Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bathroom Progress

I arrived late on Sunday and set to work on Monday (not that early either). Tiling the floor turned out to be more problematic than we'd expected because the tiles are so incredibly hard!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned that before but the idea was to do everything without power tools, except for drilling a few holes. We had a tile cutter, carbide saw, carbide file and tile nippers. These tools worked like a charm for the wall tiles but not so much for the harder floor tiles. In fact after the first cut the carbide saw didn't really cut any more. We managed to cut the first tile around the floor drain taking turns with the saw (I think the two 5-cm cuts took more than half an hour) but the second one broke at the very end. My dad decided to superglue it back together instead of recutting it, I only hope that won't cut any toes. At that point we'd happily have used the angle grinder but unfortunately it seems to be in Vienna. Around 10 PM the floor was still 9 tiles short, two of which needed deep (10 cm) cutouts for the radiator pipes. I also ran out of thinset and motivation so I called it a day.

On Tuesday I started by scraping any excess thinset from the wall tile joints, which took a few hours as well. Then we went to the DIY store because we had to buy fixtures and black flexible grout for the floor. We didn't get any grout because two DIY stores only had non-flexible black grout and we're worried about cracking since the tiles are installed on EPS board. We did grab a super-cheap angle grinder (€29.90) and a tile cutting blade (set of three for €5.99, a single one would have been 26.99).
Back home I started grouting the walls and when I ran out of motivation after 1 1/2 walls finished the floor.

Yesterday I finished grouting the walls and we did a lot of cleanup in preparation for the plumber to come today and install the sinks, taps etc. Once that was done I stripped some door casings so we can get the bathroom close to finished. We have a huge pile of casings but most of them are lonely individuals and it's hard to find enough for a door. The first set I stripped was originally finished with shellac and came out really nicely so it seemed like a crime to paint it. The bathroom door was originally painted so I needed more casings.

After a lot of searching I found two matching upright pieces but no top piece and no other matching pieces I could shorten. Nothing. The second round of searching yielded the remains of one long piece - cut in half lengthwise by our beloved carpenter. You really can't let him work without constant supervision! Late at night I finally found another matching piece but two out of the three pieces have various strike plates that need to be removed, the damaged wood cut out and patched.

Today the plumber arrived at 10 and I helped him install everything. The bath taps went in flawlessly, as did the washing machine tap and trap cover. Then I installed the small WC sink while the plumber did the bathroom sink. He quickly discovered that we'd bought the wrong type of drain assembly! We'd thought we'd use the type that uses a lever to operate the plug but in fact the mixer taps we bought don't have that lever (I think it's actually designed for a kitchen sink) so we need a drain for a rubber plug. Other than that the bathroom is now in working condition! The WC sink made a bit of trouble as well. Long ago when I did the drains I must have mis-measured somehow so the drain was far too close to the floor. We ended up using the longest trap pipe we could find and a 10 cm extension on top of that. Looks a bit weird but functional. I only hope no one ever bumps into that contraption.

So where are we?
The bathroom floor needs to be grouted, all the corners need a few miles of silicone, the doors have to be hung and painted, the walls have to be painted and I still have to install sockets in the bathroom (yup, we can have that here provided they're at least 60 cm from the shower or bath).

Pictures to follow soon!


Levi Eslinger said...

I'd have to ask why you guys used power tools sparingly. Are they too noisy? Either way, you are coping really well with it, and it appears you and the plumber did an excellent job. While you still have a few more things to do, your bathroom would be as good as new once they are done. Thanks for sharing!

Levi Eslinger @ Capital Plumbing

Ragnar said...

I somehow like the feeling of working with hand tools and sometimes they just seem like the better option to me, especially including setup of larger power tools. Plus they're a lot less noisy and usually less dusty, especially cutting tile. A wet tile saw isn't all that useful for cut-outs in tiles and an angle grinder is horribly dusty and the accident risk is decidedly higher. With the carbide saw holding the tile with one hand was perfectly fine, with an angle grinder that'd have been a patent recipe for loosing fingers.

BTW, we eventually discovered that the angle grinder has gone into a black hole. Just like the ratty electric fan heater from the 70s. Don't ask me how that happened!