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A Bathroom Renovation is no Easy Feat

​Our bathroom renovation started off with a simple awning window installed over our bathtub. The previous window was old and a draft could be felt when taking a shower. Once the installation was complete, my husband of 22 years advised the installers to forgo the trim because we’d be changing the surround shortly.

Funny story: Back when my daughter was nine or 10 (she is now 21), she was taking her nightly bath. My husband was sound asleep and I was waiting for her to finish so I could go to bed, when I heard a shriek.

“Mom! The water won’t turn off!” shouted my daughter, in a panic.

I ran to the washroom to find that she pulled part of the faucet completely out of the wall when she lazily pulled herself up with it. I woke my husband and we soon found out we had no shut off valves which meant we had to turn the water off to the whole house before we fixed the issue. We are a middle income home and I’m sure many of you can relate to living from pay check to paycheck. So all those years ago, we did a quick fix bathroom reno using a surround and the cheapest faucets on the market. Our bathroom was far from elegant and we never truly embraced the beauty of our cheap surround. It just worked.

Dream bathroom reno

Fast forward to 2016 and my quest to redo just the interior of the bathtub alcove. Upon speaking with folks at American Standard, my husband and I started dreaming and using the term “what if?”

What if we took out the linen closet and made the bathroom bigger?

What if we replaced the ugly and cracking ceramic tile on the floors?

What if…what if…what if?

And so it began. Our bathroom-on-a-budget renovation would be done while working full-time, with endless evening and weekend to-do lists, and a million trips to Home Depot.

Overall, the biggest jobs for us, as amateur DIYers, came at the beginning and the end. Tearing apart the bathroom and reframing it to make it bigger took electrical, plumbing and drywalling skills. My husband is a handy guy, so making it happen without the assistance of certified contractor would be time consuming, but cost effective.

Knowing that we’d have a beautiful new American Standard Studio Bathing Tub and Datile porcelain tile in the room, we hired someone to install the bathtub and piping correctly.

Moving quickly

Time was ticking. The installers from Alexanian Carpet and Flooring were arriving Monday morning and it was Sunday afternoon—time to install the Wedi board, one of the lightest waterproofing backer boards available across Canada.

We have never worked with such a light, pliable product before, and we were so impressed with Wedi. Installing the board is as simple as installing drywall. The sealing process was even easier and the quick drying time allowed the installers to get to work the very next day! Like all waterproof building material, you need to make sure the wall is level to ensure a proper ceramic installation. Wedi Board also has good insulation value, so installing this product was an added benefit for home heating costs.

Time was ticking

With Christmas quickly approaching, my husband was also assigned the task of heading to the east coast to bring my parents back here for the holidays. Speed was crucial since we no longer had an operating bathtub in the house. We survived the next two weeks by bartering with friends and making good use of the small bathroom downstairs.

Over all, the installers from Alexanian were in and out in four days and the installation of the Datile Porcelain tiles meant the end was in sight. After that, we hired someone to do the drywall mudding as my husband was spent. Having a seasoned drywaller was a huge relief for him.

With the mudding and sanding completed, the final job was to pull it all together and give it a designer look. I don’t have a designer’s degree, but, you guessed it: that job was given to me.

We selected many items from Home Depot and American Standard to create a look and atmosphere that complements our daily life. 

From Home Depot 

  • I wanted to work with white, black and grays in the bathroom. It’s my typical wardrobe, so why not try this new trend in my home? The Catalina 48-inch W Vanity in Black with Cultured Marble Top in White is a spacious and modern vanity that adds class and style to any sized bathroom. For more than a month, I peeked at it every night before I went to bed, while it sat waiting patiently in our home’s storage area. Suffice to say, I love it. 
  • Initially I selected a different lighting ensemble, but after seeing the array of vanity lights on display at Home Depot, I fell in love with the Wellman Polished Nickel Vanity Fixture - 4 Light. It went perfectly with my American Standard Times Square faucet. You can position this vanity light with the vase coverings either up or down. We tried both, and I liked down. 
  • Our new bathroom ventilation fan makes me smile. I love watching movies while in the bathtub but the volume on my iPad is questionable at best. The Sensonic Speaker Fan 110 Cfm 1.0 Sones delivers amazing quality sound via Bluetooth while keeping your bathroom odor free. I may never leave!

From American Standard

  • Everyone needs a toilet in their bathroom, and there is no better choice than the Estate Vormax Right Height Elongated Toilet. No need to get into the trials and tribulations having a husband with Crohns, but the Vormax CleanCurve™ rim eliminates rim area where dirt and buildup hide and the PowerWash™ rim scrubs bowl with each flush. 
  • I loved the sleek clean look of the American Standard Times Square collection. I selected this for both the shower and the sink faucets
  • The bathtub is my baby and I just love it! The Studio 5' x 32" Bathing Pool fit perfectly within our bathtub alcove and the porcelain tile apron accentuates the depth of this luxurious tub.

From HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams

  • Initially I wanted to have an all-white bathroom, but as it came together, I felt that a light gray would bring be even better. The HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams Paint and Primer only took two coats of Agreeable Gray (SW 709) which made me cheer with delight! The quicker we paint, the quicker we’re done! 
  • We debated whether the door should be black or gray. In the end, the women won and we applied HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams Tricorn Black (SW 6258) in a Satin finish. I’m doing all my interior doors in the hallway in this colour for our next project. 
  • HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams Incredible White (SW 7028) is what we used for all of the trim and baseboards. It really helps with bringing the boldness of the black and the hint of gray together.

We did it! 

I’m really proud that my husband and I were able to pull off this huge project. We had discouraging nights, many a disagreement, and a smattering of laughs along the way. I personally want to thank the staff at American Standard, Home Depot, Wedi, Alexanian Carpet and Flooring and Sherwin-Williams for cheering us on, believing in us (even when deadlines weren’t met) and for sharing the best of their products through our bathroom project.

Would we do it all over again? No way! Homeowners Simple Solution #101: When doing a full bathroom reno, hire a contractor to take care of it from start to finish.

Estimated Project Budget: $10,500 (includes materials & contractor fees for small plumbing job and mudding of drywall)

Estimated DIY Hours: 200+ (since the beginning of November)