The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Category: Projects Page 1 of 47

Main Floor Bath: It Is All About Tiles

A couple weeks ago we prepared the main floor bath for tile.

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And today, the bathroom looks like this!

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I will let the pictures do the talking:

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The shower/sink area before:

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The shower niche/window area:

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The shower niche wall before:

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Remember the moldy old window?

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Now marble window stools are in its place, surrounding the new fixed panel privacy window:

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By extending the wall tiles beyond the shower area to cover the long walls, we made the bathroom look more cohesive and minimal:

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Can you believe that this is the same room just a few months ago?

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Remember the old sink vanity?

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The area for future toilet and vanity now looks like this:

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I cannot help but moving the new vanity in for a dry fit. Here is what we picked for the room:

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This beautiful shower pan has replaced the old moldy tub:

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What a transformation, isn’t it?

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With the tiling work out of the way, we are just a couple steps before putting the bathroom back together! We will be installing a seamless shower door similar to the one in our master bathroom here in just a couple weeks. Then, we will bring in the toilet, connect the sink vanity, and install the shower fixtures. While waiting for the shower door to arrive, we will finish the ceiling and doorway ourselves. It is nice to see the bath to-do list become much shorter now!

1. Demolition – removing all the fixtures and wall/floor materials;
2. Assessing the water damage and mold control;
3. Installing new bath window and insulating the exterior wall;
4. Removing the ceiling drywall from the attic, wiring for new recessed lights from the attic;
5. Upgrading wall electrical, including adding outlets and wiring new switches;
6. Installing a new exhaust fan;
7. Installing recessed lights and drywall the bathroom ceiling;
8. Upgrading the sewage pipe for toilet and shower;
9. Purchasing a new toilet, a new bidet, a sink/vanity, and sink and shower fixtures; Upgrading/installing water lines to all the fixture;
10. Upgrade master bath (basement) exhaust fan from above;
11. Installing new subflooring;
12. Pocket door framing and installation;
13. Drywalling around the pocket door to close off the entry wall;
14. Installing water-resistant wall on rest of the room and waterproofing;
15. Tiling and installing a new window stool;
16. Finishing/priming/painting entry wall drywall and ceiling;
17. Installing/painting pocket door trims;
18. Installing vanity light fixture, ceiling can lights, and outlet wall plates/covers;
19. Installing new glass shower door (by glass contractor on 6/1);
20. Installing all plumbing fixtures including toilet/bidet, vanity/sink, and shower trims (by our plumber in the week of 6/7).

Main Floor Bath: Pocket Door Installation

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Happy Spring, everyone! I hope you are enjoying bluer skies and warmer temperature than we do. As you can tell from the pictures, we had quite a few storms in the past weeks.

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Stuck inside we made good progress in the main floor bath. After upgrading the master bath exhaust fan, Slav finalized all the electrical connections and fine toned the rough plumbing. It is important to make absolutely sure that everything are set to the correct height and depth before closing the wall! One of the things Slav did was to raise the toilet drain a bit higher to accommodate the height of the new subfloor, cement board and tiles. Can you imagine a toilet here seeing the bidet power outlet, bidet waterline, and toilet flange together in one picture?

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Now we were (finally) ready for the subfloor!

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Subfloor installation

To install the subfloor, Slav first added supporting structures around the parameter of the room:

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The 2″ x 4″ strips were sistered onto the nearby floor joist with liquid nails and screws. They will be supporting the edge of the new subfloor, and bearing some weight of the tiled wall.

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After double and triple check to make sure everything between the two stories were set correctly and secured properly, Slav installed the new subfloor with liquid nails and screws. It felt so nice to have something solid to walk on again! We have been balancing ourselves on floor joists like acrobats for a couple months… 🙂

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Shower niche framing

One small detail we would like to add to the shower area is a shower niche. Slav modified the framing and installed a tile-ready shower niche casing, centered on the end wall of the shower. It will get tiled over, along with all the surrounding walls:

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Demo the old door

The very last task we needed to complete before closing all the walls, was to install the pocket door. Pocket door is not a necessity, but due to the small size of this bath, we felt that it would improve the traffic flow and was worth the upgrade.

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As you can see from the picture above, the framing was heavy on this wall. There used to be an enclosure for a ventilation pipe we since removed, and a linen closet is located on the other side of the wall.

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The header of the door would also needed to be raised due to the height of the pocket door.

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Slav carefully cut away all the framing that would be in the parameter of the pocket door framing. He left all other framing in place, and managed not to damage the drywall on the closet side.

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Also removed was the starting piece of the wooden floor. This piece on the very edge was full of nail holes from the old carpet and in pretty bad shape. Slav replaced it with a brand new piece of the same flooring, left from last time when we patched the floor in Slav’s office.

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Pocket door framing

For the pocket door installation, we picked up a standard pocket door framing kit:

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Everything needed for framing the pocket door except the door slab itself were included in the kit. This universal kit is designed to work with doors that are 24 inches to 36 inches in width. There are marks already engraved into the framing lumber to indicate where to cut for different door sizes.

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To frame in the pocket door, Slav first built the rough framing:

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Onto which the header of the pocket door framing kit was installed and the split studs was secured:

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This is what the split studs look like! The actual door slab will be inserted in between and nest inside whenever the door is open.

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Our doorway only permits a 24″ door. We splurged for a frosted glass door which comes pre-primed. While Slav was framing the doorway, I painted it with my go-to door and trim paint – Behr‘s ultra pure white:

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Installing pocket door was actually pretty easy. I do not know why I was so intimidated by it! Slav installed the door slab into the track all by himself. And I had to say, it operates like butter!

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So smooth.

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Encouraged by the pocket door installation Slav caught a second wind and installed the drywall before calling it a day. All the sudden, the bathroom looked like a room again!

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Here is it, the bathroom, ready for tiles:

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With brand-new frosted window and door, new subfloor and shower pan, new plumbing and electrical!

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The next step, tiling!

Starting next week, we will be installing and waterproofing the walls, and starting the tile work! It has been a rough a couple months just finalizing the utilities and dealing with additional plumbing issues. But finally, we could move onto tasks that will bring much more substantial changes into the space. So stay tuned, friends! May the fourth be with us!

1. Demolition – removing all the fixtures and wall/floor materials;
2. Assessing the water damage and mold control;
3. Installing new bath window and insulating the exterior wall;
4. Removing the ceiling drywall from the attic, wiring for new recessed lights from the attic;
5. Upgrading wall electrical, including adding outlets and wiring new switches;
6. Installing a new exhaust fan;
7. Installing recessed lights and drywall the bathroom ceiling;
8. Upgrading the sewage pipe for toilet and shower;
9. Purchasing a new toilet, a new bidet, a sink/vanity, and sink and shower fixtures; Upgrading/installing water lines to all the fixture;
10. Upgrade master bath (basement) exhaust fan from above;
11. Installing new subflooring;
12. Pocket door framing and installation;
13. Drywalling around the pocket door to close off the entry wall;
14. Installing water-resistant wall on rest of the room and waterproofing;
15. Tiling and installing a new window stool;
16. Sealing the floor tiles and grout;
17. Finishing/priming/painting entry wall drywall and ceiling;
18. Installing and painting pocket door trims;
19. Installing new glass shower door;
20. Installing toilet/bidet, vanity/sink, shower trim, and vanity mirror/lighting!

Master Bath Got an Upgrade!

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Our master bathroom is located in the basement of our ranch house. It was fully renovated and put in use around Christmas time in 2019, and it has surely seen a lot of use over the last year thanks to the COVID lockdown. In October 2020 we gutted the upstairs bathroom, making this basement bath the only bath in the house. It served us very well, except we started wanting a stronger and quieter exhaust fan.

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The exhaust fan in the picture above was provided by our contractor. It was the cheapest fan – merely $14 from Home Depot. It does the job, but not as strong as we hoped, and it is noisy.

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Then the upstairs bathroom renovation started. Along with recessed lighting, Slav installed a new exhaust fan on the ceiling, and we were immediately smitten. It is so quiet that we hardly notice when the fan is on. It also comes with two CFM settings controlled by a motion/humidity sensor.

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When the main floor bathroom plumbing work started, we lifted the subfloor and exposed the floor joists for the plumber. Of course, the master bath exhaust fan was exposed too in the process. It seems to be a great opportunity to replace it if we wanted an upgrade! I told Slav. So Slav went ahead and picked the same model of exhaust fan as the one he installed for the main floor bath, just in a lower profile to fit in between the floor joists.

One difference between the low-profile fan is that it comes with a LED lighting. And instead of 80/110 CFM, it is made to be 80/100 CFM. Slav took down the old exhaust fan from above, through exposed floor joists:

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You can see the downstairs shower through the floor. One of the master bath recessed lighting is right next to it:

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It was not too hard to install the new exhaust fan. Slav connected the new fan to the existing electrical and exhaust pipe:

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And secured it well. He did have to cut the opening on the floor joist bigger to fit the new exhaust pipe, so he sister-ed the floor joist with a 2″ x 4″ to add some strength:

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He then connected the 4″ exhaust pipe to the existing pipe going outside of the house.

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The existing pipe is only 3″ wide, so Slav used a reducer in between the new and old pipe.

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And this is how the exhaust fan looks like in the basement master bath! It is larger and more powerful, but much quieter.

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And this is how the pipes will rest in between the two stories. We will be closing the subflooring soon. Before that, Slav will probably add some metal straps to secure the pipes to nearby floor joist so nothing will ever come loose.

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In addition to the new exhaust fan for master bath, Slav also upgraded the electrical boxes on the wet wall. He had added some electrical circuits to the bath, But this portion of the electrical work had to wait until the plumbing upgrade was finished.

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Loose connections, old wires. It is amazing to see what is hiding behind walls in old houses…

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We used to have one electrical outlet above the vanity. Slav replaced it with two new outlets including one GFCI, which will protect the circuits in this bathroom.

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He also added a new outlet behind the toilet. This will power the bidet seat we will be installing. The cold water line on the left side of the toilet flange will feed water into the bidet seat.

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With all the electrical and plumbing work finished, we are almost ready to close the walls! The very last thing we need to do is to frame in the pocket door on the entry wall of the bathroom. We are inching closer to tile work as every weekend passes. Although it seems slow, it surprises me how far we’ve come since the beginning:

1. Demolition – removing all the fixtures and wall/floor materials;
2. Assessing the water damage and mold control;
3. Installing new bath window and insulating the exterior wall;
4. Removing the ceiling drywall from the attic, wiring for new recessed lights from the attic;
5. Upgrading wall electrical, including adding outlets and wiring new switches;
6. Installing a new exhaust fan;
7. Installing recessed lights and drywall the bathroom ceiling;
8. Upgrading the sewage pipe for toilet and shower;
9. Purchasing a new toilet, a new bidet, a sink/vanity, and sink and shower fixtures; Upgrading/installing water lines to all the fixture;
10. Upgrade master bath (basement) exhaust fan from above;
11. Replacing all the subflooring;
12. Pocket door framing;
13. Drywalling around the pocket door, taping and mudding the entry wall and the ceiling;
14. Tiling and installing a new window stool;
15. Priming/painting entry wall drywall and ceiling;
16. Sealing the floor tiles and grout;
17. Installing new glass shower door;
18. Installing toilet/bidet, vanity/sink, shower trim, and vanity mirror/lighting;
19. Hanging the new pocket door and installing door trims;
20. Accessorizing the bathroom.

 

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