Saturday, June 28, 2014

Shower Valve

Kohler Rite Temp pressure balancing valve rough-in for the new shower. Since this valve is pressure balanced it won't scald anyone if a toilet is flushed while someone is in the shower. So when it senses a drop in pressure from the cold water it will balance the hot side to match the cold and therefore the water temperature doesn't change.

The dual knobs for hot and cold are out and now we are in the 21st century with just the single handle valve. It came from the factory pre-set to 105 degrees. I dialed it up slightly to 110.

$100 (valve only, trim is extra)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Shower stall and flooring

Most of the backerboard for the shower is up. Wonderboard is the stuff Home Depot sells. There are other brands as well.

The shower valve is on it's way. I need to plumb it in before I can finish installing all of the backerboard.

I had not used it before but it's fairly easy to work with alone since it's only 5' x 3' sheets. To cut it you simply score it like drywall.

There are screws made specifically for it and you don't have to worry about pops the way you would for drywall. I had to put a sheet of drywall behind the board on the back wall (back of tub) because there was a gap that needed to be filled in so that the rockboard would be over the tub flange.

The side against the wall was okay and I only needed to mount the board without any sheetrock. The only difference between the two is that the backer board needs more screws so the spacing is closer together than sheetrock. The joints get taped and mudded with mortar. After that there is a waterproofing product that is painted on over the board. After that the tile is set.

Cement backer board in place
The floor is done with the same product but the area gets covered with mortar first then screwed to the subfloor. The mfg recommended 1/4" for the floor and 7/16" for the walls. It's a small bath and two sheets covered the floor. The walls will require five sheets. It's around eleven dollars per sheet so not too expensive.

The amount of mortar that was on the original floor was much thicker than the new material and that leaves the toilet flange sitting too high. That will need to be adjusted lower soon. It turns out that the pipe is what's known as a lead bend. In other words, the pipe through the floor down to the cast iron is lead. It is "wiped" with lead solder to the brass toilet ring. I'm not looking forward to installing a new ring. Not too many people know how to work with lead anymore but I did find one guy on Youtube who has a video on it.
Bare sub-floor
The old subfloor was in fairly decent shape so the original tile job was very good keeping the floor pretty much dry for the last forty years! These new products haven't even been around that long to find out if they hold up that long hopefully this floor and shower stall will hold up for the next twenty years.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Seminole Road Landfill, Dekalb County GA
It's nearly impossible to re-purpose the debris from a tile shower so it has to go to the landfill.

It's way down in South Dekalb county. If you are a resident you can take stuff there but it isn't free. They charge $33 per ton. They check your i.d. when you arrive.

There is a scale that you drive onto at the entrance and they weigh you again on the way out.

The debris from the shower weighed 1080 lbs. I paid about $18. A dumpster rents for over $300. A fairly long trip but for a small job it makes more sense than renting a dumpster.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bathroom Demolition

Original bath

Demolishing the shower was not easy. The mortar bed that they installed in some places was over an inch thick. It was dry as a bone after 40 years. The tiler on this job did not get any call-backs I believe.

The amount of weight all of the mortar adds is incredible. The new materials will be a lot lighter.

There's at least one layer of wallpaper that's been painted over so all of the drywall has to go.

Behind the shower wall you can see the roof line of the first floor. (note the angled section). This wall gets really hot from the exterior. This will get another 2" of rigid foam insulation before the shower goes back in.

Sanitary waste and vent stack
I don't have the heart to smash the cast iron tub with a sledgehammer, so it stays.

That bundle of wires is heading down to the panel box. The new code doesn't allow any plumbing to be above any electrical.
Hot & cold water supplies

All the plumbing behind the walls is in good shape.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bathroom Renovation

The seventies called...they want their bathroom back. They can have it.

This bathroom has been pretty grody since the day we moved in even after I re-caulked the tub and replaced the toy sink they had installed.
The floor is unlevel and there is a hole in the wall near the tub. It's pitiful.
Yesterday I bought some new tile and today I began the demolition.

I've yet to determine if the tub is cast iron or steel and though I would like to remove it I'm not sure it's going to be feasible.

I had always assumed that the existing tile was laid over another floor. Today I found out that the original tile was removed but the original mortar bed was left in place and then built up on top of it. The bathroom floor was alway higher than the hall floor. It's why it was so uneven and very heavy. There was so much weight that I believe the floor was sagging. It is very, very squeaky in the hall outside the bath.

Anyway, under the old mortar was the metal lath that was always used for tile floors back in the day. Apparently there are some who are still using this system, but no so much in the South. The subfloor isn't in too bad a condition for it's age though you can see there has been some moisture here and there.

It's been a while since I've remodeled a bathroom and these days there are way more products out there than there was back then. It's really a matter of who's technique you choose to go with. I'm still trying to decide.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Walnut threshold

The photo shows the 8/4 walnut stock that I used to make the threshold for the patio door. The piece on the right is the actual part that I fabricated from the larger stock on the left.

It's a fairly hard wood but not difficult to work at all. Not super hard like the exotics from Brazil or Africa. And it's domestic which I believe is a better way to go. Cost $70.

Walnut is a common wood for gun stocks. This is american walnut as opposed to black walnut which is denser and more expensive. It's more coveted as well.

The table saw was the only tool I needed to make the piece. It took about half a day to get everything ripped down and shaped. It is basically an L shaped piece.
Threshold profile

I used a mixture of 30% sparr urethane and 70% Teak oil to finish the piece. It came out very nice and so far is repelling the water very nicely. Nice vid here. Thanks Izzy!

There was an inch and quarter gap between the deck and the door sill that needed to be filled in. I found some pavers that fit perfectly in the space but I didn't have enough to do the job and I couldn't find any more of them anywhere. I was at The Stone Center looking for the pavers when the guy said he had a solid piece the right thickness.
Walnut threshold and sandstone sill

There was lots of sandstone that was the right thickness but none were long enough. I needed about 64" x 5" to fill the gap. I ended up getting about a 30" long piece that was 18" wide for $20. I had to buy a diamond blade for the circular saw to rip the stone down to 5" pieces.

I had not sawn stone before and it wasn't too difficult with the new blade. I wet the stone down every minute or two. The job went better than I anticipated. The weakest part is the joints where I used some colored mortar to join the pieces. I've never laid a brick in my life so I didn't have the slightest idea how to make the joint. It's alright though, maybe not perfect.
Solar powered lights

New door
The soffit is replaced the fascia is up, everything is caulked and painted now.

We also added an exterior flood light and an outlet that is solar powered as well.

Old window
It's good to be utilizing the door now. It's very convenient and beats walking through the garage to get to the deck. At night the glass allows the light from inside to illuminate the deck and so it helps out with the outside lighting as well.  It's very quiet as well. The music can be fairly loud inside and you do not hear anything thru the door whatsoever.

I'm very happy with it.