Most of our home improvement projects are DIO (DO IT OURSELVES) – Sometimes I come up with a great idea (or so I think), and my husband gets to work, or sometimes it’s just filling and refinishing, and I like to do that myself. The laundry room to bathroom project was a little (a lot) beyond our skill level so we called in some pros. At the same time, we are updating our larger Master Bathroom, by replacing the bathtub and toilet. I’ll save that story for another day!
We had a very small, awkward upstairs laundry room. I hated it, because it was hard to move in there! We noticed that there were plumbing fixtures for a toilet, sink and shower pan in the room – which had been abandoned. Why, Why, Why?………
The floor was vinyl over wood – AND it slanted BADLY to the left.
My husband and one son kindly moved the washer and dryer to the basement and the plumber and electrician set everything up downstairs. I am happy doing laundry in the dungeon and we are busy cleaning up that area.
Then we sent samples of the new bathroom flooring off for asbestos testing. WE PASSED – no asbestos. We have been sending samples of walls and floors out to be tested, whenever we start something new. Asbestos is often found around heating systems, in plaster and in old vinyl. Better safe than sorry!
We thought maybe using the existing plumbing fixtures and fixing the floors might make this a simple DIO project. NOPE!
My husband got down to the destructive work – ripping up the floor to see what was underneath. A mess was underneath!
We agreed that we would be more comfortable with a carpenter relevelling the floor. When we saw all the cuts through the floor joists and spaghetti plumbing we were even more certain. We also had some electrical boxes removed by an electrician, (who needs a 220V dryer plug in the shower anyway?) and brought in a plumber to work on the fixtures.
Once they got to work, we felt better about the whole project. My husband can build things, and I can tile, but we needed pros to get the plumbing and floor support right. Not to mention that I tend to take shortcuts……
The room is 100 inches long by about 50 inches wide – with a window we weren’t willing to lose.
I started to shop online for small fixtures that were in stock. (Everything ordered online as all home improvement stores were closed in Ontario. I found an 18 inch wide vanity from Wayfair,
and a narrow toilet from Lowes. This one was the narrowest in-stock toilet that I could find. The toilet and vanity needed to not take up too much space, but also needed to avoid the inward swinging bathroom door!
We struggled with what kind of shower to order. I wanted a pre-fab shower for ease of installation, and to avoid leaking issues – but I could not find a corner shower to work around the window for anything. The carpenter and plumber explained that we could put a shower around the window, as it was vinyl – and tile around it – so we went for a 48 inch by 32 inch shower base for an “alcove shower” and a 48 inch sliding door. These were both from Bath Depot.
The sliding door was important – to avoid the door wacking into the toilet or radiator!
Everything shipped or was (“curbside”) picked up within one week. We were really happy with the work that the carpenter and plumber did – and we liked that they worked on a time and material basis. It was hard to hang around while they were working though, as we were all in that “just had our first vaccine dose” phase, and being worrywarts we wore masks in our own house while they were there. They wore masks too – so we mostly scurried around in the yard or hung out on the front porch for what seemed like ages.
OH – and it was a heatwave outside!
The carpenter pulled up the rest of the floor and re-supported the cut joists. The plumber came in next. Since the floor was up he moved the toilet flange so that we could have a 12 inch rough in toilet instead of a 10 inch. (10 inch toilet rough ins happen in older houses, and it’s possible to buy 10 inch toilets – but the selection is limited. I really wanted Gillian (the toilet has a name), so this was a win for me.
The plumber discovered that the plumbing was not all linked together properly, and was not draining in the right direction. He roughed in all the fixtures, and the carpenter came back and worked on the joists. He then used a few layers of self levelling flooring compound to level the new floor.
The carpenter took off the drywall and trim around the window, and discovered all sorts of nasty mouse business behind the insulation in the walls. Now we are QUITE confident that we have gotten rid of all the vermin in our house for now – BUT we ordered some new insulation and it was all replaced, and a new vapour barrier was installed.
The carpenter fixed all of the drywall and installed a WEDI waterproofing system over the shower walls and floors.
Now I confess, if I was doing this, I would have skipped all of the waterproofing work and slapped down some tiles and a pre-fab shower – so I feel good to have used a pro!
Currently, we are having a short vacation while our tiling is installed and grouted. It’s about time that we got out of the house!! I’m sure the tradesmen are happier too.
I hope you like our before photos! Stay tuned for the after (or nearly after photos – as there is always something to be finished) when we get home!