punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,
punkwalrus
punkwalrus

They call it fugly yellow... quite rightly!

So, we (Christine and myself) have set aside September as "the month we actually start renovating our house." Since money is tight, it will be a slow process, but if we pace the cost, I am sure that we can manage to get things more modern, up-to-date, and repaired. This is our first major project: the yellow bathroom.

The Yellow bathroom (so named because of its color), or "CR's old bathroom," is condemned. The problems just got too numerous to repair, so we abandoned it. Everything leaked. The walls were fugly. Three sets of homeowners tried to put lipstick on the yellow pig that is that bathroom, and nothing worked. So we're tearing it down. I mean, literally, we're tearing it down to the bare studs. Let's take a tour of this horror, shall we?

I am always reminded of the history of this house by its bathrooms. Built in 1970, the first set of owners so f'd it up, than when the next set of owners bought it in 1984, the whole house could have been condemned. But the new owners, while they DID fix a lot of stuff, they had their own way of repairing things which seemed to be a combination of the cheapest materials they could find, a severe lack of fashion sense, and the concept of "If I can't see it, it's not a problem." The biggest crime those people had was the concept of "paneling will fix all woes." Half the house is paneled in some way, especially the bathrooms. Paneling CAN be done right. It's good for cabins, wainscoting, and under eaves. It should not be a substitute for hiding ugly wallpaper, water damage, or drywall problems (like, say, holes or gaps where the drywall doesn't quite reach the end of the stud).

The Yellow bathroom is fuuu-gly! The floor is a maize yellow tile, the bathtub and sink are a shallow 1970s harvest gold, the cabinetry was painted teal, and the walls were covered with paneling that looks like tile in a cheap mobile home shower. Trouble is, they glued the paneling up with non-waterproof construction adhesive, and so over time it buckled, so they reattached some of the places it buckled with drywall screws, which then rusted. I peeled some of the paneling back (it helped that it was already peeling away from the wall), and found some older (phew, not fresh!) water damage, and the fact they used regular drywall and not greenboard for the bathroom explained a lot of the mildew. I also saw the previous wallpaper: multicolored polka-dot berries that look like the patterns one might find on young girl's panties.

The bathtub is ugly not just because of the color, but there are these permanent "Mickey Mouse Babies" stickers all over the inside of the tub and the walls. I mean, they are stuck fast. I peeled most of the ones off the tile with a razor one day (where it left marks behind, the glue must been an acid base), but the sloping tub walls present a problem, because I don't want to scratch the enamel (there are several places in the house where this was done with the sinks, and they all rusted). The plumbing is the worst feature. It's not attached to the wall in any way, so it swings freely in their sockets, which over time caused them to leak when in use. The drain seal also leaks, and the showerhead is broken. The whole tub has to go, if only because of the color and depth. Luckily, it's a standard 60" long tub, and we have a few inches of leeway in width before it crowds the toilet. Its replacement will be the same size, possibly even the same width, but much deeper. I am tall as well as fat, and I want a deep tub.

The sink matches the tub, but the faucet leaks. The whole counter is just masonite on particle board, which has slightly warped due to water damage. The whole teal cabinet looks like a project a junior high student would make in shop class, and it's being ripped out and replaced as well.

The toilet is new(er), but was one of those discount $29.95 toilets. It flooded often, and the innards were repaired twice before I finally closed the bathroom. It also leaked and sweated quite heavily. I am tossing the whole thing, and getting a decent, low-water-using, well-running toilet, which I got for $110 when I replaced the one in our blue bathroom, and have had no problems with (thanks again to Travis, who helped me install it).

The electrical system is the #1 reason I am ripping out the walls. There is faulty wiring, I am sure of it. How? You can bang on the walls and turn on and off the lights if you hit the right places. This feature seems to have gone away when the bathroom was abandoned and dried out, so I think it's related to a moisture problem. The lights are going to be replaced, as well as the exhaust fan, which is old, rusty, and painfully loud. All wires and junction boxes are going to be inspected and probably replaced.

The biggest worry is the floor. It's take a lot of water damage over the years. I have to tear all the tile up, because I suspect it was never put in place with a proper tile backerboard or anything. Not only will I have it looked at by several people, but I have to see if the floor will support a bigger tub. If not, I will have to rip it out and putting in a new subfloor. I am also considering putting in a drain so if the bathroom floods, it won't flood the lower floors, but I'm not sure how to manage that. I really, really don't want to do any plumbing work or repair the subfloor because I can't afford a contractor to do these things for me.

The total cost of the project will probably be over $1500, with the major costs being in the tub, countertop, and the sink. That's another reason I am taking it slowly. But this has to get done. I am sick of having a fugly multi-yellow nonfunctioning leaky bathroom.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000547.html
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