Karin & Jeff's Bathroom Renovation: Damaged Tub, Broken Outlets, and the Wrong Size Door

Karin & Jeff's Bathroom Renovation: Damaged Tub, Broken Outlets, and the Wrong Size Door

Tess Wilson
Aug 7, 2015
While the plumbing was being sorted out, I installed the incredibly important ledger board for the tub.

Name: Karin and Jeff
Type of Project: Main Bathroom Remodel
Type of Home: Single-family home built in 1967
Square Footage: 1,800
Years Lived In: 2.5

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Things are progressing nicely in Karin and Jeff's bathroom renovation, despite the fact that several of their purchases arrived broken. Four home improvement store trips in one day and things are back on track!

The beautiful tub with drain hooked up.
Week two began with a tale of two tubs. I had spent some time looking around at all the in-stock tubs, locally, and decided on a specific model that fit both the room and the budget and had decent online reviews. We picked it up and stored it at home until we were ready to install. When the time came, my brother and Jeff wrestled the tub up the stairs and into the small room, only to find a large spot of enamel missing in the middle of the tub upon unboxing. I did some quick online searching and we made a last minute decision to switch tubs - I'm glad we did because I like the design better and it's a truer white (although it did take a bigger chunk out of the budget!). We also set a new record for number of trips to different home improvement stores on one day - we have 4 different chains within an 8 mile radius and we went to all of them that day. The first for general plumbing supplies, the second to return the tub, the third to purchase the new tub, and the last for an emergency run to pick up some PVC primer and cement which I thought we already had.

There was also a small snafu with the door I purchased for the closet: it didn't fit. I didn't factor in the extra studs needed on either side since it's a load bearing wall, but I was able to special order a narrower door online and return the original. The plan was to reconfigure the closet this week, but without the door, it is now a week 3 project.
Jeff and Handy Dad evaluate the problem from the furnace room.
At this point, I should probably divulge that I have an unfair advantage in this renovation... a handy dad. He somehow knows how to do everything (properly even!) and is always up for lending me a hand and taking the lead on certain projects. Handy Dad came in very handy this week as we tackled and finished both the plumbing and electrical work. The plumbing for the tub drain started smoothly enough - my dad and Jeff did a number of dry fits - but when they went to glue on the last piece something had shifted and some swear words were uttered from down in the basement. They eventually found a solution... and it doesn't even leak!
Brand new plumbing (the scorched wood was from a previous remodel - not us!).
Soldering in action!
The next step was the plumbing for the shower valve, head, and spout, which was again led by my dad. He did have an amazing assistant (me) to cut the copper pipes and prep and hold pieces while he soldered them.
Shiny new switches, including a dimmer for the vanity light.
I tackled the minor electrical project: replacing the switches, removing an extra light and switch, and adding a few outlets. Things went smoothly until I went to test the outlets... they didn't work. I had my dad look at it on his next visit and it was concluded that the GFCI outlet I bought was not functioning - definitely not my fault! He was kind enough to swap that out and double check my work, as well as add another outlet into the small linen closet we're reconfiguring. We have a small cordless vacuum and nowhere currently to hang the charging station, so this new closet and outlet will be just the thing. Thanks, Dad!
Shimmed out walls, ready for drywall.
Laying out tile to decide on spacing for the shower fixtures.
Shims were also installed around the tub alcove, since the tub was just a tiny bit smaller than the space and I also added some blocking in the walls to support the heavy medicine cabinet. All the in-wall projects have been completed and we're officially ready for drywall and cement board. My brother is the drywall hanging pro and I oddly love mudding and taping, so I think week 3 will be fun! If I'm feeling ambitious, I might even start the floor tile.

Estimated time for project: 7 weeks
Time remaining: 5 weeks

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us tomorrow for installment #6 of Karin and Jeff's renovation.

(Images and diary text: Karin and Jeff)

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