how to extreme

Bathroom Remodeling for the Do-It-Yourselfer

Bath, Decorating April 19, 2012 Sonia


By Matt Weber

 

 

Careful planning, labor-saving products and elbow grease are the keys to success for a DIY bathroom remodel.

 

 

 

 

Bathroom upgrades rank among the top three home remodeling projects, favored because they add “livability” to one of the most often used rooms of the house.

The upstairs bathroom of our project house had seen a few recent touch-ups, such as a new mirror frame, faucet and light fixture, and a tiled shower surround that was painted with epoxy. However, the ‘70s-era floor tile was still mustard yellow with stained grout joints and paint splotches from previous projects. The homeowners had painted the bathroom walls with a silver-toned reflective paint, but later decided that the color was too drab and kept the room dim. The toilet was old and wasted water, and the faux-granite laminate countertop wasn’t fooling anyone. A lot of work needed to be done, and here’s how we did it.

A long-handled tile scraper from Hyde Tools was a handy tool for removing the base-trim tile.

A long-handled tile scraper from Hyde Tools was a handy tool for removing the base-trim tile.

I used an oscillating tool with a carbide blade to cut the tile base trim away from the tile shower surround. Score the tile with a razor where it meets the drywall so it can be removed without tearing the paper face of the wallboard.

I used an oscillating tool with a carbide blade to cut the tile base trim away from the tile shower surround. Score the tile with a razor where it meets the drywall so it can be removed without tearing the paper face of the wallboard.

 

 

 

Working outward from my initial cuts, I used a short-handled Hyde tile scraper to break loose the tiles from the old mortar bed.

Working outward from my initial cuts, I used a short-handled Hyde tile scraper to break loose the tiles from the old mortar bed.

I opened the tile floor by cutting a square with an 18V Ryobi wet saw.

I opened the tile floor by cutting a square with an 18V Ryobi wet saw.

 

 

The old mortar bed stayed mostly intact during tile removal, so I made a few minor repairs with some concrete patch and used the old bed as my subfloor.

The old mortar bed stayed mostly intact during tile removal, so I made a few minor repairs with some concrete patch and used the old bed as my subfloor.

To speed up the removal process, I attached a scraper blade from Spyder Products to my recip saw, and the old tiles went flying.

To speed up the removal process, I attached a scraper blade from Spyder Products to my recip saw, and the old tiles went flying.

Labor-saving Materials

When planning a remodel of any sort, familiarize yourself with the latest building products available, which often boast features that can save considerable labor on the job. Three of the major phases of this job relied on work-saving products.

First, we selected interlocking SnapStone tile for the flooring. This floating floor system consists of genuine porcelain tile bonded to a rubberized grid. As a floating floor, this tile system requires no mortar application, which saves significant labor and materials by eliminating that messy and time-consuming phase of a typical tile job. Plus, the interlocking edges of the tile maintain consisting spacing and straight grout joints, eliminating the need for spacers and reducing layout mistakes.

For straight cuts in tile, I used a wet saw. However, for irregular or oddly shaped cuts, I used a Rotozip equipped with a special tile-cutting bit.

For straight cuts in tile, I used a wet saw. However, for irregular or oddly shaped cuts, I used a Rotozip equipped with a special tile-cutting bit.

When laying out a tile floor, center the grid to eliminate small, fractional tiles at the perimeter of the floor.

When laying out a tile floor, center the grid to eliminate small, fractional tiles at the perimeter of the floor.

Shown is a close-up view of the SnapStone interlocking tabs, which maintain consistent joint spacing and eliminate the need for plastic spacers.

Shown is a close-up view of the SnapStone interlocking tabs, which maintain consistent joint spacing and eliminate the need for plastic spacers.

The SnapStone floating tile floor requires no mortar to adhere it in place. The interlocking edges can be joined with a hammer and rubber block, similar to installing laminate floor boards.

The SnapStone floating tile floor requires no mortar to adhere it in place. The interlocking edges can be joined with a hammer and rubber block, similar to installing laminate floor boards.

 

As you apply the grout, use a scrub pad, sponge and clean bucket of water to remove excess grout as you go.

As you apply the grout, use a scrub pad, sponge and clean bucket of water to remove excess grout as you go.

SnapStone requires a flexible grout available from the tile manufacturer that prevents cracking in the grout joints.

SnapStone requires a flexible grout available from the tile manufacturer that prevents cracking in the grout joints.

Second, I used a new countertop coating system from Rust-Oleum. Rather than removing and replacing the countertop, I used the new Countertop Transformations kit to create a striking new look while the countertop remained in place. The system requires sanding, rolling an adhesive base coat, spreading decorative plastic chips, and then sanding the chips to a smooth continuous surface. Finish up with a protective top coat, and you have a glossy new countertop with a contemporary stone-like appearance.

The next step was the application of an adhesive base coat.

The next step was the application of an adhesive base coat.

The Countertop Transformation kit from Rust-Oleum required me to scuff-sand the existing countertop surface.

The Countertop Transformation kit from Rust-Oleum required me to scuff-sand the existing countertop surface.

Next, liberally coat the adhesive with decorative chips. The chips are applied just like when using a seed spreader. (The spreader is included with the kit.)

Next, liberally coat the adhesive with decorative chips. The chips are applied just like when using a seed spreader. (The spreader is included with the kit.)