Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How to Turn a Garden Tub into a Dual-Head Shower (of Awesomeness)

I swear, I'm about to post the bathroom pics (as soon as the trim goes into the master bath and I can take a picture of it - it was supposed to be done Thursday but then they forgot to buy the trim, and then they forgot to have it overnighted, and then they tried to do it on Monday but no one was home and they didn't call to tell us they were coming and we needed to be home), but before I do that, I want to show you all that we (and by we, I mean 92% entirely Husband's work, 6% friend help, 2% my help) getting to this point.

I didn't take pictures of everything, and despite basically demanding that Husband (who did all the work in the bathroom, and knows all the official terms for what he did and used) write this blog post, it wasn't happening.  So thusly, the explanation falls to me.  This means you'll get a lot of official terms like "drill thingie" and "concretey stuff".  Thankfully, I do know "soldering iron" (and I even know how to spell it, yay me!), so we're at least on the right track.

Let me show you what we started with.

Misty watercolor meeeeemories....
As per usual, the pictures don't do it justice.  This thing was gross.  Husband immediately began the process of ripping out the bathtub.  (With no shoes.)

Once that was done, we had to rip out the sheet rock (which was not mold-resistent and which, unsurprisingly, spread mold like the plague behind the tub when the old showerhead leaked).

Leaving us with all the old insulation (yay mold!)

Next came removing the tub (and finding souvenior rat skeletons):

...and removing the evil insulation.

He also had to fix the leaking showerhead on the right side with lots of soldering (no pictures, because I was a busy-bee elsewhere at the time), then test it about ninety times to be sure it wasn't leaking anymore (and it was a grueling process, because it would almost stop leaking and then he'd have to keep soldering the same spot, and if you know anything about soldering, you know it's difficult to solder over solder, so it'd be like, "shut water off, solder, let it cool down, test by turning water on a fraction. Nope, still leaking, turn water off, solder again, cool down, test.  Nope, still leaking, turn water off, solder again, cool down test...wash, rinse repeat." 

Once he got that leak fixed, he started running the copper tubing over to the left side.  Then he had to build a second shower-head mount (i.e. the top part, pictured below) and the turney-knob part.  Let's just say that we had to wash-rinse-repeat the above procedure on this side as well.  Thankfully the new tubing was less persnickety than the old stuff, so it didn't take as long.  (I think, I don't remember, because it was a long time ago and like a million things have happened since then, plus I didn't do the work and the person who did the work won't blog about his work so ....)

New shiny copper tubing!
Then he built a shower floor border thingie (see the wood thingie), and installed a proper drain (see the white thingie)...

Once that was done, he had to make some concrety-gravel to fill in the gaping hole above, then put down some plasticy stuff...

And then make some creamy concrete (with a side of Crème fraiche) and pour it in.  (The old floor was NOT level.)
Yes, that's one of my good cooking pans in use as a drain pot and occasional cement mixer.  Apparently.

Marinate for at least 24 hours, and then you have this:

Next came putting in the new insulation with a staple-gun (and I swear it was the same one my third-grade teacher used.  It was that old and crappy, but apparently it did the job).

I feel strangely against arresting Husband at this moment.
And tada!  Complete.  (The piece of crumpled insulation in the middle?  Yeah, Husband didn't enjoy putting that one in behind the pipe.  There were not angels singing in the bathroom during that ten minute period.)

Suddenly, it's a lot quieter in here...
Then he put up the black paper (I'm pretty sure that's the official term).  It looked like black construction paper but was considerably thicker and with a waxier feel to it.  I think it had something to do with extra moisture protection or whatever.  It definitely wasn't installed the first time around. 

Mrs. Clark has snuck into the picture without her knowledge.

Once the black waxy construction paper went up, the Hardiebacker could go up!  Husband began installing while I was at work, ensuring that he cut out the holes in all the right places for the shower instruments to go through...

Of course, when it got to the top pieces and the ceiling, he enlisted the help of his trusty sidekick, Mrs. Clark!  I helped him finish up (and snapped this pic):

We got done early (like three whole days early!), finished out the Hardie-backer, and I went up to take a much-needed shower before work the next day.  Except...when I came down afterward, the hardie-backer on the ceiling was laying on the floor of the master shower. 

Husband discovered a leak in the upstairs bathroom, which began to leak all over his freshly-applied work.  Sigh.

Thankfully, all it took was some caulk, and we were back in action to do it all over again.

I know I missed some integral steps in there, but when it took five weeks for him complete all of this (in the midst of me doing my own work, and actually working my day job too), I can't remember all the little items.  I'll show him this tonight and see if I can expound for any that care.

The basic story is?  It's a LOT of hard work to do it yourself.  He cursed and complained numerous times (I think I've heard the "I hate [bleeping] housework, I hate owning a [bleeping] house" about ninety thousand times over the last five weeks), but when you see the finished product (hopefully tomorrow), you'll see that it was all worth it in the end.  Let's just hope he feels the same way. :)


Amanda said...

I'm absolutely in love!!! Can't wait to see it finished!!! So excited for you both <3

Lori said...

Having now seen the (almost...all but the seals) complete shower, I can say...these pics DO NOT do it justice!!!! It is more awesomeness than can be imagined by one fully-used brain!!! So amazed at the Clark team for this wondrous DYI renovation of awesomeness-ness-ness!!!!

Jessica said...

I'm in shock of just how badly constructed it was in the beginning.

Hopefully, there are no hidden leaks once the shower is complete... to fix it looks so tedious. It makes me really hope that the upstairs bathroom doesn't continue to cause problems, and I wonder if it had been leaking for a while upstairs, too. If it had, could there be just as bad of damage up there?

Mrs. Clark said...

Amanda - pictures today!

Lori - We kick azz!

Jess - Thank god we tested and tested and tested before we let the tile guys come in. It was just a little hole in the caulk that got fixed very easily. :) It was horrifying before though. But now? Gorg!

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