It has been a very long, hot month in Tillsonburg and we hope that y’all have been able to stay cool. But, we haven’t. We have been sweaty and dirty and up to our elbows in drywall, tiles, Schluter, mortar and grout.
I cannot believe that we didn’t wear a groove in the floor with all of the trips back and forth from the garage to the bathroom. And, on most of those trips our hands were full, so the door to the garage slammed behind us. I am sure that the neighbours are enjoying the return to quiet.
But, it is done! Wooooeeee! For a while there, we didn’t think we would get through it.
On June 10th, Murray took his saws-all and started tearing things out. The initial plan was to just remove the storage cupboard and construct the new shower before demolishing the balance of the room. That plan got shelved when Murray discovered that no green drywall had been used in the bathroom. Soooo, he tore everything out, right back to the studs, including the ceiling. Luckily, he was smart enough to go into the attic and move most of the insulation away from the area. Even so, there were three bags of insulation falling around him as that day progressed. Murray made the necessary changes to the plumbing and electrical system. Meanwhile, I was contacting drywall installers, getting prices and timing. Eventually we hired Jake of JN Drywalling and, with Murray as his assistant, the drywall and mudding was finished. Then Murray installed a ceiling light and ventilation fan, all in brushed nickel finish.
Now it was our turn again and we prime painted and then finished painted the whole room. OK, it is time. We had read and read and watched videos on YouTube but we couldn’t put it off any longer. It was time to start on the Schluter waterproofing system for the shower. Once we got going, it wasn’t as difficult as we feared. Murray cut the hole in the new drywall for the shower niche, a place to store all of the shampoos and soaps. The foam shower base is installed first by applying mortar to the sub floor. Then we troweled the mortar on the corners and applied the first strips of Schluter. On and on we worked into the evening, probably too late as we made some mistakes.
In the morning, we corrected the problems and worked on. Finally, all of the Schluter was applied and our shower should be waterproof. Time to mix more mortar and start tiling. Heather had a free hand in that department and had selected a 20 x 10 inch tile with a glass tile accent strip. We were making progress up the back wall when a neighbour came to see what we were doing. Suddenly, Heather remembered the glass tiles! Oops, we had meant to place them lower but it wasn’t too late. Thank goodness we had remembered in time. The air turned blue as Murray fought with the glass tile. The tiles were mounted on a substrate but slumped when placed on the wall. They were also smaller than the tiles and the trowel we were using made too large a groove for them. After a quick phone call to our supplier, Heather cut many small pieces of cardboard which, when inserted between the glass pieces, kept them from slumping. Meanwhile, Murray had tried a different trowel and the work progressed.
Finally the walls were done, except for cleaning some of the excess mortar that dried on the tile faces. Heather made a mixture of vinegar and water and, using an old credit card as a scraper, attacked the dried mortar. There was untold hours spent wiping, cleaning and scraping.
Now, it was time for the floor of the shower, the niche and the curb. The floor tile was a smaller tile, a 2×2 inch , on a substrate, That went quite quickly but with lots of cutting of tiles. We were used to that by now as the tile saw ran almost constantly in the garage. Especially on the curb and for the niche as we used the large tiles for that area. The new flooring was finally available and we made full-sized patterns and glued down the vinyl.
The cupboards and counter top arrived on time and were installed by Jim Peart, the same man who had done the cupboards for our kitchen reno. We opted for the same style and colour as the kitchen to create continuity. The counter top was a granite slab that Heather had found as an off-cut and thus the company hadn’t come to pattern the wall/counter joint. Oh oh, my worst fear – the counter top was too big! Murray ran out and bought a diamond saw blade and they trimmed the granite to fit.
Once the granite arrived, Heather wasn’t happy with the paint colour that she had chosen. There was more blue-grey in the actual granite than in the small piece that had been used for colour matching. Murray held his breath while she dithered. Finally the decision, we needed to re-paint. The new colour looked much better with the granite and Heather was much happier. The toilet went back in ( it had been stored beside our bed ) and now we have a functional bathroom again. Yeah!
Except for the shower. Murray installed the tap and shower head, applied silicone to all of the joints and then unpacked the glass sliding doors. As we read over the instructions and laid the pieces out, it became obvious that parts were missing. Oh no! This had been another of Heather’s deals! A door that had been previously ordered and was now listed as “excess inventory” for a good price. After a few phone calls, the company that supplied the door offered to order a new one for us! Wow! We had been sweating and worrying and they made this generous offer.
The new door arrived in London on Tuesday and Heather suggested that we get them to install it. The package that we had was tremendously heavy and hard to fit into the car. They would deliver, install and take to old one back. Deal! So, the door was finished on Wednesday. Murray installed the towel bars last night and I placed the new towels as soon as he had finished. Pictures were hung and we stepped back in awe.
We did this ! It is gorgeous! I cannot believe how great it looks or how much work it was. Tonight we can have our first shower. Together! But, now maybe we have time to do some other things with our days. Maybe even come and visit you? Or you could visit us? We would love to see you. Let us know.
Heather & Murray