new bathroom!
This sounds similar to our great bathroom project of 2009, 2010, 2011. Yeah, it's still going.
You guys can do it! And now you have an excuse to watch more HGTV. : )
Good luck. Also, the DIY network is better than HGTV for repair shows (I enjoy doing projects at home which will be easier when we actually have a home). I'm sure you know this, or will find this out, but make sure to replace the drywall with greenboard since it is mold resistant.
Thumbs up to Steve for the pointer on green board. You can attend a training on doing tile at both of the big hardware stores. Just know, it always go slower then you expect. Good luck.
Go team. Sorry I am late in reading this, too much stuff is coming into my google reader and it slipped off the bottom of the screen.
I know that you can do it but get good advice on each step as doing it over was my learning style on this kind of stuff. After 60 years I know what I won't do myself and I have torn up floors that I worked hard to install only to install what I should have done the first time 'round. The last tile bathroom floor I installed is perfect.
Keep lots of caffeine and sugar handy!
Was just watching DIY network and thought of you. I learned that green board is for the bathroom walls but use cement board for the actual shower. So ignore my previous post.
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