Mr. Lucky and I finally bit the bullet and brought in a contractor to renovate our master bathroom. We do not have enough money to have the whole thing done, so we wanted to focus on the most important part- the shower room. In this post, I am going to show you some never before seen before pictures of the master bath, and show you so demo pictures, as well as explain the things they found wrong. Oh yes, as with most renos you come across things that make you say, “What were they thinking??” This bathroom is no exception. Although, I think the sad part is the house is not even ten years old yet. This is a fairly “new” built construction and it was very poorly done.
The shower room measures about five feet by six feet, and contained a small, glass-enclosed, corner shower and a toilet. One small fluorescent recessed light above the shower was all the light this little space had. One nice feature of this room, is that the ceilings are about fifteen feet high. Having such high ceilings certainly helps make it feel not so tight and cramped.
We first knew we had some issues with this room when I found a little mushroom growing up in between the shower and the floor. After some inspection in the basement, we realized that there must be a leak, and now the entire subfloor was being eaten up by mold. We had mold experts come out and do tests at a time when we barely had a penny to spare, and thankfully everything tested to be within normal limits. At this point, we simply stopped using the shower, and realized that before we sold the house we would have to replace the shower and at least the floor in that little room. Fast-forward a few years, and we finally have some money in our savings account to do something.
Living in this house for nearly five years, we have come to recognize the flaws and problems. The master bathroom is a cobbled piece of puppy poop. The main part of the bathroom has its own share of problems. Some problems including a jetted tub that was used before the house had a water treatment system in place, so it is stained Virginia clay red; the tiled opening to get to the electrical for the tub broke within the first week of us living in the house; and the vanity. Oh the vanity! Problem #1- bought at a second hand store (we think) it was originally an oak color that someone primed but never actually painted. #2- the vanity was meant for a single sink, but they modified it to fit a double. This in an of itself is not a huge problem, but it means there is very little space on the counter, and the drawers were screwed in place so storage underneath is also crazy and not very easy to get to.
We didn’t even realize there was a bottom drawer that pulls out across the entire vanity until a few months ago. Yay for extra storage! Boo because it’s really awkward to open and it’s broken up inside so the only thing that sort of fits are a few rolls of toilet paper.
On top of it all, it, the sink, the faucets, the tile, and the floors are all just ugly, and none of the trim matches- each window and door opening had a different kind of trim around it accounting for a total of FOUR different looks.
It was all such craziness! So to sell the house, we know we HAD to fix the shower room but I also thought it would look really pitiful to just fix that room and leave the rest of it looking like crap. Excuse my language but really, I couldn’t see anyone walking into this bathroom and thinking they could live here. So we saved our pennies and called one of our friends who happens to be a contractor, drew up a contract, and figured out what we could do.
Two weeks ago, demo started. A really nice guy named Lloyd came out and ripped out everything in two days. He did a great job, and called us in a few times to show us stuff and to ask questions. First, we found that the mold did grow all over the subfloor, and you can see the outline of the shower stall. As we expected, the builder did not properly seal the shower (at all), and it leaked around the entire thing.
All of that went out, and new subfloor went in. Looking good there, non-spongey floor!
Second item that presented itself was the fan/vent. We wanted to replace the fan with a better, quieter model that also had a light in it. Upon taking out the old fan, Lloyd noticed it was not actually venting to anywhere- it was just moving air into the attic. Awesome, NOT. Talk about conditions for mold! Geeze, it’s almost like the builder of this house wanted mold to run rampant. Thankfully, we do not actually have any mold up there (maybe from not really using the shower much), and a few days later someone came out to put in a new vent that went into the soffit.
The third item that came to our attention were the walls in the room. Originally, there were these bump-outs that we thought existed for some reason. But in taking down the drywall, we discovered there was no reason for them at all except to make the room smaller. So down came the walls, and we added a few more square feet to our footprint. It did mean that we had to move the shower head to the opposite wall so that it wouldn’t be on an exterior wall. There was also just enough space to fit a five foot by three foot shower pan. We had thought at first with installing a four foot by three foot vinyl shower pan, but if we can fit an extra foot, do it!
The reason we chose a vinyl shower pan was mostly about money. They are cheap and seamless. I really wanted a schluter shower system (as I’d seen them on Holmes on Homes) but no one here had even heard of it (really). Our contractor also repeatedly reminded us that since we are planning on selling in a few years, we don’t want to sink a ton of money into this bathroom (or the house in general). Basically, spend just enough to look good and be right. So while a tiled shower floor would look awesome, we could not really justify a couple extra thousand dollars to spend on it. So here’s the new shower pan in place. They actually had to shave a little bit off a few of the studs to make it fit.
A few days after demo, the electrician came in to do his thing. His list was short and sweet. We wanted to keep the existing recessed light, but add the new fan with light, and also a wall sconce so that Mr. Lucky could see what he was reading on the commode. He also moved all the switches to the outside of the room.
The four switches turn each of the lights on and off separately, as well as the fan and its light separately. Thankfully, we did not get any bad news from him- the worst of it was having to stack two of the switches because there was not enough room for a four-switch box.
About a week later and everything has passed inspection and now we’re just waiting for the dry wall guys to show up. They had some other, larger job on their list that came first, so our “ten-day” reno is turning into three weeks. I’m mildly annoyed but not surprised. I really did expect it to take longer than predicted, but why can’t people just be up front about it? Oh well, hopefully everyone will show up this week and it will be done- except for the shower door.
Hopefully the remodel part 2 will be up next week, but don’t hold your breath about it. Lucky me! I get a new bathroom (sort of)!