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Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Posted by hunzi (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 21, 13 at 18:20

Warning this is long and wordy, but if you're patient, I could really use advice/ideas/offers of valium.

Hi there! I'm Hunzi.

Yes, it's me again. I know you don't remember me, because I've been sporadically reading and planning this project for about a decade now, but it's finally going to happen!

So here's what I have. Dirt. No, really...we started with an amazing space in the corner of an unfinished basement in an 1884 farmhouse. A previous owner had installed a "shower" consisting of a raised wooden pallet type platform floor, corrugated plastic walls, and a shower fixture plumbed with garden hose from what I think were old laundry hookups. This fabulous assembly was to supplement a main floor "full bath" which had a toilet/sink/tub, but was installed with near equal quality - yes, that's really an electrical wire cutting externally across the corner of the tub! Yikes. We just lovingly call any poorly done DIY job in the house a "Mr. G--- job".

So we've spent the past 20 years, fixing up all the Mr.G jobs, and while we are also 99.9% DIY, we're card carrying complete obsessed over-engineer it types.

That amazing shower was removed post haste (one of these days I'll check to see if I took a photo), and we have made due all these years with the shower in the claw foot tub on the 2nd floor (obviously installed by pros back in the 1920's before MrG got his hands on the house), while the plans for the basement have slowly bubbled and evolved. What was originally going to be a play room for the kids (DS was only 3 when we bought the place, DD was not yet a twinkle in her daddy's eye), last year finally became a bonus room for the now DS/Grad Student to live in until he can afford his own place then its future lies in either ManCave or home gym.

Somewhere along the way, that corner with the shower evolved from really scary home to spiders to maybe we can use it as a laundry room/bath combo, to you know, we really do need a 2nd full bath in this house, since I want to remove the other (main floor) Mr.G Special Bathroom and use that space for a kitchen reno and just tuck a powder room into an old pantry.

Back to the dirt. Apparently the basement was originally non-existant. Previous home owners dug it out in stages, first to make room for a boiler and coal room added in 1925, then the rest was dug out later we suspect. Not a bad amount of space, properly dug with respect to foundations. But it must have been a dirt floor for quite a while until someone (I'm still blaming MrG (bless his heart)) poured a concrete floor - not just any old concrete floor, a "just cover the dirt - no worries about making it level or making sure there's enough thickness" concrete floor. Level wasn't in his vocabulary.

So about the time, DH decided to remove the fabulous fishing camp shower, he decided he'd remove the concrete covering the section of the floor that would become the future bathroom, because he'd have to tie into the sewer stack in several locations and gosh darn it, once he started and found the concrete varried in depth from 1.5 to 4 inches, it all had to go.

You do realize, there were years - YEARS between DH tearing out the concrete and now, don't you? I've lived with a 9x10 patch of dirt in the corner of my wavy concrete basement for at least 10yrs, maybe longer - I'm trying to black it all out.

Problems -no time, no money, more no time, more no money, trivial stuff like military service demands getting in the way etc. So, I'll cut him some slack.

Still, when DS needed to return home - finally the fire of FIX the BASEMENT was lit (to DH's credit, many other projects in the house were done in the intermediate years and the basement was always a low priority). It didn't hurt that DS couldn't just move back into his old room because it is now being occupied by our 2 adorable teen aged Chinese exchange students (16 & 17 yr old girls) who moved in this fall and will live with us this year and next while they finish high school. DD is a freshman in college this year, but home frequently and wouldn't have let her brother borrow her room anyway! So the basement became priority one finally.

Finished off a living space for DS, and finalized plans for a bathroom and laundry room (now separate).

Ok, that's the backstory.

Now back to the dirt yet again. - DH is preparing to make all the stack modifications and plumbing rough-ins this weekend. (Everyone light a candle and say a prayer for us!) This will rough in the plumbing for the basement bath, the main floor powder room (goodbye MrG 1950s Bathroom From Hell) and laundry room.

Next up will be pouring a new slab in the dirt space - no, really, this one will be properly thick and level.

However, now there's stuff I need to be sure of - before Dh decides to order concrete.

Since DH didn't tear out the entire basement floor (we now all say Thank You Baby Jesus!) he wants to meet up with the existing concrete level (yes, we know it's not actually LEVEL, but the laundry room section of the basement is within "You Can Fix It with SLC" range vs OMG, they dropped the part around their "floor drain" (aka the fishing camp shower drain as well - don't get me started) nearly a foot (a very wavy foot).

So QUESTION #1:
Since we can set the level of the concrete slab whereever we want (within reason), I need to know how much I need to allow for the stuff that goes over the concrete slab - the thin set, Detra/some decoupler, more thin set, plus a 1 inch hex type tile - so that I can meet up with the laundry room floor which will have SLC, plus same tile (and all required under-prep).

I'm also working with a minimal ceiling height of 7ft (remember it wasn't planned to be living space when they dug it out), so I can't get crazy and not worry about the amount of space that gets leftover between finished floor and finished ceiling.

How thick is all the usual tile on cement stuff? Assume a small hex type tile of the Home Depot variety.

I just need to know if I need to tell DH to be sure to set the top of the slab X.0 or 0.x inches below where we want the final finished floor.

Once all this OMG I HATE PLUMBING drama is over, we can discuss all the more fun parts - details on tile, all the 1000's of other things you'll realize I haven't thought about.

Goal is a not overly expensive but nice looking full bathroom - we'll reuse the toilet and tub from the MrG Main Floor Special - might upgrade the toilet eventually, but pretty sure the tub/shower combo (basic steel tub, nice shape/size/depth) is staying.

Powder room is sort of intermixed into this project, but not completely because darn-it, I need to gut the kitchen to get the PR door in the right place but at least the toilet will be roughed in to the right location and the weird combo of MrG's Main Floor Special Bath/my kitchen pantry (another story for another day), will no longer exist. And that will be Phase 2, after the basement bath and laundry project is done.

So, how thick is the tile stuff, and we'll need to chat about radiant floor heat vs something like WhisperWarm or heat lamps. (This bath will get light/moderate use once DS moves on, and there's no direct heat source in the basement - it's relatively warm & dry due to the very large, very old cast iron boiler which radiates much heat, but now that's closed off in a utility room and there are several walls between it and the bathroom - so it's cooler, but not uncomfortable in there, and I'm not noticing it feeling damp (even with the still dirt floor), but I want to be sure there aren't any issues.

Eventual look and feel of this bathroom is 1920s/Art Deco classic - not over the top, but a nod to the past. Hex tile floor, possibly unglazed, also running into laundry room, black & white color scheme - subway tiled bath, pedistal sink. Simple but we all know simple is never simple to create!

So, hopefully someone made it to the bottom of this - or you'll all just click NEXT everytime you see my name. ;-)

I've read a lot here over the years, admired many bathrooms, mostly in silent awe.

Hang in there, I'll reuse this thread for the whole basement bath adventure, which knowing us, could take the next year or two! ;-)

Here we go.
Always ;-)
Hunzi

Photo of some of MrG's fine work (Located in the 1950'sBathroomFromHell). Yes, that's really a live wire.

This post was edited by hunzi on Wed, Mar 5, 14 at 11:34


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Welcome, Hunzi.
Don't know the answer to your question, but I wanted to say that this will be a fun project to follow. I think Mr. G and my grandpa were twins separated at birth.
Renee


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Renee,

I don't know, maybe your Grandpa was Mr. G! But I won't hold that against you. ;-)

It will be a fun project. I have to keep telling myself that - it will be my mantra this weekend when DH and his friend begin dropping the cast iron. He thinks he can get us up and running again in 48hrs. I'm thinking that's kind of a long time to keep my fingers and my legs crossed.

All three girls (2 Chinese Daughters and CollegeGirl) will be off on a trip to walk in the March for Life in Washington DC (their Mom/"American Mum" having mercifully planned the cast iron portion of the adventure to time with them being out of town), so they'll escape the wonder of it all. DaBoy will get it all upclose and personal as it's happening about 10 feet from his bedroom but knowing him, he'll find a couch to crash on someplace for the weekend.
As for me, I'm trapped. Unfortunately, no working on my first Pink Cadillac this weekend - can't have clients over as they might notice there's no water, and there's an odd smell wafting up from the basement accompanied by cursing, nor am I allowed to run away from home as I'm on Home Depot gopher duty.

Good thing the gym is just a couple of miles away and open 24hrs. Of course, this will probably be the weekend that the water main blows out in front of the gym again and they'll have no water either. In that case I'm moving into a hotel - with room service - do we have one in town with a spa?

Oh, this will be fun.
Pray for me.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

  • Posted by hunzi z5/4 border NE (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 12:12

Y'all cross your fingers and say your prayers, because DH is cutting the cast iron! The adventure begins!
St Vincent Ferrer pray for us! ;-)

Always ;-)
Hunzi

Photo: Fun with dirt

This post was edited by hunzi on Thu, Feb 7, 13 at 20:41


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RE: A basement bath DIY Adventure - question for the tile folks

  • Posted by hunzi z5/4 border NE (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 16:42

Thinking ahead a step or two:

I've read that Ditra isn't recommended with small format tiles - I was planning to use 1 inch Hex which will be installed over a new* concrete slab** (plus SLC and possibly a radiant floor wire). So can I use Ditra or is there another better decoupling solution for smaller tiles?

*I can delay for whatever the proper cure times are for the slab, but I'm down to one full bathroom for 5-6 people until this bathroom is up and running (and the plumbing changes mean we just sacrificed the MrG Special 1950's Bathroom From Hell aka the main floor halfbath and that means we're down to only one potty and it's on the 2nd floor), so the less delay the better.

**Oh, I figured out the whole - what level to put the slab thing - before, DH wanted to meet the tile to the slab in the Laundry room and that was what all the fretting was about, but now that we're going to tile into there as well, we just have to pour equal to meet up with the Laundry room slab then SLC the both of them so they play well together (if you saw this original concrete you would cry - oh that crazy MrG!)

Always ;-)
Hunzi

This post was edited by hunzi on Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 16:52


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

You are correct, no Ditra for tiles smaller than 2".

For an alternative, look at Nobelseal CIS.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Thanks Mongo!

So is Nobelseal CIS what you use under 1 inch hex?

If not, what would you do when you're starting from scratch like we are?

Always ;-)
Hunzi
who peeked into the basement - It looks like a bomb went off! I'm glad I'm not going to have to clean up all that mess. They're almost ready to glue up the main line - which means we'll be able to use the 2nd floor bathroom tonight hopefully!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Leave an expansion joint between the new basement slab and the foundation's perimeter footing. That will help eliminate some transferred stresses on the slab and minimize cracks, etc.

Same with insulation. Perimeter insulation if that's important regarding your climate. That'll help prevent the tile from being terribly cold underfoot.

Drainage and a sump pump. I always put drainage tubing under the slab and pitch it towards a sump pump basin set in the basement floor, so the lid is flush with the top surface of the concrete slab. Drainage pipe is pretty cheap. If you end up with water issues, you can then pop the top off the sump basin, add a pump, and there you go.

Over a large expanse of concrete slab, yes, I always prefer using a membrane. Concrete and tile don't move at the same rate, so the membrane absorbs some of the shear stresses that otherwise could fracture the thinset.

I do like the Nobel sheet membranes. I use CIS as needed for interior (in addition to Ditra which I also use), right now I have a roll of Nobeldeck membrane intended for an exterior balcony over conditioned living space. I need about 50 more degrees in air temp before I can tackle that though. It's chilly outside!

So yes, I do use some CIS, but probably more Nobeldeck than Nobel CIS.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Mongo,

Thanks!

We aren't pouring the whole basement, just a 8ishx10ish part of the basement where the bathroom will be. But we'll be sure to add expansion joint around the slab edge.

I've been reading here forever (really, for years!), and had done all my research on Ditra, and JUST NOW picked up on the fact that I couldn't use it with 1 inch hex. Ouch. Thank goodness for never assuming I know it all. Now I'll work on learning all the ins & outs to Nobel CIS.

This is why I love this forum - people like you who are willing to share your expertise!

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Progress note: the major part of the plumbing is done! All cast iron removed, replaced with PVC, all new connections added for the new bathroom, laundry, main floor powder room and more.

The main floor MrG's 1950's Bathroom from Hell has now been unplumbed! Opened up a bunch of room in the basement bathroom space underneath where the pipes hung down.

We've decided next up is a change of plans!

We're going to clean out the pantry closet, and go ahead and finish the powder room on the main level first (DH's idea) - it will be a faster job than the basement - which gets us back to at least one full and one half baths in maybe a 4 or 6 weeks.

So, that means I have to throw this powder room together fairly fast - ironically, we'll dismantle it again when we work on the adjacent kitchen because we need to run a beam right through the powder room (aka World's Tiniest Powder Room) in order to open up the kitchen. So I won't be putting the final finishes in just yet (reusing the toilet & the really sad cracked sink - unless I can find a decent salvage), but will still make it look as good as I can (but there will be a very funny entrance(you have to walk into the old MrG's 1950's Bathroom From Hell - which will be refitted as a pantry, and the doorway to the PR half straddles a stair cut out (what do you call those slanty bits to make headroom for people on the stairs below?) because we can't locate the door in the right place until we do the kitchen reno (there's a load bearing wall right smack in the middle of the new door location - hence the reason for that beam - needless to say, this bathroom won't qualify for any ADA ratings any time soon), but the PR will be mostly for the people who live here and those people are used to living with strange construction zones in this Shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Renovation. We'll just call this the Temporary version of the Future World's Tiniest Powder Room)

And even with all the minor funkiness of the PR, I am yet again in awe of DH's DIY Superpowers.

Once 5-6 people (DH, me, DSGRadStudent, 2 teenage Chinese High School Exchange Students (aka the Chinese Daughters) and frequently home DDCollegeFreshman) are not all forced to stand in line for one 2nd floor full bathroom, we can get back to the full bath project in the basement.

Oh, and when that's done, the 2nd Floor 1920's Bathroom in on queue. Then the kitchen, then the PR yet again (oh and somewhere in there we'll toss in fun little summer projects like reno the dining room and the upstairs hall).

Yes, we are faithful worshipers at the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Renovation.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

  • Posted by hunzi z5/4 border NE (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 31, 13 at 15:33

Mini Progress report on the Imperfect Interim Pantry Powder Room:

Ok, we've cleaned out the closet. Today I'm ordering the flooring - this one will get the same heart pine that will be in the adjacent kitchen so it will be a seamless transition once the kitchen gets done. It's just a powder room* so I'm not worried about water issues, and given we'll have more construction to do later, and I don't want to have to retile.

*actually, I guess it's more of a water closet for now since it's open to the pantry - no I don't like the combination, but it's a make due and this is better than the previous pantry/MrG's1950's BathroomFromHell combo.

I'll post photos when we're done, but it won't be one of the pretty totally finished bathrooms usually shown, because I simply can't get that door in the right place yet, and that means no door, no vanity and reusing old toilet & sink until phase 2.

I'll probably still pretty it up as much as I can put lipstick on a pig. ;-)

Always ;-)
Hunzi

Photo - funky entrance to the new powder room (yeah I know!)

This post was edited by hunzi on Wed, Feb 6, 13 at 21:03


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

You really should post progress photos. It makes it much more fun. :-)


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

You all are quite brave!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 1, 13 at 18:13

Or simply in need of a 12 step program.

Hello, I'm Hunzi, and I'm a Renovator
Always ;-)
Hunzi
Keeper of the Shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Renovations

This post was edited by hunzi on Sat, Feb 8, 14 at 18:07


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the curse of speed of the imperfect interim powder room

One of the curses of doing a very fast DIY is I don't have time to consider things. DH wants me to pick bathroom medicine chest and lights. I got 24 hours to choose. I just brought them home and he wanted an exact height to cut in the cabinet. Dear GardenBunny! I don't know yet! I didn't decide until today that I'd buy a vanity.

Super fast research. Assuming that the top of the vanity is 36 inches, and the faucet I was planning to use is about 4 inches more, and I'm 5-7, ummm let's put the bottom of the 30" mirror at 48 inches and I sure hope I chose right, because I can hear him in there cutting in the rough opening already.

Arg! Do tell me I didn't choose wrongly. I saw someplace people suggested 40 inches from the floor, but that's super low (my ceiling is 10 feet, so it would feel uber-asymmetrical.)

I probably have 20 minutes to change this before he'd kill me, lol.

Always ;-)
Hunzi
renovating at the speed of light

Here is a link that might be useful: Home depot cabinet


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Oh, next up, height of the sconces. Help! This one is important - I'm a Mary Kay Consultant and I'll be using this mirror/lights as the place to send my clients to check their makeup! (after they finish laughing about the entry to the bathroom.)

Middle of the mirror? 2/3 the way up?

Always ;-)
Hunzi
expects that question in about 24 hours. One on either side of the mirror.

Here is a link that might be useful: sconce


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Maybe DH(aka MrAllTooHasty) has learned a lesson - he framed up a rough opening, slipped the chest in, and it's obvious it's too big for the space with the sconces. They nearly have to touch (it doesn't help that it looks like I need to work with slightly less than 36" because the room isn't quite as square as he thought so we're losing a bit in truing it up).

So after another mad dash of research, it looks like Lowes has a similar, but smaller medicine chest - 20x26 vs the 24x30 at Home Depot, so I'm off today to pick that up and see how that feels. I'd consider building one myself, but that would take him more time and make him a bit cranky because I'd be picky with the detailing.

Good news - the wood for the floor has shipped, so it should be here by Monday and I can get it acclimating so it's ready to install about the time DH finishes the framing, plumbing and electrical.

Meanwhile, I'm on the hunt for a 24 inch vanity. DH still wants to just hang the old cracked wall sink, so I might let him just so he can see how sorry it will look, but I plan to have a Plan B in my pocket. A vanity, even a 24 inch one, would help a lot with storage issues - this is an old house - the closets are nearly non-existent, and I just gave up my biggest one for this powder room - so where to put a spare roll of TP or two is a challenge! I had hoped to find a 6 inch deep medicine chest, but I can't find one in the style/price range I want. And it looks like a framed 6 inch recessed really only has 4.5 inches of actual storage so that roll of Costco TP still isn't going to fit (5" - I checked!) So a vanity, even one with half the back cut out at 45 degrees to accommodate the basement stairs, would give me a tiny bit of hidden storage*

Question: If I do add a 24 inch vanity, plus the pretty mirror/lights...I'm toying with tiling the sink wall vs just paint. Paint would be a deep navy - something like Benjamin Moore Hale Navy or Ellen Kennon's Dean's Dream. So I picked up a sample of a nice mixed clear/frosted glass and silver metal tile mosaic** last night (I'll add a photo). It would add a little sparkle and reflect the light. Ok, the question: so if I tile, should I do the whole wall above the vanity - all 3x7feet of it (minus mirror & vanity) Remember - my vanity will be 24 inches on a 35 inch wall, so there's space all around (I'll match the wainscot below counter height), and it's a long way up. Or do I just tile up so far? I'm doing sconces on either side o the mirror, so I don't have an upper bar light to signify an end, but tiling all the way up leaves nearly 3-4 feet of blank tiled wall over the mirror. The other walls will get white wainscot*** up to probably vanity level, and then the dark blue above****

* Ironically, I had first planned this Powder Room turned 180 degrees - toilet beginning just before the stair cut out on the west end, with a tiny pedestal sink perpendicular 20-24 inches away opposite a door, but that is the door I can't put in until the kitchen reno. That bathroom would have had loads of storage because I was going to turn that large 20in deadspace behind the toilet into a cabinet that extended from tank height to the ceiling - less open space, lots more storage. The current arrangement feels less tight because there's visually 20 extra inches (floor space remains the same but wall to wall it's bigger), and lets me have a PR now vs some years hence, but the trade off is losing that storage.

** I've sort of rebelled against little glass tile mosaics in this house, because I think this is could be the deadly-trend-that-will-date-the-bathroom-to 2010's-unless-you-live-in-Florida, and I'm shooting for "You'd think it had always been there", but I admit, the sparkle and shine is seductive.

***The wainscot is still up for debate because it would divide the room vertically, but it would let me hide a cabinet in the stud cavity for the toilet brush and cleaner and maybe a plunger I hope I never require.

**** More on paint - I know it's a tiny space and a DEEP color, but nothing I do will make that 3x7 space feel truly bigger, so I'm going with making it feel old school traditional - jewel toned walls - and I plan to cover most of the painted wall with framed art work - I have a set of six horseracing prints that I've always wanted to use someplace. Pair them with another piece of subway art, a horse shoe or two, maybe a bit more stuff, and I should have a fun tiny Art gallery.

Oh who said this bathroom had to be done as a lightning round?

Always ;-)
Hunzi

photo of evil seductive tile (still in wrapper) Oooo shiny!


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Also up for debate - the vanity color

White to flow evenly with the wainscot, or dark/black to contrast?

Polls are open for about 48-72 hours.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Shopping updates:

Picked up a smaller medicine cabinet at Lowes - very similar, just smaller, and the silver color actually plays nicer with the chrome sconces than the Home Depot one did.

Also found a 24" vanity with a china top and fairly decent wood construction. This one doesn't have to last forever - just until we do the kitchen reno and then we can update again.

Tile is still up for vote. I think I've found a photo I'd like to hang over the medicine cabinet which would take up the big blank space over the sink and I don't think it would look as good hanging on the tile vs the navy paint. However, I do like the idea of tile to act as a backsplash (I guess I could extend the wainscot to a backsplash height.)

Here is a link that might be useful: vanity


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I would extend the wainscot to backsplash height. I think fewer materials is better in a small space.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

hi crl!

Thanks for chiming in.

Agreed. The tile is pretty, shiny, and sneaking up on me, but it's not the thing for this space.

Wainscot is the plan. Now we only need to decide on beadboard or board & baton (I think B&B).

Also yet another update/change (yeah, what's new?): The vanity is out. We got it unpacked, and it's really nice, but we'd have to cut way too much off for those darned stairs.

After some heated debate, we've decided to move the 1920's wall hung sink from the yet to be renovated 2nd floor bath, which was destined to be replaced, into the powder room. (This is a major win for me. This is the sink I had always wanted to use in one of the two new bathrooms - too small for the main bedroom level bath, but too cool (at least I like it) to toss (DH unfortunately has never loved it, and campaigned for something else - I had sworn to at least store it someplace on the deep basement ledges (for some future home owner to discover) if we didn't use it vs having it hit a dumpster or donation.)

That little vanity might head upstairs (it will at least get a trial look) otherwise I've sworn we'll just use the basic wall hung sink that was in the 1950'sBathroomFromHell which DH wanted to put into the Powder Room. I argued - NOohNOohheckNo. If we're going to finish a new space (even one like the Imperfect Interim Powder Room that might only last 5 to 20(knowing our record) years) we might as well try to make it look nice, and hanging a sink that looks like it belongs in seedy boy's bathroom would be just awful. (Of course, I've sworn to use that darned sink in the 2nd floor bath rather than have DH wrangle me into making decisions about that bathroom before it's time.)

Oh I'm sure someone is reading this in either amusement or abject horror - we could call this the Tales of the Ever Changing Reno Plan and sell popcorn.

Well there's nothing else new to report today - I had to go collect the college girl from school and drive her to the doctors - verdict was eye infection plus pneumonia. She's now quarantined for a week at home and fully equipped with a multitude of pills, syrups, and eye drops. (I may need to dart her with a sedative (can't you just see me with my Amazonian blow gun?) to make that girl actually rest).

A mama's work is never done.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 28, 13 at 16:36

Mini Progress report on the Imperfect Interim Powder Room :

Plumbing is mostly done (still need to tie in at the basement level), electrical done, the drywall is going up! Yay!

He plans to finish the drywall and paint it, then we'll add the flooring (and protect it), wainscot and baseboards, paint all that, then we'll finish the floor, and put in the toilet. Maybe 2 or 3 more weeks (he's just working after work, and weekends).

And in the "of course it will go wrong" category two new additions -

1) remember the old sink in the MrG's 1950's Bathroom From Hell which we were going to use as a temporary replacement for the 2nd floor sink we're moving to the powder room? The seedy boys' room cracked wall hung sink? I set a reel of wire on the sink, and the cracked corner fell off. Sort of a combo "oh darned, now we have to replace the sink, and OMG, now we have to replace that sink!" (may just pick up a super cheap wall hung (Hello Boys' Room!) for now just for both budget concerns, and so I don't have to get seriously into planning the 2nd floor bathroom just now (because working on 2 bathrooms already is quite enough thankyouverymuch) by picking a sink when I still don't know the future layout in there.

And 2) Joy! Apparently there was a loose bracket on the main stack, so it has worked loose, stack shifted a bit and now there's a crack in the elbow on the 2nd floor closet flange - so more plumbing is in the works for this weekend or soon, replacing everything else that's old probably into the attic. This may involve considerable demo on the last standing bathroom, so we're working at all haste to finish the powder room! (I may just encourage DH to hold off on the 2nd floor repairs until we're finished just in case it mushrooms (and don't they always mushroom? Old Houses....go to change the light bulb, end up rewiring the house.) Meanwhile it's duct tape on the elbow which seems to be keeping the leak at bay (MrG and Red Green would approve!)

Progress in fits and starts.
Always ;-)
Hunzi

This post was edited by hunzi on Mon, Feb 24, 14 at 15:29


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Good to see you are making progress despite the odds, Hunzi.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

  • Posted by hunzi z5/4 border NE (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 3, 13 at 10:05

Thanks Renee!

Drywall is done and DH painted it (and I LOVE the color). Next up is the wainscot.

Bought the replacement sink for the 2nd floor bath, so soon, he'll pull the 1920's sink out and that will give me time to clean it up a little (remove the rust around the drain and touch up with porcelain enamel repair stuff and possibly re-chrome/ or nickel the drain trap. I might also buy new faucets.

Also need to buy the frames for the wall art, because it will be far easier to hang them before the toilet and sink go in (the room is so tiny, getting a large ladder in there is a challenge.)

Progress!

Always ;-)
Hunzi

Photo: Don't let it be said I'm afraid of color. (Paint is still wet - it will dry matte.)

This post was edited by hunzi on Sun, Mar 3, 13 at 13:30


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Another mini-progress report.

Wainscot is going up, but we're having an unexpected snow storm today (they called for nuisance snow, and we're getting closer to 7 inches). So unfortunately DH can't cut any wood today (on the back patio). Well he deserves a day off.

The electrical is done, so I've been able to sneak in and use the new makeup mirror! I love it. Since he insisted I choose the wiring location for it before it actually arrived (darn that MrGoFastMan!) I'm not totally in love with the placement - it's a tad too low, and too close to the sconce (and in truth the sconces aren't quite right either - needed to be a tad higher, and more centered - one is a bit off), but since this really is an interim bathroom, I'm not going to whine - If later we decide to make this bathroom more permanent, at minimum, we'll tear off the drywall on the lighting wall and adjust the sconces.

But here's the new makeup mirror.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 20, 13 at 10:18

Mini Progress report on the DIY, Imperfect Interim Powder Room.

Ok, from March to May, there wasn't too much to report! We had life happen and the powder room was pushed to a lower priority (even though it meant living with only the 2nd floor bath!)

Now things are progressing. I am getting ready to hang the final photos for the walls (ultimate irony - I probably spent as much on the artwork as the rest of the bathroom, well not really, not even half that, I think expenses will top out around $2-2.5K for the actual bathroom construction (Including all plumbing/electrical upgrades) and another $(insert mumbling) in what hangs on the walls because I indulged in one big splurge that consumed about half the art budget), and the plumbing parts for the 1920s sink are at the plater getting rechromed. The sink still needs a good scrubbing and some chip touching up, but I'm not demanding perfection because I want it to look as if it was always there (well it was always in the house since 1925ish, just in another bathroom.) This weekend, I think the plumbing will be hooked up and the toilet installed, soon to be followed by the sink. Then TaDa! We'll be done. (Ok, not really - next up, DH plans to tear down the pantry the IIPR is connected to, change/open the space, and give the IIPR it's OWN DOOR (build a wall, give it a pocket door)! Yay! Still will be a very narrow funky entrance, but feel more private than walking into the pantry and having to close/lock that door, then use the IIPR in the alcove. But hey - maybe it will all be done by the IIPR's 1st anniversary of beginning work.....I can live in hope ;-)

I am really happy with how it's turning out - the only true "Imperfection" is the sconces ended up being a little too low which makes things look over crowded. I noticed it when the drywall went up, but DH didn't want to take the time/effort to tear it open and put them higher. Since, I expect this bathroom will get another rework in 5-10yrs (Hence the INTERIM in it's name) I'm not fretting it too much. It's not awful, just not perfect. ;-) Anything is better than MrG's 1950s Bathroom From Hell.

Photos soon, of the hopefully finished (but still doorless) Imperfect Interim Powder Room!

Always ;-)
Hunzi

This post was edited by hunzi on Thu, Jun 20, 13 at 11:24


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Great to hear from you on this! Can't wait for the photos.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Progress!

We have the toilet back installed (that only took 5 months from decommissioning to restoration!) Oh and installed the new bidet seat (Brondell Swash 1000 Bidet). Oh my, that's nice. Oh and I only took 3 trips to the hardware store - we ended up basically renewing all gaskets (tank to base) and internal parts.

All the artwork is up with the exception of one print that bafflingly was sent to Nepal instead of Nebraska! That should be here soon.

Last stop is installing the sink. I should be able to pick up the newly chromed drain rose and the drain actuator. Plus a few minor details - Hanging the towel bar and toilet paper holder, and tinkering with the hidden cabinet door which needs a tad more time with a planer so it will open more smoothly.

And then it's done! (Ok except for the door...and the fact that we'll tear all out again when we can finally do the kitchen and put the powder room door in the correct spot!)

I'm going to take photos when the sink is finally installed.

Yay! I think I see light at the end of the tunnel!
Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Mini Progress report:

Ok, the sink has been hung - Yay! That took a bit of finagling, the drain plumbing configuration ended up being very tight!

We're working on enameling the rusted chipped area around the drain. The chip repair epoxy is very white. Sadly, the sink is not so very white - more of an old grey-white porcelain, so it's not going to be a pretty match. But it's that or a black ring of rusting cast iron - and most of the super white should be covered by the drain rose, I hope.

Let's cross our fingers and plan to avert our eyes!

The last print arrived after the errant trip to Nepal (Nepal, Nebraska, what's the diff?) So now all the art work is hung, and I am very happy!

As soon as the epoxy mess is dry, the re-chromed pieces are delivered, and the faucets are installed, it's a done deal!

Always ;-)
Hunzi
glad we picked the smallest bathroom as the Learn-as-you-go!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Yay! We're done! Or at least as done as we'll be for now!

So the Interim Imperfect Half Bath has turned out pretty darned well, even with its imperfections. ;-)

I'll post photos here, but since I think lots of folks haven't followed this long saga, I'll probably do a new thread too.


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  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 14, 13 at 0:58

It's a small space! ;-) So small, I really can't take a picture of the whole thing, just bits and pieces.

This post was edited by hunzi on Sun, Jul 14, 13 at 1:18


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

The Medicine cabinet.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Make up mirror and the sconces (just a tad too low!).


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

The other sconce & the imperfect doorway, and a peek into MrG's 1950s Bathroom from Hell! ;-)


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

The antique lamp shade I found on a back ledge in the basement - new light fixture, with another antique center & finial.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

The "boys room" wall sink that was tragically broken. ;-)


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

The new old sink - recycled from the 2nd floor bath - new faucets, rechromed waste plunger & drain rose.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

The amazingly gorgeous antique heart pine floor.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

It's fantastic. I love the wall colors, the sports memorabilia, the ceiling light, the floor. Everything. Nice job!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Thank you!!! The sports memorabilia was sort of a happy accident, but it really ended up being the best thing! I had a set of horse racing prints since childhood, and never had a place to hang them, so I thought, why not here? Then I also had a bat & ball & hat from the Pirates, I was given after the 73 World Series, and I needed a better place for those - but baseball & horse racing were a weird combo. But then I picked sports figures I admired, especially if they had inspirational quotes, and added all of those and it all worked perfectly. You really have to be here get the full effect - it's such a small space, but it's a full gallery! I think there are about 40-50 items on the walls. (now I'll have to go count!) It's funny, because I'm not a huge sports fan/follower, but I am a huge admirer of champions and their discipline!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Really interesting--in a good way! Thank you for posting pictures.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Quick updates:

1. The Imperfect Interim Powder Room:

I was seriously unhappy with the placement of the sconces, and kept telling myself just to deal with them. However, DH is currently finishing off the basement stairs immediately behind the IIPR, and I took that as my last chance to get them fixed.

So he's moved higher and centered the sconces, and now they do not look so very asymmetrical and wonky.

Drywall repairs and paint touch up will happen after they finish hanging the drywall in the stairwell. I'll post photos then.

2. The actual Starting From Dirt Basement Bath

Now that we have 1.5 working bathrooms again and we've rebalanced the family from 6 to 4/5 which makes 1.5 bathrooms more workable on weekday mornings - (2 adults, 2 teen aged girls, and our college aged daughter just home on holidays), we can work in earnest on the basement bath/laundry room project.

DS24 has moved out of our basement and is now on his own (Let the Church of ParentsWith20SomethingsInTheBasement say AMEN!), which freed up space to move things out of the laundry zone for work (the bathtub was being stored there, and various other construction items).

All plumbing is finished except hooking up the drain line for the washer in the final location, so once that's done, I think the guys (DH and his friend who helps) will pour the concrete floor. Once we have a level floor, (what, no dirt???) we can finally finish framing and get on with things.

Goal is to finish this bathroom and laundry room over the winter/early spring (or at worst case, by next summer).

My biggest challenges will be finding tile. I'm looking for budget priced but decent quality, very simple finishes - just a hex floor, preferably 1in, unglazed or matte porcelain, probably just field tile in the laundry, but DD has put in a request that I add a greek key or daisies to the bathroom floor for a more art deco feel.

Walls in the laundry will most likely be painted bead board or board & baton panels. Most of the walls are being used for storage, so there isn't much finished wall space.

Walls in the bathroom are still in flux - I know I want basic white subway tiles for the tub/shower surround with black trim for an Art Deco feel, and I'm tempted to do the whole room floor to ceiling in tiles (barely 7ft - remember this is a basement in an 1884 house) but may settle for the sink wall and around the corner for the shower surround and drywall/paint other two walls to hold the budget in check. The bathroom is a 9x9 room, so maybe 50% tile, 50% painted drywall, but most likely I won't do chair rail height all the way around because that would emphasize the low ceiling I think.

Let the fun begin!

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I have a 7' ceiling in my 9x6.5' bathroom and my wainscot goes up to about 48" I don't mind it at all, but I have a window in the room and that might be the difference - the borrowed space in the view.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

enduring,

I'd love to see a photo!

Alas, no windows for us - this basement is 100% below grade and since it was dug out after construction, it sits about 3 feet inside the foundation perimeter, so there's no way to dig in any egress window wells to get in some natural light.

Here's the layout: When you walk in the door, on the right wall will be the sink, most likely a pedestal, across from you on the back wall will be the tub/shower alcove and a 4ft wide closet with the water heater and a water softener (we couldn't move them), and on the wall to your left is the toilet. Nothing on the door wall.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Sounds a bit like my layout except my far wall is 6.5' long where the tub goes.
entry to bathroom photo IMG_3924_zps24daa8f0.jpg


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Ohhh pretty!!! Very similar! Except ours will be about 4 feet wider (at least what is visible) - there's a closet adjacent to the tub. And take away the window (sadness).

But it does help me visualize possibilities.
Thanks!

Hunzi


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  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 31, 13 at 16:06

Ok, we are making slow progress! DH thinks the next step is going to be pouring the concrete floor. (Let the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Renovation say AMEN!)

Remember this is a 100% DIY project.

Let's start thinking about products I need to buy:

I need to start narrowing down products. I'm trying to keep this project on a short shoestring, so the budget is as small as possible, but I never skimp on quality when it matters.

If I can get it at Lowes, I'll be a happy camper because they offer 10% off for military vets. Home Depot is now on my hit list, because they just screwed up their military discount program by severely limiting it. (serious sadness, because HD is closest to my house, and I really liked shopping there and the people there, but for 10%, I'll drive a couple miles more to Lowes.)

Of course if I can get it from Costco, that's a bonus too.

Goal is a budget bath & laundry. Laundry will be hex floor, beadboard on exposed walls, chalkboard slates on the counter and possibly the backsplash. Bathroom - hex floor, decorative border, subway tiles either just in the tub/shower, or maybe 4feet up all walls with black trim for a slight art deco look. Or I could just do the beadboard again, for a more consistent look with the laundry which would be a more Victorian feel (Mini-home theater basement bonus room is adjacent to these rooms, and it will be done with Art Deco feel.

I need tile. I'll be putting in a simple hex - 1in white, with a silver/light gray grout. I like 1 inch or slightly larger, but not 2 inch. I'll be using this in both the bathroom & laundry (about 10x6ish bathroom and a 10x7ish laundry room). I want to add a simple border or flower in black as an accent.

I need a decoupling underlayment that works with 1 inch tiles.

I need an electric under tile warming system.

I need a basic white 3x6 subway tile and all the underneath stuff for the tub shower combo.

I'll need all plumbing fixtures but the tub:

- Toilet: I'll probably start by hunting a vintage 5-7gal toilet - this house was built 130yrs ago - the plumbing system was designed for lots of water/flush - I'm not arguing with that. If I can't find one, then I'll consider other options.

I'd like to add another bidet seat (I'm the only one in the house that really loves them, but I don't care!) I'll at least make DH wire in the outlet in prep for one.

- Sink - I'm thinking I'll go with a Kohler Memoirs pedestal or something similar with a similar look.

Faucet for sink in same trim we use for tub/combo.

- I'll need all the plumbing valves/fixtures inside and on the wall for a tub/shower with a shower head on a slide bar.

Niche for back wall of shower.

Accessories: I'm leaning towards Ginger products for grab bars, towel bars, TP roll holder, Chelsea or Hotelier.

Lighting: Sealed shower unit, possible another canister light near the toilet, sconces over the sink.

I'm looking right now at a Delta ventilation fan 80cfu at Costco, which seems like a bargain at $78, plus since it's Costco, I can return it if I'm not happy.

If I can fit one in, I'll look for a towel warmer, maybe with the hotel rack above for storage - storage is a huge problem in this bathroom - there may be none other than the medicine cabinet - I'm considering carving in a cubbie by the sink for storage.

Reusing the 1950's classic medicine cabinet/mirror recycled from Mr. G's 1950's Bathroom From Hell.

Pinterest board for bathroom ideas: http://www.pinterest.com/mypinkchic/project-basement-bath/

Pinterest Board for laundry room ideas: http://www.pinterest.com/mypinkchic/project-laundry-room/

Photo: rough laundry room layout - there will be 16-18in deep bookcase type storage on the left and a pocket door to bathroom. (you're looking at the pocket door to the electrical closet. It's pocket door city in the basement - one to the utility room, one to the laundry, one to the electrical/network closet, one to the bathroom.) Bathroom just out of view - still dirt.

This post was edited by hunzi on Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 1:39


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Happy New Year there! I see lots of things in your list that are of interest to me. My glass of wine is making me foggy though. I will need to come back to this thread tomorrow and see what I can respond to that might be of help or interest to you.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Chatted with my DD during Christmas break, and she showed us her ideal bathroom tile job which is a set from the movie Eloise at the Plaza! It's lovely and extremely art deco, but probably more tile than we are willing to do on the walls. I'm starting to think we'll just do beadboard on the walls except the shower area, there we'll do subway tiles with the black accents ala art deco, and the floor will be hex plus a border. The floor area will probably only be 6x9 in the bathroom (plus about the same in the laundry room which adjoins (You walk out of the basement bonus room (aka mini art deco home theater) into the laundry room, then the bathroom is on the left - you have to walk through the LR to get there.) Keeping the two rooms styled mostly similar will make everything feel less disjointed. All part of the joys of old house living.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Ok exactly how crazy am I that I think I really want to hunt down some classic fixtures for this bathroom?

I know I want a high flow toilet so I'm hunting for something ala 1950s with Deco style. Like an old Crane. Why do I want to buck the trend of eco-water watchers? I have 130yr old pipes (well, really, they're probably more like 90yrs old - the bathroom wasn't added until1925 - before that, it was off to the little house outside.

Still, plumbers back then assumed there would be 5-7 gallons/flush. The pipes were made for it. I have serious concerns that if I switch to 1.2 gal toilets, I'll end up with a clog in the pipes - in the outdoor line that has probably been there for 90yrs, with no trouble so far, but I have NO CLUE where it is in the yard or where it picks up the city line. Logically, it would be out front, but the pipe runs out back - we used to be the only house on the hill - probably still were in 1925, it might have first connected to a septic tank but I have no record of one, then later connected to a sewer line on the street behind which is more downhill than the front - and there wasn't a house behind us until the 1970s.

Needless to say, I want to not do anything to upset the plumbing gods.

So I'm sticking to old fashioned gallons and gallons of water toilets.

I have my eye on a couple of models that pop up now and then in retro places, and I even like the sinks that match.

But, unless I get really lucky and find one locally on a street corner (and YES, I would stop and get the right toilet off the sidewalk!), it's going to cost similar to new -which is a bummer since I'm trying very hard to run this bathroom on a shoestring budget.

But they are pretty! And they will look like they were installed in the 20s-50s, which is the target period look!

Yes, I am just a little crazy!

Here is a link that might be useful: The Look I love.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I hear you about the toilets. We have one that is 17 years old and now too big for code. Our plumber (unfortunately also the town inspector) says it has to go. Once inspection is done I'll see how the new one works but I am not throwing out the old one. It's going right back in if a new one doesn't perform well.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I'm still hunting for the toilet. Mr.Hunzi wants to move the 1980s basic toilet to the basement bath because it's a round bowl (which I admit is a bit too small for the fancy bidet seat I bought for the power room), then I can hunt for an elongated bowl toilet with a standard 12in rough in for the powder room.

I might go along with that idea unless I happen to find a really awesome elongated bowl and a really awesome round one! (I think it's possible I have found the round one, but haven't seen an elongated bowl yet!)

I've got a post into the Plumbing board to see if anyone knows anything about a 1946 Kohler Wellworth - I found one at the salvage yard that looks in decent shape and need to know how hard it is to locate all the replacement parts. Anyone here know?

Also had fun, fun fun, shopping at the salvage yard. I have picked up 2 (yes 2!) fab vintage sinks - one 1950s Crane Drexel, and one 1930s Standard Shelfback with the porcelain spouts. I haven't decided which one will make the cut yet. Also managed to score 3 sets of legs/towel racks so I'm hoping between all that, I can put together one set that works well with the winning sink.

Also bought one 18 inch door to be HALF of the utility closet doors - I'm hoping I can find a match someplace (Yeah - it's a vintage 18in, two panel door...I like living on the edge.)

Impulse Buy of the Day - AMAZING 30 inch one panel Art Deco style swinging door. I was looking for a 30 in one panel door I could use for a pocket door for the bathroom - was going to make it 1 panel with a mirror on the bathroom side, and alter it so it looked like a 2 panel door on the other side to match the rest of the basement - BUT this door is way too pretty to alter or paint. I'm tempted to keep it for the swinging door for the kitchen, but it's a 30" and current door opening is 32". Not that that's really problem - we're probably moving that doorway a bit anyway, so narrowing it up 2" isn't a huge problem. Just need to work on MrHunzi a bit. ;-)

So I may still need a bathroom door - and the other half of the closet bifold. ;-)

Also had a seriously serendipitous moment when I was asking multiple antique dealers where I might be able to locate a big old Earthenware laundry sink, one place gave me a name - just a name -no number, no way to reach him, - went to the 2nd place, asked there if anyone knew where I could find a sink, struck up a conversation with the guy who happened to be standing at the counter, the exact guy I was told about! Super fun. So maybe I have a line on a new (old) laundry sink, and HE HAS A WAREHOUSE of old house parts!!! I'm super excited.

Photos soon.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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Oh Boy! Sounds like a lot of fun. Would it be so wrong if you found another 18" door and made it into the 2 door system that you need? Even if it doesn't match? Then if another one came along in the future you could switch it out.

Would love to see some pictures.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I found a similar but not exact door at the yard, but didn't buy it. I'm thinking the same thing, just get two doors that are close, but DH is a German Perfectionist, and I know if they don't match exactly it's going to bug him. I think I will grab it next time I'm there (possibly to buy the 1946 Wellworth toilet) and get them side by side and see exactly how different they are - if the panels are the same size just different heights due to stiles, maybe we could just cut down one of the doors to match them. I'd be ok with less matchy-matchy, but they will be directly opposite the toilet, so you'll look at them every time....it will drive him nuts - especially if I do build the mini-theater/man cave in the basement bonus room (a big tv means he'd be in the basement all the time!) And I'm sort of using that as a bribe for getting the work done! ;-)

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

yeah, a perfectionist and miss matched doors probably wont work. Could you just call it shabby sh*t? That's what I call things around here, like the barn door that is falling off, or the silo metal roof that is starting to come off, or the oat bin that has an inverted (turned inside out) metal roof (I don't know how that happened).

Here is an example of some shabby sh*t. This is the outhouse that my late father in law salvaged from my DH's country school in the early 60's. It is just about done for. While he was living he used it instead of going up to the house, but I don't think it was that tippy yet:
 photo IMG_1039.jpg


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  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 23:31

There's much discussion today. We're trying to sort out the whole door thing:
*how big can we make the opening
*what sort of trim will we use - which affects the size of the opening - standard house trim needs 5" on either side, or just tile bullnose which requires less, but needs me to tile the whole wall
*how much room is there for the swing of a door/fold of a bifold - a wider doorway needs more door swing/fold space, which is a problem in such a small bathroom.
*is there enough room for the toilet with the doors like that

and also what's behind the doors (hot water heater and possibly water softener - that's the part up for debate, if there's room for it in the hot water closet closet for the softener (the space is there, but the door access is poor, so adding salt/doing maintenance is the issue), or can we move the softener into the closet in the laundry room (where he'd have to relocate all his network equipment and it spreads out the plumbing and we'd need to add another floor drain). Much angst. All the sordid details that have to be sorted out now, before the concrete is set (literally).

Life would be so much simpler if I could get all the mechanicals into the boiler room area! Alas, we can't run any drains in there - the main stack is too shallow (in relation to the slab) to allow for a run that long with proper drainage (even at 1/4"/ft I'd way lower than the main stack by the time it reached a spot to tie in & water doesn't flow uphill. sigh) I have come up with one more idea for moving them into the utility room - I'll run it by DH tonight - my calculation is we only need 2.25 inches of drop....maybe there's just enough room!

Bonus, if I can move them - I gain a lovely linen closet!!!

All part of the joys of converting old house unfinished basements into living space!

Always ;-)
Hunzi

This post was edited by hunzi on Tue, Jan 28, 14 at 10:42


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Oh enduring you're making me miss home. Iowa, right? I'm originally from a town around the Ft Dodge area. We didn't call it that growing up. Just called it home. Our own personal playground to spend exploring.

The pic made me smile. Wish I had more pictures of our old place.

Lisa


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Enduring, where in Iowa are you? I live in the big city across the river of IA's western border ;-)

I've been driving up I80 monthly on my way to Ames/IA State to do chemo with my German Shepherd. I'll wave in your general direction!

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Hunzi, I live about 18 miles south west of Ames. I bet I know someone that might be helping with your dogs chemo. I have several vet friends due to horses and children in Pony Club over the years :)

South, my son did an engineering internship at an engineering firm in Ft. Dodge this last year. He just got a big boy job after graduation from ISU. He has moved to Saratoga Springs, NY. We are planning a road trip. Maybe have to go there for the racing season this summer. So glad you like the picture of the outhouse, I thought it might help Hunzi with inspiration for her dirt and bathroom :)


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  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 2:10

I guess I could have just dug a little deeper and found a nice board! ;-) It would be warm at least!

Anyone else notice it's been a whole year, and it's still dirt? At least I scored a powder room in the meantime - and Mr G's infamous 1950s Bathroom From Hell is no longer in commission as more than a temporary pantry site.

Always ;-)
Hunzi

This post was edited by hunzi on Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 8:07


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So there is progress.

Most of it I've already told you - I'm haunting the salvage yard, I've found 2 possible sinks - I've bought an 18 inch door that I probably won't use unless a miracle happens and I find an exact match, I'm trying to talk the salvage guy into taking it back next time I come in for a purchase.

I thought I found the perfect old school toilet, but when I went back to pick it up and give it a thorough inspection, I realized the closet flange on the bottom (the part that connects to the closet flange in the floor - I'm sure it has some sort of name I don't know) was broken and jagged (Oh that's what I've been pivoting it on!) Sigh. No cool 1946 toilet.

So the hunt for a toilet that will keep my antique sewer pipes happy continues.

In other news, I've been frying my brain on tile options, and have managed to FINALLY talk DH into agreeing to self level the floor in the laundry room (and afterwards, continue into the bonus room. Yeah it will cost a few $$$, yeah it's a lot of work and you have to be sure you have enough bags! Yeah, that might mean there's a small lip at the utility room door. Deal with it - it will be infinitely easier for me to find a decent flooring option for the basement I do not have to worry about the floors being totally whacked out of level. It's bad enough there are bizarre wall angles and unsquare corners that, no we can't true up. All of which means anything linear or with a regular pattern will look terrible. And I DO NOT want carpet.

Mental note for bonus room, I'm now thinking I'm just going to put down the same wide pine I'm using in the kitchen and down the basement stairs ( but use an engineered version in the basement instead of solid hardwood). The wider boards mean less linear lines, and the wood will have random arches & colorways, so it won't scream regular pattern.

Back to the Basement Bathroom: The HWH/Water Softener closet is still in flux - trying to decide how big to make it, how wide, how deep, do we need to move the magical miracle, ancient water heater? Do we dare? (I swear this water heater was installed about the time of the lunar landing - possibly before! I had a plumber out to disconnect a gas line about 20 yrs ago - he said the service sticker on the tank was his GRANDFATHER's!! Our best guess is 1960s. Still cranks out enough hot water to serve the family. So we just tend to speak of it in awed, hushed tones. I'm leaning to not touching it! (but there's contingency built into the budget for an emergency replacement.)

I'm trying to visualize the final space:

Floor: probably white/less than perfect white unglazed tiles. Hex with black accents. Exact pattern is still up for grabs - either the classic daisy, or just a border, ala tile rug. I need to figure our exact floor space & where the toilet will finally land - all contingent on that HWH closet and how much access it needs. And there's a floor drain. So unlovely, but necessary - with a bathroom/laundry/hwh/watersoftener/ oh and there's about a zillion gallon boiler in the utility room & all 100% below grade - so having a floor drain SOMEWHERE in the basement was required - and it just happens that the bathroom is the only place it can go. I've negotiated it as close to the HWH closet as possible.

Walls: simple white subway tile, black accents/trim - art deco sort of look. Now leaning to tiling tub/shower alcove, plus the rest of that wall (so we can use tile bullnose around the closet door which is much narrower than our standard house trim - so a wider opening), plus chair rail height on the sink wall. Possibly same on the other two walls. I'd like a spot to hang just 1 piece of art (vs the 50 in the Slightly Imperfect Powder Room) over the toilet so that means some un-tiled space. Maybe I won't tile the entrance wall at all - near the sink I'm carving out a cubbie for storage, and there's a pocket door in the wall - not sure how well tile and pocket door walls play nicely together. Is a pocket door wall solid enough for tile? Or do you have to do something to stiffen them up?

Next up - color on whatever isn't tiled. I know the ceiling will be white - DH is obsessed with white ceilings. But I'm not sure I want white walls too - white walls, white ceiling, white tiles, a little black tossed in....it seems a little stark. Remember this is also a totally windowless room, so there's no natural light.

Next door, the laundry will have the same white hex tiles/black accents, the trim will all be Ellen Kennon Snow (a warm, melted vanilla ice cream type white). I happen to have a couple of gallons of Ellen Kennon Seafoam leftover from another project - I think it will be used on the walls, possibly the ceiling (If I can talk him into it) and inside the backs of the wood storage shelves, maybe the whole shelf units, but I think I like the combo of seafoam & snow. Appliances are a graphite color, and the counter above is black slate chalkboard. The laundry sink is still being hunted, it will be white or possibly that yellowish color of old earthenware.And I have more black slate for the whole sink surround area (and again the worries of tiling on a pocket door wall.)

So any way, the laundry room which you have to walk into to get to the bathroom, is pretty traditional classic (also no natural light - the whole basement is windowless!). So I don't think I want a POWER color in the bathroom. The 1 piece of art work I'm hoping to get is sort of Art Deco Old Florida, so I'd like something that plays well. No grey I think, not with no natural light. I'll ponder it a little.

Photo: one of my sink options - a 1948 Crane Drexel.

On go the ramblings...
Always ;-)
Hunzi.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Sink #2 in the running: 1939 American Standard Shelfback


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

No contest! IMHO! #2!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I'm leaning that way too. Now I only have to find a classic Standard toilet to match.

However the Drexel is cool too. It's a bit more mod/retro.

I'm going to have to hook them up temporarily somehow and check the plumbing out. There are replacement parts out there for both, so that's also not a problem.

DH thinks that I'm going to sell or donate the losing sink....I think at least for a while, it's going to live on one of the deep basement ledges or possibly the root cellar. I have at least one* more bathroom to go - I'd like to eventually build an addition that includes a master bathroom, and possibly another full bath potential alternate first floor master bath for aging in place off what I'd like to be my office suite (possible alternate 1st floor master bedroom.)

*that doesn't count the next bathroom on queue after the basement bathroom - the 2nd floor hall bath, currently shared by all 3 upstairs bedrooms (hence the reason I'd like to build/add on a master bath!) Second floor hall bath is getting a very classic traditional marble treatment that won't quite work with a 1948 retro sink.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Oh my goodness, I love option #2! That is lovely!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

So, the hunt for the toilet continues. I've decided I really don't want him to pour concrete until I have one in hand, because if we end up with an old wall mounted tank (with the flush ell) I need a 14 inch rough, and if I can find a close coupled, I need a 12 inch rough.

Hit the Restore today and they had a near perfect American Standard - loved the style, but it was a color I think they called Peachblow - which sort of looks like the color you vomit when you've eaten too many peaches (sorry about that). I'm all for save the pink bathrooms, but that's one ugly color!. ;-)

I think I'm going to call the guy I met at the antique store and see if he'll let me poke around his old warehouse. He said he had stuff in there, but it sounded like it was going to be hard to get to them.

In other news, it's still eleventy million below zero here, and my truck's heater is out - that makes toilet hunting even more fun. ;-)

Hey enduring! I'm up in your part of the woods (ISU) next week - any vintage shops/salvage yards/old barns I should check into? The vets usually give me a couple of hours of free time.

Always ;-)
Hunzi
thinks it might be way easier to just to build an outhouse.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I'll get back with you on the ideas for scavenging. I will post by tomorrow am. I'm out looking for a new picture frame :)


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Thanks!

Happy news! I think I found the toilet. I do still want to know where the vintage shops are - still hunting for a laundry sink.

Today, I took LePup out for his in-town chemo and afterwards we ran across the river to Counciltucky and hit the Restore over there. And they had a 1949 Standard Compact toilet, (I would have preferred an elongated bowl) in WHITE, and it was perfect. Style is great- EXCEPT one front corner was lying on the floor next to the toilet. Sadness. So I checked, and it's only cosmetic, and when you put it back together the crack is tight, only one small missing chip. The manager offered half price. I took it. A little china glue and it should be fine. If not, I'm only out $12.50. ;-) So we'll put it in, and if I'm not happy, I can keep looking. So YAY!!

Photos after I clean it up - it's a tad groddy.

So it looks like it's going to be a "Standard" bathroom.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I was thinking of this place. I haven't been there in probably 15 years but I think about it now and then. It is east of the Vet College and a bit south. So when you go out of the parking complex, from the vet hospital, you are heading north to 16th street (I think), take a right and head east. Go to Duff and turn right (south), on Duff. Now head south a mile or 2, can't remember. But it is on your right. You will see a parking lot within a small complex of buildings and a greenhouse. Very rough looking, but it may just be your haven for the day.

If you want to google the directions:
Ames Greenhouse & Antiques
3011 S Duff Ave
Ames, Iowa 50010
(515) 232-1332

There are some antique-y things on Main Street too. At the east end of Main, downtown, just off of Duff. The downtown is several miles to the north of the vet college/hospital. If you turn left on Duff at the 16th street and Duff intersection, you are headed north. It is several miles and modestly congested. You will eventually get to Duff and Lincoln Way. Proceed through the intersection (still north). In a few blocks you will cross railroad tracks (most likely have to wait for a train too). Then you are at the intersection of Duff and Main. Turn left to get to a nice downtown. There is an antique complex on the right. There's other stuff too. Just look around :) I bet your like a magnet.

Be sure to post about your adventures.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Awesome! Thank you!

I usually have a few free hours to look around. This time, Chinese Daughter #2, will be coming along to do a college visit while I'm at the vet. I still think I'll have time to scope stuff out. - If not, I'm assuming that I'll be back at least once more - I am hoping after 6 months of chemo, the oncologist is about to declare we are done or very close to done. She may have us just start extending the protocol - so I'd be back in 2 months.

In at home news, Now that the toilet is here, we're figuring out the rough in - this toilet is actually a 10in rough, which is a bummer, but we're going to stick with 12in rough in the concrete - I don't mind a small gap behind the toilet - not sure what I'm doing with that wall yet anyway. I've considered just paint, tile wainscot, and doing a decorative wooden wainscot.

Next up, back to my original question way back at the top - we're very tight on space between floor and ceiling....

My goal is to pour the slab so I can get the finished floor right under the minimum space I can do for the toilet flange (remember our whole horizontal portion of the 4in sewer line system is barely under the slab and falling at 1/4in/ft, so there's very little room for error and still have 1/4in/foot slope from the closet elbow to the drain) - as in the flange collar is going to sit right on the elbow under the slab.

So I'm counting every fraction of an inch. I know I'm going to use hex tiles or the similar 1 inch squares, so the tiles are 3/16 thick (according to the home depot specs), and it looks like it needs 3/16 v notch for the thinset. Under that, I'm going to have a tile wire warming system - warm wire, warmly yours - I'm not pinned down to a brand yet, and whatever I need to thinset/self level that down, plus I need a crack prevention membrane - Mongo suggested Nobel CIS since I can't use Ditra with a 1in tile, whatever bonds that down (thinset), and I'm finally at the concrete slab. SO I NEED TO FIGURE OUT THE TOTAL MEASURE of stuff on top of the slab. So how much to allow for bonding the Nobel CIS (.03 in) to the slab, how much to bond the warming wire to the CIS, and then 3/16 + 3/16 for the thinset & tile.

So does anyone out there know - how big a notch for the CIS and the warm wire (do the different brands vary much - let's chat about those too!) ?

and is the order SLAB>CIS>WARMWIRE>TILE? OR SLAB>WARMWIRE>CIS>TILE

Always ;-)
Hunzi
starting to look at the nitty gritty details (we'll chat about the walls after we figure this floor thing out)


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Hunzi, since you're so squished for floor space, have you thought about doing a vinyl floor? I researched for a friend, and you can put underfloor heating underneath vinyl. (may be only certain types/brands) but it can be done.

Just another question, why are you worrying about waterproofing on a concrete floor? Just curious? If it's necessary, can you do one of the paintable membranes, and thus eliminate the need for thinset for that bit?


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 8, 14 at 19:16

raehelen,

I am seriously squished for floor to ceiling height, but I really want the look of classic hex tiles. The goal is no one will question that this bathroom hasn't been here since the Art Deco era.

I'm not looking for a waterproofing under the floor tile - I need a crack isolation membrane. It's going to be a new slab - it's only about 10x10, so it's not huge, but the 4 inch sewer line is BARELY under the slab, it might actually end up in contact - so I'm hedging my bets with a decoupling membrane.

Just read about a little on Hydroban - Am I right that I might be able to use Hydroban on the floor as a decoupler, as well as use it as waterproofing for the tub/shower tile area (which I knew was the common usage)?

Tile warmer I need because there's no direct heat in the basement - the whole basement is heated indirectly from lost heat from the boiler - and the once open basement utility area is now separated from the bathroom space by 2 walls - so it's decidedly cooler (but not overly cold - it's 100% below grade, final decision on how cold it gets will be when we frame off the bathroom, which will isolate it more.) So anyway, I thought a warm floor was a nice touch. I guess I could look into some sort of supplemental heater - wall heater? WhisperWarm (already purchased a ventilation fan, but I could return it).

Mostly I just don't want the tile floor to crack.

Always ;-)
Hunzi

This post was edited by hunzi on Sat, Feb 8, 14 at 19:21


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Hunzi,
Have you considered a towel warmer with enough BTUs to take the chill off? I know everyone loves their Runtal but they can be pricey. I have heard good things about Amba. If the room is 9 x 10 then you might be able to find one that will be strong enough.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I have thought a little about towel warmers, but I'm not sure I have enough wall space for one anyplace. The actual bathroom is probably only like 9x9. The tub and the closet with the water heater consumes the wall across from the door - the toilet wall and sink walls are probably only 6ft - the toilet is centered on the space left after leaving room for the bifold door for the closet to open.

Sink is to be across from it on the opposite wall, if there's any room, it will be on that wall. I'll have a look at it.

If not, maybe one of those Panasonic Whisper Warm heater/fans. But the warm floor would be nice too.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Well I tossed out the idea of nixing the warm tile and doing another heat source, and DH really wants to tile warmer (this is sort of a shocker, I'm usually the one looking for the splurge item).

So let's talk brands - any I should avoid - reliability issues? Best value? Where can I buy it?

Next up, we'll chat about shower valves/plumbing - I need all tub/shower fixtures. ;-)

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I wonder if a ceiling infrared light would help you as well. We have one in our bathroom and the one previous. It feels so nice to get out of the shower with the warmth shinning on you. We have our new one on a timer so that it wont accidentally be left on.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

enduring,

Are those the red lamps I recall an aunt having years ago?
Have any links to sources?

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Yes, except you don't have to get red lamps they have clear white ones too. I don't know if there is a difference in warmth. We used red ones in the last bathroom but I thought I would try white this time. Broan makes a fixture, and there are probably others. I have the Broan with 2 lights. My exhaust fans for the room are another system and not associated at all with the heating lights. In the old days the fixtures had a metal cover that finished the ceiling opening. Ours was chromed. I kind of wished I kept it now, though it was not in the best of shape. The new one is the same sized but the covering is plastic. So far so good. I have mine on a timer at max 60 min. I will link that thread.

Here is a link that might be useful: Does anyone put heat lamps into bathrooms anymore?


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Awesome thread!

I haven't worked out the lighting plan for the bathroom yet. Vaugely, I was thinking a wet shower light over the tub, a pair of sconces by the mirror, and possibly one other recessed light over the toilet zone. No head room so all ceiling fixtures need to be recessed. But that means heat lamps would work! Maybe position one either in front of but centered on the tub or centered on the sink.

I think I'm a heat junkie - I'm still planning the heated tile, I might add a heated ventilation fan or heat lamp, and I'd be willing to do a towel warmer if I have room, plus if it looks like I'll use that bathroom often, I'll think about adding a bidet seat which has the seat warmer (one of my favorite features about the Slightly Imperfect Powder Room).

Always ;-)
Hunzi
likes it toasty!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Just a fun note.

DH and I have been working out the final layout and figuring out the framing locations, and he put the bathtub in place (so he could double check his tub rough ins before the concrete is set), and it totally gave me a preview of what the bathroom will be like! Squeal!

For the record, it's smaller than I first thought (Part of the slab we're pouring ends up in the laundry room), but it's perfect - I am getting a fair sized storage cubbie by the sink that should cover all the needs of a bathroom that size and use.

I'll take a photo later today before he moves the tub out again.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Great looking forward to seeing it.

How was your trip to Ames?


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Oooo, please post a picture. Glad you're already happy with it!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Woohoo - a tub in the dirt. ;-)

Yeah I know all y'all are rolling your eyes. But seriously, this is progress! And it will be pretty one day (in 2014 - really!)

This is from the perspective of me standing in what is to be the hot water heater closet. (Ignore the incorrect wye on the plumbing - that's going to be fixed).

The storage cubbie will be built into the wall where you see the plumbing - The sink will be on the wall you see. On the opposite wall will be the toilet. Pocket door to the laundry room in the wall where the plumbing is.

So it's not too pretty yet, and it's all recycled fixtures, but it will be nice!

I bought the last under slab plumbing bits today, and he's ready to glue up the final bits, then DH will begin skimming off the dirt to level it and get it to the right place for pouring the slab!

Guess I better get ready to haul home 4500lbs of concrete!

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Thats a great looking tub. It is going to be a great bathroom! You hit the last one out of the park :)

Did you get to Ames and see anything of interest? I am dying to know!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

This is standing at the corner where the storage cubbies will be, looking at the hot water heater closet.

Oh Enduring - I had such an adventure in Ames - it was snowy on 35, and there were about two dozen cars in the ditch, and we almost ended up there too! Got there safely after driving about 35 miles/hr, and got the pup off for his chemo, and took my daughter to tour ISU (and that ended up being an all day event!). So I didn't get to shop as planned! But I'll be back up your way in April for another chemo session so I'll try again then!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

The weather has got to be better! There is more ice and snow arriving in the morning just in time for the commute to Des Moines :(

Did you like ISU? We are a family of ISU grads :)


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Oh and I have a new Mr.G's Disasterous Work story!

So there was just one last piece of conduit that we needed to remove in the bathroom zone. It was expected to go to the light switch for the Mr.G's 1950's Bathroom From Hell on the main floor.

Oh you know it couldn't be that easy! The wiring was a tangled mess that wound from hidden junction to hidden wire nuts, aluminum wires, even our favorite "WIRE ACROSS THE BATHTUB" from the 1950'sBathroomFromHell was part of it all - all powered way over at the old light fixture bell in the back entryway above the dropped ceiling, and interconnected with about 3 other fixtures. This is the last part of the house that hasn't been rewired, and after seeing what we saw between the ceilings, I think I may have to rethink the priorities for the next project after the bathroom! The kitchen has always been planned for last because it's the biggest project, but we may have to do things in 2 stages, - demo, do the structural changes (if I have to rip down all the ceilings, I may as well do it all!!), replace the last of the old scary wiring, and maybe even get the windows replaced so the whole shell is done - then just put all the old stuff back in and make it all tolerably workable and follow with another phase of the remodel when we can afford the next round. (The project that was currently up on queue was a redo of the dining room & front/upper halls - mostly drywall/plaster repairs and much more budget friendly!)

Oh well, that should be the last of the ghosts of Mr.G!

I took a quick video, but I need to figure out how to parse out one frame and get it off the phone so I can upload it for your viewing amusement! (I have to have a record of how bad Mr.G's work was or no one will believe me!)

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

The tub is great! Heavy enameled steel, much thicker than the current day steel tubs. I told DH it would be saved when we pulled it out of the 1950'sBathroomFromHell. It has been sitting in the basement for probably 5+yrs slowly accumulating plumbing parts and bits and bobbles for the basement bathroom. He just cleaned it all out today so he could move it so that explains all the dirt.

I was really impressed with ISU! More than I expected to be! This Chinese Daughter (#2) has applied all over the country and getting her to commit to a school or even a career direction is like pinning jello on a wall. Whatever she sees at that moment in time is what she wants - until she sees the next thing. We're going to go on a week long roadtrip during her spring break and hit probably 5 other colleges. She's been accepted at UNL, UNO, ISU, and several small schools, but she's waiting with bated breath for an acceptance from U Texas Austin or Syracuse. But after seeing ISU's program & the school, honestly, I hope she picks this one.

The other Chinese Daughter (#3) locked on UNL like a guided missile, so she's all set.

The older 3: CD#1 is at Parsons in NYC studying fashion design, and our own 2 - DS is working on a Masters Math at UNO (and is looking at ISU as a possible PhD Physics site) and DD is a soph. studying Studio Art & Art Ed at Concordia.) There is much college happening here!

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

College shopping, yikes! Glad to have that behind me as my DD is in her 3rd year. (only one more year of tuition to go!)

Love the tub. I can really start to picture how it will look. Nice job.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Updates!

So I finally did what I've needed to do - pulled out a spreadsheet, really thought about the whole materials list, and started putting numbers to it all.

Ouch.

I've always been certain (and clearly overconfident) that I could bring this bathroom in on my projected budget of about $3500 - (You may all stop laughing now!) - I mean I already had all the fixtures* and the medicine cabinet! I wasn't planning anything overly fancy! I'm using cheap tile! Snort. I can hold the line if I don't use any tile or actually install any plumbing in the tub/shower, but then the bathroom seems....incomplete.

*Ok, technically, I've paid exactly $17.50 for the toilet & sink I plan to use in this bathroom (plus I bought the 2nd sink in reserve for another project $40). Plus I'll spend about $30 to replace all gaskets and innards on the toilet and I have a small contingency in reserve in case the sink needs new valves. But still - under $100 max for a sink & toilet (and I've seen these exact models being sold for $700 each at the fancy retro places).

So it looks like the budget is going to probably grow a bit. I am still pricing tiles (really - it's the basic hex and subways) and the price killer is the shower valves and trim. The world would be so much better if every valve and trim were interchangeable! But this isn't something you can easily upgrade later - sort of like I can't decide to save by skipping the in tile heat for now. It's all infrastructure! And to be honest, it's also the laundry room - I'm tiling both, and have to SLC both floors, and both rooms need walls, so I'm treating it as one project - so I guess the fact that I'm over projections isn't quite as bad...but darn it!

My one thing I can delay until affordable is the big laundry sink - we'll just deal with the ugly plastic tub until I a) decide I can afford one - or b) the perfect antique one appears (at which time, I'd be willing to raid my personal slush fund ((aka Hunzi's vacation piggy bank)) vs the renovation funds). Enduring we probably need to talk about soapstone sources and DIYing sinks! I had wanted one of the classic Aberdene Soapstone type laundry sinks and had given up hope of finding them in the Midwest. It's another option at least.

So currently the big headache is the shower fixtures.I know what I want, but sadly no one seems to make it.

I want all brass insides & chrome - no plastic fantastic. I'd rather have a thermostatic valve than a pressure balanced because I like being able to control pressures. And I need a diverter to switch between tub and shower (and I'd be ok with one of the push pull knobs on the valve and I'll do one on the tub spout if I have to, but I like the cleaner lines of spouts without the knob) and I think I want a hand shower too (for hair washing, shower cleaning and dog washing) - but that means either getting an ABC diverter for all 3 functions or putting an AB diverter in for the shower, or just putting a screw on diverter on the shower arm and I really don't want a zillion different items on the wall - I'm looking for a more clean classic look. And because I'd like a fairly consistent look with the Standard sink - I'd like cross handles if possible. I have a serious love affair with the old classic valve escutcheons that were ceramic and had the temp guides - hot-> cold etc (in my perfect world I could mix & match those with a perfect valve). But I'm cool with chrome too. Oh and since this is my perfect world - I'd be able to get the whole kit-n-caboodle for about $300. (Yes, I know I'm delusional - I've accepted it's going to be 3-4x that.)
So here are some of the contenders - and so far I'm just looking at the form/function without really researching reviews/quality ratings or best value locations - and I'm very much a high quality/high value girl!


Jado Pressure Balance Diverter Valve for Tub & Shower Set
Pros: Cross Handle & has Push/Pull Diverter
Cons: Pressure Balanced so no volume control, expensive

Symmons Carrington™ Tub/Shower Valve

Pros: Says it's pressure balancing but has a volume control
Cons: Need a separate diverter, no cross handle

Symmons Olde Braintree

Previous version of the Carrington

Pros: Looks like it actually has all the features I want on the valve including volume control and the tub diverter. Also looks like the price is good.I think people have said Symmons is a good brand too. Tub filler has a classic shape (some look wonky).

Cons: Might be discontinued for Carrington - I'm probably going to have to call around and ask questions. Still need a 2nd diverter for hand shower but the collection looks good together - not overly fussy. I was thinking more of a shower bar/safety bar for the handheld. No cross handles but I like the look of the older version more than the newer one. Not a huge fan of the look of the hand shower - I might just want the valve and a decent tub spout and build the rest myself - I have decided all companies should post videos of their showers in operation (cute guy is optional) - how else will you know if you'd like it? ;-)

Stuff to ponder.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Oh squeal!

1) MrHunzi has been busy working on the bathroom zone. He's placed the tub again to finalize the plumbing. Then he removed it, and graded the whole area flat and to the correct level to accept the slab. Then he heavily wet the whole area down so any disturbed soil has time to pack back down (after installing a temporary laundry tub, drain and hose bibb.)

2) While we are waiting for the dirt zone to dry out again, he cleaned all the old caulk and dirt off the tub and now it looks brand new! We flipped it over and looked for maker's marks and dates but there aren't any! But it's a fabulous tub, nearly 15 inches deep!

3) We scored a great deal on some kerdi-boards today. The big Orange store in Lincoln apparently decided to clearance them off - 50% off. Yay! So we took a road trip (1hr) to Lincoln to pick them up this afternoon.

4) Since we were going to Lincoln, I phoned up an architectural salvage place I had heard of and we checked it out hoping we'd find the elusive laundry sink. No luck, but we chatted up the owners (who were charming) and they'll be watching out for the things on our wishlist, but while we were there, I mentioned some of the other things we were hunting - he had a collection of doors, and I needed to find a 30" door to use as the pocket door to the bathroom. I have been hunting for a one panel door so I could add a beveled full length mirror on the bathroom side (very 1930s), and because I was having a lot of problems finding a 1 panel door that would work, I had proposed to MrHunzi that we buy a more common 2 panel door (which is what we are using for the other 3 pocket doors in the basement so it would match) and then somehow alter the door on one side to accept the mirror.....so I'm telling this to M, the ArchSalv guy, and he pulls out a door - 30", 2 panel on 1 side, 1 panel on the other, with the beveled mirror already on it!!! PERFECT!!! I am jumping up and down!

And he had some charming art deco sconces - I wasn't going to look at real vintage lighting because I do have a little modern side, and I'm not a huge fan of the clamshell shades with the exposed bulbs underneath. But he had some great art deco bases, and there were some with fabulous shades with a bottom Fresnel type lenses. I picked two styles and was playing with them - so M, the ArchSalv guy, says just take them home and look at them for a while then buy what you like - return what you don't. So I now have two different art deco bases and the shades I liked to play with for a while until I decide if I want to go this route! Yay! I'll probably pull off one of the shades and pop a light bulb into it so I can see what I think of them when they are lit - do the Fresnel lenses cast any funny light or not? Do they have a funky color when lit? (it's white, but has a deco silvery stripe - but MrHunzi thinks they look a shade to the lavender side (weird - but then he's a tad color blind). Anyhooo I'm looking forward to playing with them for a bit!

Photos tomorrow when there's better light!

Oh and as long as DH's friend is available next weekend it's possible they'll pour the slab! Seriously, it's been 10+ yrs with a dirt basement - I am stinking excited about having concrete!

Next up will be the totally unfair wait of 28 days while the concrete cures up before we can pour the SLC - but we can still do a few small things in the meanwhile, so it won't be totally idle time.

Always ;-)
Hunzi
Yay - progress is being made!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Great read. I love your adventures. Looking forward to seeing some pics.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

So we're in waiting, shopping, and planning mode.

Waiting to pour the slab (I have been waiting for approximately 35% of my lifetime for this stupid concrete.). Plan is to shoot for next weekend - if DH's friend is available. Meanwhile we just keep going down to the basement and looking at the dirt - mocking us.

Shopping - I've got about 80% of the materials at least chosen on digital ink. The excel spreadsheet is getting a work out.

Began calling around hunting one of the shower valves I really liked - of course it's discontinued and no one seems to have it, but that doesn't stop me from trying. Looks like I'm going to have to find a plan B.

Found out my old school plumbing guy is gone for good - medically retiring. (Yes, that is mournful wailing you are hearing) That man was a treasure who knew every old plumbing part I threw at him.

Planning - I need to start thinking about the tiles. Does anyone know of an online tile designer site I can play with? I have been thinking of white subways and black trim, and some black pencil trim in a decorative pattern (a little more art deco style). It looks like a lot of real art deco style bathrooms use 4in squares - but I'm not a huge fan of those (grew up in FL - land of 4in tiles!) Most real pictures/ads of art deco bathrooms are wildly colorful things - never the black & white we think of. But I'm going with the black and white.

If we pour concrete next week, I'll have about a month until the tiling window opens - 28 days for the concrete to cure, a few days figure out the under floor heating, get the SLC poured and give that time to cure.

So in that month I need to choose the RFH, probably buy the water softener (to keep DH busy while the concrete cures!), and get the tile finalized and ordered if lead times is required.

Time to get busy.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Pictures! Yeah, I'm lazy and do not have a pic site.

The mirrored door!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Other side of the door - 2 panel.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

The cool vintage lights from the Arch Salvage spot - here on approval - note the 2 different bases. (I only liked the 1 type of shade so I picked bases that fit.)


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

The shades lit.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Love the side detail.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Preview with medicine cabinet.

I like them. I'll have to put them on the table for a few days to be sure I really love them vs something more mod.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Thanks for the pictures.

First, your comment "I have been waiting for approximately 35% of my lifetime for this stupid concrete really adds a new perspective to waiting.

The door is wonderful. The non mirrored side is in such nice condition and the proportions are nice. The mirror will be perfect for a bathroom.

The shades are nice too. I took out a medicine cabinet identical to that one, last year with my first remodel. The lights we had were the long florescent type with the wrap around shade that fitted between an upper and lower chrome end cap.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I took out a medicine cabinet identical to that one, last year with my first remodel. The lights we had were the long florescent type with the wrap around shade that fitted between an upper and lower chrome end cap.

Ours had similar florescent lamps. They were really ugly - I've seen some that aren't as bad - but Mr.G probably picked the cheapo ones.

I'm probably going to be on the fence about the lights for a while - I have a strong modern eclectic streak too, and was toying with a pair of simple chrome fixtures (not unlike the ones in the Slightly Imperfect Powder Room but with a little different styling) before these vintage lamps came along.

As the final design of this space is bubbling in my head, it's becoming slightly less pure 1930s Art Deco, and mixing in a more modern look too that complements - we'll call it Neo-Hollywood Regency even if it isn't quite that either. It's just my style I guess.

I do like the old school medicine cabinet though. Even has the razor slot in the back that clearly got much use - when we opened the wall behind to work on the basement staircase a shower of razor blades greeted the guys (plus a complete single blade razor - how that got in there is a complete mystery). This bathroom probably will only see mostly toilet/handwashing use, even though I'll equipt it with a decent shower/tub (and we'll use this one exclusively when we tear out the 2nd floor bath for reno (3rd & final bath for now - but I'm going to take a break before tackling that one - 10x10 2nd floor level shared by 3 bedrooms bath - but since I have no master, it's getting a lux walk-in shower plus keeping the 1925 clawfoot tub and toilet, and quite possibly getting a real vanity (original 1925 small wall hung sink has been relocated already to the Slightly Imperfect Powder Room and is temporarily replaced by a pedestal I do not entirely love)! )

I also have a sneaking suspicion that when DD graduates college she's going to want to marry right away (although Mama will not encourage this!) - and it's not impossible that I'll turn the basement into a small private suite (not entirely conforming) for the young couple for a year or two (length of term will be entirely at Mama's pleasure) so they can pay off student loans and save a down payment on a house - DS already used the bonus room as his bedroom/lounge for 1 year post college before he got his own apt, and he had to hike it to the 2nd floor for the bathroom so having a full bath down there will be a luxury.

In other news - I think I may look at Hansgrohe for the tub/shower valve system. It looks like the best option for function (I want both temp & volume, and a diverter on the same valve if possible) if I can make it work for a tub too, and even though it's not going to offer up the more classic look I wanted, I have a strong modern streak, so I can live with it. (There is one trim variety that offers cross handles, but I'm not sure it will work with a tub spout.)

I've been looking online at their website, but I think I may need to find a bath/plumbing shop to hammer out the details. I may still mix in the Kohler showerpipe because that would give me the option of a wall shower plus a hand shower (either/or not both at the same time) with no extra wall outlet or diverter. But I need to get a tub spout to work too - so that's the tipping point on selection.

DH really has no clue what level of planning detail this stuff requires.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I love those little lights. They are a real find. Mixing a little modern in with the salvage treasures will be fine.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I think I liked the one with the concentric stacked circles over the one with the deco arch which is only on the top, so it wouldn't be visible.

I'll go back and pick through all the lamps he has and find a pair that are in the best shape. Other bonus of vintage is it's cheaper than buying new, even after he has them rewired.

So now instead of vintage looking shower valve trim and modern lights, it looks like it will be vintage lights and modern valves/trim.

In other fun errands, I hit the paint shop and pulled swatches - I thought I was going with an orange shade, but I pulled a coral color too - and that one is in the top of the running. I never make final paint decisions until the end, once I can play with the swatch and or paint sample under the real lighting conditions, but it is definitely a strong contender.

This thing is definitely bubbling in my head.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Ok, I think it's time to start shopping in earnest. And I'm going to tap y'all for sources.

I need an underfloor tile warming system - which ones do you like, what places did you find the bargains?

I want a WHITE unglazed or matte glazed ONE INCH porcelain hex tile. The ones at Home Depot and Lowes are all 3/4" and they just don't look quite right when they are that small.
Also need the same hex in black and 1in squares in black & white - either to make my own patterns or in premade patterns - like a greek key. I figure once we establish a brand/model I can find all the coordinating tiles.

It looks like if I compromise and go cheap - HD or Lowes, I can get tile for about $6ft, if I spurge for the real deal historically correct stuff I'll spend more like $18sqft. Given I'd like to not spend a zillion on tile - especially since this is our 1st real tile job which means there is a slight chance we could screw up. I'm guessing I may have to accept the 3/4" tiles, but if anyone has a good source for 1in, let me know!!

Same thing with subways - yeah, I know subways aren't really common 1920s/30s tiles - it's more squares and surprisingly more colorful, but I'm sticking to black and white tile (and doing color with paint!). The real good, thick, properly rectified edge stuff is pricey, so I'll probably do the cheaper stuff.

I just have to keep telling myself this is a bathroom in a basement!

The whole shower thing is also maddening. I like best the valve (as in the real rough valve) from Hansgrohe, I'm more iffy on the trims. I like their showerheads, but not so much the tub spouts. I'm debating on how it looks if I start mixing up brands (as in a different tub spout and shower rail).

And I keep going back and forth on the do I get a wall mount and a handshower or just a handshower. I really would like both, but I'm worried it may be just too much for a simple alcove tub - a wall mount looks best alone, but I really like having a handshower for all the various reasons - shaving legs, washing dogs, cleaning the tub.

If I do both, I think I've come up with a solution for the cleanest look - If I use one of the Kohler Hydro Rails, it gives me a diverter on the base of it, and both showers attach, so no extra wall elbows. I just need to decide if I want one with the rain shower type head or angled like a standard wall arm. Then under the Hydrorail, I'd have the valve trim and the tub spout. All one neat line.

One thing I'm trying to discover is if the Hydrorail will also double as a grab bar (more of a bar for the rare slip to keep someone steady rather than to bear full weight) if properly mounted to blocking. It seems logical.

I probably won't add any other "aging in place" type bars unless I add a horizontal one on the long wall, but all the proper blocking will be in place if they are ever needed.

And I'm starting to think about the niche planned - do I want one big one, and how big, and with an accent tile (I'd use the hex) or just continue the subways. Right now I'm leaning towards as big as possible, with subways.

And I need to decide on the other three walls. I think the wall with the sink will just end up being painted drywall. Alternative is tile to a chair rail line. The wall with the door will be done with paneling (a variation on board & baton). The wall with the toilet is up for grabs - I may need to use paneling there to help hide the fact that there is a 10in toilet on a 12 inch rough. A board placed in the right spot helps close that gap. A lot of these decisions will happen extemporaneously once I can see things in place. The last bit of wall is the surround for the closet door on the tub wall - I think we've decided there's no room for the usual wood moldings, so we'll tile the small amount of exposed wall which just continues from the tub alcove. I think I've come up with a good treatment for the problem closet door too. Well, at least it's all working in theory so far.

So, mostly I'm shopping for underfloor heat, tiles, and shower valve/plumbing wall stuff.

Looks like concrete may get pushed one more week if DH's friend isn't feeling well - really don't want a guy recovering from flu hauling 80lb sacks of concrete. But if we do it next weekend, we'll be ready to tile by late April or early May.

So I have just enough time to make decisions and order stuff in!

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

* wall color - Had coral in our old house and one thing I liked about it was that it seemed to make everyone look good. It is warm and complements all complexions.

*Mission Stone & tile has B/W 1" hex but it is $6.00/ sq foot with free shipping. I don't know if I would be comfortable buying tile online. I bought my tub and sink online but, tile, I would want to see in real life.

*I mixed brands in my shower - Symmonds valve and trim, Waterworks handheld on a hook (not a sliding arm). It's not up yet but it looks fine laid out on the floor. Symmonds has a good reputation for valves. The exterior stuff is a little plasticy-feeling but I found that to be true even with more expensive brands.

Here is a link that might be useful: B/W 1


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Happy news!

The shopping continues but I think I've solved the tile problems. I hit DH's workplace (a large furniture/home store) and checked out the tile options (which I can get at employee pricing!)

It looks like I'll be able to get daltile keystones colorbody porcelain tile hex for about $3.50/sqft and the 1in squares for a bit more.

For the shower, I'd really like to find a porcelain subway - but I haven't seen many with the colors/pieces I need. I can use Daltile Rittenhouse Square for the shower - it looks like I can get that for a good price too. I like the 3x6 white field tile, but I'm hunting a 2x6 black field tile (no bullnose) for part of our decorative trim. I need both 2x6 and 1x6 in black - Dal makes the 1x6, but not the 2x6. And I don't think they make a 2x4 in black which could have worked. I guess worst case, we could buy 3x6 and cut them down - but DH would be much happier if I could just find the right size tile. However I just realized the 1inch waste would actually become my 1x6 tile pieces, so it might end up being cheaper!

I still need to work out the exact patterns for the floor and shower walls and do a tile count. I guess if I can't find a decent online tile tool, I'll resort to graph paper.

On the shower front, I've definitely decided I want Hansgrohe, because I like the Ibox and the reputation of the quality of their valves. I'm still not sure which trim. I like the S trim for the mod look of the handles. I want the thermostatic valve with both the volume control and 2 outlet diverter all in one package.

I'm not really in love with any of their tub spouts, I need a non-diverter version. MrHunzi likes the C spout, but I'm not convinced. The E is too modern, Most of the S trims are very modern and angular. And some of them are just..well... a little phallic.

What I really want is a very traditional all brass spout with a good chrome coat. I had a chance to buy a 1920s Standard spout and missed out. I really liked it darn it! And I should have known better than to dally on buying it.

The hunt goes on!
Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

It's little details! Duh!!!

My DUH moment:
Ok, part of what I've been searching for on shower valves is cross handles - because I wanted to match my sink...except the photo of "my sink" that I keep looking at is on Pinterest and has cross handles, and is actually just a photo from a retro place -I just looked at MY SINK and realized MY SINK has little levers. So YAY! I'll be able to get a more consistent look more easily!!! (face palm!)

In other thoughts, I'm debating the shower head thing, do I just do a shower arm? Do a hand shower on a bar only? Do both on a shower pipe? I'm open to all experiences! (As far as what shower head, I'm looking at Hansgrohe Raindance Select for the handshower, and I'm not certain which fixed shower head I'd prefer - if it's the only one, a Raindance, if I get a handshower too, I'm open to just a one function shower head.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 11, 14 at 19:01

Ok, I've had another plumbing detail thought - the ceiling in this bathroom is only 7ft. That means while standing in the tub, it's probably only 6-10 or 6-11. So placement of a shower head is going to be tricky. I hate it when they are too low.

I've been looking at a Kohler Hydrorail as one solution for getting both a fixed shower head and a handshower without having to add a yet another diverter. I see they have a few versions that are more of a beam for a rainhead (but I remain unconvinced I'd actually like a rainhead) vs the arched version for a 45 degree shower head but the arched ones need more clearance so I'd have to put the actual shower arm ell lower .

Now I'm debating which would be best or if I should shoot at putting a standard shower arm at 6.5ft and hope I like it. Or just bite the bullet and buy another diverter (bonus - I might be able to run both heads at the same time that way A-B-AB), hang the handshower supply from the usual ell, and then add a ordinary shower rail for support or just get a wall mount for it. My goal was to keep things from getting too busy on a 32" wall. I've considered just putting on one of those add on diverter/supplies on the shower arm for the handshower, but I always thought those look a little sloppy and feel like they were added as an afterthought.

Details. They will fry your brain!

Arched Hydrorail

Beamed hydrorail

The look I do not like

DH just took me downstairs and mocked me up a stand as if I was in the shower, and the good news is the ceiling doesn't feel too low even in the tub. I can reach it with the ends of my fingertips - (I'm 5-7), so unless you're over 6-3 or so, you aren't going to feel it's overly low.
Also, I'm fairly sure now that we need to tile the ceiling of the shower area.

Always ;-)
Hunzi

This post was edited by hunzi on Tue, Mar 11, 14 at 20:20


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I agree you should tile the ceiling. The arched hydrorail has a nice streamlined look to it. Not too sure about the beamed one. I don't like the last one either. It's the sliding bar I don't care for. Keep on, keeping on!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 15, 14 at 23:34

OMG. There is an actual concrete floor in my basement! ;-)

Goodbye dirt!

This post was edited by hunzi on Sat, Mar 15, 14 at 23:35


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Hooray! Where is the picture? Got to see a picture :)


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Hooray for concrete!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Congrats! You must be psyched!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

We just keep going down and looking at it! ;-)

Now it's under plastic to cure, so there isn't much to see or photograph.

I took a couple of snaps while they were finishing up, so I'll see if one of those is good enough to post once I upload them from my phone.

We ended up way over-buying concrete, so the guys not only hauled 60x80lb bags of concrete down to the basement, they're going to have to haul 26x80lb bags back to the store. DH apparently both estimated up when he gave me the square feet to calculate the bags (it was probably closer to 85sqft than 100 - he counted in a brick ledge that wasn't part of the slab), but also only made the slab a 2x4 deep - so it's closer to 3.5 than 4, which also threw off the count. Needless to say, I'm giving them (DH & Friend) both a week or so to fully recover before they return the concrete.

Next up will be the underfloor heating and SLC.

The new slab looks pretty dead level, but it's out of level with the old slab by about 1/2 - 3/4 in in most spots.

Once we pour the whole area, we'll probably have to go back and re-pour a couple of very low spots in the old slab - there's a pair of low spots that are out nearly 1.5 - 2in. (and that's just the laundry room - we'll do the other basement areas in another project).

Love that Mr. G and his very non-level old concrete job!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Promise the photos will be up soon. (I know you are all waiting with bated breath to see my concrete slab!!!)

Ok new topic:
Next big thing is the radiant floor heat that goes into the self leveling concrete.

So which brands have you used?
Do you like them?
How quickly does it heat up? Since we will only use this bathroom now and then, I don't think there will be a regular schedule so that I could program it to be ready and warm.
Which thermostats do you like?

Any good priced sources?

I can get warmly yours and laticrete brands at Lowes. Or I can go online. I know I'm looking for 120v versions vs 240 - I don't have room in my panel for another 240v circuit.

I think I only want to heat the small floor space in the bathroom from the toilet to the sink/tub area - probably only about 24sqft, and if I can score it at a good enough price, I'll continue it into the laundry room area in front of the washer & dryer - probably another 24sqft. I know I could do it with one continuous loop of the plastic lath/wire roll out type vs the fixed rectangular mat type. I think the roll out type will work best for us.

I wish I could use the new Ditra Heat-E! It looks like a great system, and I like how they use a conduit to protect the thermostat wire and that also means it's easy to replace if need be, but again, it requires 2in tiles, and I'm doing 1in hex so that's out.

I'm open to all good brands! Suggest away!

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

No advice on brands, I don't have infloor heating, but I do remember reading a piece of advice here about leaving an extra probe in case there was a problem with the thermostat (as I gather that that is what tends to go). I know Enduring did that, so maybe she can pipe in as to what that entails/means.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I've read that any of the systems work. I used Warmwire by Suntouch in both my bathrooms. They are 240, I understand you'll need 120v. I have had them off since our vacation and just turned the active bathroom on yesterday and timed the temp elevation for you :) I watched it rise a degree about every 3-5 minutes for the 3 degree rise I was present. That sounds about right for my system as it takes about 30 minutes to get up to my setting of 76 degrees. When it cools down it seems to be around 66 or so, which is were we keep our house temp. I don't use it in the summer, as the cool floor feels so good in the hot midwest summers.

If you are only going to be using it once in a will, I honestly don't know if it will be worth it. You can always put down rugs under foot. I notice a tad bit of room warmth coming from the floor heating. But my stingy husband always says "Ah, this floor feels good" when he walks on the tiles in his bare feet.

I have mine programmed to come on Monday through Friday at 2 times, early morning and at bedtime. Weekend option available and I have it set to a different time. There are 4 programmable on/off cycles/24 hours. I skip the 2 during the day.

Are you putting a thermal break between your concrete pad and your floor heat system? What kind? I have wood floors and a basement underneath so didn't have to concern myself with heat loss.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 14:17

I'm starting to wish DH had been willing to dig the prep a little deeper - then I could have put 2in Styrofoam insulation under the concrete. It's definitely different doing a basement slab post-construction vs. initial construction - in that case, we would have a layer of gravel, added weeping systems and radon abatement in case it was needed later, and put in the Styrofoam. As it is, I think we'll put 1/4in cork (or synthetic equivalent - there was one company that offered that) under the RFH to create the thermal break.

I am just not sure how this bathroom will get used - honestly it will be nicer in many ways than the current 1920s bath on the 2nd floor (way better than the current shower in the clawfoot tub!), so it might get more use than I'm anticipating. And it will be the only working bath when we renovate the 1920s bathroom so it will get a fair amount of use then on more regular schedules - and there's always a possibility that DD might move back home after college for a year or two and it may get more use due to that. So I think I want RFH, and a programmable thermostat, even if it doesn't get a lot of regular use off the bat. Also, if I put it in the laundry room too, it might get more use - turn it on all weekend in the days/evenings etc. We use the laundry room on and off all weekend between DH & I doing the household laundry & the Chinese daughters doing theirs. Right now, I have those rubber gym puzzle mats in front of the laundry machines because the concrete floor will suck the heat right out of you.

And while it's silly - I hate the thought of doing a tile rug/border on the bathroom floor then covering it with mats. Irony, I bought bath mats for this bathroom last summer before it was even started because I didn't expect we'd add RFH and I had bought some for my 1920s bath then found some others I liked better - so I just kept the 1st ones for the basement.... They'll get used someplace or DD will claim them I'm sure.

This post was edited by hunzi on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 14:22


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We also contemplated a tile rug/border for the bathroom and I nixed it for the very same reason. Instead we will just put it on the shower floor.

Renovating is never easy but you'll be happy with it in the end. I still look at the pictures of the sports bathroom every time I open this thread. I'm sure this bathroom will be just as awesome.


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Since this is a tub/shower combo, I don't have the option of just making the shower floor pretty. ;-) If I did, that would probably be the way I'd go.

I considered just doing plain white hex or a daisied hex for the whole floor in the bathroom and laundry - but plain seems too utilitarian - it's already a basement with no windows and a low ceiling, it doesn't need help feeling soulless! Random or regular daisies - the laundry area is basically a galley - laundry machines & sink on one side, some storage and a door on the other - so it is already very rectilinear - a border just makes it look neater. And in the bathroom - it's a huge dream of DD's that this bathroom have an Art Deco feeling - so I'm going to at least see how a Greek key will feel before I make final decisions. To be honest, left to me, I'd do something way more spontaneous. Like this:

Here is a link that might be useful: My fun message rug


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 16:18

I still look at the pictures of the sports bathroom every time I open this thread. I'm sure this bathroom will be just as awesome.

I just wanted to say THANK YOU! for that! <3!

There are 3 rooms in this house that really have my stamp on them - the Slightly Imperfect Powder Room (SIPR/sports bathroom), my library (old school traditional), and my bedroom (just a little beachy). The rest is coming along.

I go in the SIPR anytime I need inspiration! I love it. Hey! I guess SIPR can stand for Super Inspirational Powder Room to! ;-)

This post was edited by hunzi on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 16:23


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Behold:The awesomeness that is wet concrete!

Snort.
Hunzi
finally synced her phone


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Oh and since LotteryTicket mentioned the Slightly Imperfect Powder Room, I thought I'd finally take a photo of the sconces in their much improved position! No longer wonky, off center and too low! The tops of the sconces used to be about 2/3 the way up the mirror, now they are even with the top.

DH moved them up and centered them when he was finishing the wall behind.

Now, other than the lack of a door (there is a door still on the former 1950s Bathroom From Hell which serves as an anteroom - so it's not lacking privacy) it's Practically Perfect In Every Way.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

One last photo of the SIPR! Here's my hidden storage cabinet! It has taken quite a bit of work to make that door work properly!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

it's Practically Perfect In Every Way.
Oh Mary Poppins, it is!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Indeed, it is. The navy blue is seems like a bold choice but is just fantastic with the white trim and wainscot.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Sneak peek at the layout! ;-) It's cozier than it looks before framing, but it's functional! And way better than dirt!

Tub on the back wall, sink on right, floor drain rough in & toilet rough in. I didn't mark in the doorway. From the line of the tub to the wall between the laundry is 45 inches.

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Nice progress. What you imagine will soon be reality! Probably feels good to no longer have a dirt floor.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 13:14

Oh the excitement of watching concrete cure is just .... overwhelming!

So we're past the halfway mark! Actually, I think the plan is to put in the radiant floor heat and pour the self leveling concrete at the end of the month.

Hmm, I guess that means I need to get on the whole business of actually ordering the radiant floor heating and the other bits and baubles!

This weekend we flushed the hot water heater out and established that it is still fit as a fiddle in what is probably its 60th+ year. (We call it the magic hot water heater!) We'll drain it again and scoot it over a couple of inches to fit better in the closet with the water softener (also need to get that ordered today!)

Progress is being made!!! It's just that it looks like curing concrete.

Always ;-)
Hunzi

This post was edited by hunzi on Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 14:23


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 22:16

Oh so my credit card company loves me today!

Here's a tip for you - if you order radiant floor heating from Thermosoft, watch the cycles on their sales! I noticed they offered 50% off the mats on Mondays, but by Friday the discount was down to 45%. And I saw they had a "call for specials" note on the website - so I figured out what I needed, waited for Monday and I called to see if they had any better deals - results - I saved another $90! I'm heating the bathroom and laundry for under $600.

Yippie Skippie!
Always ;-)
Hunzi
feeling the power of saving a few pennies today

This post was edited by hunzi on Tue, Apr 8, 14 at 0:42


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Sweet! We loves a bargain.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

So the massive ordering has commenced. Water Softener is on the way, as is the Hansgrohe I-box and a shower head (I may use this one to replace the badly limescaled shower head in the clawfoot tub in the 1920s 2nd Floor Hall Bath and buy another for the bathtub in the basement - I just wanted a good look at it now so I can make some decisions on shower plumbing....

So speaking of shower plumbing:

I am debating between two versions of the Kohler Hydrorail - which is my work around for wanting to run a tub spout, a wall mounted shower, and a hand shower and still use just the shower trip with a 2 way diverter. I didn't want to add another diverter plus a shower bar, plus a wall outlet, plus the shower arm (which would look really busy on a short tub wall), so the Hydrorail combines the shower bar & arm, outlet, and extra diverter I need into one unit. (Yes I will verify that really would work!)

The question is, which Hydrorail? I can pick the beamed version, which gives me a rain shower, plus a hand shower, or the short arched version which is more of a traditional 45 degree angle on the wall shower head plus the hand shower. I'm actually leaning towards the rain shower version because the hand shower mounted on the bar would cover the traditional showering. Either way, I'm working with a low ceiling height - only 7ft, so I want to be sure I have clearance.

The video has all 3 versions in it. What do y'all think?

Here is a link that might be useful: Video of Hydrorail


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

You need to figure your ceiling height and the height of people who will use it.

When I was considering the Hydrorail for my bath remodel, I would have gone with the short arched version. My tub resides in an alcove that's got a lower ceiling than the 8' ceiling in the bathroom. The pipe for the rain shower head can't be right up against the ceiling, but if you lower it, what's the height of the bottom edge of the rain shower head? I don't think having the pipe only and inch or two below the ceiling would look very good. If a rain shower head is a must, it's probably better to get a ceiling built-in one instead.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Hmmm, well shoot! Maybe I will go with the short arched version (more like a wall arm) - I was thinking the longer beamed rainshower one exactly because I would put it practically under the ceiling - I'm thinking with the shower head it would be at maybe 6-9 or so.

Currently, we have no tall people in the house, I'm 5-7, and the tallest person living here, but DD's boyfriend is about 6ft, so it's possible we'd have the occasional tall guest and I don't want it to be awkward for them.

Perhaps the arched version is a better option.

This is partly why I have the wall showerhead incoming already - I figured I'll swap it out with the one in the clawfoot tub (2nd story bathroom) and get an idea of how it works and how it would fit. (Bonus, if I like it, it would be way better than the old one in the clawfoot!)

The fixed showerhead I've chosen is the Hansgrohe Raindance S Multi Function with 6" Spray Face. They also make a 5" spray face if it looks like a slightly smaller one would work better.

Am I just being crazy trying to do this this way with the hydrorail vs shower valve plus diverter plus handshower/grabbar, wall arm & outlet? plus the tub spout of course.

In the current plan:

1) Hansgrohe S Thermostatic temperature control with Volume control and diverter for 2 outlets. (I like the idea of being able to control volume!) Diverter controls tub spout & Hydrorail
2) Hydrorail - has diverter between wall arm and hand shower
3) Fixed shower arm and shower head
4) Handshower & hose
5) Tub spout
Pros - less wall objects, bar works as grab bar, Cons - can only use 1 shower head at a time

Alternative plan #1:
1) Thermostatic temperature control with Volume control (no diverter)
2)Quatro Diverter valve and trim,
3) fixed shower arm & shower head,
4) slide bar.
5) a wall outlet
6) Handshower & hose
7) Tub spout
Pros - could use both shower heads at the same time, Con - more expensive, more objects on wall, slide bar doesn't double as grab bar

I guess if I want to go cheaper and simpler, I can give up the fixed shower head (and keep the one just ordered for the clawfoot tub).

Alternative #2:
1) Hansgrohe S Thermostatic temperature control with Volume control and diverter for 2 outlets.
2) Slide Bar
3) Wall Outlet
4) Handshower & hose
5) Tub spout

Pros - less expensive Con - slide bar doesn't double as a grab bar

Nothing is ordered yet but 1 I-box and the one 6" shower head, so I'm not committed to any path yet.

I may need to put these all side by side on paper and think about it!

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Oh today is super fun - it's toilet scrubbing day!!!

I have managed to drag the 1949 Standard toilet out (J,M,&J that thing is HEAVY!) , and I'm busy scrubbing it inside and out with CLR, rotten stone, scrubbie sponges and lots of elbow grease.

Good news is it is cleaning up nicely and I have no doubts it will look shiny new again.

But oh it's a nasty job cleaning off 65 years of lime scale, rust stains and other stains I'm not going to overthink.

Renovating is really a form a mental illness. ;-)

Always ;-)
Hunzi
feeling very glamorous


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

I think you can go with the angled hydrorail since installing a separate sliding bar with a hand shower would essentially be the same thing. And you have a little more freedom there with how high you mount it.

With the rainshower head, I mean you could put the pipe on the ceiling, but if it's painted, it's in the way when you repaint it. IMO, ,it wouldn't look good paint or tile with the pipe right up against it. If that doesn't bother you, then go for it.


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Is your toilet a one-piece model?


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

  • Posted by hunzi upper Elbonia (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 15, 14 at 16:42

I'm going to go with the angled model - I went back and re-read this giant ode to bathrooms, and remembered I have a shower light due to go in the ceiling too! So the whole rain shower wouldn't work anyway.

The toilet is a two piece - it's just all assembled and probably weighs over 100lbs and until today when I filled the tank, I had no idea how it would flush, so I didn't want to take the tank off yet. It's officially a 5 gallon flusher! And yay! No leaks!

It currently is looking extremely fabulous in the middle of my kitchen in a huge plastic bin! - (it for moments like these that they invented bleach!) - It was too heavy and awkward for me to carry outside by myself (I now understand why plumbers are so burly even if I'll never understand why they can't buy shirts that cover their buns!) I dragged it in on a rug and managed to roll it into the bin then stand it up. We haven't turned on the outside hose bibs yet anyway so I needed access to the kitchen sink. (I'm betting this is going to completely gross out the teenagers when I get them from school - lol! ) I'm not freaked out because there are no microbes that could survive all the acid I was using.

Good news is, the toilet completely cleaned up. Took a mirror to get the bits under the rim scrubbed out (oh that was nasty!), but it looks brand new again. I even got all the lime scale under the waterline and splattered paint in the tank cleaned up. I couldn't even read the stamps on the tank before.

It was a dirty job, but it was worth it. Now I just need DH to come home and lift it out of the bin - and then wet vac all the water & CLR out of the bin.

I also epoxied the broken chips that came off the front of the base so now I just have one piece - I haven't glued it to the toilet yet because I wasn't sure how hard I'd be on that corner when I was cleaning it, but I'll get it put on soon.

Always ;-)
Hunzi
Just call me Mrs Mike Rowe (ohh there's a thought!!!)

Mini update - I industriously located the wet vac, cleaned out all the crud in it, and began to suck all the water out of the bin - and then it began to spray a lovely foam of CLR & Water ALL OVER THE KITCHEN! Yes, I am that awesome. I have invented a completely new way to clean your entire kitchen. I have now managed to clean up most of the mess and finished emptying the water out of the bin. I am taking a quick break now so I can either laugh hysterically or cry.

I just keep telling myself life is all about the stories.
Always ;-)
Hunzi
cleaner of kitchens and toilets

This post was edited by hunzi on Tue, Apr 15, 14 at 17:41


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

You really should start a blog or get on tumblr or something. You make me laugh so much! Thanks!


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RE: Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure

Ironically, I have a blog - but it's about my Mary Kay business and I'm neither terribly funny nor very consistent about writing there. I think I need to revisit that! ;-)

Always ;-)
Hunzi


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