Priming and Painting the New Bathroom

Happy 2019 y’all! I’m so excited for this new year and I definitely have quite a few goals for the year! I’m hoping to get this blog caught up to the current renovation stages over the next few months and then dig into some fun new stuff. I definitely want to hear more from those of you who read this blog too! Let me know who you are by commenting on this post! Or share with friends and family who might be tackling similar projects. I’d love to continue to grow the readership of this blog so I can continue to put more effort into posting for you guys. And trust me I have a lot to show you!

When we last left the bathroom it was looking like this with a newly tiled and grouted floor and fully drywalled walls! This felt like a huge amount of progress considering just a few weeks earlier it had been gutted down to the studs.

Well after finishing the floors, I laid rosin paper over them to protect them and taped and mudded all the drywall and now it was ready for paint! Finally, finally, finally, this room was looking good and I was *this* close to being able to shower at my own house again! I knew I wanted to do a dark green color for this space and it had been one of those early on decisions I made for this room. I’d even included the paint color in this original design palette I made for the space. Benjamin Moore’s Forest Floor 1498 is bold, dark, and delicious!

I picked up primer and paint from my local Benjamin Moore store: Dick’s Color Center in central Portland. I used my favorite no-VOC, indoor/outdoor primer for the ceiling: Zinsser’s Bulls Eye Zero.

But Dick’s recommended a different primer for the walls which I could color tint to match my paint selection. This stuff had more water protection (good for a steamy bathroom!) and by tinting in a dark color, I’d have fewer coats to paint on top. Insl – X Aqua Lock primer is not no VOC so I wore a mask while painting to avoid the fumes.

I’m no stranger to painting, so this project was a nice and relaxing change of pace from many of the other things that I’d been doing for the first time at Berrybrier. I started by priming the whole ceiling and while that dried, I took out my brush and started cutting in the primer on the walls. I usually just cut in by hand without taping because I find that taping takes forever and I have a steady enough hand. On a priming layer, the steady hand barely matters since I will all be covered with paint anyways. Boy, was it so fun to coat over the bare drywall and see the space really come together!

I did decide to tape off the brand new shower surround though since I would need crisp clean lines there and I threw some trash bags over the showerhead and shower water valves the plumber had installed after the permit was finalized. I did not want to get paint on those newly install fixtures!

There were lots of other fixtures that were not installed yet (like the medicine cabinet and light fixtures) which allowed me to roll right over the edges of the drywall without fussing with cutting around anything. Not having any lighting installed meant I was still using my work light as the only source of illumination in the space which creates some weird lighting!

I also waited to install all my trim work so I could continue rolling to the lower part of the wall and around the windows, thus avoiding cutting in at the trim. Cutting in takes way longer than rolling so it was nice to save that time. I did leave the drywall exposed in those spots rather than painting what was about to be covered.

I also didn’t put too much attention into get perfect paint lines where the walls met the ceiling since I still had to paint the ceiling. That helped speed things along too.

When it was time to get out the roller for the primer, boy did the room feel like it was really truly a bathroom again! The tinted primer was SO similar to the paint color, just more matte and slightly cooler in tone. It was actually really pretty! Conveniently the room was so small I was able to roll up the walls as far as I could reach through the entire room and then do the bit above the shower before moving my ladder to the center of room to roll the top 8″ inches of the remaining space. Nice to be able to do that whole top bit without moving the ladder!

Here it is fully primed and OH MY GOD, ARE YOU EXCITED?! BECAUSE I AM EXCITED!! This room was looking damn fine and this cool green hue was helping me forget the previous magenta pink color real fast! Thank god for that! Below you can see a peek of some of the old wallpaper that was in this space in the space where my future medicine cabinet would be installed too. Isn’t that fun? No idea why it’s applied to the back of the lathe and plaster of my bedroom wall though; any ideas?

While my primed walls were drying, I took out my measuring tape and began to determine cuts for the baseboards in this room. I was prepared for my usual method of measure five times and cutting three. I wanted to do some gnarly baseboards in this space that would look more original to the 1909 house. As far as I can tell the only original trimwork at Berrybrier is the baseboards in the upstairs room which can’t even be original since the upstairs was converted from an attic to living space sometime in the early 1900s. However, the rest of the house sports trim from the 1960s or 2000s so the upstairs bedrooms example is better than anything else!

I nabbed this shot from the upstairs back bedroom with my iPhone and then headed to Woodcrafters, a local woodworking store hoping to match the profile or find something similar. I was doubtful I’d find an exact match and I knew I’d never get the same look of many many years and layers of paint, but I hoped for something similar that would at least envoke the same tone. These baseboards are made of three pieces: 1×8″ flat stock with a 2″ decorative moulding on top and a quarter inch shoe base at the bottom. These were all old mouldings too and the sizing of each board was exact whereas now a 1×8 is actually 3/4″ by 7-1/4″. I was fine using modern boards, because I sure don’t have the cash to buy exact replicas! I based the trim around the door on the window trim which I was reusing, replicating the 5″ flat stock at the sides with a 6″ flat stock header.

I ended up deciding to skip the shoe base in the bathroom because I really didn’t feel like dealing with yet another surface to wipe down and clean in that room. I found a similar trim piece to the decorative moulding at wood crafters and picked up some 1×8 flat stock as well. I took all my measurements for the room and then went to cut my trim only to discover my chop saw only cuts about 6.5″ bevel cuts leaving me to hand saw the other 3/4″ on all my boards. UGH. But with such a small room, there weren’t many cuts so I knocked it all out in less than an hour. I dry fit all the pieces and then placed them on top of all the boxes of bathroom stuff (light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, toilet, etc) that were all stacked in my kitchen and began priming them.

My kitchen looked like a chaotic crazy mess at this point, especially considering the crazy town, half-sanded floor disaster. All the boxes did create a convenient work surface though! You can see below I painted the flat stock and the trim piece for one short wall section. Once the decorative moulding is placed on the flat stock, caulked, and painted, you’d hardly know they weren’t one larger piece!

Now a lot of trim is MDF these days, but I really prefer to use finger jointed pine for painted trim since a) it holds up better to water, b) isn’t a bunch of sawdust held together with toxic glue, and c) has less toxins and off gassing. It’s easy to paint tim when it’s not on the wall like this too. No worries about getting paint anywhere! Just have to remember to paint your boards in the direction they’ll be laid in the space: vertically or horizontally.

It was nice to be able to ping back and forth from the trim to the walls and ceiling while they dried. This project happened in early December 2017, so dry time was a little slow in the winter cold humidity. I prefer painting in Spring and Autumn on warm days that aren’t too hot so you can start your second coat of paint just an hour after the first coat is done since things dry more quickly!

I always use the same type of paint: Benjamin Moore’s Natura. It’s the best paint on the market. It’s no-VOC with no-VOC paint pigments and it’s formaldehyde free as well. It has next to no fumes and goes on super smoothly. The darker paints are a bit thinner than the light colored paints, but both are easy to apply. It’s NOT CHEAP. But it’s worth it to me.

The first coat of paint went in on top of the primer in the bathroom and it was SO HARD to see what had been painted and what was still to come because the colors were so similar. I ended up applying two coats of paint and after that looking at wall sheen to see any spots I missed and need to touch up. The first coat looked a little rough, but it was so exciting to see the full transformation come together!

I actually taped off the ceiling for the first time to see if that would help get crisp lines in this room since I wasn’t planning to do any crown moulding. In the end I actually think it did more harm than good. I ended up going back to touch up a lot of it afterward where leaks had happened or layers of sections of tape didn’t line up right and the line jumped.

When the whole room finished the second coat it was such an amazing feeling. This room had been such an adventure from the start and each set felt so BIG and DRAMATIC. Every time I finished something I felt like jumping for joy and I couldn’t stop smiling. I think one of my favorite things about DIY is the obvious progress you see with each step as things improve and look better and better!

Soon enough the room was painted and I was able to slip in a couple of light fixtures. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY I COULD FINALLY SHOWER AT MY HOUSE AGAIN! I demo’ed the bathroom in late October and now it was mid December and I could finally live and sleep at my house again. I was ECSTATIC!

That was nothing with out trimwork though! My trim boards had all been primed and had one coat of paint. They were ready to be installed! I borrowed Erik’s – my neighbor – nail gun and some of his nails and got to work. The nail set he let me use was great because it came with three sizes. I was able to use the 2″ brad nails on my flat stock and the 1-1/4″ nails for the decorative moulding piece. If I’d used quarterround in here I’d have used the 3/4″ nails for that.

This was actually my first time using a nail gun and I was really nervous. Especially after Erik told me he once had nailed his hand with a framing nail gun. Thanks for that helpful tidbit of information! In the end the nail gun was SUPER easy to use and I loved it! It became my second favorite tool after drum sanders (which will always be first since they saved my kitchen floors!). Just line up the board where it needs to go and nail it in. I aimed for the floor plate and the studs where I could, but lightweight trim holds fine to drywall too!

After that? A WHOLE LOT OF CAULKING. Now I could make a lot of jokes about caulk, because, well, obviously it’s hilarious. But I actually really hate caulking. It’s one of my least favorite DIYs, which is unfortunate because I have had to do SO MUCH CAULKING at this house!

It was difficult to get into the space between the window trim and the shower wall to caulk so I ended up finding a good trick. I bought a small amount of flexible tubing and a tiny clamp for a few bucks and clamped the tubing to the end of the caulk bottle like so.

This allowed me to get into this tight spot much more easily. Also I apparently make very intense faces while caulking. You can see how the caulk filled the clear tube, but the flexibility of the tube allowed me to get the caulk right at where the trim met the wall.

Then it was just a matter of wiping the excess caulk with a wet finger (the part I hate the most since it’s messy). I used to bring a small container of water around to do this, but have since learned that it’s much much easier and neater to use a wet sponge to wipe the excess caulk. So, ignore this technique I’m showing and go get yourself a sponge! Also yeah, I did bring a plant into this bathroom at this phase to make it look pretty mid-renovation! Also I hung my old shower curtain up temporarily, since this bathroom was finally useable again. That was a HUGE step!

Installing the baseboards did mean pulling up the rosin paper and see the room really come together for the first time though and that was exciting enough to counter balance the hell that is caulking! I caulked all the seams as well as where the tile met the floor for maximum water resistance. I took this shot with my iPhone after I’d caulked most of the trimwork. Yowza! It was looking good in here!

Up close you could see a whole lot of caulk and spackle filled holes though. Not great. Luckily, a quick coat of paint was all it would need to make it all come together.

It’s just amazing what a coat of paint does isn’t it?! Crisp, clean, and complete.

I’m going to leave you there today, but this room is SO CLOSE to done! At this point, all I had left was installing plumbing fixtures and lighting and the medicine cabinet. And then – just the fun stuff: final styling and decorations!

Have you ever gut renovated a bathroom yourself? How did that process go for you? Was each stage an exciting next step or were you headsdown waiting for the finish line? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear more too about what you’d like to see more of this year or what kind of posts you like to read. Do you want me to get into more nitty gritty details on DIYing or do you want to see more styling posts about quick and simple things? Or do you not really know and maybe just want to say hi? Love you guys, thanks for reading! Here’s to 2019

Advertisements

Tiling Prep and Relocating a Heater Vent

Gotta keep chugging through this bathroom renovation to get to the pretty afters ya’ll! It’s a big change! But before I can show you that fun stuff, let’s go through the nitty gritty of the renovation. This is a real life blog. Let’s look at the ugly.

Before I could go much further in my bathroom, I needed to get a few things done. Post-insulation, my next step really should have been to drywall, but that was going to take more than just one set of hands, so I turned to the next item on my to-do list: prepping for tile! The original disgusting and uncleanable sheet vinyl floor was doing no one any favors. It wasn’t as bad as the kitchen (which was somehow disintegrating), but boy was it gross.

img_9039

Here’s a close up picture from demo so you can appreciate it EVEN MORE! IMG_0154

It was gross and it wasn’t staying. I had debated one hundred different mini-hex tile patterns before setting on a much more simple option from Home Depot. This shot of the overall bathroom palette really showcases the tile too. That high contrast has me all kinds of giddy!

img_0129

Before tile, comes prep though. It was time to conquer those vinyl floors! For that I headed out for more supplies. I picked up the following at Home Depot one evening.

First I cleaned out the bathroom of tools and random junk and swept the entire space to start with a clean slate! I measured my concrete board and cut of the excess length using a box knife again. If I could go back I would have used a circular saw and speeded things up, but at the time I didn’t own one. By going over the cut a few times with a box knife I was able to create a weak point which allowed me to then snap that section off.

Land of Laurel | Cutting HardieBacker

Then I had to cut a hole for the toilet. First I measured where that lined up on my sheet of concrete board and drew an outline. I took out my drill and drilled some holes in each of the corners.

Land of Laurel | Drilling Hardiebacker

Then I took out the box knife again to cut the rest of the hole out. Spoiler alert: I still snapped the HardieBacker in an unfortunate place that wasn’t my intention . Oh well! Just another seam to cover! That first piece was fairly easy to lay down in place though, but before I could move on to the second piece, I had some other work to do!

I originally planned to place a pedestal sink in this room and that sink was going to go right where the oddly almost square heater vent was. Well that wasn’t going to work! When I filed my mechanical permit for my new bathroom vent fan, I added on two quick HVAC ducting tweaks to the permit. This was one of them! I picked up more supplies from Home Depot (I was averaging 2-5 Home Depot visits per week for all of November and December!): a 90° angle turn register box, a couple of flexible angle pieces, and some foil duct tape (actual duct tape!). I used a small battery powered circular saw (borrowed from my neighbor Erik of course!) to cut a new hole the size of the register box in the floor and through the subfloor. Because there is a crawl space beneath the bathroom, I was able to climb around in there and use the new ducting pieces to extend the existing ducting about 1 foot so a new normal sized duct register would be closer to the bathroom entry wall and parallel to that wall.  I secured it all together with the foil ducting tape (NOT regular duct tape!) but waited to attach the register box until the HardieBacker was done.

I was exceedingly proud of myself for extending the ducting too! But then came the hole patching part of this job. I was trying to avoid going back into the basement crawlspace, because it’s gross down there and I hate it, so I was determined to patch the floor from above. I used some clamps I already owned to secure a couple of scrap wood boards in place and aligned with the level of subfloor. Then I just used my drill to tighten some screws through the floor and into those boards.

Land of Laurel | Patching Hole in Floor

I cut a piece of plywood to the dimensions of the missing floor and then screwed that into the new supports as well as an exposed floor joist. An easy floor patch! It seems crazy to put in this effort to move the vent 3″ over, but by turning the vent 90″ and using a modern size I was able to save a lot of floor space. This would have allowed me to have a pedestal sink too, but I later switched to a wall mounted sink and in this spot now lives a big basket of toilet paper.

Land of Laurel | Patched Hole in Floor

Once the floor was patched and the new register vent in (combined a two hour project), I was able to finish laying the HardieBacker! I cut the board to size and noted where the new vent location was. I made sure to dryfit the board before I grabbed the thinset again. I used the flat side of the float to glob a bunch of thinset onto the floor and then smeared it all around.

Land of Laurel | Spreading Mortar

It covered the floor patch job pretty easily and helped mitigate any change in height between my patch job and the existing floor. I then spread the thinset all over a 2 foot deep section of the floor until it was about 1/8th inch thick.

Land of Laurel | Thin Coat of Mortar

A quick switch to the square grooved side of the float allowed me to then make some nice lines in the mortar. This helps to establish some suction once the HardieBacker is laid on top. My grooves didn’t have to be perfect or straight, they just had to be there! See how you can no longer tell where my floor was patched? That’s the end goal! I had laid the piece by the toilet the night before and then returned then next day to do the remaining section. You can see above where I accidentally broke the backerboard trying to cut the toilet hole! Whoops…

Land of Laurel | Making Grooves in Mortar

Once the floor was covered with thinset grooves I was able to take my sheet of backerboard and lay it on top pretty easily. I left the boards in place and allowed the mortar to dry overnight, before returning the following evening to finish up. I took more mortar and smooshed it into the gap between the sheets of HardieBacker, wiping away any excess. Then I cut strips of the mesh tape to length and gently smoothed it over the mortared seam with my hand. The goal is to close the gap and then smooth the thinest layer of mortar over the tape. You can see below too that all this went down before the plumbing inspection was finalized so my new shower pan was full of gross water!

Land of Laurel | Taped Hardiebacker

At this time I also took out my drill and screwed the special HardieBacker screws into the floor. The screws kindly came with a special drill bit so I didn’t even have to worry about that. The HardieBacker needs to be screwed in every foot so further strengthen it’s connection to the subfloor. You can see how many screws that adds up to quickly! Unfortunately, I have the arm strength of a 2 day old newborn child and I couldn’t get any of the screws to recess into the HardieBacker! It was so frustrating, because this is essential to having a nice flat tile floor! I went over to my neighbor Erik’s house where he was working on his kitchen and borrowed his impact driver for an hour. With that, I was able to get all my screws in place with minimal effort. Seriously, ladies and gents, go buy an impact driver. If you ever need to screw anything in, a drill is just not up to the task! It’s better for making holes not filling them. The impact driver prevents me from stripping all my screws and makes screwing things in much easier. After seeing the difference between using my drill and Erik’s impact driver, you can bet your bottom dollar I bought myself an impact driver the next day. Shout out to Jeff Senn at Home Depot who spent a good hour with me debating the best model and brand of impact drivers. I landed on this Milwaukee combo kit which threw in a hammer drill and had some extra oomph to make up for my baby arm muscles. I’ve yet to use that hammer drill though, so perhaps I should have gone with a single tool…

I wasn’t done with the floor underlayment after I got all those screws drilled in though. I had measured during my dry fit of the second board where the new vent location was, but waited to cut it out a until after the HardieBacker was installed. Now it was time to knock this off the to-do list as well! I clued in this time and used a larger 1″ drill bit to make bigger holes in the corner of the vent this time and then cut from those. Then I cut it off from there with a circular saw borrowed from my contractor neighbor Erik.

Land of Laurel | Drilled HardieBacker

It came out much more quickly than using a box knife, I’ll tell ya that! then I got out a good ole hammer and some baby brad nails and drove them through the register box into the wood subfloor, securing it all together.

Land of Laurel | New Floor Register

Luckily it all worked out and then new matte black vent cover I picked up from Home Depot fit perfectly! I was more proud of this duct work than any other work in the bathroom thus far. It felt so very adult to do this quick switch! Woot woot! This room was coming together now!

Land of Laurel | New Vent Opening

And just like that, I felt I could walk barefoot in one more room at Berrybrier! Not needing shoes to protect your feet from gross bathroom floors is pretty amazing, let me tell you! Now this room was ready for tile and drywall and all the other bathroom renovation steps. It felt so good!

Have you ever prepped for tile? Thinking about getting started? You can totally do this. It’s EASY! I was shocked by how easy it was!

Adding Insulation to the Bathroom

Now that you’ve seen the big transformation of the exterior of the house, let’s get back to the ugly, shall we? The bathroom was chugging along here at Berrybrier, slowly but surely. My progress was actually pretty good considering I ran home from work every day, stopped eating dinner for November and December, and got straight to work from 5pm to 9:30-10pm during the week and pretty much all day on every weekend. It was a backbreaking schedule I wouldn’t recommend! But, I desperately needed a working bathroom so I could, you know, live in my house!

So after the electricians finished their work and the plumber did his rough in, I insulated the bathroom straight away! Insulation cost about $50 bucks at Home Depot, but I ended up with WAY more than I needed. There are other projects around I can use it for (the dormer, the small powder bathroom off my bedroom, etc), so I don’t mind the excess. I’m tempted to hire someone to blow in insulation in the exterior walls down the line, but it’s not in the budget right now. I’m up for trying to make this house as warm as possible, one room at a time! Alas! What do those of you with old uninsulated houses do? How do you keep warm? I didn’t turn on my ancient heater until late November 2017, when I got really desperate and until then it was so COLD in here!!

Back to the insulation though: this is easy. Like, the easiest. You can do this if you have one hand free. Insulation is designed to be the standard width of the distance between studs (which are set at 16″ on center) and stays in place with friction. It really takes no time at all to whip out a wall, especially if it’s a full height wall without obstacles. The steps are über simple!

  1. Wear long sleeves, pants, gloves, and a respirator mask.
  2. Measure height of space needing insulation.
  3. Cut insulation
  4. Stick insulation in between studs.
  5. The end! You’re done! You just insulated something!

It was super quick to knock out the exterior wall of the bathroom. I used a utility knife to cut the insulation shorter around the window. I’ve since learned that this cheap tool makes cutting insulation EVEN EASIER, so if you pick it up at Home Depot, it’s well worth the $10 bucks. The insulation knife cuts all the way through the insulation at one time while the basic box cutter take a few slices on the same line to cut through the paper and the backing. The pictures I have of the space aren’t great. They were mostly taken at night with my work light illuminating the space since the electrical wasn’t done!

Berrybrier | Insulation.jpg

The ceiling takes a little more work and requires at least two hands because you have to hold the insulation up and secure it. I used my staple gun to shoot staples into the ceiling joists securing the insulation. I also left some extra room for the electrical for my future can light. I erred on leaving more room around the electrical than I should have. The new electrical is fine to have butted against the insulation, but I gave the old electrical a wide berth. I do not want any house fires! I did use extra smaller pieces of insulation to fill in all the spaces around the walls of the bathroom, hoping that added insulation would help keep this space warmer!

Berrybrier | Can Light Location

Overall insulating the bathroom took one evening to complete! A short project with obvious progress is always pretty great. You can see above that my door way does not have the proper 4×12 header it would get these days. It’s an old house and this wall is not structural, so I left it this way. Plus I had bigger things to conquer, like drywall! And tiling! And cleaning up the disaster that was my kitchen…

Berrybrier | Kitchen Mess

Yeah the kitchen became the tool library / trash room / storage room and it was absolutely insane looking. For months. This room looked horrific from September 2016 to March 2017. Next time someone yells at you for leaving a dirty shirt on the floor, point them to this blog. They haven’t met crazy messy yet!

Have you insulated a room before? Worked on a bathroom reno in house you were living in? How did you survive?! My neighbors did their only full bathroom recently and they told me they’d been showering at the gym for 4 months!