Remodeling the Master Bath, Part 1

I’ve mentioned our house was a foreclosure, right?  We got it at a great price, but we knew we had some work to do before it would be a house we’d love.  The master bath is pretty small, but it has a decent layout and space for a separate tub and shower.  On the surface it didn’t look that bad, but after a couple weeks of living in the house we soon discovered that the shower was leaking and the tub had a crack, so we knew it had to go before we ran into major problems.

After some hesitation, we reluctantly decided to tackle as much of this project ourselves as we could.  Hey, at least we have a second bathroom so no matter how long it takes, we can survive!

master bathroom remodel

Master Bathroom before the remodel…notice the signs of foreclosure in the sink and tub!

These next few pics were taken after the foreclosure company came in a “neutralized” everything.  Ignore my choice of outfit and the poor iPhone picture quality.

master bathroom remodel

The shower wall tile was literally falling off the wall.  I’m guessing they didn’t seal it properly because it was a slate tile and you could take chunks off of the wall with your bare hands.  Pretty gross.

master bathroom remodel

The tile on the floor is a whole other mystery.  It’s the same tile we have in our entry way, but for some reason the previous owner put a coating over the tile which made them blue and rough to the touch.  Definitely something we wanted to change.

First Step: Demo: That was the easy part…lol.  Yeah Right!!  We decided to take the tub out after my fiance took a bath one night.  This makes me laugh because I warned him about those jetted tubs.  While he was relaxing in the tub (manly man lol) the jets started spitting out chunks of black goop.  He freaked…and that was the last I had to hear about him trying to keep this tub. Fortunately, my dad came over to help get the monster tub out of the bathroom…all those nasty jets full of other people’s dead skin cells just made me want to puke.

Bye-Bye NASTY jetted tub!

master bathroom remodel

Removing the old floor tile was another dilemma.  It probably needed a jackhammer, but we just kept chipping it up one small piece at a time.  Whatever the books and internet said about removing tile was NOT working for us.  The dust was awful!!!  It got all over the house even with the room sealed off.  It was EVERYWHERE!  After we finally removed the tile, we took out the old shower pan and tile on the shower walls.  That was comparatively easy. To save some money we kept the same layout, cabinets, and counter tops.  I planned on painting the cabinets and changing out the hardware to update them.

After taking the old tub out we noticed some mild moisture damage so we had to rebuild the frame for the new tub.  We sprayed any areas that looked mildew-ish with bleach and water to be safe, although there wasn’t much at all.  (Bonus:  I was able to use the pallet wood that was used to deliver the new tub for more DIY projects.)

Next, we used 1/2″ cement board / hardieboard and lined the top and sides of the tub where it would be exposed to water. The cement board was too heavy for me to maneuver and install by myself, so while my fiance was at work I started tiling the tub surround. We chose 4×4″ Noce brown tumbled marble.  I made level lines for guidance as the books suggested.  I dry set the tiles first so I could check to see if the layout was centered on the tub from the doorway.  It would be really bad if something were off center!  Tiling went pretty slowly at first because I wanted to make sure each tile was level with the next.  I used the smallest spacers I could find (1/16″) and mortar applicable for installing travertine tile.

master bathroom remodel

We decided to add a decorative band of glass mosaic tile to break up some of the tumbled marble.

remodeling the master bath

remodeling the master bath

The shower walls would have to wait until my fiance would be home to help with the cement board.

remodeling the master bath

I took a break from tiling and we installed the new shower pan and cement board on the shower walls. Then we caulked the edges of our cement board against the shower pan and sealed the cement board with a waterproof product called Redguard. This stuff is like magic.  It’s easily rolled on like paint and when it’s dry you have a totally waterproof surface!  It is about $50.00 for a small bucket, but totally worth it. After it dries you can tile like normal, making sure to use the appropriate mortar.

remodeling the master bath

We ordered our tub online to match the measurements we needed and I bought the deepest tub I could find for the space. We planned for our new tub to sit on top of the tiled tub surround. To accomplish this (and to set any other tub really) we had to pour a mortar bed to support the bottom of the tub.  Surprisingly the average bathtub full of water can weigh over 600 lbs! We also had to make sure that the mortar we poured under the tub was enough to have the edge of the tub rest ontop of the tile, but not be above it…the leveling process was high stress.  Imagine us jumping in and out of the tub, literally jumping to squash the mortar down and then rechecking with the level after each “jump”.

So there’s our tub looking a little more complete.  The tub faucet isn’t actually installed in this picture; it’s just resting in the hole we had to drill through the tile.  Drilling the holes for the faucet was probably one of the most frustrating parts of this process.  We had to get a circular diamond drill-bit and cut through tile, then cement board, then a layer of plywood.  I was scared my fiance was going to crack the tile and he was scared the drill was going to give out.  Eventually we got through all the layers.

remodeling the master bath

On to plumbing:  

As of right now, we have discovered that the roman tub faucet we purchased on eBay was missing a nut that secures one of the handles to the top of the tub.  We called Glacier Bay (the manufacturer) and they have agreed to send us a replacement part for free!  So while we wait on that we (really just my fiance) are working to get everything connected that we can until the part arrives.  The faucet also has a hand shower, which is a nice addition.

remodeling the master bath

remodeling the master bath

What we have left to do:

  • Install the floor tile on the diagonal
  • finish the accent tile around the tub
  • grout EVERYTHING
  • install the shower valve
  • install the new shower glass
  • paint the cabinets
  • Install new faucets for both sinks  

Not much!  LOL yeah right.  Some days it seems like we will never have two full bathrooms again, but I just keep scraping away at it knowing that there is a light at the end of the remodeling tunnel.


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Remodeling the Master Bath, Part 1 — 8 Comments

  1. It looks great so far! I love your tile choice and faucet choice. I totally feel your pain with remodeling. Our house was a short sale, and was absolutely hideous (including our master bathroom). We bought it because the floor plan was nice and it was on an acre. We have replaced every bit of paint and flooring and have done some remodeling in the other two bathrooms. I just discovered yesterday that my bathroom faucet is leaking, so a master bath remodel may be in our near future too;) We keep finding things inside the house that need to be fixed/replaced, which keeps putting landscaping off, so we’ve been living with ‘natural desert’ landscaping for the past three years. I can’t wait to see what your finished bathroom looks like!

    • Awww that sucks. Short sales are really awful so I hear. The waiting especially. I’m sorry you guys had such a rough time, but hey at least we get the house we want after all the hard work!

  2. I’m so happy that you chose to share at this weeks Creative Muster. I hope that we’ll continue to see you at at our parties. I’ve pinned part 1 of you Master Bath Remodel.

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