Friday, February 8, 2013

A Funcational Bathroom Round 2

My mom put wainscoting in her master bedroom. I really liked the look since it broke up some of the wall space, so I thought this would be a great option for our bathroom since we have one long wall with nothing on it. After we painted the top half of the bathroom, this seemed like an even better idea. The wall paint was darker than we expected, so the white wainscoting would help break things up.

Tim primed and painted all of the wainscoting and trim first.

Installation was pretty easy. We used an air compressor nail gun that Tim received as a Christmas present in 2011.

On the weekend that we began this project, we had a few helpers, Fergie (above) and Snoopy (below).

We had our usual helpers on hand to assist as well. Monkey and Fergie had to be in on the action.

Meanwhile, Sullivan was caught snoozing in bed.

They were all pretty paranoid of the loud noise made by the air compressor. They took to my side for protection.

I was actually able to help with this part of the project since it didn't involve any fumes or other hazardous activities.

But, I did leave the crawling around on the floor to Tim. At 6-7 months pregnant, lying on my belly to reach under the vanity wasn't really an option.

We had to install the vanity before we could install the wainscoting. This is because the top piece of trim extended behind the vanity. After much debate, we settled on this option since it would create a seamless look rather than abruptly stopping the top piece of trim.

You can also see our trim tile in this picture. We decided not to grout this because it would make a big huge mess. We thought we could use caulk instead. Tim headed to Home Depot to find something that would work. The Home Depot employee recommended this very thick caulk-like product. It was basically an all-purpose adhesive designed to be very strong (but it wasn't Gorilla Glue or anything like that). It worked perfectly! If I find the leftover, I'll let you know the name of the product.

After the vanity, came the wainscoting, then we were able to install the toilet. It's actually a pretty easy process. You place your wax seal then gently set the base of the toilet without jarring or moving the wax seal. This sounds easy, but it's pretty critical to a properly functioning toilet!

There are two bolts that hold the toilet in place. You set the bolts in the floor mount for the toilet. Then, you carefully place the toilet on the bolts while guiding the bolts into the holes on either side of the toilet. Sounds easy right? Not so. We tried several strategies with our first bathroom renovation. The bolts are pretty tall, but they wobbly when not secured by anything.

With our lower level bathroom, we tied strings to the bolts and strung them through the holes in the porcelain. I held the strings while Tim placed the toilet. That's a pretty tough challenge in a tight space. I read on another blog that you should use straws. Place the bolts in the floor mount, then put straws over the bolts, and guide the base of the toilet onto the straws. Lift the straws and voila your toilet is set.

The one additional piece of advice that I have-- you need to go grab yourself a couple of McDonald's straws for this task. Their straws are wide enough for the bolts to fit in. I had some skinny straws on hand that didn't work. Thankfully (?), Tim keeps a stash of miscellaneous items from drive thru meals such as straws, napkins, forks, etc. so he had a few to contribute to the cause.

After the base of the toilet is set, you can place the back, connect the plumbing, and you're done! Here's a good video on how to install a toilet in case you're curious.

So here's the one big wall of wainscoting. Ain't she pretty? Plus a crisp corner below. This picture captures a lot of the main items in the room.

We did some of the bathroom installation seemingly out of order. Thankfully, we were pretty logical and meticulous when we thought about what should come next so we didn't have to undo any of our work. Here's the rundown of events:

1) demo
2) tub
3) drywall
4) patch, spackle, sand everything
5) tile the tub surround and floor
6) paint the walls and trim
7) baseboard trim
8) vanity and sink, hook up the plumbing
9) trim tile (seems out of order, right?)
10) wainscoting and chair rail
11) toilet (again, out of order?)
12) medicine cabinet
13) tile some more (more tiling? why didn't we do it all at once?)
14) replace covers on the light fixture
15) replace door handles and hinges with brushed nickel

It was necessary to install the baseboard trim before the vanity because our vanity is raised on legs. You can see the space behind if you bend down. It was easier to put this in first. Tim then finished off the wainscoting by putting 6" tall pieces of wainscoting underneath. We're kind of perfectionists (or well, I am a perfectionist) and you could see from the side view (aka on the toilet or in the shower) that there wasn't wainscoting under the vanity if we skipped this step.

We tiled again (round 2) when we installed the trim tile. We wanted to paint the walls first, so that we didn't get paint on our new beautiful tile. Plus, it took us months to decide what to use for trim tile. We thought bullnose pieces might be best. Then, my mom and Tim suggested that we just stop with our regular tile since it had a sort of "finished" look to the edge; I didn't like this idea. Then, we finally find this rounded tile that was a great trim tile. We had planned to use it to finish off the edges of the backsplash, but realized it would be a perfect trim tile for the tub too. Unfortunately, it was expensive. :( All of our other tile purchases have been clearance tile from Home Depot. We love a bargain!

The wainscoting had to go in before the toilet since the wainscoting extended behind it. We also put the chair rail above the vanity for a seamless look. This meant everything on the vanity needed to be done, so that we were sure we weren't going to move it. Round 3 of tiling included a tile backsplash behind the vanity. More on that to come in a future post.

Now that the toilet is finally installed, this bathroom is sorta functional. My 7 months pregnant self didn't have to go downstairs in the middle of the night anymore. Wowza this bathroom was a big project! We've still got a few more posts to share.

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