Our upstairs bathroom renovation may be the greatest snowball project of 2017. To explain, it all started on a rainy Friday afternoon exactly one week after moving in. We had a plumber here installing a new well pressure tank, the internet installer was here, and the boys were scraping like crazy at the wallpaper in the dining room. Jake decided to go upstairs to replace the caulking around the bathtub which had deteriorated from age and years of use. While he was trying to remove the old caulking, the small green mosaic floor tiles started to pop up. The mastic that once held them wasn’t sticking anymore from so many years of water getting underneath of them. It was an original floor, so about 44 years old. Jake called me up to check out the slight problem of the tiles popping up and we discussed replacing the floor. I convinced Jake that even though I had never tiled before, I just knew that I could do it. So my sweet hubby grabbed a flat shovel and tore that floor up in about 10 minutes!
Once the tiles were up, we realized that if we wanted to anchor the new tiles to cement board, we’d have to rip out the old subfloor and replace it with a thinner plywood before adding the cement backer to get to the correct thickness. This caulk job turned new tiles was starting to get bigger than we thought!
Of course, I jumped on Pinterest right away to try to figure out which tiles I wanted! I knew that I wanted to go for mosaic tiles that had an old feel to them. I originally looked at marble basket weave, but the square footage of this bathroom made it a little excessive at more than $15/square foot. We settled on a ceramic hexagon tile that I love! I was so excited to figure out a new design for this bathroom! Here’s my “pinspiration.”
So then off to Lowes where we could get our 3/8″ cement board and 3/8″ plywood and our tiles. We also bought some cement board screws, mastic, a tile saw, and a tiling trowel. We really thought we’d have this job done in one day!
The next day as Jake was ripping out the subfloor which was nailed in with 3 inch nails, we realized this was going to take a little longer than we thought. After a day or two of ripping out the subfloor we started to consider whether or not a new vanity might sit down on the floor or be raised up off the floor. Essentially asking ourselves if we should remove the old vanity to tile underneath of it. We decided that it didn’t make sense not to tile under the vanity to give us flexibility in the future. Plus, we really didn’t love the avocado sinks and faux green marble vanity top. So out came the vanity and sinks!
Thankfully, the sinks came out fairly easily. Oddly enough, as we removed the wallpaper around the toilet, we found some mold growth on the wallboard directly behind the toilet tank. We suspect that moisture from the toilet tank sweating in hot months got trapped behind the wallpaper (which felt exactly like shelf liner paper) and caused the growth. So, we cut our first hole in the bathroom drywall. (Spoiler alert: It wouldn’t be the last)
At this point in the demo, I had planned to refinish the avocado bathtub with a tub refinishing kit I read about on another blog. The kit had ok reviews, but was very labor intensive with multiple steps and a horrific odor. Some reviewers suggested a regular sized, dark colored bathtub like mine may require as many as four coats of the refinishing paint. Every time I put all of the tools and products in my Amazon cart, I just couldn’t hit that order button. I just couldn’t commit to spending that much money on what could be a temporary solution. We were already having troubles with the mixing valve and diverter leaking heavily in the avocado tub. We also didn’t like the soffit above the tub making it feel so closed in. The problem was, we were both feeling a little worried that removing a tub would be a much bigger job than we could handle.
Before making a final decision on the bathtub, in came our good friend, YouTube. We found a fantastic tutorial on removing a bathtub. The guy in the video explained every step in detail- remove the fixtures and drain, remove the drywall around the tub, and then basically hack the tub into tiny pieces that you can carry it out! We mustered up enough courage to go for it! I was so excited! Goodbye not-so charming traces of 1973!
First, Jake tore out the soffit while we crossed our fingers that there would be drywall above it.
As it turned out, there was drywall above the soffit, but forty years of moisture trapped inside of that soffit caused some mold growth, so out came the drywall that we had prayed for! After Jake tore down the drywall from the ceiling, he also removed it from all around the tub.
And then came my favorite part of all! Good bye avocado green bathtub!
We were both so happy to see that green all gone. Of course, demo isn’t exactly easy, but it might be “the easy part” of a bathroom remodel. We still can’t believe we thought we’d just replace that caulking and be done with it. Have you ever had such a little project snow ball so much?