Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Bathroom Remodel: During, Phase 1

The Bathroom Remodel: During, Phase 1

What do you do when faced with a leak behind a cheapo, ugly tub surround? You know you’re going to have to remove the tub surround in order to fix the leak, and you also know that it would be complete insanity to put that cruddy old tub surround back. So what you do is to reverse the order of major home renovations, delay the kitchen remodel (God help us, we’re going to have to remodel our kitchen), and move the bathroom remodel up the list.

Next, you get some estimates from contractors and discover that bathroom remodels are really very expensive, and you realize that you wouldn’t have been able to afford to remodel the kitchen anyway. And then you decide not to hire a contractor, but instead to “do it yourselves,” if by “yourselves” you mean The Husband because, although you, The Wife, would be perfectly willing to help, honest, you are pregnant and are therefore not allowed to do major construction work. More’s the pity.

So finally, you hire the brother of The Husband’s coworker to act as the carpenter, hire the husband of that same coworker to act as the electrician, and hire plumbers with whom you have no previous connection and will therefore get no price break because you’d be crazy to try to do all the plumbing yourself and, as it turns out, you have to have a license to pull the plumbing permits. You also call the tile guy and ask him if he’s available three weeks after the scheduled demolition, because that’s when you think you’ll need him. The tile guy, to your surprise, says, “Why don’t you call me a week before the walls are finished,” because the tile guy is far more experienced that you and knows that you are delusional and will not need him for weeks and weeks and weeks. The tile guy is a wise, wise man.

Then, with a cheerful, devil-may-care attitude, you start knocking down walls thinking that this whole process will only take a few weeks. Boy are you ever stupid.

Pantry 1:

Pantry 2:

Bathroom 1:

Bathroom 2:

At this point, things are still pretty easy to live with. You still have a shower, a toilet, a bathroom sink, and a kitchen sink. But that is not going to last. Because the next step is to remove all sources of running water from the apartment:

And then you discover that it’s a darn good thing the leak forced you to remodel, because a whole bunch of the floorboards were rotten.

Grateful that toilet never fell through the floorboards into the apartment downstairs, you check into the oh-so-lovely Motel 6 for what you think will be three days but turns out to be a week.

Up next: Framing out the walls.

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