Sunday, December 28, 2014

Eau de Toilette

You remember Boyfriend?

There was a mosquito.

Well, Boyfriend had family come stay from out of town over the Christmas holiday. So we had to get a guest room and a bathroom that were functional and comfortable. The guest room was mostly a decorating issue. The bathroom however, had some issues. See, there was a leak in the wall when Boyfriend bought the house. So he hired a plumber. And while the leak is fixed, and the pluming looks good... Well, take a look.

The plumber told Boyfriend it would look just fine once we painted it. 

It's an "expansion gap"

Ok, so the plumber sucks at drywall. We can fix this right? And the toilet rocks like a hobby horse, and the plumber reused the old wax ring. Ok, gross but fixable. We won't be using that particular plumber again. And perhaps Angie's List has a new review.

Step one, assess the damage. For some reason there was an air vent cover (no air vent here) covering a large hole in the drywall.
Let's just get that out of the way shall we?

This is where it got kind of hard to maneuver. So we pulled the toilet out.

We turned off the water, and flushed the toilet. 

Boyfriend bailed out the bowl and then we used a sponge and some rags to get ALL the water out.

We removed the nuts on these bolt thingies that hold the toilet in place. I'm sure they have a real name. 

And we disconnected the water hose from the tank. An aluminum casserole dish is perfect to catch any drips. Then Boyfriend lifted straight up on the toilet, we scrapped the wax off the bottom, and slid the whole commode into a closet on top of a towel that we fully intended to throw away after we finished this project. 

We were left with a gaping hole in the ground that leads to the sewer. If you're doing this, you want to plug that hole up with a rag to avoid any sewer gas coming up into your home. 
Water go down the hole.  Nothing come up the hole. 

Next I got to work ripping out the "patch" that the plumber put in, and squaring up the preexisting hole in the wall. This took quite a bit of work. Turns out, plumber guy didn't bother getting joint compound to fill in the seams of his patch. Instead he used bathroom caulk, which is stretchy and very difficult to remove from drywall and wood. 

I look like a hunchback because I'm pulling on a bit of caulk with all my might.

Then we clean up, and measure the opening.
Remember to flare out your fingers for dramatic effect. 

We chose to go with mildew resistant dry wall, because we're in a bathroom, and what's more, this is a wet wall. There was very obvious damage to the drywall and the wood inside the wall where water had leaked out. We checked, and the leaks are gone, but you never can be too careful. Mold can make you very miserable.

Measure twice, cut once.

There's a big hole in it for a reason. We decided that in the event that anyone needed to get to the pipes again, an access panel would be more convenient than ripping out the wall. So we did that. Sand your edges smooth when you do this.

After a couple of dry fits, we screwed the drywall into place. Be sure to counter sink all your screws. That means the head of the screw needs to be below the surface of your drywall for you non handy people out there. This is so your wall will be smooth with no screw heads popping up.
Counter sunk screw. Notice the expansion gaps. Of about 1/8 of an inch. 

Now we were ready to mud and tape the joints. You use joint compound for this. Not bathroom caulk. Just saying. 

Spread a generous layer of compound over all the seams.
Action shot!

Then get joint tape, and press it into the wet compound. Use your putty knife to cut the tape to length.

Then carefully spread joint compound over the tape. Try not to move the tape as you do this. I found it best to start in the center and work my way to the edge of the seam before running up or down the seam.

Messy, messy, messy!

Let this dry for 24 hours before you do anything else. When you're done you shouldn't really be able to see the tape.

No tapes!
Now, the rest of the wall was textured so we needed to texture the patch, so it didn't stick out like a sore thumb. We did this by spreading joint compound over the entire area, and then taking a barely moist sponge, the kind you use for grouting, and pressing it into the wet compound. I would squeeze the sponge and roll upward. It's not exactly the same as the rest of the wall, but you can't really tell where the patch is without really looking.

Again, it needs to dry for 24 hours. And then we painted. Because, how often do you get to paint behind your toilet? 
Patch? What patch? I don't see a patch.

Now we removed the rags from the sewer pipe, and scraped off all the old wax, and got it clean as we could. We put in some new bolt thingies to hold the toilet, and made sure they were aligned properly.

Then we tightened the bolts holding the tank to the bowl, because that was rocking precariously, and set the toilet back in place, with a BRAND NEW wax ring. We had to shim it with plastic shims, because when the plumber poured the concrete for the floor, he didn't get it exactly level. Hence the hobby horse. We tightened the bolts by hand and then with a wrench. Make sure when you do this that you go back and forth from the left bolt to the right bolt to make sure you're level. Once the bowl was level and tight to the ground, we cut the shims and caulked around the bottom of the tank. 
Somewhere in there we popped in the access panel. 

Then it was just a matter of connecting the water, turning it on, letting it fill and checking for leaks.

There's nothing like a bathroom reno to make sure your relationship was meant to last. I think he's a keeper.