Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tales from the Tub Surround

Warning: We are the slowest DIY renovators in the Universe. Seriously. You will have to have your super spy-ware X-Ray vision glasses on to see the miniscule changes from one day to the next. Got 'em? Ok, let's roll.

Day Minus One

We order the kids to take one last bath.

Day One:

I take my last shower inside the nasty, nasty thing.

The shower curtain is still wet when Daedalus (my husband, not his real name) takes down the shower curtain rod. There's our first surprise: It is white underneath where the rod was attached. What we have been living with is not the odd off-white choice of someone with bad taste but with yellowed plastic.

It takes only minutes to remove it all. Underneath we find two different kinds of drywall. This is the same corner as the first shot: the top (blue) has what we think is original to the house the brown stuff is what someone else put in.

The brown stuff is all water damaged, so we decide to rip it all out.

And then we discover mold--on the other side of the studs--in other words, inside the wall.

Day Two:

We take a trip to the hardware store. We get a crash course in using waterproof materials in the aisle of Home Depot and all the various methods available to us.

At home, we decide to take down some more wall to see the full extent of the mold. It's bad.

This picture was taken after I'd begun the clean up.

That wall includes the stairwell. See those horizontal boards in the upper left corner? Those are the stair treads!

Its also the wall in our back entrance way.

We drilled a hole through the gyp rock to figure it out. Here's the hole from the bathroom side: (I put a red pen cap on the drill bit to help you see it!)

I took this photo today.

and from the entrance way:

We decide it will be beyond our abilities for us to take it down and build a new wall: so I get on the Internet and figure out how to deal with the mold.

I followed the directions on the CMHC web site: namely, wash with water and detergent and dry it. Where the wood was contaminated, I washed it and then had my husband sand it. We then vacuumed everything.

I have no idea if what we did was the right thing to do. There's a ton of advice out there--and there are products available in the States--but not here--which you can use to prevent it's return.

Whatever. We dealt with it. Hopefully, forever.

Day 3:

We decide on what we're going to use: cement board on the long wall and some sort of "backer board" for the two end walls where Daedalus wants to patch into the existing walls. I argue for ripping out all the walls around the tub all the way to the ceiling (and replacing the insulation on the outside wall) but I'm not successful.

We also decide to use the very pricey but state of the art Orange Schluter/Kerdie membrane for waterproofing.

Daedalus rips out all the old caulking around the tub. It was one of the things we hated about the tub: the caulk seemed to go on forever--and mold grew through it.

Then, I began to research what we're going to do about the lip of the tub, or tub flange.

It's that vertical bit at the very edge of the tub--some of it disappearing behind this old wall. That bit of wall will be removed by the end of this post!

We learn about all kinds of things, like

1) the flange will move when someone gets in the tub.

2) thus, the board you are using for your walls should not touch it.

2a) One option to avoid touching it is to build out the wall so that goes out over the flange and encloses it supposedly without touching it. We didn't have a lot of faith in this option, actually.

The folks who installed the walls we took down--why yes, the very walls with the water damage--had cut a groove into the drywall and installed the flange up and into that groove.

Nonetheless, picture above notwithstanding, they had not brought the wall board down to the edge of the tub, but left a gap--and did nothing to fill it. No tape! That was why our caulking seemed to go on forever--it did! When we caulked we were simply filling the gap underneath the wall to the flange. Does that make sense? If it doesn't, not to worry. I'm over explaining. As usual.)

3) there is such a thing as fiberglass "tape" and this is what we need to "connect" the wall with the tub.

4) "Thin-set" = "drywall mud" in the tub/shower area.

We decide that we don't need the furring strips where the cement board is going to be installed and we take them out.

Good thing, too. There's more of the nasty black stuff underneath them.

That takes most of the day, actually, in between bouts of cleaning the dry wall.

Day 4:

Daedalus spends a great deal of time cutting the board which will fit over the plumbing.

I research how I am going to build a niche into the wall for holding shampoo and soap and such-like.

Day 5:

I decide to go over all the previously moldy areas with a solution of bleach and water.

Hard to believe it's the same wall, isn't it?

We put up one of the cement boards.

Daedalus fits out the wall with the plumbing.

We install the backerboard.

At the other end of the tub, the hole in the wall goes from this:

to this:

Daedalus is going to let me remove the old insulation in there (what appears to be water stained paper bags) and put in some of the left over pink from the basement. Wish me luck. I really have no idea how we're going to get it in and up.

Thanks for reading through all this. I'm sorry it was so long-winded!


scb said...

Wow. What a project!

Good job you were able to get the mold off. Eeeesh. Scary stuff.

You've done amazingly -- that's a lot of work. (As I hunch you well know.)

Carol-Anne (Use the Good Dishes!) said...

Holy cow! I have a life-threatening mould allergy, so am an expert on it! You did exactly the right thing! Once you've put up the wall and tub surround CORRECTLY, so there's no moisture (or air) getting in there, the mould can't grow back again. It can only grow if it's getting air and/or moisture.

Good luck! I really admire the hard work you're doing, but I'm sure it'll be great! (we ended up getting one of those "BathFitter" tub surrounds, as we just couldn't do the other one ourselves ~ my hubby isn't remotely handy!)

Alana in Canada said...

Thank you both so much. You know, it didn't seem like we had done all that much until I wrote the post.

A life threatening allergy to mold, Carol-Anne? That's got to be tough--especially going through people's houses all the time.

We've been feeling fairly lethargic the past few days and I was blaming it on the mold!

onshore said...

Oh you are not slow at all, you've just had so much to do.

I'm glad you've dealt with the mold properly, because it could cause serious health problems. Good luck with the rest of the renovation.

The Farmers Daughter said...

that mold issue is why I'm terrified to remove my cruddy shower enclosure. I'm sure it's back there..... you did a good job dealing with the issue though!

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