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Lower Level Bathroom Renovation, August - September 2015

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Before 2015-08-17

lower bathroom reno 2015

After 2015-09-12

lower bathroom reno 2015

Starting out (sort of) 2015-08-16

I didn't really start the lower bathroom reno today, but...

I went to disconnect the faucets in the main bathroom, but found the shutoff valves frozen open. I went to Home Hardware and purchased four ball valve shutoffs (two for here, two for the lower bathroom) plus a set for the laundry room (washer). I turned off the house water and then replaced all the valves.

I also removed the sink fasteners from under the sink and verified that it was loose.


Starting out (for real) 2015-08-27

This afternoon I started the lower bathroom renovation. I began by removing the laminate from the front and side edges of the cabinet. It wasn't as easy as the kitchen, so I grabbed my heat gun and red lever and using both was able to remove all the laminate off the countertop without too much difficulty.

I then removed the cabinet doors and placed them in the paining area. I marked the hinges and removed them as well as the knobs. As the sink was already loose, I unfastened and removed the trap, then the sink drain. I turned off the water and then disconnected the tap feeds and removed the sink. With the sink out, I cleaned up the drains and reconnected the p-trap to prevent drain water dripping in the cabinet. I also put a bucket under the drain "just in case". I removed the taps from the sink and tossed the sink out back with the pink one from the main bathroom.

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I test fitted the sink in the current sink hole, and it fits OK, but perhaps a bit far forward. I will have to cut out the square template and fill the front curved section in like I did in the main bathroom. I sanded the cupboard frame and the doors. I then filled as needed in the frame and door backs and sides. Once dry I sanded them all again. Finally I filled as needed the door fronts and sanded when dry. Once sanded I wiped down everything with a damp shop towel and the cabinet and doors are ready for painting. I'm using the solvent based plastic wood as it dries much quicker and does a better fill job when you can sand afterward. The water based filler is best if you cannot sand as you can wipe off excess with a damp shop towel when filling things like nail holes.

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Tile & sink cutout & painting 2015-08-31

I taught a SCUBA drysuit course on Saturday, the 28th, so no renos. On Sunday the 29th, I dove again today as I had to call dive 2 on Saturday due to horrible dive weather (big wind, big waves at Neck Point). Dove Maple Bay today for drysuit dive 2 and had a great time. But… again no renos.

Today (Monday the 29th), we returned the five shiny black 12x24 tiles plus the black trim piece to Tile City. Seems like we've been to Tile City several Mondays now! While there, we purchased two 24x24 black tiles just like those used on the kitchen counter. I had them make one cut in each tile at 14in. I will trim to size later. We also bought 3 12x12 tiles made up of 1/2in glass tiles in grey, white and black for the backsplash, plus a suitable piece of chrome trim. Very neat.

We stopped at Rona on the way home to buy a bag of Kericolor-U grout in black for the backsplash. If it's too black, I can always blend it with some of the white Kericolor-U that we bought for the kitchen backsplash and make whatever shade of black or grey we desire.

Once home, I checked the fit of the tiles on the counter, and they are nice. Then I set the sink template on the counter, then the sink. Linda and I established the sink placement, then I traced the template and cut the plywood to match. There is a missing crescent at the front due to the oval sink cutout.

I traced the crescent onto a small piece of 3/4in plywood, then cut it out with the bandsaw. I sanded it and then glued it into place, holding it with brads from the air nailer. I also cut out a small piece of 3/4in plywood to serve as a backstop for the crescent and glued and nailed it into place as well. Finally I sanded the counter top again to smooth the crescent.

I laid out the doors on freezer paper and yogurt containers in preparation for painting.

After supper I removed the freezer paper (not needed yet) and then started painting the cupboard doors on the back side. First coat done, I taped off the cabinet-wall joint and then painted the first coat on the cabinet.

Right before bed I gave the door backs and cabinet a second coat of paint.

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Painting 2015-09-01

In the morning I went to home hardware and returned a roll of sandpaper, then bought an ABS 1.5in extension plus a new p-trap plus a new chrome pop-up drain and tailpiece. I also picked up some nifty black storage totes for under the sinks (kitchen & both bathrooms).

I noticed that in the kitchen cabinets I painted the sides of the door openings, but not in either bathroom cabinet. Not fun to do the upper bathroom now, but considering the lower bathroom.

After lunch I taped and painted the side of the door opening in the lower bathroom cabinet; the upper bathroom will have to wait for another time. I also used up the last of the cabinet white giving the doors a first coat on the outside.

We then went to Home Hardware and returned the gallon of cabinet white as I realized there was no way I needed a gallon to finish the cabinet doors (more like a cup). I bought a litre instead plus some more plumbing parts and a tube of clear silicone. I plan to seal the lower bathroom sink with clear caulk as it's on black tile, and the clear worked really well in the kitchen.

Note: two trips to home hardware today and still I managed to forget a critical piece of ABS plumbing - the 1.5in to 1.25in tailpiece adapter! I'll have to go back again before I can finish the drain.

Second note: I noticed a grinding noise in the driver's side wheel on the trip, so once home I checked and found the brake rotor trashed. Fortunately it was not the 4x4 hub, but probably just the caliper not releasing. I'll have to get a new rotor and 4 pads to do both sides soon.

Just before supper I gave the door fronts a second coat of paint.

After supper I taped off the side of the cupboard in the main bathroom and painted the sides, then taped and painted the inner lip of the drawers.

Finally I gave the doors a third coat of paint.

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Tile cutting & cabinet doors 2015-09-02

I was going to start today cutting the counter tiles, but we decided that more light was in order in the bathroom. The fixture uses 3 par-20 lights, which are flakey so I had one LED in a socket. Checking online various places found a 'best deal ' of two 8W par-20 LED lights (equivalent to 50W) in a package for $7.99 at Home Depot. Only Duncan had stock, so off to Duncan we drove… in a torrential downpour! Arriving it took some time to find the lights as they were not in lights but rather in the 'special sale' area. As soon as we found them a feeding frenzy occurred as others had been looking as well. Though the store showed 44 in stock when we checked, I'm sure there are now none; we took 18 (9 packs) and others were filling carts as we left. So it turned out to be a good thing we went.

We also bought the plumbing supplies I had forgotten yesterday.

Note: On the way home I stopped at Ladysmith Auto and picked up a rotor and set of 4 brake pads plus brake lube and cleaner. Now I can repair the brakes on the truck.

ranger brake parts 2015

After lunch I measured and cut the tiles for the countertop. I did have to cut a small angle out of one large tile to fit the off-square cabinet where the two walls join, but that turned out to be a minor item.

Finally after supper I installed the cabinet doors. Two close easily, but two 'stick', simply due to the thickness of the paint. They will wear in.

Late update: I took the palm sander and sanded the sticking spots and now all the doors work freely. I will have to repaint one side rail.

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Counter tile installation & truck brakes & wood trim 2015-09-03

Today I started by numbering the counter tiles, then applying the dilute weldbond solution to the counter top and backsplash area. I then mixed 7lbs of ultrabond plus cement and cemented the tiles in place. With the leftover cement I filled a large and a small yogurt tub… more yard art!

yard art 2015

After lunch I replaced the driver's side brake rotor and brake pads on my Ranger. It seems the pads were worn unevenly and took out the rotor… possibly the caliper sticking. I greased everything and tightened to torque specs as per shop manuals. After a quick test drive all looks great. Tomorrow I'll replace the passenger side brake pads.

ranger brakes 2015

After supper I marked and cut the wood trim. After applying dilute weldbond, I attached the trim with PL premium and brads (air nailer). I filled the corner and will sand it just before painting.

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Counter tile grout & truck brakes & wood trim 2015-09-04

Immediately after breakfast I began grouting the counter. I mixed .7 lbs of charcoal ultracolor grout (quick setting) and used the Ziploc piping bag with my rubber epoxy trowel to fill all the gaps around and between the counter tiles with grout. After the required set-up period (30 min) I cleaned up with a sponge and buckets of water. The finished job looks really nice.

lower bathroom reno 2015

I then moved to the Ranger and replaced the passenger side brake pads as they did look worn. Good thing as they were worn almost to the point of the driver's side. I had a bit of a setback as one of the caliper slides stripped when I was tightening the retaining bolt (only 27 ft-lbs but still…). I ordered new ones from Ladysmith Auto and was able to complete the repair later in the afternoon.

While waiting for the caliper pins, I sanded the wood trim in preparation for painting.

Late afternoon the guide pins arrived and I retrieved them in the MGB. Once home it was quick work to install them on the Ranger and after a test drive, all is well.

ranger brakes 2015

After supper I applied two coats of grout sealer to the counter grout. I then cut each of the 12 x 12 in glass tiles into 6 inch slices (2 per tile) for the backsplash. A test fitting of the backsplash tiles indicates that things should fit with minimal cutting.

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Wood trim 2015-09-05

After breakfast I applied frog tape to the grout line on the counter and then painted the wood trim white. After 3 coats, I removed the tape. I repaired one small area where there was a wood sliver and then the trim was done.

I tried to get more of the LED Par20 lights as Duncan said they still had 27, but when I arrived there were none at all. I bought 3 of the replacements, but when I got home I found the outer diameter is now 1/8in larger; they will not fit in my fixtures! I'll have to return them and try and find others that will fit. [grrrr] Good news is the truck ran great.

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Backsplash 2015-09-06

I went diving today, but later in the day I mocked up the backsplash with the cut tile sheets and some green masking tape. This established the cut lines for tomorrow's work. I still have to finalize the chrome metal trim placement so it can be cut to size.

lower bathroom reno 2015

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Backsplash metal trim & tile 2015-09-07

I tried to buy more of the LED Par20 bulbs today, but the only stock is in Victoria. I tried to get Home Depot Nanaimo to do a store transfer but they won't do transfers for discontinued stock. It appears now all Philips LED Par20's are the new "improved" size, so none will fit. I'll have to try ebay at some point, or else change the bathroom fixture to something that accepts a different style of LED light.

Later in the morning I started cutting the metal trim for the backsplash. Videos on youtube recommended either a hand cutting wheel in an angle grinder, or a carbide blade in a chop saw. I tried both (I have a carbide blade in my saw). Long story short, neither method works AT ALL. I went back to using my big metal chop saw. It cuts straight cuts well, but was a disaster on bevel cuts - just too course a tool.

Finally I figured out that if I cut the trim a bit long (say a 1/4 in), then I could use my small belt sander to smooth the cut AND trim it to exact size. I put tape marking 45deg bevels and was able to fit the trim perfectly in very short order.

Once the trim was cut to size and fit, I tacked it to the wall with the staple gun. Before I could install the tiles, I needed to cut a few tiles in half to fit the corner gap. With the Princess Auto (Power Fist) saw, I was able to make the delicate cuts freehand.

Now that all was prepared, I applied mastic to the wall and then set the tiles. It didn't take long and after a bit of cleanup it looks great!

Once the mastic has set overnight I will grout the tiles.

lower bathroom reno 2015

After supper I did some searching; I can get a GU10 fixture for the bathroom that looks identical to the PAR20 fixture currently in place. It's about $34 at Home Hardware. I also found (and bought) some GU10 to PAR20 adapter sockets from Amazon (cheap) that could be useful adapting a GU10 to the PAR20 sockets. I also bought some GU10 LED bulbs from Amazon as they were cheaper than anywhere local.

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Backsplash grout preparation 2015-09-08

I started by cleaning up the backsplash; removing excess mastic from between tiles and on the tiles and counter using mineral spirits and then a damp rag. Afterward, I decided that it could use another day for the mastic to dry, as glass tiles don't allow air to get to the mastic the same as regular tiles. This is a lot like the upper bathroom backsplash in that regard.

While waiting I set the sink in place to establish location and prepare for adjusting the drain location. I use frog tape to both set the sink location and to keep the installation silicone from getting everywhere. Silicone is used under the sink both to install it and prevent water spills from getting under the cabinet.

lower bathroom reno 2015

Upper bathroom trim fitting 2015-09-09

(Note: main bathroom finishing work…) Today I cut some small pieces of 1/4in brass trim for an edge detail in the main bathroom. It's to fill a gap where the wall tiles were nipped back from the original wood edging. I'll use metal trim to extend the existing trim, then grout to fill the gap underneath. Hot-melt glue will hold the trim until the grout sets. I will use the beige ultragrout from the main level counter and backsplash as it should blend just fine.

I cut the trim using the bandsaw, then removed the back of the trim and did final fitting with the little belt sander.

Once fitted, I installed the trim pieces using a dab of mastic on the back. After this dried for a short while (it didn't take long), I mixed up .05 lbs (22g) of the beige ultragrout and applied it to the remaining gap. After the appropriate drying period, I sponged off the tiles to complete the patch.

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Back with the lower level bathroom, I temporarily installed the sink drain tailpiece and used it to measure where to move the ABS plumbing to mate with it. It's not that much further toward the back of the cabinet, maybe 1 inch, but enough to warrant some plumbing surgery.


Backsplash grout 2015-09-10

I started today by masking the metal trim in the upper bathroom, then sanding the wall compound I had applied a couple of weeks ago. I then painted the wall the same blue as before. Although the work is not complete (more compound once everything cures) it looks better than the white strips where the old counter backsplash had been.

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After lunch I mixed up 1 lb of the black kericolor-u grout for the lower level backsplash. Once ready I started applying it with my regular grout float. To my surprise, 1 lb was not enough to do the entire backsplash; I barely was able to cover the back part. After a quick call to Fred to discuss options, I followed his advice and simply mixed up another 1 lb of grout. This I applied to the side and gave the back another coat to ensure full coverage.

After setting time, I took my two buckets of water and my sponge and proceeded to clean up the backsplash. Cleaning those little 1/2 inch tiles is a pain, as they hold a lot of grout. It took perhaps ten changes of water in the buckets before the job was done, and there were places where I was scraping grout off the tiles with my fingernail to get everything cleaned up.

Combined grouting and cleanup took just under 3 hours total, which was a lot compared to all the other grouting jobs in this reno.

After supper, I removed the haze from the tiles with a piece of cheesecloth and buffed the tiles for a final finish.

I also set the sink in place and re-did the location tape as the grout cleanup lifted most of the tape off the cupboard tiles. Now the sink is located for installation once I finish the ABS drain modifications and install the hardware in the sink.

Finally I cleaned up the bathroom and re-installed the tall cabinet behind the toilet. I also changed out the knobs on that cabinet as they didn't match the rest. Fortunately there was a pair from the lower kitchen in an upper cabinet that I'd moved to the glass shop.

lower bathroom reno 2015

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Plumbing & sink installation 2015-09-11

Today I started by temporarily installing the sink, then confirming the drain measurements. After removing the sink, I cut off the old ABS trap and extension piece, then smoothed the pipe and did a 'dry fit' with the new trap, extension piece, and connector. I cut a shorter connector and then confirmed the dry fit was as expected. I applied the ABS cleaner then the cement and assembled the new fittings, confirming the trap was vertical and all was in place. I cut a new pipe to fit the tailpiece adapter and trap, then glued them in place. Once complete I verified the placement by reinstalling the sink, this time with the tailpiece and drain permanently installed.

With the sink in place, I applied frog tape to the back of the sink to help keep the silicone from going everywhere when I install the sink. I then removed the sink and applied one coat of grout sealer to all the grout seams on the backsplash.

Moving back to the sink, I applied a bead of silicone between the old foam gasket and the base of the tap, then installed the tap. I did not need the spacer washers for the porcelain sink. After verifying the tap location, I tightening the bolts and cleaned up any silicone around the base. Finally, I attached the new supply lines to the tap.

At the counter, I applied a bead of clear kitchen and bath silicone to the tile between my tape lines and the inner edge of the opening. I carefully placed the sink in the opening, then verified the sink placement. I added my four 5 lb. soft scuba weights at each corner to hold the sink firmly while I applied more silicone to seal the sink to the counter and then cleaned up any excess. I then removed the tape.

Under the counter, I attached the trap to the sink tailpiece, then the trap to the drain plumbing. I found that the placement of the drain plumbing moved the sink forward about 1/4 of an inch. Oh well… I made sure the sink was square and no silicone was showing. It looks good.

I attached the supply lines to the shutoff valves, then filled the sink. There was some leakage from various points in the drain system, including part of the tailpiece that turns out to be screwed in rather than welded. I applied thread tape to this piece and firmly screwed it back on. I had to tighten the large drain nut as well as the trap's compression fitting, but it appears most leaking is now fixed. I will leave a bucket under the sink for a few hours to verify there are no further leaks. The total time to modify the ABS plumbing and install the sink was just under 4 hours.

lower bathroom reno 2015

After supper I checked and had to tighten the larger tailpiece nut as there was some weeping. Checking after 9pm everything seems to be good.

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Reno Complete! 2015-09-12

I checked the bucket under the drains this morning and everything is dry. I will leave a small bucket and a blue shop towel for a few days just in case, but I would say the reno is complete!

lower bathroom reno 2015

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