Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bathroom Renovation Continues

This is Part Two of our bathroom renovation. To see Part One click here.

As the construction continued, the bathroom began to take shape and looked less like a dark pit. We opted to go with a single unit tub/shower combo hoping that it would be easier to clean and to allow us to forgo the wall tiling process.

Hooray! The New Tub is in place!

A week after the tub/shower unit was installed the subflooring and drywall were installed. The Mister spent the following weekend priming and painting the bathroom walls Behr Mineral Water, a color we had used in our previous home.
Drywall and subfloor installed
Stubouts for the toilet and sink
 During this time, the rooms in the house had no overhead lighting so all of the work in the house had to be performed in the daytime or by lamplight. Since the bathroom had no natural light entering the space, we had no choice but to use lamplight.
Working by lamplight
The Mister's dad has many years experience of installing tile in his various homes and for others. We were more than a little excited (and grateful) for his help when we were faced with our own tile project. The Mister and Father-In-Law spent a long weekend in February tiling the bathroom, laundry, and pantry area.

We had purchased the Ditra underlayment system from HomeDepot hoping that it would allow us to lay tile directly over the subfloor in the bathroom and the existing floor in the laundry room. We also selected it based on our ability to load it into our vehicle. Since we did not own a truck, we knew that we would have a difficult time hauling large pieces of cement board, not to mention how heavy cement board is! With it being our first experience using the Ditra underlayment system, there were certainly a few learning curves.
Underlayment in place
We found the Ditra underlayment easy to cut and place directly onto the mortar. Even though the underlayment was pricey compared to the cement board, installation time was quick and our ability to haul multiple rolls was a plus. Overall, we were pleased with the results and we have even discussed using it again on our next bathroom tile project.

  • Easy to cut with an utility knife
  • Easy to position into place and squish into the mortar
  • Easy to transport compared to cement board
  • Quick to install
  • Thinner than cement board
  • Price
Lessons learned:
Even after reading the instructions and measuring twice before cutting, we had many first time user errors so hopefully jotting down these notes will help us remember what went wrong (and right) in the future. When using the Ditra system, don't allow the underlayment to overlap and try to keep it as even and flat as possible. We found that we had to cut some of the underlayment away if we managed to overlap them. We also found that areas that we did not lay completely flat would also affect how level the tile would wind up becoming. OneProjectCloser has recently published a great article on the Ditra system. Wish we had this article available when we put down ours! 
Tile is in place
We had only the weekend to complete 200 sf of tile before the contractors returned on Monday morning to continue their work. The Mister worked from Friday after work to Monday morning to get the tile installed, grouted, and sealed. It was exhausting and we are so grateful to my FIL for showing us the steps to tackle tile and for assisting us with the installation and performing all of the tile cuts. What amazing men I have in my life!
Tile is grouted
Next task, installing baseboards and fixtures.

For Part Three, click here.


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