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The 21-Day Bathroom Remodel

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Our demolished bathroom.

My husband had two weeks off for Christmas and he wanted a project. I told him we should wrap up some of our unfinished projects, but he wanted something new. So, while I was at church the Saturday before Christmas, he tore down the drywall in our bathroom. While it’s not our only bathroom, it is our only shower. After 21 days, we had a very lovely remodeled bathroom. It didn’t come without a lot of sweat and a lot more tears.

The tears were mostly from me. I wasn’t ready for a project of that size and certainly not in the middle of my OCD and anxiety raging. Welcome to our 21-day bathroom remodel.

The Why

Admittedly, our bathroom was in massive need of an overhaul. We just never wanted to tackle it. We had decided that summer was probably the best time to do it because we could put our camper in our driveway and use the shower in it to keep clean. However that meant my husband would have to use vacation time in the summer, when we could be camping, to work on the bathroom project.

When we moved in the bathroom had flat enamel paint and no fan. It took no time before the over-damp walls were showing signs of mold. Then the paint started peeling. And there was some form of a leak. We re-caulked and installed new handles–anything we could think of to stop the leak, which was dripping into our basement. However, it didn’t take long before the drip, drip, drip would start again. Then the subfloor started to rot. We could see it in our basement. It needed help.

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Tub and paint are in place!

A few years after we moved it, my husband installed a fan and we sanded down the walls. We painted, re-caulked again and bought ourselves some time. Time was quickly expiring.

The What–or, the stuff

We bought almost everything at Lowes. We learned that if we were doing a project to sell our home, we could get a 10 percent off coupon with Lowes. We hadn’t really used Lowes before but we decided to give it a shot. My husband applied for the coupon code, but when it didn’t come right away, he called the 800 number and found them incredibly helpful.

Once we picked out the tub, walls, shower doors and vanity, he was able to give the incredibly helpful customer service agents the part numbers and they submitted them to the local store. We accounted for just about everything we’d need–plywood, green board, spackle, etc.–and gave them every part number. Once the local store had the list, they actually pulled the items for us as well. How helpful is that!?!

The local store even called my husband and told him two of the components wouldn’t work together, would he like them to trade them out for the correct part? Wow! That saved us a trip or two.

My husband picked up all of the supplies and made sure to put it under his MyLowes account so we had a record of everything we bought. This also made taking items back a little easier.

The List

  • The tub. We replaced our 15-inch tub with an 18-inch model. This was purely aesthetic. The new tub takes a long time to fill and is harder for the kids to get in and out, but I like it. We went with this tub.
  • We went with frosted shower doors. This was actually the hardest part to get, believe it or not. These doors are great. As we only have one shower and three daughters, my husband is often in the shower when they are using the sink. With these doors, they can’t see him at all. It offers the person in the shower a little bit of privacy.
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    The new sink area.

    Tub walls. We opted to go with the glue on walls. We were going to purchase the ones that screw to the studs, but our window isn’t center, so we had to go with the glue on that we could modify.

  • The flooring came from Lumber Liquidators and is called Mocha Espresso. It’s a strand bamboo. Before we purchased it, we soaked a piece in water to make sure that it was going to hold up to water.
  • The vanity came from Home Depot. It came with all of the hardware, sink, mirrors and shelves. And it took us from a single sink to a double…it’s amazing.
  • The paint is called Smokestack by Benjamin Moore. I couldn’t find it at Lowes, but I pulled it up on my phone and the amazing paint chick at Lowes was able to locate the color code and get me the paint. Yay!
  • The lights came from Lowes, but I can’t locate them online.

I defaulted to my husband on a lot of the items and the design. My heart wasn’t into it and I was picking items just for ease of install while he was picking items that would look good in the long haul.

The How

With help from his mom and brother, my husband gutted the bathroom, repaired the floor and put in new subfloor, put up green board throughout, taped, mudded, sanded, painted, installed the tub, installed the plumbing hardware, installed the tub walls, installed the shower doors, put in the flooring, hung the vanity, put up the molding and trim and installed the lights. It was a huge project.

The Pros

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    The trim wasn’t in yet, but this is what the bathroom looks like all put together.

    The color combinations are really pretty.

  • The glue-on lined. I was hesitant at first, but it works out really well and it’s super easy to clean.
  • Double sinks. Five people need two sinks. The bonus is that without a lot of counter space, we also don’t amass a lot of clutter in the bathroom.
  • There is no more leak into the basement and no more moldy, yucky smell in the bathroom.

The Cons

  • The dark wood. It shows every ounce of dust, especially on the floor and I’m dusting it nearly every other day.
  • The deep tub takes a really long time to fill.
  • The flooring took forever to arrive and Lumber Liquidators was less than helpful.

I wasn’t ready for the remodel but I love the results. It may have meant that I had to schlep my kids to my parents house every other day for showers. It may have meant that we all had to crowd into our half-bath to get ready each morning. It may have meant that I was cleaning up drywall dust for weeks. However, it looks great and it’s done. Thanks all to my husband!