January 27, 2010

1810 Bathroom Part 5 - Tiling the Floor

Now that the drywalling is done things are cruising along. Monday night I laid out the tiles and marked all the cuts but by the time I was ready to fire up the saw it was getting a bit late. I decided to take it easy on the neighbors and call it a night. Tuesday I set up the tile saw in the basement and made all the cuts. Wednesday night I was finally ready to lay down the Ditra and set the tile. As always here are the pictures...

The picture above shows the tile laid out test fitting all the cut pieces. With the exception of the toilet flange area all the cuts were pretty simple. To fit a tile around the toilet flange I had to cut out a U shaped section by making many straight cuts and then chipping out the pieces with a pliers. I then fit a small straight piece at the top of the U to fill in the gap. This is all hidden under the toilet so it didn't need to look pretty.

After one last round of scraping mastic off the floor and sweeping I mixed up a batch of modified thinset (slightly on the wet side) and laid the Ditra with a 5/16 V notch trowel. Mixing the thinset a bit wetter than normal makes it a lot easier to get the mud to fill into the mesh backing on the Ditra. Modified thinset is "stickier" than standard mud and creates a stronger bond between the Ditra and the plywood...we want this part to stick.

Once the Ditra was down I cleaned out my bucket and mixed up a batch of unmodified thinset and started setting the tile with a 1/4" x 3/8" square notch trowel which works well for these 13x13 porcelain tiles. When setting tile on Ditra Schluter recommends unmodified thinset which seems counter intuitive because it basically won't stick to plastic. When the unmodified thinset cures it forms a mechanical connection with the dovetailed waffle pattern on the Ditra which provides a tiny bit of decoupling between the flexible wood floor and the rigid tile field. More important to me is the fact that it's very thin and in my opinion the easiest underlayment to install. Have I mentioned that I like this stuff?

My knees hurt and my back is sore but the tile is finally set. All in all this went very smoothly after all the practice tiling the kitchen and dining room in 1808.

I'm hoping to get the floor grouted Friday so that I can put in the vanity and toilet this weekend. Hopefully this is all wrapped up by mid February.

January 25, 2010

1810 Bathroom Part 4 - Paint and Tile Prep

The bathroom is slowly starting to look like its supposed to again. The walls are finished and painted and I finally have a real light and shower curtain again. I also prepped the floor for tile and removed the old door. Here are a few pictures showing the progress.

Here is the bathroom ready for primer after some mud touch-ups and final sanding.

Two coats of "First Coat" primer evened out the texture of the walls and hid the seams and screws fairly well. After 2 coats of Zinsser Perma-White the walls looked pretty nice. There are two small areas where some of the paint bubbled and started to peel away which I think is due to the mud being a bit wet before I painted but it should be easy to touch up later.

In between coats of paint I worked on finishing off the drywall patch in the kitchen ceiling. Above you can see I filled the large gaps with mud prior to taping the seams.

Once the mud was dry I scraped off the high spots and taped over the seams.

I then applied mud over the tape trying to feather out the edges as smoothly as possible to minimize sanding.

Here it is after the mud dried. It will need to few more coats of mud to smooth everything out but at least there is a ceiling again.

Its nice to have a real light and shower curtain again.

The old door had a hole punched through it some point by an angry tenant so I'll be swapping in a new one. I pulled out the old door now so that I don't have to fool around undercutting the door jambs when I set the tile.

I then cleaned up the floor and removed as much of the old mastic as I could and then added a few screws as insurance. Above you can see the Ditra cut and fit into place. I really love that stuff compared to cement board.

The plan for this week is to layout all the tile and cut the edge pieces ahead of time. Then set the Ditra (with modified thinset) and imediately set the tile over that (with unmodified thinset). After waiting a day or so I can grout and then after another day I can finally start installing the toilet and vanity. I'm hoping by the end of next weekend I will have a fully functional bathroom again.

January 20, 2010

1810 Bathroom Part 3 - Drywall Finishing

Upon starting this bathroom remodel I had hoped to be done by the first of the year which unfortunately didn't work out. It has been nearly 2 months since I last posted an update and the only real change in status is that the drywall is hung and the taping and mudding is nearly complete. Hanging the drywall went quickly and I started the finishing process the first week of December. Then a combination of events and distractions basically stalled my progress for the next month and a half. Here is a list of things I did instead of finishing drywall:
  • Spent a week in Raleigh NC for work
  • Was sick for the next week (I get sick every time I fly)
  • Celebrated Christmas with Laura and Lex
  • Celebrated Christmas with Laura's family in Edgerton
  • Celebrated Christmas in Watertown
  • Helped Lon and Elise demolish their kitchen and install hardwood flooring. If you have a few minutes I would suggest reading his Blog post on the process as there were a few hilarious parts and the results were pretty sweet http://cheqmate5000.blogspot.com/2010/01/hardwood-flooring.html
  • Went to the "Domes" down in Milwaukee for a day
  • Celebrated new years and Lex's 4th birthday
  • Spent a weekend hanging out with Dustin and beating New Super Mario on the Wii
In between all that I was slowly working on finishing the drywall but when it comes down to it, its really just not my favorite thing to do and there was no real deadline pushing me to get it done. Last week however I kicked off the process to refinance my mortgage and then realized that this project needs to be done before I can get the appraisal done. I have 60 days to close the deal so I'm shooting to have the bathroom done by the middle of February.

Now that you've read through all that rambling here are some pictures of the drywall.

Here you can see the two layers of drywall on the shared wall. I ran the second layer over the nailing flange by using furring strips on the two studs closest to the tub. I chose not to fur out the whole wall to save time and the 1/8th inch difference in thickness is a non issue between two studs 16 inches apart.

Above you can see the last piece of drywall up.

Here you can see the water supply for the toilet coming out of the wall. The original supply valve was sweated onto the pipe from behind so I had to remove that and install a threaded elbow so that once the drywall was hung I could then thread in a nipple and valve. This took some time but went smoothly.

In this picture you can see I've started finishing the butt joint above the shower and some of the corner joints along with the shower spout. A few showers after first installing the shower spout I noticed that the threaded connection where the spout joins the supply pipe was leaking. I took the spout off and reinstalled it at least 5 times trying multiple types of plumbers dope and teflon tape and it just kept leaking. Through trial and error I found that a combination of plumbers dope and a few wraps of teflon tape was the trick.

I figured I'd better get the kitchen ceiling patched up while I'm in drywalling mode so I cut back all the water damaged areas and installed some plywood pieces to give me some solid areas to attach the new drywall to.

Here you can see the patch in place. I intentionally cut the hole close to two of the adjacent walls so that the seems will be easier to hide and won't require so much effort to feather out the mud.

Here you can see the walls after the first sanding. I learned my lesson last time a drywalled and have been very stingy when applying mud. When I did the last bathroom I eneded up sanding after every coat which took a ton of time and made a huge mess. By being careful while applying the mud this time the one sanding should be all I need except for a few areas that require touch up. In the picture you can also see a few pencil marks on the wall where I marked areas that still need some more mud.

The goal now is to have the walls finished and painted this weekend and to start tiling next week. Hopefully things work out as planned :)