It's Tool Time
Tim, the tool man here again, shaking off the sawdust of my latest most recent project. This time it is remodeling bathroom # 2. But, first in any redo project whether it is the kitchen, bedroom or living room and in this case the second bath one should always draw up a diagram or blueprint as it is commonly know by us so called pro's. Already at my convenience were the new set of tools that would make any home remodel that much easier. The new bench circular saw for example made cutting all the lumber to specific lengths such a breeze. That was the easy part. But little did I realize that bathroom number two had such extensive termite damage.
When the house was built some 50 years ago nothing was pressure treated. This being Florida termites are inevitable and without pressure treated lumber it is just a matter of time before they ever so impolitely invite themselves into your home. This remodel was going to be the most rigorous undertaking I have done in about three months. Now, in order to do this job really correctly considering all that termite damage again we have to completely gut the whole room. That means taking out all the rotten studs, support beams, walls and ceiling. Tools required to safely complete the task at hand were safety glasses, hammer, crowbar, gloves, and receptacles to throw away all the rotted wood and debris that came crashing down. What a dust bowl that was.
In order to fully appreciate this new remodel not only for the bathrooms but for the whole house we had realized that our old hot water heater was disintegrating from within. No longer was it producing any real hot water only temped at best. As luck would have it Home Depot had a sale. But, with any sale today their are always undertones to consider. Here in Florida if one happens to have it installed by the people say at Home Depot there are always extras that add to the overall cost. I couldn't believe it when the people at Home Depot said we have to pull a permit. A permit just to replace a hot water heater. Yep, yes sir re, a permit costing over $60. When you tack on the cost of delivery, cost of the original new hot water heater at $400, plus their installation charge add on another $350 all that for just one 30 gallon hot water heater. Considering all that cost it was time to improvise and do the job of delivery and installation ourselves. No permit, no delivery charge, and no installation charge either. For a flat total of $400 plus tax and a little muscle I put the new hot water heater in the trunk of the car and took it home myself.
Once the I got the water heater home came the so-called hard part, taking out the old hot water heater. This required draining all the remaining water in it. I attached a hose to the base facet and put the other end of the hose down the shower drain and opened the spicket and behold water came gushing out. It took about 15 minutes for all the water to drain. That was easy. The hard part was taking it out. Now I slid a two wheeler as it is commonly called under the water heater and tilted it back and wheeled it out. The messy part was that the bottom gave way and sediment spewed all over the floor. What a mess. Luckily I had a wet vac ready for just such an emergency. After cleaning up that mess I wheeled in the new water heater and attached the water lines and the power wires and slid the base tub under it. Installing this actually looks harder that it actually was.
We have all to remember that any purchase in these tough economic times especially when one is on Social Security frugality is of the essence. At last every rotten piece of wood, every scrap of plaster board, and every bent nail or screw was taken out. I couldn't believe it who in their right mind would put plaster board in a bathroom and even have plaster board covering the ceiling. When plaster board gets any kind of moisture and surely a bathroom is where moisture is most likely to reside mold creeps in inviting more termites. That was the way our bath was originally built.
Having completed the first job of pretty much obliterating the whole room next came installing and setting up the wall studs, support beams for the ceiling and building door frames for the two doors that I built last summer. Tools required: safety glasses, hammer, circular saw, 20 volt cordless drill, three inch screws, L shaped brackets to fasten the support beams and pressure treated 2x4's to each other, and cement screws to anchor support beams to the floor. Following the blue print of what this bathroom would look like was not that easy either, but when I finished the skeletal design it was beginning to look that just maybe this project would actually turn out all right.
On my next trip to Home Depot to purchase three quarter inch sheets of pressure treated plywood which would out line the walls and ceiling I knew right away that some modifications had to occur. In order to safety bring them home we had to cut these sheets at Home Depot. Thankfully they didn't charge to cut them to the specific lengths in order to fit into the trunk of my car. Total cost for plywood around $80. Not bad, considering I just had to fasten them in place to out line the bath walls except the shower stall. This is where backer board would be required to latter install the tile covering the walls of the shower.
It became apparent that this project was the beginning of another one where to the left side of the door I would build a closet where all the linen and towels would be stored. But that is another project in itself. After two days of blood, sweat and tears, did I say blood, well, I banged by fingers many times and even tried to drill my finger into the plywood on occasion. I just bet that even real professional carpenters have their days. Now that the walls and ceiling were intact came installing the backer board that cost around $11 per sheet. I needed four sheets to complete the walls for this shower. Tack on another $44. Not bad, considering if the job was contracted out they would have charged over $1500 just to do the shower stall.
After all this, now begins the fun part, that being floating the shower floor. Floating a shower floor means that the floor has to slope down toward the drain. After a day the cement had dried and what is left to do is tiling the floors and walls of the shower stall. This required applying thin set on which the tiles were laid. Another day for drying and setting the tiles. Now came the grouting, that means sealing the gaps in between each tile to finish the job. The grout had to be mixed with a sealer in which provider a moisture barrier to prevent leakage. After that grout was applied wiping down the excess with sponges and water was again a most time consuming project. But, after two buckets of water the tiles were clear and low and behold a finished water tight shower stall was ready for use. Until next time Tim the tool man signing off.