Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Old Home Bathroom Remodel

The following is a blog in 2 parts.  We’re posting the first part tonight & will continue next week.

From the first day of our blog, part of our goal has been to show what problems we have encountered and our failures and successes in dealing with those problems, so that hopefully others can avoid some of our mistakes. To that end, we have posted about other homes and projects and will continue to do so. In the coming weeks, we will be focusing most of our resources on the Bungalow and our current residence in Beech Grove. That is as soon as the Bungalow is finished enough that we can move in and the Beech Grove House is repaired from a hail storm and ready to go on the market. Neither of these houses is as spectacular as the Horner House, nor do they qualify as “historic” except in the most basic way; they are both over 50 years old. Having said that, there are more people out there that live in and deal with the challenges of an old house than there are those who live in historic homes. So over these next weeks, we will be posting more about these houses and some of our (many!) challenges with them.

The Beech Grove house is your basic post WWII boom home. It’s a story and a half with a full basement and only one bathroom. There are two bedrooms on the ground floor and the upstairs is one very large bedroom with a walk in closet. (You can step in and walk to the back as long as you’re less than 4 foot tall.) The front door opens into a nice sized living room and there is a tiny eat-in kitchen.

 We have done quite a bit of work on the house in the time that we have been there. One of our most interesting projects was fixing the bathroom. From the time we first moved into this house we wanted to redo the bathroom, but there were always more important projects. That was until three years ago. The floor near the toilet had gotten a bit soft and while there was no other evidence of a leak, we knew that it needed dealt with. But worse than that was the shower; more precisely, the original wood window that was in the shower.

We had kept the window covered with plastic to keep the water out of it, but the damage had been done long before we ever moved in and it was time to take care of it. The bathroom is fairly small and it had a built in closet to the right just inside the door. Then a pedestal sink, the toilet, and the tub and shower across the back. At some point work had been done in the bathroom and a solid shower surround used. They cut a hole in it for the window and used bathroom grade trim around the window. Sadly, I didn’t get any pictures before we started.
            This picture is after we ripped out the surround and had removed the paneling that was on the walls.

              As can be clearly seen, there was significant water damage around the window.

When we had gotten to this point, not only did we find a bathroom that looked like it had been decorated by Jackson Pollock, but we also found that quite a bit of the original gypsum wallboard remained. (We had expected drywall!) Just an FYI: Be really careful when you are doing demolition in a sixty year old house. When you using a 5lb sledge on the gypsum wall board remember that there may be plaster on the other side that you do NOT want to remove. Or crack. There are no pictures of my handiwork, but I only managed to crack plaster in the hallway in two places before Eric pointed out the error of my ways. Moving on…
The other really interesting thing was that the tub had been replaced at some point. And it was just a bit longer than had been expected. In the following pictures you can see where the wall board had been removed to accommodate this larger tub.

It takes a lot more work to break up the old gypsum board than it takes to destroy drywall. And the stuff is really heavy too. We literally had to shovel the place out.

After getting the wall board off, the built in closet torn out, and most of the plywood off the floor we were finally ready to begin the real work.

The plywood on the right side was badly water damaged, much more than we had expected to find. The plywood on the left was screwed into place with so many screws that it took several hours just to get this one piece up.

And this was the end of the demolition. Stay tuned for next week’s repairs and rebuild!

Next blog on Tuesday.



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