A 5-Step DIY Bathroom Remodel

When bloggers Carrie and Chris Rigsby purchased their 1886 New England home, they knew they had a lot of renovation work to do. They did virtually all of it themselves–and some of the changes they made were quite dramatic. For example, in the process of their guest bathroom remodel, one of the few elements they kept was the black-and-white hexagonal tile floor. But nearly everything else had to go. Here’s a glimpse into their bathroom remodel story:

Step 1: Demolish the Shower/Tub

First, Carrie and Chris removed the glass shower door. Then they demolished the almond-colored toilet and tub and the brown wall tile. Chris removed the old cement board behind the wall tile in the shower/tub.

Before (Photo: Carrie Rigsby)

Step 2: Rebuild the Shower/Tub

Chris and Carrie worked together to re-tile the walls in the tub/shower enclave, an endeavor that Carrie jokes “tested their marriage.” Chris installed new cement board to line the walls, and then applied Red Guard as a water barrier. Carrie cut the tiles using a tile cutter, while Chris installed them. Above the tub at the height of one tile, Chris drew a line using a level and worked upward from there. Carrie mastered the tricky task of using handheld tile cutters to cut a notch out of a tile to accommodate the shower spout. After waiting a few days to allow the mortar to set, they applied the grout by hand due to the tiles’ beveled edge.

Carrie demanded a tub apron, so Chris made one of affordable plywood and picture molding instead of more expensive beadboard, applying a semi-gloss mildew-resistant paint to protect it from moisture. Finally, they filled the new tub with water and applied the silicon caulk.

Filling the tub with water helps to weigh down the tub and widen the gap between the tile and tub, ensuring that your caulk line will always be watertight, even if the tub flexes.

After (Photo: Carrie Rigsby)

Step 3: Strip the Walls

To remove the wallpaper and border, Carrie scored the walls then soaked them with hot water and DIF. After three passes, the wallpaper was saturated and peeled off in sheets.

Step 4: Straighten the Ceiling

To install the crown molding, Chris built a soffit to compensate for the slope in the wall. He had to slide a piece of trim behind the chair rail, acting as a wedge to attach the rail to the angled wall.

After (Photo: Carrie Rigsby)

Step 5: Restain the Vanity

Carrie stained the blond oak vanity darker using a combination stain and polyurethane product that required no sanding or stripping. She removed the hardware and doors and stained them separately, applying about three coats of stain to the vanity until she got the shade she wanted.

Have you treated your bathroom to a DIY renovation? Share your bathroom remodel story in the comments below.

Written by Sarah Terry

Photography by Carrie Rigsby of Hazardous Design




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