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Old 09-07-2013, 05:18 AM   #1
Zanne
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Default My bathroom repair project

Since I like to do long posts, I will give a bit of history on this house:
Apparently this place used to be a peanut farm and there was a house over 60 years ago that burned down and a new one was built in its place. I believe the oldest portions of this house were built in the 30s or 40s and some additions were added in the 60s or 70s. We bought the place in the mid 80s.

There are three bathrooms in the home-- one of which had avocado green tub, sink, and toilet. My bathroom fortunately had white fixtures and has a blue and white theme. The wall panels are fairly thin plywood printed with a blue and white striped texture.

The nicest thing in the bathroom is my cast iron tub.

Unfortunately, for some reason the people saw fit to put carpet in the bathrooms (probably because they did not actually use any insulation in the house and it likely got very cold in winter).

My shower/tub originally had a panel with a mural of ducks and a pond or something that looked pretty nice. In 1992 we transferred overseas for what we thought would be a short stint but ended up being stuck overseas for nine years while the tenants from hell mucked about in our house.

When we returned we had the carpet removed and had cheap linoleum installed. There appeared to be some damage to the floor and we didn't realize there was no subfloor in the one bathroom. The flooring guy poured some white powder and put water on it to try to repair some of the damage.

After the floor in the adjacent bathroom broke, dumping the avocado toilet on its side (with my brother on it), my toilet started leaking under the linoleum-- I could feel the water under the linoleum.

I pulled it up and discovered that the toilet had been installed over the carpet and that the carpet had been soaked (I guess the wax ring died/leaked) and it soaked the floor. Fortunately I had a moisture barrier and subfloor, but the top layer was ruined. It seemed to be only one plywood board (which happened to go under the wall).

I wish I'd had a picture of my old toilet. I actually liked the look of it, but it did not flush efficiently.

Here is what I saw when I removed the toilet.


I peeled back the linoleum which was sticking to the floor (it was not ever glued down but the water made it stick)


I removed the piece of carpet which left the carpet pad underneath


I removed that and you can't tell from the picture, but the wood underneath was the consistency of mud


I scooped out the mud-like disgusting wood and started clearing it away from the flange


It took me a long time but I finally managed to chisel the board where it went under the walls and remove it.



Now, I am no carpenter and I had never embarked on a project like this by myself before. My father always helped me with my projects, but he passed away suddenly during this project, so I was on my own. (Before I actually chiseled the old floor out, we didn't know about the little plugs you could put in the toilet flange to keep out sewer gases and other crud and the plumbing backed up and flooded the bathroom multiple times-- making the floor really disgusting. I subsequently learned about the plug and put one in). The type of boards used in the original floor are no longer available as far as I can tell so I used 1/4" luan (not sure on the spelling) per the recommendation of a friend.

Here is the new board next to chunks of the old


My bathroom was quite cluttered




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Old 09-07-2013, 06:32 AM   #2
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I decided to make a template using an old packing box. I bought some cheap lipstick (I don't wear makeup and don't even own any) and put it on the toilet flange to get an impression for the hole. I cut the cardboard to fit in the space of the missing board and included the holes for the water supply and toilet flange.


It fit rather nicely


I taped the template to the board and marked the outlines


I had a bit of trouble drilling the holes to get started with the handheld jig saw so I could cut out the holes for the flange and water supply. The cheapass drill bits from Harbor Freight kept bending and wouldn't go through. I thought I was doing something wrong until I found one of my father's old toolkits with a ton of old good quality drill bits. They went through like a hot knife through butter.
One of my dogs photobombed while trying to figure out how she could get food out of this situation.


The wood tended to splinter a little. I probably should have used a handheld circular saw but I don't have the arm/hand strength to wield one with only one hand and I had no assistance so I had to hold the board down with one hand. I have since purchased some clamps and such.


I did cut the hole slightly larger so that I had more wiggle room around the flange. It fit rather nicely.



I used decking screws to secure it (not sure if that was a good idea or not) and puttied over the top of them. The only problem was that the new board was just slightly thinner than the old wood so there is a ridge.

My plan is to use self-leveling flooring mix to level it out. I just need to raise the toilet flange a little and shim it (I actually had shimmed it and lifted it as far up as it would go (it is nailed down), but it is not level. I am thinking of pulling the nails up and leveling the flange.

Does it matter if it is level or will the wax ring compensate for that?

I just need to find the right materials to plug the holes to keep the leveling compound from flowing into them. I think someone somewhere suggested some type of foam and tape or something.

Since that work was done, my cats have made a mess of the bathroom since the litterpan is in there and some of the cats like to go outside of the litterbox. One cat in particular shat over the hole for the water supply. I went on a trip for a couple of weeks and my brother was supposed to change the litterbox and such, but he didn't so the cats went crazy in there.

This is a recent picture. I was trying to show the wood piece under the tub that holds it up-- the wood sticks out a bit from the tub so I can't put anything flush against it without having to notch it. I'm not sure what I should put along the edge of the tub to disguise that bump. I am pondering wrapping the linoleum up over the wood and trying to jam it into crevices.


Please excuse the crud on the side of the tub, I couldn't actually see it with the lighting in the bathroom, but the flash makes things more evident (there are no working lights in the bathroom)


Along the side of the tub there used to be a strip of rough wood that used to give me splinters. I pulled it off and am trying to figure out what to use for replacement. I was thinking about using cove molding. (That reddish tint on things is from the iron sediment in the well water. The hot water comes out a reddish brown color sometimes).


My father installed the corner shelf things and the tenants ruined the old surround that had a mural and put flimsy crap over the panels.




The tenants also managed to scrap a chunk off of my tub


I need to figure out how to fix that.

I plan to wrap the linoleum up the walls an inch or two before putting some kind of molding on the walls. Some of the panels don't reach the floor so I need to cover those gaps.

I have some cove molding that can cover the vertical gaps.

I am going to install a Toto Drake ADA toilet with SanaGloss. I'll put on a Zofa padded softclose seat. It has quick release hinges so I can take it off and clean it easily.

I'm thinking that it will be easier to put the linoleum down first and then put the toilet down over it and caulk around the toilet to seal it.

I'm going to see if the old cardboard template is in good enough condition to help with creating a template for the linoleum since the room has a lot of cutouts.

I want to create some sort of storage solution above the toilet but the ones in stores are particle board and more expensive than they are worth-- plus they block access to the toilet tank.

My original plan was to fix up the vanity and replace the top and sink, but I can't find any sinks that are as deep and the new vanity tops are more expensive so I will probably just try to clean up my existing sink and try to spruce up the counter space a bit more. I'm replacing the mirror and plan to add some shelving. I'm replacing the hardware on the vanity drawers and doors as well.

I really don't like the ceiling tiles (they don't look this clean and some of them are broken)


I found some self-adhering 12"x12" vinyl floor tiles that I want to put up. I was thinking of using some 3M spray adhesive to help, but I will probably have to fill in the holes with something so they won't show through the tiles. I know moisture might be an issue and people have worried that they might fall. I do have a dehumidifier though. I'll have to dig up the picture of the floor tiles later. A friend installed them in his kitchen over his existing tiles and they looked pretty nice (except for the part where they weren't all form the same dye lot and there was a color variation).

I really need to get off my ass and start working on this. I have cleaned up the floor quite a bit but I need to prep it for the self leveling flooring. I don't plan to do the whole bathroom so it is only a small area. I need to figure out how much to mix up and hope that the sediment in the water won't mess it up.



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Old 09-07-2013, 09:02 AM   #3
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This is the floor tile I want to put down. I got a few packs of 30 for about $7 per pack from Dollar General.


I took a picture of the kitchen floor my friend did with these tiles and flipped it vertically to see what it would look like as a ceiling (I will endeavor to get a better picture-- my old phone had a crappy camera).


I got this drawer/door pull


And a pack Allison AL-265 chrome and white cabinet knobs (apparently its also called Amerock but is from the Allison Value collection) for a set of drawers. Unfortunately there is no escutcheon at the base and the previous knobs were painted while on so when I took them off, the paint peeled so there is a visible area of missing paint. I either need to repaint or I need to find something I can put on to cover it up.

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Old 09-07-2013, 02:34 PM   #4
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Great pics. I'm still holding my breath to see how long those floor tiles stick up on the ceiling.

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Old 09-07-2013, 08:56 PM   #5
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Yeah, that's if I even get them up. LOL.
I, too, am skeptical about how long they will last, but they are just sitting in boxes and its not like I have any other use for them for now. If I have anything left over maybe I can make a backsplash somewhere-- but I doubt I will have extras.

I'll have to get a ladder in there and hope that I get things going on straight. I'm trying to figure out what the best starting point will be for putting them up. Did I mention that I am absolutely terrible with stickers and anything adhesive? I always get things crooked. LOL. So it will be extra fun. I'll feel better if I at least give it a try.

IIRC, a little heat can loosen the glue up so I need to find a low-powered hair dryer. I know we used to have one and my father used it on some strips of laminate edging years ago (which is probably the only time in like 15 years that anyone in my household used a blow dryer).

The floor and toilet install will have to take priority. I might just put a few up first and see if they stay and then add more if they last more than a week or two.

I'm debating whether or not I should sand the floor before pouring the self-leveling stuff and I am trying to figure out how much prep work I should actually do and if I should buy anything extra to put on the floor. The powdered white stuff that my floor guy used to patch stuff didn't really last in other rooms. It broke apart. We were actually thinking of hiring him to do the flooring but he retired from that line of work after his knee surgery. He drives a school bus now. He may be able to give me some tips though.

I will probably not be using adhesive for the floor. It may be a bad idea to forgo that, but with my luck I would get it hopelessly stuck in the wrong spot-- or somewhat recreate a scene from an article written by Dave Barry about a woman who got herself glued to the floor while trying to install her own flooring.

I'll have to scout around my yard to find a flat area with no obstructions so I can unroll the linoleum somewhere and at least get some rough idea of where I need to cut. I can maybe mark the back of things. I need to look at my guide of what measurement each line on the measuring tape means for some of the smaller increments. I know 1/4 and 1/2 and such but I keep forgetting and different measuring tapes sometimes have different increments. I'm guessing 1/8 is one of them on there. I must sound like such a noob. LOL.

I'm so rusty on this stuff and I'm sure if I just build some confidence and actually think about it I can figure it out.

Speaking of which, I'm going to have to temporarily lock my cats out of that bathroom when I start working on it.

I'm debating whether or not I should run the dehumidifier when the leveling stuff is drying. I've heard it can dry pretty fast though. I need to figure out how to open my vent/light/heat thingy so I can change the bulb and try to figure out why the vent part doesn't work (I highly suspect it is not actually tied in to the rest of the venting and just goes to the attic).

I should probably outline a plan or something. Or maybe I'm just thinking about it too much and need to start doing instead of thinking. LOL. I believe I had my linoleum cut at least a foot longer than it needed to be so I would have room for error.

I'm seriously pondering figuring out the lowest point on the room and installing a floor drain, but I don't know how much work that would be and what I would need to do to ensure that it is to code. I doubt I could have it just dump straight under the house.

Would it be a bad idea to paint the floor with Killz before putting the linoleum down?

Also, is there anything I can put down under the linoleum that will sort of buffer any floor imperfections/bumps/ etc that won't cause the linoleum to dent in when stuff is placed on it?

Thank you to everyone who read this and I appreciate any future comments-- even if it is just to motivate me. I always need motivation and am not getting much from my family right now.

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Old 09-07-2013, 09:56 PM   #6
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For the linoleum, use a template made of thick paper and cut it out exactly as your room dictates. Then go to a flat surface and cut the linoleum. Place it in the room, fold it in half, glue this side and lay it. Then fold up the other side, glue it, then set that side down.

For a perfectly straight line, use the 3-4-5 foot measurements. If one wall is 3', measure down the other wall at 4', and the dissecting line across the two walls will measure 5' exactly for a straight line. This will allow you to run a chalk like across the ceiling for an exact straight line.

I would not Kilz the floor, it will hurt the adhesion. Just keep in mind, linoleum is very thin, and what is under will be transposed above it. You would be better off to line the floor with a luan type of plywood on the floor prior to the linoleum. It will allow some uneven surfaces below it, and will not print the finished floor.

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Old 09-08-2013, 09:37 PM   #7
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Thanks. My brain isn't getting the 3-4-5 measurements thing for some reason. I'm not familiar with it.

I don't know if I can find a flat surface large enough for the linoleum. I think the sheet is 12' by 10' or something like that. It came in 12' width off the roll so I will quite a bit of excess to trim off.

Btw, here is a rough sketch to show the layout of my bathroom. It is not to scale though.


If I put another layer of luan on the floor over the existing floor, you think it might help? I suppose I would have to nail it down or screw it down.. Can't just leave it floating.

The fun will be getting it home-- unless the place is willing to deliver. Last time I bought two sheets of luan they tied it to the top of the Expedition for me and it snapped and broke from the wind and chunks flew off so I had to stop and get out to retrieve it. It was small enough to fit into the Expedition after that though. Fortunately the person in the vehicle behind me was keeping a safe distance and the scraps missed their car.

The linoleum I got is actually thicker than standard linoleum. It has a bit of a cushion to it, but not much. Someone elsewhere suggested that I could put a layer of felt over the floor instead of having to put down more wood. I don't know how well that would work.

I will probably do a dry fit of the linoleum before messing with any adhesive. I'm still debating whether or not to actually use adhesive. I would likely have to scrape the floor to get rid of the remains of the old linoleum. The underside of it peeled off and stayed-- sort of like when paper gets wet and sticks. I'll have to try to remember what brand linoleum it is so I can get the right stuff.

The more I think about it, I think I should try to fix the vent/lite thing or at least replace the light bulb before I put in the new flooring. That way I don't have to worry about scuffing it with the ladder. I still need to get it open. My HVAC guy said he thinks it is a Broan. Its been in the house for at least 25 years-- probably more than 30.
It looks like this one.


The vanity has a bit of a toekick so the linoleum can go up it and over the board I managed to attach to the front on the bottom. There is still carpet under the vanity and when the bathroom flooded with sewage it went under the vanity so that carpet is absolutely disgusting. I tried to pull it out but had no luck so I decided the next best thing would be to seal that off so nothing could get under there and none of the grossness that was under there could escape (mold, bacteria or whatever).

I had a longer post typed up but I forgot to hit "Submit Reply".

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Old 09-08-2013, 10:21 PM   #8
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One of the challenges when creating corners is getting them square. While no room is ever PERFECTLY square, we need to get the corners as close to 90 degrees as possible. If not, any tile or carpet laid will be noticeably 'off' from one side of the room to the other. Using the 3-4-5 method for squaring corners will help ensure your corners are square. Use this approach when framing walls to make sure that your corners are square.

Here is the site for you to look at:

http://www.wikihow.com/Use-the-3-4-5-Rule-to-Build-Square-Corners

Regarding the luan, I don't know what your existing floor looks like to tell you if luan would help or not. If you use luan, I'd screw and glue it down prior to installing the linoleum.

And yes, I would first replace your fart fan/light before laying the floor, just in case you drop something during installation.

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Old 09-09-2013, 01:53 AM   #9
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Oh! It uses "the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sums of the squares of the other two sides" rule. I do know that one. I just wasn't visualizing what you were describing because I didn't realize you you meant to measure from the corner and then measure the hypotenuse. (And I didn't even have to use spellcheck for that! Woohoo)

I always remember that rule because I know a joke about a mathematician going to an Indian reservation and the punchline is "The squaw of the hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaws of the other two hides".

I will upload pictures later to show the floor and the actual vent/light/fan. I'm having a hard time finding lights that have all three of those functions for some reason. At least I know I have the wiring for it already to the socket, although in one of the ventilights the heat and vent are mixed up (tenants mucked with it).

Other than the new piece I put in to replace the damaged board, all of the pieces seem to be flush with one another.

Oh, and the flooring guy actually called me today but the phone cut out before I could ask him about linoleum installations and such. (He was calling to let me know that someone spotted my cows out in the hunting club area-- I went out and my cows were in the barnyard so either they were the wrong cows or mine came back).

I'm going to see if I can get get enough light to check those measurements. There really are only two corners in the room that I can check because obstacles block the others.

Edit, I'm going to have to get better lighting and move stuff out of the way to get the measurements. The condition of the wall panels at the bottom wasn't helping.

Edit2: Photos.
This shows how they tried to cover mistakes/gaps with strips of wood near the ceiling and up the walls.


This is the actual vent/light/heater-- it kept going crooked and I couldn't get it to stay straight.


This is the floor more toward the vanity. You can see the color difference between old and new.


This is a closeup where you can see the ridge between the new board and the old ones.


This is a shot that shows the residue of the old linoleum still stuck to the floor

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Old 09-19-2013, 08:21 PM   #10
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I tried cleaning the floor some more but my cats decided to get in the way. I have a large dust pan and one of the cats decided to "help" by climbing inside it when I was trying to sweep stuff into it.
I cleaned up the tub a little bit.


I also started taking note of some of the accessories I picked up to make it look nice (something that I hope will motivate me).

So I have this cup dispenser


This soap dispenser/misc object container holding spare change for the time being


This AquaSource 1/4 washerless cartridge gooseneck sivel faucet with porcelain lever handles.


Later I might find pics of the shower rod and stuff like that. I have a chrome and white theme going on. I don't know why I like it so much, but I do.

I've been busy cleaning up after the cats and cleaning the kitchen and such so I haven't worked too much on the bathroom. I really need to though.



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