Sunday, June 30, 2013

Manual Labor

I started re-tiling the bathroom floor about 16 months ago, and promptly lost interest in the project after my landlord/friend let me purchase all the materials and tear up a section of bathroom tile.

Well, now my LL/friend is coming to stay in my/his apartment while I'm out of town. And he has kids. I can't have half- torn out tiles hanging around any more than I could have left those crusty old mouseturds under the refrigerator.

So it's time to finish.

This has been a learning process. I learned that using my crowbar and mallet was precise, but excruciatingly slow and painful. So I switched to something called a demolition hammer which I rented from Home Depot on 440 (my local HD, outside the Holland Tunnel, doesn't have a tool section). That came with its own level of pain, but mostly dust, and nothing like the pain of chiseling away slowly.

Unfortunately, the clean-up is tough either way. That takes longer than the demolition, and then I'm stuck with bags of heavy old mortar and tile. I've been putting them in the back of my car, where I'll leave a few at a time with the regular trash pick-up. The steel mesh wire I pulled out with my tin snips (left over from when we installed the really-pressed-steel "tin" ceiling at my last apartment) is more problematic, and I'm on the constant lookout for a dumpster. Can't leave something dangerous on the curb.

I also learned how to remove the pedestal sink. That was pretty fast and easy, but I'm not sure if I should just put it back until I get to the walls, or if I should get a new one or invest in a vanity. The good news is you can make a vanity out of just anything. That's good news because the narrow ones which would fit are either dirt-cheap and god-awful, or $800. I think I'll put that project on the back-burner for the moment.

I haven't removed the toilet yet, and that's coming up soon. Tomorrow I'll chisel out the extra mortar and cut the HardieBacker to fit everything except the toilet section. I need to also work out how to install the marble threshold. I had a stroke of luck when buying the backer board as the HardieBacker regional manager happened to be in Home Depot when I went to buy, and he showed me how to cut my board and even sliced the 5x3 boards I was buying in half for me so I could carry them in my car.

The big job is going to be pulling out the toilet. Denise is going to help me as it's heavy, and then that is going to be nasty and stinky while I scrape off the old wax ring and seal up the hole with duct tape or a plastic bag. I'm sure I once saw a cover you could buy but I've never seen it again.

I'm dreading pulling up the toilet, because I've seen a bit of warping of the plywood nearby, between the toilet and the tub. That makes sense -- that's exactly where the most water accumulates. But I'm hoping that's the worst of it, because I don't own a circular saw and that's what I'd need to pull up the subfloor and replace it. I could buy one, sure, and I've needed on several times, but I'm hoping to get away without it for a bit longer.

Here's the current state of the bathroom. I shower very, very carefully.

No comments: