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Old 09-02-2009, 07:55 PM   #16
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Condo Bathroom Reno (CBU, Drywall, tiling, basic plumbing)


My uncle told me something about fears of tackling plumbing projects in relation to electrical projects: "If you mess up plumbing, all you have is some water. If you mess up electrical..."

Well, reading this thread and others of mine, you probably can guess I'm nervous about everything the first or 4th time. I'm on the ground floor of a condo building, so I had a little comfort that if I screwed up I wouldn't be messing up someone else's bathroom/unit. Also, in this project (unlike Quadfam/Jenn who I sympathize with her plumbing issues), no major plumbing replacement was needed... only minor repair/replacement.

Game plan:
- Vanity: the bones were good, just not the color... sand down, repaint/finish with a dark brown color to offset the lighter tan floor tiling and contrast with the blue walls. Replace cultured stone with granite and porcelain sink. Brushed nickle faucet. Medicine cabinet replacement (was gross).
- Toilet: replace. Get something cool.
- Shower faucet/handles: replace.. corroded and gross handles/spout (like calcium buildup on it almost... yuck ).
- Shower head: reaplce... something cool.

I think this stage of the project was helped along most by my other threads in the chatroom, so I'll refer you to their links rather than retype it here...

Lessons Learned:
- Vanity: I know I'm talking plumbing/fixtures, but the painting should have been done a different way. This was a project I delegated to my fiance, who did a good job, but didn't research the type of paint for a wood vanity in a bathroom. Suffice it to say, latex paint with no primer was used. We've yet to have is sagg/peal/disintegrate, but I know its coming, just have been too lazy to fix.
- Countertop: bought it at HD, one of those all in one units. This thread discusses it (Granite vanity sealing question), and still have some issues with water leaving a mark on it, but it goes away in 10 minutes... so beware a bit.
- Sink hookups: this was my first foray into even beginners plumbing... honestly, it was fairly simple, just hard to access.... and a bit frustrating trying to tighten things in such close quarters. I had a thread to figure out what connections to use (Replacing Solid with Flexible Sink Supply Line).
- Toilet: I wanted something cool... something powerful... something.... awesome? Then I saw prices. I went with a Flaperless Niagra system (thread: Flapperless Toilet thoughts?), and its performed very well... not as powerful as I'd hoped, but it does use less water. Had some questions on the flange as I had no idea if what I was looking at was any good (Toilet Flange Questions), but it all worked out very well. Pictures of the toilet installed are in those threads.
- Shower faucet/handles: had some difficultly here. This was really the first "scary" moment (other than removing the toilet and breathing in) as I couldn't find a separate shut off for the shower and had to cut water to the whole unit and work with a lot of extra water in the pipes. Also, had to turn on when done for the day (not the project) and pray it would hold. Had some issues early (Price Pfister 3 Valve Shower Replacement water issue). I bought a "universal" 3 valve shower all in one replacement kit at HD... HORRIBLE idea. I was trying to get a better look, rather than the standard, builder grade 3 handles you always see on the Price Pfister older faucets... and it looked good. Problem... not an EXACT fit, which led to leaking. I, not knowing that, thought it was ME early on and of course went nuts trying to figure out what was wrong. I ended up taking it all out, going to a plumbing supply store, and the guy told me either I can rip out the faucet piping (not an option really at that point for me, as the CBU and tiling were up) and replace, but a 3 to 1 converter thingy, which I didn't really like, or just get "new" older style handles. Checked with the fiance, and she reluctantly agreed to just "keep it simple." The picture below are the new handles... nice and shiny . This casued me a lot of headaches, but got it right, and actually saved $$, because the guy at teh supply store told me my valves were fine, don't need new ones, but should probably just repalce the rubber stops/washers/etc... and I got a great lesson in how the faucets/valve systems work!
- Shower head: I just realized I didn't take any pictures, but we got one of thoe overhead, "rain" style shower heads that can adjust to be a standard style also... just a nice touch.

Here are some pictures relating to the above components that I don't think are in the other threads...

Vanity top on (hard to tell the color of the painted cabinet):
Condo Bathroom Reno (CBU, Drywall, tiling, basic plumbing)-vanity1.jpg

Running water!!!
Condo Bathroom Reno (CBU, Drywall, tiling, basic plumbing)-vanity-2.jpg

Bart occupied my medicine cabinet hole until I could fine a suitable replacement:
Condo Bathroom Reno (CBU, Drywall, tiling, basic plumbing)-vanity3.jpg

Vanity and toilet (better quality):
Condo Bathroom Reno (CBU, Drywall, tiling, basic plumbing)-vanity5.jpg

Replaced handles (after much headache):
Condo Bathroom Reno (CBU, Drywall, tiling, basic plumbing)-plumbing.jpg

Up next: finishing touches, wrap up!

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Old 09-18-2009, 12:18 PM   #17
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Hey there.. while I'm waiting on some speaker wire to come in that is causing my kitchen reno to take a breather before I close up the walls (Speaker wire in walls), I have some time to update this thread...

With the major work done, its down to finishing touches on the bathroom. I figured the "heavy lifting" was done and this would be a breeze.....

I found out that while the "heavy lifting" and "stress" of construction and such was done, finishing it a WHOLE nother type of stress and work. Not physically demanding, but often mentally taxing.

I imagine those with no budget () can just walk through showrooms and point. Me, on the other hand, money was everything on this project. I'll detail costs in the next post, but I was trying to get a bathroom here that looked good, not cheap, but at discount prices if possible.

What still isn't done:
- Touch up paint... I've moved on from the bathroom and keep telling myself I'll go back in and tidy up the edges.... but haven't... my guess is I won't for a while... I really really should have just done it.
- Baseboard clean up: where the baseboard meets the drywall there is a slight gap (stone baseboard so the thinset caused separation a bit on the top) so need to buy the right silicone to fill that... tried grout... BIG mistake and had to remove it.
- GFCI replacement... bought it, have the tools and skills to do it, just... like the paint... have moved on
- Painting the door: you may laugh... I primed it when priming the drywall, just... haven't done it... for my $, the priming looks fine

In my defense, we are using this 2nd bathroom right now as a kitchen sink while the kitchen is out of commission, so haven't wanted to make any construction mess.. hehehehe

Other finishes:
- Medicine cabinet: this was a bit of a headache that I wasn't counting on. The wall with the medicine cabinet was not ripped out, just primed and painted. But the old medicine cabinet was pretty gross and we threw out in demo. So now we needed to find the right size to fit where the other one was. I didn't want to cut into studs, but we could only find at HD and Lowes and local hardware stores standard sizes that didn't fit our cut out. We looked everywhere, online, etc.... FINALLY - the condo association was able to find the original supplier from 25 years ago that miraculously was still producing the same model and was able to jimmy it in there (I think it was like 5MM wider than our cut out... a maddening difference).

Condo Bathroom Reno (CBU, Drywall, tiling, basic plumbing)-medicine-cab-mirror.jpg

- You'll notice the mirror on the adjacent wall to the medicine cabinet. There's another view below. This was a mirror my fiance found at Home Goods (like a Marshall's or Hit or Miss for home furnishings) for cheap that we primed and painted the same paint as the vanity, same color as shower curtain and bathmat. As with the vanity (discussed before), I think the latex paint was a bad bad choice... plus this type of mirror isn't flush with the wall and is a bit "clunky" for the look we want... I tried to built a cleat - an idea I got from this forum (Please help with mounting a bathroom mirror) - but still don't like the look of the mirror itself.. so its temporary until we want to go shopping and replace it.... eventually.

Condo Bathroom Reno (CBU, Drywall, tiling, basic plumbing)-light-fixture-mirror.jpg

- Above is the mirror discussed and a light fixture. I had no idea the cost of some vanity lighting. Man you can spend hundreds! We settled on that from Home Depot for just under $100... I wanted classy/sophisticated, but not frilly or too "new age." All our finishes are brucked nickle, so that helped to narrow it down. I have 60 watt bulbs in there that are really bright... I want to go CFL, but haven't found the right size yet.

- Towel bar: I know, I know... not really interesting stuff, but we got at Home Goods with the matching toilet paper holder and back of door towel hanger for $19.95 + tax. Not bad! Considering I saw sets for close to $100. Couldn't hit studs with it, so mounted with drywall screws.

Condo Bathroom Reno (CBU, Drywall, tiling, basic plumbing)-towel-bar.jpg

- Missing fan: THIS is still aggravating me. We discussed above about the ventilation... so I haven't don't anything here yet... I left the grill off because I planned on replacing it, but really I'm at a loss... why replace a crappy "circulator" with another circulator that doesn't vent.

Condo Bathroom Reno (CBU, Drywall, tiling, basic plumbing)-missing-fan.jpg

Other than than, caulked/siliconed joints and edge of vanity to wall, toilet, etc... came together quite nicely.

What I'm going to do next is gather my million HD reciepts and attempt to do a breakdown of costs for you all.

Enjoy!

Last edited by LeviDIY; 09-18-2009 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:55 AM   #18
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Nice my first venture into renovating was my bathroom. It really looks awful looking at it now as I also tried to salvage drywall. Oh well maybe when the other house gets done I'll tear into this one, again. Granted it's hard to put a price on the experience and the hands on knowledge that you just can't get in a book or on a forum.
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:09 PM   #19
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Granted it's hard to put a price on the experience and the hands on knowledge that you just can't get in a book or on a forum.
Absolutely, 100% agree - I learned so much just in a little bathroom, and just as importante was confidence in tackling things.. making my current kitchen reno go much faster and smoother. Eventually, I plan on totally gutting (after learning, like you that it is easier than trying to salvage parts of walls) and redoing even more plumbing, etc in the master bath.
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:45 PM   #20
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Hey Levi,

Great report. Thanks for sharing.

I'm looking forward to seeing your kitchen progress.
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Old 09-24-2009, 06:02 PM   #21
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OK - so I think I've detailed most of what I did/didn't do. I may have left out something here or there. Now onto a question I see a lot of DIYers on here ask, and one I wondered about myself before embarking on the project... What's it gonna cost me?

I know talking about pricing/cost is somewhat of an issue here, but I think that is mainly a reaction to people wondering "what a pro would charge" - and of course there is NO way to answer that with any accuracy. I'm proud to say (no offense to any pros out there) I didn't hire anyone for this, all me and my fiance's "sweat equity." I kinda wish we had gotten some quotes from contractors for comparison to our actual costs, but that wouldn't have been fair to those contractors to make them waste their time.

The costs below are in US dollars, and I live in the Maryland suburbs outside of Washington, DC (a higher priced area of the country and specifically in the DC metro area). I shopped at my local HD and True Value outlet (Strosniders for those who are around here - the Bethesda location ). I also rounded here... because I know there were many many many many trips to get a $3 thing here or a $11 doodad there that I just don't remember.

Also, I had to buy some items seasoned DIYers might already have for multiple projects (recip saw, random tools) as this was my first major one, so my misc costs might be higher.

Toilet $100 (As referenced above, I went with the Niagra system, cheapo plus adding in for wax ring, shims ,etc)

Vanity Top $200 (granite/sink all in one, also referenced above)

Sink Faucet $100 (Pegasus brand from HD, cheapo)

Reciprocating Saw $80 (Ryobi - didn't have one, so a cost for this project)

CBU $55

Thinset $60 (yeah... used the tub kind.. should have bought the big 5 gallon, but kept having to buy 1 gallons.. because I didn't think ).

Drywall $40

Drywall Supplies $100 (steel stud replacements, mud, tape, knives, screws)

Paint/Supplies $75 (I had most rollers/brushes from painting the condo originally.. includes Zinsser and Behr [I know..] and mildicide additives)

Tile $300 (nothing fancy, snow white 3x6 subway tile and endcaps)

Grout $20

Sealer $30 (I was SHOCKED at the cost of a spray bottle...)

Caulk $15 (estimate here.. prob about right... also including some silicone I used for the vanity top)

Bathroom Hardware $40 (bought cheapo as described above)

Medicine Cabinet $50

GFCI/Minor electrical supplies $20

Vanity Light $80 (HD, described above)

Plumbing Supplies $125 (Shower Faucet/supply lines/showerhead/tools)

Exhaust Fan TBD (as described above... this remains unsolved...)

TOTAL: $1,490.

Items Borrowed (Free): screw gun, shop vac

Other costs from a typical bathroom remodel we didn't have because we didn't do: more drywall (complete tear out), flooring (kept tile, in good condition and matched our color plan), and new bathtub (described above).

What was our bugdet? We really had no idea, but were planning on around $1,000... obviously came in above that. If you discount a few of our expenses as "multiple use expenses" (can you tell I'm a finance guy?) not just for this project, I think all things being equal, we came in fairly close to what we "planned."

I think I may try to boil down the tasks into "man hours" for ya'll to gauge the value of time so more.. but overall, I think we got a lotta bang for our bucks on this one.

Last edited by LeviDIY; 09-24-2009 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 09-24-2009, 06:04 PM   #22
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Hey Levi,

Great report. Thanks for sharing.

I'm looking forward to seeing your kitchen progress.
Thanks! I will hopefully start a thread on that in a bit.. been taking more pictures along the way on that project, so hope to have some better quality/more interesting shots.
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Old 09-25-2009, 03:48 PM   #23
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Wow, thanks for the play-by-play! I'm in Rockville, MD and in a condo too (a foreclosure) that I just moved into last month and I have a bathroom and kitchen to demo myself! We have a condo association, but the 3 bathrooms in my condo/townhouse all have ventilation fans that vent outside. I used to live in another condo (in Gaithersburg) that had 2 bathrooms that vented outside as well. I was on 2nd floor and had a unit above and below me. I guess it depends on hen the house was built?
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Old 09-27-2009, 09:47 AM   #24
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TechP, thanks neighbor... yeah, I think its a function of when built and maybe some construction/developer lining some pockets
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:14 PM   #25
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awesome thread Levi.

Did you grout or caulk the shower corner walls?
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:56 PM   #26
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awesome thread Levi.

Did you grout or caulk the shower corner walls?
I hope he caulked the corners.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:43 AM   #27
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I did indeed, Bill

My finishing shower surround order: Thinset, tile (in sections), left ample room for soap dish, etc., made those cuts, taped them up, let thinset cure a day or so, grout, let cure a day while cleaning haze of course (I did grout the corner and the edge around soap dishes - don't know if this was right but figured it couldnt hurt), caulk all corners, edges, soap dishes.

I did not caulk around fixtures... still haven't... I started to around escutcheon (spelling?), but didn't like the look... actually wonder if I should...
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:05 PM   #28
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Lookes great! and you bought the same sink fixture I did! I will have to post the pics of my finished project.
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:27 PM   #29
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Thanks! Look forward to seeing them...
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:59 AM   #30
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Wow I live in a tri-level house and our bathroom is set up literally the EXACT same as yours! I have been dying to DIY it! And was sooo glad to find your post b/c it is so similiar! I am hoping to start our project soon, i have been buying things here and there. I really like the subway tile, and am hoping to get the same, I am just worried on how to set the tile around the shower, never done it before and just am not sure how to seal it all?

My question is when you say use a ledger board, what exactly does that mean? Where do you put it at, on the base for the tile on the tub? Sorry, told you I was a noobie! lol And, also I was reading where you were saying you should put something under the CBU (which i am assuming is short for cement board) what steps should you take to prep the shower surround for the tile I guess is what I am asking. Sorry to ask so many questions Thanks so much for posting this it helps tremendously!

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