Does waxing your sink keep it cleaner longer?

Hang Your Hat Episode 8 just came out, and it is all about spring cleaning.  While doing my research for the show I came across a couple of cleaning hacks, a few of which were even good enough to try.  My favorite of these hacks was waxing the sink.  The idea is that waxing the sink will make water bead up on it, and gunk rinse down the drain easier, keeping the sink cleaner longer.  Since kitchen sinks tend to be one of the most disgusting germ filled areas in the home, and since my sink seems to attract filth like a magnet attracts ferrous metal, I thought it would be worth a try.

 The Sink Before - Not Hiding the Shame Today

The Sink Before - Not Hiding the Shame Today

 The close ups really do the filth justice.

The close ups really do the filth justice.

This is what my sink looked like when I started.  The close ups really do it justice.  I won’t deny it, it was filthy, and also the reason this hack appealed to me so much to begin with.  It always feels like as soon as I clean the sink, I blink and it is filthy again.  I was really hoping that this hack would give me a bit more time between serious scrub downs.

Step 1:  Thoroughly Clean the sink  

The sink needed to be cleaned before it could be waxed, so I went with a three step approach to getting it the cleanest it could possibly be.  I should note here that my sink is a stainless steel sink, and it can tolerate some pretty heavy cleaning.  Always make sure that the cleaning products you use are safe for the surface you are cleaning.

Baking Soda and Dish Soap

The first step in the cleaning was a good scrubbing with baking soda and dish soap.  This combo makes a slightly abrasive paste that is really good for cutting through heavy grime.  When I finished scrubbing I rinsed the paste off, and the sink was already looking a lot better.

Vinegar

Next I went in with a spray bottle full of vinegar and a scrubbing pad.  The vinegar is good at getting rid of water spots and minor lime scale build up (if you have heavy lime scale build up a product like CLR is a better choice).  Note here that I washed the baking soda off the sink before applying the vinegar.  Combining the two will not do anything harmful, but it probably won’t do anything beneficial either.  Since baking soda is alkaline and vinegar is acidic when the two are combined the Ph of the combination becomes neutral, like water.  Since I needed an acid for the water spots and the lime scale I did not combine the two.  

On a side note, you might notice vinegar reacting to lime scale if you have a lot of it.  It bubbles up just like it does when it is combined with baking soda.  This is because the lime, like the baking soda, is alkaline.  The reaction is a tiny bit of lime scale being eaten away by the vinegar.  

Once the vinegar was done doing its job I rinsed it off completely.

Bleach

Last I used a bleach based cleaner to disinfect.  Make sure the vinegar is completely washed off before applying the bleach because vinegar and bleach can create some harmful gas when combined.

I sprayed on the cleaner, and let it sit for 5 minutes to give it time to completely disinfect.  Then I rinsed it off.

 After Cleaning

After Cleaning

This is what is looked like when I had finished cleaning it - It cleans up pretty good!

Step 2:

Dry the Sink

Before wax can be applied to the sink it must be dry.  I grabbed a clean dry cloth and wiped it down.

Apply the Wax

Next I applied the wax.  I used carnuba wax – just like the wax used on cars.  My family does not put anything directly in the sink that we will be eating later, so I felt comfortable using the carnuba wax.  If my family ever put food directly in the sink I would have used a food safe wax instead.  

The wax is easy to apply, you just get a bit on the applicator and rub it on the sink trying to apply a thin even coat on all of the sink surfaces.  If you leave a few globs, like I did, it is not the end of the world, it just takes those areas a bit longer to dry.

Remove the Wax

Let the wax dry completely before you remove it.  When it is dry it will look like a white, slightly powdery, haze on the surface of the sink.  

Once it is dry grab another clean dry cloth and wipe off the dry wax (and be amazed how much crap you still get off the sink even after all of that cleaning).  You should not see any white haze left once the wax has been removed.

 

Step 3: Test it

 Even tiny drops of water bead up after the application of the wax.

Even tiny drops of water bead up after the application of the wax.

I was a bit nervous to test it.  I had such high hopes for this hack, and I really wanted it to work.  If it hadn’t worked I was going to be so disappointed.  Firebeard ended up getting some water when I wasn’t looking, some of which dripped into the sink.  It beaded up beautifully.  I spent the rest of the day rinsing things off in the sink and watching water and bits of food slide right down the drain without leaving a mark on the sink.  It was a beautiful thing to behold.

Step 4:  See how long it takes the filth to build back up again

And then I went on a business trip for 5 days.  Firebeard and the kids stayed home, and used the sink like they normally would.  It was rinsed out when dishes were done, but it was not cleaned or even wiped down.  This is what it looked like when I got back (and put the dishes in the washer):

 After five days of use and no cleaning.

After five days of use and no cleaning.

 Close up after 5 days of use with no cleaning.  

Close up after 5 days of use with no cleaning.  

Conclusion:

Holy Crap!  This is amazing.  I am never not going to do this ever again.  Five days after being cleaned and waxed it looks like it normally does five minutes after I clean it.  I don't know how this isn't standard Home Ec 101.  Really I could not be more pleased with how well this turned out.  You should definately give it a try!  I am heading off to wax the rest of the sinks in my house now.

 

To learn more about Spring Cleaning and cleaning Hacks check out Hang Your Hat Episode 8:  Wax on, Wax Off.  If you have a fantastic cleaning hack you would like to share, or have heard of one that might be worthy of a cleaning experiment, please let me know about it in the comments.

The Bathroom Reveal

The blog has been a bit neglected lately since I don’t have a lot of spare time, and I have been spending most of the time I do have on the podcast (which is getting better and better each week – check it out!).  It hit me the other day that I had never officially revealed how the bathroom looks now that we are finished with our mini remodel.  Let's remedy that now. 

Before I reveal how good it looks now, I want to remind you how it looked when we started.  Our house was built in 1977, and while it had been well maintained, maintenance was about all that had been done to it.  The late 70’s and early 80’s were still alive and well in our home.  The hall bathroom was a 1970’s builder’s special – basic, beige, and boring.  It was serviceable, there was nothing really “wrong” with it, but it felt dingy no matter how much you scrubbed it and the atmosphere was far from relaxing.

 After the shower doors were removed.

After the shower doors were removed.

We started the bathroom’s transformation, with removing the stuff that couldn’t be salvaged.  The Shower doors were the first to go.  It felt SOOO good to get those out – they were gross, and no amount of bleach and scrubbing would get the parts under the door seals clean!  Next we removed all of the caulk ….. the ridiculously bad, hideous caulk.  It was really terrible.  It was like they had a bad caulk, and decided to cover it up with more bad caulk – repeatedly.  It looked like an incredibly cheap hack job.  If we had done nothing in the bathroom but replacing the bad caulk, it still would have been a huge improvement in the appearance of the whole bathroom. 

 Significantly Cleaner Looking after painting.

Significantly Cleaner Looking after painting.

Next we decided to cool things down a bit.  We painted the walls in BM Paper White, a cool, almost white grey, and the trim in BM Simply White.  This left the tiles in the bathtub surround looking distinctly pink.  Since new tile was not in the budget, we painted the tile using Rust-oleum tub and tile paint.  I admit the tile looked great, but if I had it to do again I don't think I would paint the tile, I just don't think it will be very durable.  

 The bathroom cabinet after a coat of paint, new hardware, and a refinished countertop.

The bathroom cabinet after a coat of paint, new hardware, and a refinished countertop.

 Cabinet interior after paint and new flooring.

Cabinet interior after paint and new flooring.

Next, we completely refinished the cabinet, inside and out.  It received a new paint job, and hardware.  The countertop was also refinished.

 Floor Tile:  Before decades of dirt, after nearly new!

Floor Tile:  Before decades of dirt, after nearly new!

We even made the tile look nearly new by refreshing the grout.

While there are still a few things we would love to update as time and budget allow (like the mirror), the end result of this mini makeover was even better than we expected.  The bathroom looks fresh and clean, and it has a bit of personality now.  Something that was really lacking previously.

The beautiful Danica Odyssey shower curtain, that was the inspiration for the entire bathroom transformation.  I still love it and think it was a great choice.  It really makes the bathroom feel like a kid friendly space, without being a kid's space.

DSC_0203.jpg

To finish off the look I added a neon pothos in an aqua orchid pot, and some beautiful photos of the ocean.  The photos were given to Firebeard and I by the photographer, Joe Boris, for our wedding, and they are beautiful.  If you are looking for a photographer in the Atlanta area he is your man.  He does everything from lifestyle photography to corporate photography, and his work is impeccable.  

I think the most shocking thing about these before and after pictures is that one of the few things we didn't change in this bathroom was the lighting.  Initially we had fully intended to change out the lighting, because the bathroom just seemed SOO yellow when we started the makeover, but once we removed the yellowy beige paint from the walls and ceiling the room transformed.  Without yellow reflecting everywhere the room suddenly seemed bright, white, and cool.  It was an amazing visual transformation that we really didn't expect.  

To see all of the details of the bathroom transformation, including our many trials and tribulations, you can find them all here.

Stay turned for additional mini remodels!

Coat Closet Mini Makeover

We took a quick break from our bathroom remodel, to get some perspective before putting on the finishing touches.  During that break we tackled a quick and easy project - our hall closet.

In a tiny hallway type area, just off our foyer we have a small coat closet.  It is about 24 inches by 34 inches with 8 foot tall ceilings.  On the right side of the closet there is a large wooden box in the closet that forms a low shelf.   It houses our A/C intake vent and cannot be removed.  Prior to this mini makeover, the closet had a single hanging bar for coats, and a shelf that was so deep only Firebeard could reach things on the back of the shelf without a step stool.  Soon after moving into this house the closet was regulated to storage closet status, because it was so impractical to use, and I began to research alternatives.

In a previous post I shared the inspiration for our hall closet makeover.  We were inspired by several of the beautiful and functional coat closet makeovers on pinterest, particularly those that used hooks for hanging coats and bags rather than hangers.  We put that inspiration to use, and here is the result.

 

What was involved in the transformation?

Preparing the flooring for hardwood

We are slowly replacing the flooring in most of the house with engineered hardwood, so we decided that since we were already doing some work in the closet we would do some of the prep work for the new flooring.  We pulled up the carpet (but didn't cut it out), removed the tack strips and baseboards, and cleaned the sub floor.  The carpet stayed peeled up while we painted and was laid back in the closet when we were done to help protect the subfloor from wear and tear until we can install the new flooring.  We decided not to reinstall the baseboards since we would need to pull them back out when it was time for the new flooring.

Painting

We tried a couple of different colors in the closet before settling on Soft Mint by Behr.  In the tiny dark closet most of the mints we tried looked too dark.  Soft Mint is a really pale mint, but in the dark closet it looks much more vibrant than it does on the paint sample.

All of the trim, the shelf, and the ceiling is painted in BM Simply White.

Adding Support and Reducing the Shelf Depth

I wanted hooks installed along two walls in the closet, so we added an extra board along the back wall to screw the hooks into.  We were able to nail the additional board into the studs, so the hooks, being screwed into the board, will be able to hold more weight than if we had simply used a molly to screw them into the drywall.  It also adds an additional measure of support for the shelf.

We reduced the depth of the shelf by about 6 inches, so that I could reach the back of it.  It also makes it easier to step into the closet to hang things up.

Installing Hooks

The hooks, which are gold colored metal with a pretty decorated ceramic ball at the top, were from World Market.  I found them for only $2 a piece.

We decided to install the hooks on only two sides of the closet, leaving the right side of the closet (where the box for the air vent juts into the closet) free.  This gave us room for 5 hooks, each spaced about 6 inches apart.

Adding Mini Shelves

On the right side, above the air vent box we decided to install mini shelves to hold small items like sunglasses, and mail.  We used Ikea's Bekvam Spice Racks ($4 a piece), which we had originally gotten for a different project, but didn't end up using.  They were a great size for the closet, because they are only about 4 inches deep and don't project very far into the tiny room.  We painted them BM Simply White to match the rest of the trim in the closet.

We had a hard time finding anchors that would fit the built in hangers on the back of the spice rack.  We finally found that 50 pound EZ Anchor drywall anchors fit perfectly.

The Door

We decided to add a few special touches to the door as well.  The edge of the door was painted in Folk Art Chalk Paint in Vintage Mustard.  I love the little peek of color when we open the door.

We also decided to try our hand at painting the hardware rather than replacing it.  We used Rust-Oleum Universal spray paint in oil rubbed bronze.  If the finish holds up pretty well, we will use the same technique for the hardware in our hallway, and I will create a tutorial.

Finishing Touches

 Now:  Clean, neat, and a place for everything.

Now:  Clean, neat, and a place for everything.

We added a basket for shoes at the bottom of the closet, and a small basket for dog things on the "shelf" formed by the air vent's box.

At the moment we have a small basket on the upper shelf holding umbrellas and rain jackets.  I'm hoping to find two taller baskets that can fit in the closet side by side to make better use of the space.

We have left the baseboards out of the closet for now, since the new flooring will be going in soon.

 

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Miracle Grout Renewal

When we first started our mini bathroom remodel we decided not to replace the flooring.  Retiling an entire bathroom, even a small one, isn’t really in keeping with a “mini” remodel.  For the most part I have been pretty happy with that decision.  Our tile is white, so it actually goes with our new décor pretty well (even if the scale of the tile is way too big for the small bathroom).  The one thing about the floor that has been nagging at me is the state of the grout.  Next to all of our clean white surfaces, the grout was looking pretty dingy.

 Before:  Clean but stained and dingy looking

Before:  Clean but stained and dingy looking

At first I tried to clean the grout with standard floor cleaner.  When that didn’t work I switched to bleach.  When that didn’t work I switched to serious scrubbing with abrasive cleanser and a toothbrush.  I tried everything, but the very clean grout remained stubbornly stained.  Finally I gave up on removing the stains, and moved on to covering them up.  There are several methods and products available to cover grout stains, some with better reviews than others.  I decided to go with a product that had both rave reviews and a reasonable price tag, Polyblend Grout Renew.

Polyblend Grout Renew is an epoxy stain and sealer made specifically for grout.  I got it at my local Home Depot for about $13.  It looks a lot like paint, smells a lot like paint, and can be applied like paint.  The directions recommend using a toothbrush to apply product to the grout, but most of the reviews I read recommended a small paint brush, so that is what I used.  The difference in the color of the grout before and after the Grout Renew was applied was like night and day.  After just one coat there was a significant improvement, and after the 2nd coat it looked brand new.  It took me about an hour per coat, and when I was done I had enough product left over to do at least one more bathroom of the same size.

 Before:  20+ years of discoloration 

Before:  20+ years of discoloration 

 Half way through the application of the first coat.  The difference is startling. 

Half way through the application of the first coat.  The difference is startling. 

Polyblend Grout Renew comes in about 35 colors.  The color I used was Snow White, which dries a very light grey, but when wet was almost exactly the same color as my tile.  Despite my best efforts to get the product on only the grout, and trying very hard to remove all that I got on the tile immediately with a wet rag, the fact that I couldn’t see the product on the tile while it was wet means that I missed a bunch of it.  When it dried it became visible on the tile, and looked pretty messy.  I was able to get it off my hard slick tile with two Mr. Clean Magic Erasers and a lot of scrubbing , but I don’t think it would come off of porous tile as easily (this is your warning). 

 Grout Renew dried on the edges of the tile.

Grout Renew dried on the edges of the tile.

 After the tile clean up, looking brand new!

After the tile clean up, looking brand new!

Bottom-line, would I do it again?  In a heartbeat!  I got grout that looks brand new for $13 and a couple of hours of work.  I would recommend it to anyone that has stained or discolored grout that is otherwise in good shape.

 After:  The grout looks brand new!

After:  The grout looks brand new!

As a finishing touch, we added a new bath rug.  We found this one for only $8 at TJ Maxx.

This post contains affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.

Unappreciated Details: Cabinet Interior

After we finished making the outside of our bathroom cabinet beautiful the inside looked a little, well, gross.  The paint was yellow, there were stains, and the floor of the cabinet had some previous water damage.  So we decided to give the inside a makeover as well.  

 Before:  Yellow, stained, and water damaged

Before:  Yellow, stained, and water damaged

 After:  Clean and Bright

After:  Clean and Bright

First we pulled up the water damaged floor of the cabinet, and discovered that the AC duct simply let out under the cabinet.  The air wasn’t shunted toward the vent at the front of the cabinet at all.    The floor of the cabinet also had VERY little support from underneath.  Firebeard fixed both of those problems by installing floor supports on either side of the open duct and vent, reducing the space that the air could fan out.

 Removing the floor of the cabinet 

Removing the floor of the cabinet 

 Discovering the open duct and lack of floor support

Discovering the open duct and lack of floor support

We decided to replace the very thin floor with slightly thicker plywood, but that gave us another problem.  The new thicker flooring didn’t bend.  We had to cut it into 3 pieces to fit it into the cabinet.  Fortunately we had already planned to cover up the plywood flooring with vinyl, click together “wood” flooring that would protect from future minor water leaks better than wood alone.  My parents had given us some or their left over vinyl flooring so this part was free.  Since the new plywood floor and vinyl flooring was thicker than the previous flooring the cabinet lip no longer covered it.  We installed some quarter round shoe molding to take up the additional space.  We also painted the inside of the cabinet to freshen it up, and cover a few stains.  

 Installing the New Cabinet Floor

Installing the New Cabinet Floor

Since we don’t have a lot of floor space in this bathroom, I placed a small laundry basket inside the cabinet to collect clothes after bath time, and I still had enough room under the cabinet for extra towels and a few supplies.  I will admit I had to get rid of a lot of older towels to make everything fit, but it was worth it.   If you are looking for a place to donate your gently used towels, shelters (either human or animal) are often in need of them.

 Stocked with Supplies

Stocked with Supplies

Converting a False Drawer Front

Over a month ago we started to give the cabinet a little facelift.  We planned to paint it, and change out the hardware- nothing serious.  It should have been a weekend’s work at the most, and had we stopped there it would have been, but instead, we decided to be clever.

When I was little, my sister and I shared a fairly small bathroom with very little countertop space, and no drawers.  At some point my Dad installed a tilt out drawer behind the false drawer front in front of the sink to add a bit of storage, and since then, every time I see a false drawer front (like the large one on the kid’s bathroom vanity)  I feel like it is a waste of valuable storage space.  It seemed like an ideal time to remedy the wasted false drawer front space when we began working on the bathroom vanity.  We bought a kit by Rev-A-Shelf on Amazon that could convert false drawer fronts into tilt out drawers for $20 (enough for two), and that is where the trouble began. 

While we were waiting for the kit to arrive we got ready  for it.  Removing the false drawer front from the cabinet was surprisingly easy.  I expected it to be securely attached to the vanity, but when I got under there  wasn’t much holding it in at all, just a couple of pieces of wood screwed to false front that fit snugly against the cabinet frame.  The wood swiveled out of the way releasing the front.

The false front had been painted to the front of the cabinet at some point, so I also had to use a razor blade to separate the false front’s paint from the rest of the cabinet.  Then the front popped off – easy as pie.  Note the raised bit of wood on the back of the false front, that will become important later.

When the tilt out drawer kit arrived the cabinet was otherwise ready to go.  We thought it would take 30 minutes to an hour to install the kit, and then we would be done.  Hubris, pure hubris. 

I calculated the placement of the tilt out hinges to within 1/32 of an inch based on the instructions provided with the kit, then, being very confident of my measurements, we quickly screwed everything in and closed the door ready to start on our next project.  The drawer front was too high, much too high.  We were a full 1/4 of an inch off (enough that it was noticeable), despite very careful measurement and direction following.

We took everything off, repositioned, reinstalled, and reclosed.  This time the drawer front was the correct height, but the raised piece of wood on the drawer front hit the cabinet frame before it closed.  The next time the hinges hit the raised piece of wood on the back of the drawer front.  We had to cut off a chunk of the raised portion to make the hinges fit correctly.  After several more attempts our cabinet was doing a very good impression of Swiss cheese, and the drawer front was no longer hitting the frame, the hinges were no longer hitting the drawer front, and everything was at the correct height, but the drawer did not close all of the way, it stood out from the cabinet about as far as the raised portion on the back of the drawer front was thick.

It was now obvious that the makers of this kit had assumed that the false drawer front that the hinges are attached to would be flat.  To compensate for the raised portion of our cabinet front we needed to install the hinges father back in our cabinet than the instructions indicated.  However, there was no space to install them further back, so we had to improvise.  I came up with the plan, and Firebeard implemented it.  The basic idea was to attach additional blocks of wood to the drawer glides to either side of the tilt drawer opening that could then be used to screw the hinges in place.  We got two lengths of 2x4, approximately 6 inches long, routered out a channel on the backs of each block that would fit over the drawer glides (and still allow the drawers to slide in and out) and allow the wood to sit flush with the cabinet opening, and then glued (and Screwed) the wood blocks in place.  We were then able to install the hinges farther back in the cabinet, allowing the drawer to close all of the way.

So now we finally have the new tilt drawer in place, and I will admit I really like having it.  It is a great place to hide the toothpaste and toothbrushes, it can be taken out easily and washed, and the countertop is less cluttered as a result.  Would I put another one in?  Even though I have another kit ready to be installed I haven’t decided if I will actually install it yet.  It was just such a giant waste of time and energy that I am not sure if it was worth it.  If you decide to put one in yourself, here is my advice;

  • Use the instructions to get a general idea of how everything is installed and where everything should go
  • Don’t use the actual measurements in the instructions, there is just too much variations in cabinets for the measurements to be completely accurate
  • Get a helper (or two) to hold things in place while you mark where all the holes need to go
  • Expect to install the hinges more than once, and for the installation to be a far bigger pain in the butt than the helpful kit indicates

If you have any helpful tilt drawer installation tips, or just want to share an installation horror story tell me about it in the comments.

This post contains affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.

Completed Cabinet

I hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th, whether you celebrate American Independence or not.  I am happy to say that in my house we took a little break from the home remodeling projects and actually did a bit of relaxing.  We decided to stick with tradition this year, and did all of our normal 4th of July activities.  First was dinner - burgers/veggie burgers.  I make a cake that the kids refused to eat.  Then we moved on to the annual Nerf war, which, as dictated by tradition, only ends when the losing child begins to cry.  Finally the combined blood sacrifice to the mosquitoes (lest they suck out our souls), and fireworks.  It all ended at about 10pm with all of us literally dripping sweat (Florida), and smelling strongly of exploding gunpowder.  Good times.

I actually felt good about relaxing this 4th of July rather than guilty for slacking off because we are nearly at the finishing line in our mini bathroom remodel.  Today I finally get to reveal the last of the big items in the remodel, the bathroom cabinet. 

 Before: Dated, dreary, and dirty looking

Before: Dated, dreary, and dirty looking

 Now:  Brighter, and whiter yet more colorful

Now:  Brighter, and whiter yet more colorful

The bathroom cabinet has been nearly complete for quite a while, the only thing that was stopping us from completing it was the installation of a tip out drawer in the place of the cabinet’s false drawer front.  This sounds easy enough, but it was a complete nightmare.  I will go into the tilt out drawer a bit more next time, but for now, bask in the pretty completed cabinet.   

The color is Everglade Green by Clark + Kensington, color matched to Valspar’s Interior Satin wall and trim.  We wanted to match the dark blue of the shower curtain and actually took the curtain to several stores before we found Everglade Green.  Initially wasn’t completely sure of the color (while it was the closest I could find it still wasn't a perfect match) so I just got a small tester can.  I ended up painting the entire cabinet with just the tester (total cost $4).  I may eventually polyurethane over the paint if it starts to wear a little too fast, but for now it is holding up pretty well.

We also changed out all of the cabinet’s hardware.  The old stuff was just a bit too frumpy for our sleek new look.  The hinges are super basic chrome hinges from home depot similar to these.  They were about $1.50 each, or $6 for entire cabinet.  The European Steel Bar Style handles, by Franklin Brass were another Amazon steel.  We got 10 for $16.99, about a $1.70 each (as of this writing they are currently $26.00 for 10, or $2.60 each).  I am pretty happy with the quality of these and would definitely get them again, however, they were not as shiny as I expected them to be.

Total exterior transformation cost $18.50, not too shabby.

 

This post contains affiliate links, all opinions are my own.

Adding a Pop of Color

Despite my love of a clean, refined white room I could never have a completely white room in my own house (even if I didn't have kids, and a dog tracking dirt in the house).  While white rooms can feel beautiful and serene, they too often feel drab and cold.  Colorful rooms on the other hand feel energetic and warm, but too colorful rooms can feel overwhelming and claustrophobic.  In my own house I like to marry the clean look of a white room with eclectic pieces and pops of color that give a room energy and personality.

 Adding Color to the edge of a door  - inspiration from Apartment Therapy

Adding Color to the edge of a door  - inspiration from Apartment Therapy

I was looking for ways to add pops of color to my mostly white hall bathroom when I came across this article from Apartment Therapy.  It details several ways to add color by painting the edges of objects a color that contrasts with the color of the rest of the object.  When I saw the above picture of the edge of a door painted neon orange, I knew I had to do this to my own room.

Here is the result:

 A subtle hint of color from the now dark hallway.

A subtle hint of color from the now dark hallway.

I painted the edge of the door  Seaside Villa, in Home Decor Chalk Paint by Folk Art because I had it on hand and it was the perfect color.  Chalk paint tends to be a bit softer and more prone to scratching than traditional acrylic paint, so I am a bit concerned that it will not hold up over time.  I used Folk Art Home Decor Clear Wax over the paint to protect the finish, and I have had good luck with the durability of this paint previously, but only time will tell how well it will do for this application.   The door (and the rest of the trim), is painted in Simply White by Benjamin Moore, a slightly warm white that contrasts nicely with the cooler Seaside Villa.

This mini project really gave me a lot of bang for my buck.  The only cost to me was a little time, but the impact of this small change is surprisingly big.  It is hard to describe the difference this small change made, but I can say that somehow the room now feels more playful, and complete, and like details are a priority.

If you have done any surprisingly impactful small projects, or know a clever way to add a pop of color to a room, let me know about it in the comments.

 

At What Height Should a Shower Curtain be installed?

How high up should a shower curtain be installed?  It depends on the length of the shower curtain/shower curtain liner being installed, the height of the tub/lip of the shower, and personal preference.  However, in an effort to figure out the appropriate height for the shower curtain in my own bathroom, I created a simple equation that can be used to determine the minimum and maximum appropriate shower curtain height that you can use in your own house. 

Here is how it works:

 Shower Curtain Height Measurements

Shower Curtain Height Measurements

First determine the length of the shower curtain/shower curtain liner.  To make things easy I am going to assume that the shower curtain and shower curtain liner are the same length.  Here in the US the standard shower curtain length is 70 to 72 inches (178 to 183 cm) and square, but it is getting easier to find shower curtains that are not the standard length.  In my case my shower curtain was 71 inches (180 cm) long.

Next determine the shower curtain hook/ring drop.  This is the amount of space between the top of the shower curtain and the bottom of the shower curtain rod when the shower curtain is hung on the rod with whatever hook/ring you will be using.  Depending on your shower curtain hooks this amount may be negligible, but if it is more than .5 inches (1.3 cm), or you are working with very tight tolerances,  it should be taken into account when figuring out the shower curtain height.  In my bathroom the drop was about 1 inch (2.5 cm).

Then determine the exterior interior height of the tub or shower lip.  To determine the exterior height measure the distance between the floor outside the tub/shower and the top of the tub/shower lip.  My tub was 14 inches (36 cm) tall.  To determine the interior height measure the distance between the inside tub/shower floor and the lip of the shower.  The interior height of my tub was also 14 inches (36 cm).

Last determine the amount the shower curtain liner should overlap the tub or shower lip so that it does not allow water out.  In a shower you generally want the shower curtain to overlap the lip of the shower by at least 1 inch.  Minimum overlap in a tub is generally 3 inches (7.6 cm), since tubs are curved and the shower curtain liner usually cannot hang straight down a little extra overlap length is needed.  Maximum overlap should still leave the liner about .5 inches (1.3 cm) from the floor so that it will not be stepped on.  Subtract .5 inches (1.3 cm) from the interior tub height to determine the maximum overlap.

 Now put all of your measurements in the below formulas:

  • Maximum Shower Curtain Height = Shower Curtain Length + Shower curtain hook drop + Height of tub/shower – Minimum shower curtain liner overlap
  • Minimum Shower Curtain Height = Shower Curtain Length + Shower curtain hook drop + Height of tub/shower – Maximum shower curtain liner overlap

In my bathroom the maximum shower curtain height = 71in (the shower curtain length) + 1in (the hook drop length) + 14in (The exterior shower height) – 3in (the minimum overlap for a tub) = 83in (211 cm)

The minimum shower curtain height in my bathroom = 71in (the shower curtain length) + 1in (the hook drop length) + 14in (The exterior shower height) – 13.5in (the maximum overlap for my tub) = 72.5in (192 cm)

 

Since my bathroom will be used by children, who are liable to splash water out of the tub accidently, I decided to go with a bit more than the minimum amount of overlap as a safety measure and hung my shower curtain rod 80 inches (203 cm) from the floor.

Within the range of Minimum to Maximum shower curtain height how do you determine how high you should hang your own curtain? 

Here are a few considerations that may help you out:

  • If there is an extra tall person in your household (like Firebeard in my house), make sure that the shower curtain is hung at least a couple of inches higher than they are tall or they are likely to hit their head on the rod every time they get in the shower.
  • Is the front of your tub/shower especially ugly?  Hang the curtain a bit lower to hide it.
  • Is the front of your tub/shower good looking?  Hang the curtain a bit higher to show it off.
  • Want to make the ceiling appear higher than it actually is?  Hang the curtain as high as possible (even consider buying an extra long shower curtain or a long window curtain to hang at ceiling height) to give the illusion of extra height.

What about width?

Most tubs and showers are about 60 inches wide.  The average shower curtain is 70 to 72 inches wide, or 10 to 12 inches wider than the average tub/shower.  This allows the shower curtain and liner to overlap the shower by a few inches on each side to keep water from escaping.  If your shower is significantly wider or narrower than 60 inches, you may need to find a specially sized or custom shower curtain.  If you have a wide shower, or just want a fuller looking shower curtain, an alternative to custom curtains is to use two shower curtains or two standard window curtains in place of just one. 

Now a bit about my own new curtain rod and curtain.  

 Screw Mounted curved curtain Rod by AQ

Screw Mounted curved curtain Rod by AQ

 Installing the Screw Mounted Rod

Installing the Screw Mounted Rod

Curtain Rod

I went with a screw mounted curved curtain rod by AQ that I found at my local TJ Maxx for $16.  This was an especially good deal, because screw mounted curved rods are surprisingly hard to find.  Most of curved rods I found in my price range were tension mounted rods.  I specifically sought out the screw mounted rod rather than the tension rod because I felt that it would be less likely to fall on the head of the child that inevitably tugs the curtain getting into the shower.

 Double Glide Roller Shower Curtain Rings by Utopia

Double Glide Roller Shower Curtain Rings by Utopia

The Hooks/Rings

I got double glide roller shower curtain rings by Utopia for $7 on Amazon.  This is the first time I have used this style of hook/ring, and I love it.  They are easy to get on and off the rod if needed (but do not fall off), and I can easily take off the liner to clean while leaving the curtain in place.

The Liner

The liner is a Mildew-Free PEVA 3 Gauge Polyester Shower Liner by InterDesign which I also got on Amazon.  It was only $5 when I got it.  While I think it may be one of the cheapest liners available on Amazon it is still relatively substantial considering the price, and hasn’t tried to attach itself to anyone trying to take a shower yet like some cheap lightweight liners will.

 Odyssey shower Curtain by Danica Studio

Odyssey shower Curtain by Danica Studio

The Curtain

Now the pièce de résistance, the shower curtain, which was the inspiration for the entire bathroom.  The shower curtain is Odyssey by Danica Studio.  I also got it on Amazon, and it was $50.  $50 is more than I would normally spend on a shower curtain, and I debated this purchase for a while, but in the end I feel like it was worth it.  Everytime I see it, it makes me smile.

Once the shower curtain went up the bathroom really started to feel more complete, and I could start to see my vision for the room coming together.  Even though we still have several things left to do, it is starting to feel like we are on the downhill side of an unexpected mountain climb, and I can’t wait to get to the bottom.

(This post contains affiliate links, but I have not been paid to review any of these products)

Quick Tip: Removing Chipping or Peeling Paint

We have had a lot of chipping and peeling paint to deal with in our new house, and as a result I have had many opportunities to experiment with the different ways to remove it.  My new favorite way to remove chipping or peeling paint is a real blast – of heat.  Ha, ha, ha!  (I know, I’m a dork).

What do you need?

  • A heat gun if you have one, or a blow dryer with a high heat setting
  • A scraper – Either stiff plastic or metal.  If you use metal remember that it can easily gouge soft wood.  I like to use a painter’s 5 in 1 tool.

How do you do it?

 Heat Guns Soften the Paint

Heat Guns Soften the Paint

Using the heat gun or blow dryer warm up the paint until it is slightly soft.  It might take a little trial and error to figure out exactly how warm you need your paint to be.  Too little heat and it won’t be any easier to scrape, too much heat and the paint will get gummy and smear.  Make sure to keep the heat guns moving to spread out the heat (and prevent scorch marks).

 The softened paint scrapes of easily.

The softened paint scrapes of easily.

Then scrape your paint – it should come off with significantly less effort than when the paint was cold.

We sand anything that we can’t scrape off, and then if possible scrub the crap out of the painted object with an abrasive pad and a vinegar and water solution.  Anything that is left after that just gets painted over (if it hasn’t come off after all of that it is probably going to stay attached).

So far this method has yielded the best results in the least time for us, which is important for a person with high standards and limited time. 

Do you know a better way?  Let me know about it in the comments.

DIY Countertop Refinishing

Regular Readers know that so far our mini bathroom remodel has not been as mini as we had anticipated.  Things have cost more than we planned, taken longer than we planned, or just not gone to plan.  But the way our bathroom countertop looks now makes me feel like it was all worthwhile.  It was the kind of project that I need every once in a while to restore my faith in DIY – a quick win. 

 Before - Unattractive Laminate

Before - Unattractive Laminate

 After -  my Mom Thought we installed marble 

After -  my Mom Thought we installed marble 

I really am incredibly happy with our new bathroom countertop, and really excited to share it with you all, so let’s get started, by taking it from the beginning;

One of the things that I knew I wanted to do when we started this mini bathroom remodel was update the countertop.  The old countertop was a sandy colored laminate.  It was in good shape, but it added nothing to the space.  Initially I had visions of granite and marble dancing in my head, but a limited budget put the cabash on that pretty quick.  I considered a lot of refinishing options, from using a countertop restoration kit, to building a new one out of planks, to covering the existing countertop in concrete.  I also considered faux marble, which looks beautiful when done correctly, and pretty terribly when done poorly, and decided that my artistic skills were not quite up for it.  I finally came across what looked like a pretty simple countertop painting and sealing technique on Designing Dawn.  The technique basically involved sponge painting a variety of colors in layers (true artistic talent not required), and pouring on a thick sealant called Envirotex Lite.  Her results looked pretty amazing, and she even had a follow up post showing how well it had held up over time (very well).  I was sold.

The entire process started by taping off the area that would be painted, and draping everything the Envirotev could drip on in plastic so I wouldn’t have a giant mess to clean up later (since I am messy and couldn’t drape the entire room in plastic I still had a bit to clean up – it doesn’t come off of things easily).  Then we sanded and primed the existing laminate countertop.  We started with a general purpose primer which was a complete disaster (you can read more about here), but the second primer we used (Zinnser Bin) worked like a charm.  For the record, my primer recommendation for this project is Zinnser Bin, but Primers should always be selected with the surface they are priming and the medium that will cover them in mind. I would also recommend sanding prior to taping, because the sanding dust gets caught in the tape.  This wasn’t a problem for us since we had to re-tape everything anyway (see priming post).  We also ended up removing the sink entirely even though we didn't originally intend to (again see the priming post).  I would remove the sink from the start if I was doing this over again.  The sink really isn't hard to remove (or put back on), and it makes the surface much easier to work on.

 1st Disastrous Priming Attempt while the sink was still in place - Looking pretty sad

1st Disastrous Priming Attempt while the sink was still in place - Looking pretty sad

 After the 2nd Primer Attempt and removal of the sink - Looking much Better

After the 2nd Primer Attempt and removal of the sink - Looking much Better

Next was the artistic painting which I was most nervous about.  Once the primer was fully cured I laid down 3 coats of my base color, Benjamin Moore Simply White in Satin.  I waited the recommended recoat time between coats, so this took a while. 

 Three Layers of of Base Color Applied.

Three Layers of of Base Color Applied.

Then it was time to let my inner artist free.  I put a bit of each of my 3 paint colors in a plastic container and added a bit of water to thin them out.  Then I dampened my sponges before dunking them in my thinned out paint. 

 Paint Colors Used to Create the Faux Stone Look.  Clockwise from the upper left BM Moonshine, BM Simply White, and Grey Craft Paint.

Paint Colors Used to Create the Faux Stone Look.  Clockwise from the upper left BM Moonshine, BM Simply White, and Grey Craft Paint.

To make my pattern I started with my darkest color and basically dabbed it all over the countertop using the kitchen sponge.  Then I did the same with the medium paint, and the base color paint, letting some of the color that went before peek through each time.  I didn’t let the paint dry between the colors so they ran together a bit, which I felt made it look even more natural. 

 The first of my 3 colors applied, and not looking super promising.

The first of my 3 colors applied, and not looking super promising.

While the paint was still wet I sprinkled super fine glitter over the countertop to give the finished product a bit of depth, like real stone.  I was pretty reluctant to bring glitter into my house because, as my sister’s friend says “Glitter is the Herpes of the craft world – once you get it you can’t get rid of it,” but it made the finished product look so good that it was worth it (even if I keep finding glitter around the house for the next 3 months).  Then I let everything dry.

 All three paint colors and glitter applied - starting to look pretty nice.

All three paint colors and glitter applied - starting to look pretty nice.

Confession time:  The next morning after painting I decided that the left side of the countertop was too lite and I did a bit of touch up painting.  This was a mistake.  The newly applied paint just didn’t blend well with the previously applied paint.  I should have left it the way it was, and now I regret touching it up.  If you do this yourself reconsider touch up painting.  Maybe wait a day or sleep on your touch up painting decision.  If you do decide to do some touch up painting keep in mind that the newly applied paint probably won’t blend perfectly with the initially applied paint and make sure you are ok with that.

Ok, so everything is taped, draped in plastic, and artistically painted – now it is time for the magic sealing ingrediant - Envirotex Lite.  Envirotex Lite is a two part reactive polymer compound (a resin and a hardener) that is mixed in two stages, then poured on top of whatever you are sealing.  Basically you pour equal amounts of the resin and hardener in a mixing container, mix for the prescribed period of time, pour it into a new mixing container, and mix it again for the prescribed period of time, then pour it on whatever you are sealing and spread it out so that it covers the whole surface.  We found some of the directions for this product kind of insane, but we followed them to the letter, including timing the mixing, switching containers, the whole nine yards, and we had absolutely no issues with the product hardening properly and found it relatively easy to apply, so at least they work. 

To use the Envirotex Lite, you mix it up per the directions, pour it on, then spread it out (we used cheap plastic putty knives which we have been able to reuse).  It was pretty easy to spread out with the putty knives, but it doesn't easily flow over the surface you are covering.  It is more like moving corn syrup than water.  You also have to work pretty fast because the mix starts setting up pretty fast, and once it starts to set you shouldn't move it any more (more on that below).

 Amazingly Smooth Glassy Horizontal Surface actually reflecting!

Amazingly Smooth Glassy Horizontal Surface actually reflecting!

Since Envirotex lite is really made for horizontal surfaces, the vertical surfaces we needed to cover were a bit more of a challenge.  When we poured the mix onto the countertop we poured a bit extra near the vertical surfaces then used our putty knives to lift and spread the mix onto the vertical surfaces like we were icing a cake with really thin sticky icing.  The result was very well covered vertical surfaces, but unlike the perfectly smooth glassy horizontal surfaces the vertical surfaces are a bit textured.  This really isn't a big deal.  I had to try very hard to get this texture to show up in a picture as it is pretty hard to see.  The pic below shows the texture in literally the worst possible light.

 Vertical Surfaces are textured.

Vertical Surfaces are textured.

When the Envirotex starts to set up bubbles will form that need to be popped.  According to the  directions you can use a blow torch to pop the bubbles or blow on them.  We got a blow torch for this purpose, but ended up just blowing on them and it worked fine on our relatively small application.  If I were using the Envirotex on something larger I would go the blow torch route.

One thing that we learned while attempting to pop bubbles is that you should not touch them - AT ALL.  This is what happens if you do;

 Be warned - DON'T TOUCH THE BUBBLES or THIS will happen!

Be warned - DON'T TOUCH THE BUBBLES or THIS will happen!

Our bubble touching mess was so bad that we ended up putting on a second coat of the Envirotex the next day right on top of the first.  The second coat looks fantastic.

 The Finished Countertop!

The Finished Countertop!

Want to know exactly what we used to make this happen?  Here are the details;

  • Paint:
    • Primer:  Zinnser Bin
    • Base Color:  Benjamin More Simply White
    • Medium Grey:  Benjamin Moore Moonshine (similar to, but slightly darker than our wall color)
    • Dark Grey: Anita's All Purpose Acrylic Craft Paint in Grey
  • Painting Supplies:
    • Paint Brush- To Lay down the base coat and primer
    • 3 Clean kitchen sponges – To Layer my paint colors (in retrospect natural sea sponges would have probably been easier to work with)
    • 3 Disposable plastic containers to hold paint (something clean from the recycling bin works great)
    • Water to thin the paint
    • Painters Tape
    • Plastic Tarps (we used cut up garbage bags)
  • Finishing Touches:
    • Tree House Studios Extra Fine glitter:  Super small glitter used to add a bit of depth and sparkle like you see in real stone
  • Sealing Supplies:
    • 2 4 oz boxes of Envirotex Lite (we ending up doing 2 coats – 1 box per coat)
    • 4 flat bottomed cylinder plastic containers (2 per coat for mixing the Envirotex)
    • 4 wooden stiring sticks (2 per coat for mixing the Envirotex)
    • Cheap Plastic putty knives (for spreading the Envirotex over the countertop)
    • Hot Breath for popping bubbles

Let me know what you think, and if you would consider doing it yourself in the comments.

(This post contains affiliate links, but I was not paid to review or use any of the products mentioned.)

Primer on Primer

This weekend we started refinishing our bathroom countertop, and like nearly every other aspect of this Mini Bathroom Remodel, things didn't go quite to plan.  This is the story of how we discovered that not all primers are created equal, and I discovered the primer that I will be using on all shiny surfaces from now on.

The current countertop in our bathroom is a sandy beige laminate, that is very likely original to the house.  While it is not the worst looking laminate countertop I have ever seen (our Master Bathroom Countertop is significantly worse), it doesn't match with the rest of our updated bathroom, so we decised to refinish it, since it was an inexpensive alternative to replacing the countertop.  Initially we considered overlaying the countertop with concrete, as was done here, but eventually we settled on painting and sealing the countertop, because it was (at least theoretically) faster and less messy than concrete.

 The ORIGINAL countertop - sandy beige.

The ORIGINAL countertop - sandy beige.

Since laminate is a hard, slick surface, paint has difficulty sticking to it, so we made sure to prepare the surface for the paint by roughing it up and thoroughly cleaning it.  I started with a 150 grit sandpaper, and finished with a 220 grit.  There really wasn't much visible difference after the sanding, but the countertop felt subtly less slick.  After removing all of the sanding dust I thoroughly cleaned the counter top, first with my normal all purpose cleaner, then with a calcium, lime and rust remover.  I have seen a lot of people use TSP to clean countertops and cabinets prior to painting.  Personally I wouldn't use TSP to clean any interior surfaces because it needs to be really thoroughly rinsed off with water, and generally I don't want to be using that much water on an interior surface.  And because anything that is worth doing is worth overdoing, as a last step before paint I used a de-glosser, also known as liquid sandpaper, to further remove the shine from the countertop.  Oh, and we also lifted the sink out a bit so I could paint under the lip – no shortcuts here.  Then it was go time. 

 Sanded, cleaned, sink elevated, taped and ready to be painted.

Sanded, cleaned, sink elevated, taped and ready to be painted.

I had a giant container of Kilz Hide-All Primer (similar here) left over from another project so I decided to use that.  It was after all primer, and it had worked perfectly fine on other projects, and as they say waste not want not (foreshadowing anyone?).  This is what it looked like after the first coat – not too shabby.

 After one coat of kilz hide-all primer

After one coat of kilz hide-all primer

After waiting the prescribed recoat time I went back in for a second coat, and that is when things went wrong.  As I began painting I accidently scraped the dry surface with a fingernail.  The paint didn’t scratch – it completely came off.  I tried to simply fill in the hole with more paint, but as I did so additional paint began to bubble up.  I decided that perhaps I hadn’t waited long enough – paint drying times are not exact after all.  So I carefully scraped off the bubbling paint, and still more carefully patched the hole I had made with more paint. Then I left the mess to dry ever longer.

Several hours later (around 10 o’clock at night), I went back to the bathroom to put on the second coat of paint before I went to bed so that it would be ready for its 3rd coat in the morning.  Before I got started I gently touched the dry paint and it came off in my hand.  Tired and frustrated at a day wasted, I began scraping off the paint.  It was so poorly adhered that it came off in wide swaths, and only 10 minutes later I was done.  The countertop looked exactly as it had before I had started painting.

 Kilz hide-all primer coming off in strips.

Kilz hide-all primer coming off in strips.

 After ten minutes of scraping the countertop is back to it's previous state.

After ten minutes of scraping the countertop is back to it's previous state.

To ward off nightmares of endless repetitions of painting and scraping and repainting, I began my research into primer types and their applications that night.  I had seen examples online where countertops had been successfully painted so I knew it could be done, but most of the time the bloggers that had done the painting didn’t specify the type of primer used.  I had to go a bit deeper and ended up searching on the major Primer Manufacturer’s websites.  On the Zinsser website I found a likely candidate, Zinsser Bin, which was touted as ideal for hard slick surfaces.  Zinsser Bin is a shellac formula primer with an alcohol base.  This primer cures in about 45 minutes (once all of the alcohol evaporates), and water based paints can be used on top of it.  I decided that I would go straight to the hardware store the next morning to pick some up, and had mercifully paint free dreams that night.

The next morning Firebeard helped me remove the sink completely (it was a pain to work around) and I sanded and cleaned the countertop again before we headed to the hardware store.  I was able to pick up a quart of the primer for $13, and had it shaken at the store (apparently alcohol based paint separates pretty easily).   I also picked up some cheap foam brushes to apply the primer because it does not clean up with soap and water.  When we got home I set to work.

 Re-sanded, Re-cleaned, re-taped and sink removed - Ready for round two

Re-sanded, Re-cleaned, re-taped and sink removed - Ready for round two

The Zinsser primer was much thinner than I expected but went on pretty easily.  The whole bathroom smelled like alcohol for about an hour after painting, but it was by no means the worst smell we have encountered in this mini remodel.    Below is what it looked like after application.   It seemed about the same as the Kilz primer after its first coat, so I wasn’t holding my breath expecting success.  I was in fact expecting another failure, and wondering if home depot would take it back as defective. 

 After a coat of Zinsser Bin.

After a coat of Zinsser Bin.

After an hour I nervously came back into the bathroom and gently scratched the countertop – nothing happened.  I couldn’t believe my eyes, surely this was a fluke, so I scratched a bit harder – still no damage.  The primer stuck!  It worked!  Finally something had gone to plan!  I was so excited I think I might have danced a little jig.  We were back in business.

So I have officially found my go to shiny, hard surface primer – Zinsser Bin.  And until it fails me, or I find something better, I am going to preach it to the masses in blog land.  Zinsser Bin is, as far as I know, the best primer out there for shiny hard surfaces.  If you are planning to paint your laminate countertop, save yourself a headache and a day of wasted work, and start with this stuff.

Next time I hope to show you the finished, refinished countertop in all of its shiny glory.  Until then, please let me, and fellow readers, know about your favorite primers and their ideal applications in the comments.

This post contains affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.

Caulk Up

I finally caulked the bath tub, and it looks pretty good if I do say so myself.

 Newly Caulked Bathtub looking mighty fine!  Tub spout not fully installed.

Newly Caulked Bathtub looking mighty fine!  Tub spout not fully installed.

This was actually my first time caulking a bathtub, so I am not going to give you a play by play on my caulking technique (it was pretty bad).  I am however going to tell you why my bathroom caulk looks good now despite my poor technique, and a few lessons I learned along the way.

Before I took the plunge I read a LOT of tutorials on how to caulk a bathroom.  Here are a few:

There are a few things that nearly all of the tutorials seem to agree on, like using painters tape, and caulk that is supposed to be used in a bathroom, and there are a few things that the tutorials seemed to disagree about, like the angle the tube of caulk should be cut at, and angle that the caulk should be applied.  I decided to use the advice that the tutorials all agreed on, and do what felt right for the rest of it.

 To angle or not to angle that is the question.  Also - Check out our mad graphic design skills :)

To angle or not to angle that is the question.  Also - Check out our mad graphic design skills :)

Here is what I learned:

1.  Initially you should cut the smallest possible hole in the tube of caulk – you can always cut it larger.

I cut the hole on the tube of caulk too big, and as a result the caulk came out MUCH faster and thicker than I had anticipated.  It was a bit of a mess.

 Hole cut MUCH too large.

Hole cut MUCH too large.

2.  Use painters tape to define your caulk lines (and protect you from excess caulk).

This SAVED me.  If I had not done this the caulk that I applied would have looked SOOOO much worse than it did before I removed the horrible preexisting stuff.  As I said previously, I used too much caulk, WAY too much caulk.  As I was smoothing the caulk into the grooves it belongs in, the excess caulk built up on the sides of the tape.  Since the tape was easily removed, this was not a problem at all.  Had I not used the tape, all of that excess caulk would have gotten all over my tile.

 Defining those caulk lines

Defining those caulk lines

3.  Wide painters tape is better than narrow painter’s tape.

I used thin painters tape, and it was amazing, but because I had so much excess caulk some of the excess still ended up on my tile.  Had I used wider tape I think all of the caulk would have stayed on the tape.

4.  Keep a wet rag nearby.

If you can get a wet rag on errant caulk as soon as possible it cleans up pretty easily.  Looking at my completed caulking job you would have no idea that wayward caulk got all over my bathtub.

5.  A finger is a surprisingly good caulk applicator.

I saw a lot of different tools recommended to smooth the caulk out once it was applied, from specially designed professional implements to plastic spoons to ice.  I just used my finger, and it turned out great.  I was able to tell how much pressure should be applied, and my hands were able to catch the caulk that didn’t pile up on the tape.

6.  Keep paper towels nearby – a lot of them.

All of the caulk that piled up in my hands (see #5) had to go somewhere.  Many paper towels were needed to contain it all.

7.  Work Quickly

While caulk is pretty fresh it is easy to manipulate, adjust, and correct.  As soon as it gets a “skin” you might as well leave the mistake, because trying to correct things will just make them worse.  The good news is that if you have all your supplies ready to go, caulking goes remarkably quickly.  I went from applying the tape to pulling it back off in under 30 minutes.

 Check out that beautifully applied caulk.

Check out that beautifully applied caulk.

Finally, the hardest of all the lessons I learned.  Tape will pull epoxy paint off tile.

As frequent readers know we painted our bathroom tile with a Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit.  Despite waiting more than the prescribed 3 days to allow the paint to cure, and despite our excessive prep work, the painters tape used to apply the caulk removed the tile paint when it was pulled off.  This was REALLY upsetting to us.  The bare patches of tile were like emotional black holes, sucking all of the happy feelings out of the room and threatening a permanent fugue state.  Firebeard immediately mixed and applied more of the paint to keep us all from falling into pits of despair.  I didn’t get a picture first.

With the amount of work that we put into painting the tile, we had hoped that it would last for a least 2 or 3 years while we were doing work on the rest of the house.  Right now it doesn’t look like that is going to be likely.  But on a positive note, the caulk should last for many years to come.

Coat Closet Inspiration

Firebeard decided to touch up the paint on the bathtub surround tiles after all, so we are staying out of the bathroom, and away from the paint fumes for a few days.  I thought in the meantime I would show you the inspiration our next project - The Coat Closet Makeover.  

At the end of this winter our tiny foyer adjacent coat closet looked like you would need a crow bar to cram one more coat into it.  It had become completely unusable, and coats had started to pile up on the floor not feet from the closet.  I began scouring Pinterest for a beautiful solution to my coat closet problem, as you do, and I found this;

 Gorgeous Coat Closet Makeover from Classy Clutter.

Gorgeous Coat Closet Makeover from Classy Clutter.

This is a coat closet makeover from Classy Clutter, and I love EVERYTHING about it, from the little gold hooks to the minty paint color!  

The thing that first caught my eye was the lack of hangers.  Who really wants to take the time when they walk into their house and put down their stuff to take out a hanger to hang their coat?  Not me. Hooks are easy.  There is very little effort involved in hanging something on a hook,  and something that involves very little effort is exactly what I need at the end of a long day!  It is also pretty easy to assign each family member a hook, and by extension, see who has too many coats in the closet at a glance.

The classy clutter closet also had two rows of hooks.  The lower row of hooks is ideal for hanging purses and bags, something that my closet, with it's single clothes rod, was completely lacking and in desperate need of.  

Since initially finding the Classy Clutter closet maker on Pinterest I have found several other inspirational closet makeovers.

Row 1:

  1. Herringbone Mud Bench from The Rooster and the Hen.  I love the texture of the Herringbone wood, and the addition of seating is a nice touch.
  2. Polka Dot Closet from Lil' Luna.  The shelving and two rows of hooks give this small closet a lot of room for storage, and the polka dots are really fun.
  3. Faux Wainscoting from The Real Housewives of Riverton.   Paint was used to great effect on this one.  I think that the white used below the 2nd row of hooks gives the impression of wainscoting.  Just a little bit of additional molding would complete the look.

Row 2:

  1. Yellow Striped Closet from Away We Go.  I'm a big fan of the built-in shoe storage shelves in this one.
  2. Closet turned Mudroom original source unknown.  I found the pic of this closet turned mud room on the This Suburban Life blog.  If anyone knows the original source please let me know so it can be credited properly.  I LOVE the shoe storage on this one - it even has room for boots!
  3. Beautiful Storage Shelf from The House of Smiths.  This is by far the most innovative closet shelf I have seen for this type of application.  I love the cubbies for baskets filled with small items plus the upper shelf larger stuff.

We will not be doing much on our closet makeover until the Mini Bathroom Remodel is complete.  For now I will just be planning our idealized inspirational Frankenstein closet.  

If you have any ideas that you think might strike my fancy, please pass them along in the comments.

Worthwhile Tile Smile

I watched the Simpsons movie for the first time the other day.  It was ok.  I’m not sure if it just hasn’t held up that well over time, or if it wasn’t especially funny to begin with.  I think my favorite part was probably Homer “fixing” a sink hole in the yard by sticking baby Maggie in it, and the fact that “fix sinkhole” was on Homer’s to do list in the first place.  I will try not to spoil a nine year old movie, but suffice it to say that sticking the baby in the sinkhole did not fix it, and because The Simpsons is a cartoon where everything works out in the end, the expanding sinkhole actually benefited the Simpson family, rather than hurting it like it would in real life.  Oh, if only neglecting maintenance,  and a lack of foresight/follow through were as advantageous in real life as they are in the movies.

 Hole left over from shower door removal.

Hole left over from shower door removal.

 Cracked Tile Discovered under shower door support.

Cracked Tile Discovered under shower door support.

When we removed our sliding glass shower doors we were left with some holes in the tile where the shower doors had been screwed to the wall, and a piece of tile that may or may not have been broken before the shower doors were removed.  Even though we plan to completely remodel the bathroom in a few years, leaving the screw holes open and the tile cracked simply was not an option since water from the shower could seep through the holes destroying the drywall behind the tiles, and worse, the subfloor under the tub (ounce of prevention, pound of cure, etc).  It was clear we needed to fix the tile.  What was less clear was how to go about doing it. 

The obvious choice was bathtub appropriate caulk.  After all, it is designed specifically to waterproof the gaps between tile and other bathroom surfaces.  The problem was that, after the initial caulk removal marathon in the bathroom, I was not feeling very charitable toward caulk, also, a big glob of the stuff on the broken tile would look terrible.  So I headed to Home Depot, looking for another solution, and to my surprise found one.

JB WaterWeld is an epoxy putty designed to repair moist or underwater surfaces.  Better yet, it can be used on ceramic (like my tile) and many other slick surfaces.  It is also pretty cheap (about $4 for enough to rebuild an entire tile), pretty easy to work with (like a cross between drywall spackle and modeling clay), and cures in only an hour.    It is pretty much an ideal tile repair material in my opinion, but there is a catch.  It dries off white, so it may not match your tile, and like dry wall hole filler, it needs to be sanded if you want your patch to be smooth.  Fortunately for us we were already sanding our tile so that we could paint it, so the sanding wasn’t a problem, and we were painting the tile, so the color of the patch wasn’t an issue either.

As a side note, a lot of people use JB water weld to fix plumbing leaks, and a lot of people complain about its inability to fix pressurized plumbing leaks.  I didn’t use it to fix a pressurized leak, so I do not know if it works well for that application or not.  It worked wonderfully for my application, but I don’t think I would use it to permanently fix my plumbing – I would replace the leaking pipe, or call a plumber. 

One Amazon reviewer also mentioned that he used this stuff to fix his bridgework, and it did such a good job that he was able to “eat corn on the cob” ...  I don’t recommend this application either.

As a side, side note, some of the questions and answers for this product on Amazon are really funny.  My Favorite Question:  “bathtub”.  That’s right, simply “bathtub”.  The answers are the best.

To use JB WaterWeld;

  • Prepare the surface to be repaired by sanding (if possible), cleaning, and drying
  • Cut off a piece and squish it up for a bit (like sculpey clay), until it becomes soft. 
  • Stick it on the surface to be repaired, and kind of smoosh it in to all of the cracks and holes and things that need to be filled. 
  • Smooth it out a bit at this point so you don’t have to sand as much later (it cures pretty hard), just be sure all the cracks and holes you filled stay filled while you are smoothing it out.     
  • Let it dry/cure.  It should take about an hour.
  • Sand it smooth/level with the surrounding surfaces (if desired).
  • Paint or otherwise finish the surface (again, if desired).
 JB WaterWeld Applied

JB WaterWeld Applied

 After Sanding

After Sanding

We of course sanded and painted our patches, and when we were finished the holes left by the shower doors were nearly invisible, and it was even hard to tell the broken tile was ever broken.

 After Painting - The repair is nearly invisible!

After Painting - The repair is nearly invisible!

All in all the easiest fix we have made to this bathroom so far, and I recommend JB WaterWeld without hesitation to fix your tile, but not your teeth.

(This post contains affiliate links, but I was not paid to review this product, I just like it).

Tile Time

Last time I told you about the self-induced nightmare of prepping our tub surround tile to be painted.  It was an activity that should have taken hours, but took us over a week.  We went so far beyond the manufacture’s recommendations for surface prep that by the end we were questioning our own sanity, and wondering if it was all worthwhile.

 Near the End of our Tile Prep Nightmare.

Near the End of our Tile Prep Nightmare.

The painting portion of this project didn’t take that long, but it wasn’t a lot of fun.  With our Rust-oleum Tub and Tile Refinishing kit Firebeard was able to do 3 coats of paint on the tile during the course of several hours while I was at work, and I am still thanking him for saving me from this.  The paint smelled so badly and so strongly that when I got home I could smell it feet from our front door.  Even with windows open and fans on It was truly, overwhelmingly bad.  Firebeard had been wearing a pretty high quality respirator while painting all day, and was still feeling pretty sick from the fumes when I got home.  We actually left the house for several hours that evening to give the paint smell a bit more time to dissipate, and it was JUST bearable by the time we got home.  Fortunately The Boy and The Girl were on a sleepover, so they were not subjected to the worst of the smell, but it took an additional 2 days for the lingering paint smell to leave the house, and even now, about a week later, the bathroom still smells unpleasantly odd.

Per Firebeard the actual painting was not as easy as a typical painting project.  The epoxy paint dried quickly, so there was very little time to fix mistakes.  The paint also seemed to eat the foam paint brushes and rollers he was using, and a new one had to be used for each coat, or he risked pieces of foam being embedded in the paint.  Combine that with the brain killing fumes, and this was not one of his favorite projects.  However, even given all of the brilliance of hindsight, he is considering getting another kit and doing one more round of painting before we caulk because a few spots did not get as thoroughly covered as he would have liked.  I guess it couldn’t have been that bad if he is willing to do it again.

 Before - Pink Tile

Before - Pink Tile

 After - Bright White Tile

After - Bright White Tile

There is no denying that the overall look of the tile now is a tremendous improvement.  It looks clean and fresh, and surprisingly shinny.  It does have a slightly odd texture now though, a bit like orange peel texture but more subtle.  We also have a few spots that are a less perfect than others as is pretty typical when painting by hand rather than with a sprayer.  This doesn’t really bother me, but it is worth knowing if you decide to do it yourself.  The paint also perfectly covered the patched holes left behind after removing the sliding shower doors which was a big plus (I will tell you how I patched those next time).

 Close up of the tile's new texture.

Close up of the tile's new texture.

 One of the less perfect Spots.

One of the less perfect Spots.

So was all of the prep work worth it?  At this point it is hard to tell.  Bad prep work usually doesn’t become obvious until something has been used for a while and all of the paint suddenly starts peeling off, and good prep work usually goes unnoticed.  What I can say for sure is that we did not experience the peeling or puckering paint that some Amazon reviewers said they experienced.  So far our paint seems VERY securely attached, whether that is from our obsessive prep work or not, I don’t know.

Bottom Line, Knowing what we know now would we do it over again?

I think we probably would.  The improvement in the tile’s appearance was worth the effort we put in, but if we were going to do it again, I think we would put in less effort.    The instructions on the box are there for a reason.  They have been tested, and if they didn’t work they wouldn’t be on the box.  We went totally overboard on the prep work, making this project much harder than it should have been, and I think we have learned our lesson. 

In conclusion, painting the tile was worth it, follow the directions on the box, and for god’s sake ventilate, ventilate, ventilate. 

Tile doesn't sand

If you have ever watched Supernatural, you know that the beginning of every show starts with backstory.  So much happens in each show that missing a couple of shows would leave you completely lost.  The backstory provides the context for the current insanity and makes it seem like the logical progression of events rather than a complete plot twist.  I feel like this post deserves backstory, so that you will know what brought us to this point.  We got to the current insanity through a logical progression of events.

We started out just a few weeks ago with the dream of a quick bathroom refresh.  A little paint here, some accessories there, and voila, a brand new bathroom.  Sure we wanted to fix a few small things along the way and remove those disgusting shower doors, but those were quick projects that wouldn’t take any time at all, right? 

Wrong!  We were wrong.  So far everything has taken about twice as long as we expected it to.  Well that was until we tried to deal with the tub surround tiles that looked pink after painting the bathroom.  This project was supposed to take a day of work, and 3 days of dry time.  So far  it has already taken 2 weeks, and we are all feeling a bit crazed.

So, what brought us to this point?  Here is the back story;

 Sickly Beige Tile.

Sickly Beige Tile.

Next to our swatch of Paper White paint, our tiles looked sickly beige.  While I am not a fan of sickly beige, I felt like it wouldn’t stand out, and I could pretend that they were just slightly off white and I could live with it until we were able to do a full bathroom remodel in a couple of years. 

 Tile looks pink after painting.

Tile looks pink after painting.

Once the Paper White covered the entire wall the tile no longer looked sickly beige.... it looked pink.  I will admit, I had been hoping that the slightly cool Paper White would tone down the yellow in the tile a little bit, but it worked a little too well.  The yellow undertones in the tile were nearly eliminated, but the red undertones were accentuated. 

After about a day of trying to convince myself that the pink tile didn’t bother me (and failing miserably), I started looking for a solution.  I had a couple of options;

  • Living with the pink tile until we could do a complete remodel, the pink grating on my aesthetic sensibilities every time I walked by the bathroom.
  • Getting one of those drop in plastic bathtub surrounds (I would rather live with the pink tile)
  • Tiling the bathtub surround (I seriously considered this option, but it was so far out of the budget that this really wasn’t a viable possibility)
  • Painting the tile

Painting the tile is not something I would have EVER considered prior to this, but suddenly it was an option that seemed filled with possibly.  Since we had already removed all of the caulk there wouldn't be that much prep work.  It would only take a couple of days from start to finish.  I wouldn't have to spend a fortune on new tile, and I could get the white tile I had wanted in the first place.  I could have my cake and eat it too.  In retrospect, painting the tile was too good to be true, and I should have seen this as a warning sign from the beginning.  

We decided to go with the Rust-oleum Tub and Tile refinishing kit.  It is a 2 part epoxy acrylic paint that can be rolled on like standard wall paint, but should hold up well under high humidity.  It was only $25 on Amazon when we bought it, and it had pretty great reviews.  The only warning we repeatedly saw from the Amazon reviewers was that the tile needed to be well prepared.  "No problem," we thought.  The kit would be delivered in two days (thanks Prime!), and we would do the prep while we were waiting on the kit and dive right into the painting when it arrived.  

What did the prep entail you ask?

  1. Removing all of the caulk from the tile that would be painted
  2. Sanding the tile. 

We had this in the bag.  We had already removed the caulk - step one done.  All we had left to do was sand the tile.  The Amazon reviewers really stressed this part.  The most knowledgeable (sounding) among them recommended that the shine be removed from the tile so that the paint would be able to grip the tile.  This made perfect sense (its what you do when you refinish wood), so this is what we set out to do.  

 Our tub spout just twisted off.

Our tub spout just twisted off.

 About 40 years worth of hard water deposits.

About 40 years worth of hard water deposits.

First we had to remove our newly installed tub faucets, and the tub spout.  The tub spout just twisted off.  We were shocked to find what we think is nearly 40 years of hard water deposits.  It was pretty gross.  The good news is that when everything goes back on we will have a shiny new tub spout to match the new faucets.

We started sanding the tile with the 220 grit sandpaper that the kit recommended.  It didn't seem to do anything at all.

Then we switches to 60 grit (super course) sandpaper.  It made the tile shinier.  

I went to the web searching for a tile sanding solution and found Emery paper, a sandpaper made from silicon carbide.  We grabbed the only kind they had at Home Depot (which did not fit on any of our electric sanders) and went to town on the tile.  It worked, but sanding the tile by hand was maddenly slow.

 After the belt sander.

After the belt sander.

Then finally one day while I was at work Firebeard took out the big guns - the belt sander.  While still at work I texted to ask how it was going, and the above picture was the response.  All of the flat tile surfaces had been throughly sanded and were ready to be painted, but the curved edges of the tiles were as shiny as ever.  

At this point we were starting to get a bit desperate, and I opted for some chemical warfare.  Muriatic acid is a fairly strong acid that when pretty heavily diluted is sometimes used as a hail Mary bathroom cleaner.  It is used heavily diluted and as a last resort because it has the tendency to remove the shine/finish from tile, porcelain, etc.  Fortunately this generally negative tendency of muriatic acid was exactly what we needed.  We strapped on the safety gear, and allowed the muriatic acid to eat as much of the remaining finish off the tiles as we dared (while keeping it off of everything else).

After this we did one last round of hand sanding, and then very through cleaning, and we were finally ready to paint.

Next time on, "This is taking significantly longer than we thought it would Mini Bathroom Remodeling Project,"  the painted tile.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Painting and Magical Color Changing Tile

The last I left you we had just finished removing all of the caulk in our hall bathroom, scrubbing the left over grout and tile clean, and we were waiting for everything to dry completely before we applied the new caulk.  After doing everything we could to remove the insidious mold that grew up under and around the old caulk, we were not about to take any chances caulking over damp crevices, and determined that we would wait at least a day to let everything dry before applying the new caulk.   But not being ones to sit on our laurels watching grout dry, we decided to paint in the meantime.

We had already picked out a few front runners in the paint department that are consistent with the rest of the house’s updated color scheme, and had painted a few swatches on the walls.  The front runners were Edgebomb Gray by Benjamin Moore, Moonshine by Benjamin Moore, and Paper White by Benjamin Moore. 

As soon as it dried it became clear that Edgecomb Gray was not for us.  It looked brown rather than greige in our windowless bathroom, and that was exactly what we were trying to get away from.  So far this has been something of a theme in this under lit house of ours.  The pretty, warm inviting greiges I see all over Pinterest look dirty and muddy when I get them on my walls.  At least it makes picking a paint color a bit easier.

Moonshine and Paper White  were the final contenders, and deciding between the two of them was not easy.  Moonshine and Paper White are pretty similar.  They are both light neutral to slightly cool grays that look a bit silvery or shimmery and change color slightly depending on the lighting.  We liked them both, so we lived with the colors for a few days to see if one of them grew on us. 

I waffled back and forth, leaning more toward one, then more toward the other.  I looked at them during the day, at night, with the lights on, with the lights off, and stole quick glances at them every time I passed the door (as if I might catch the paint off guard while it was revealing its true nature).    I  was not really able to make up by mind until the shower curtain we ordered for the bathroom came in (I’m not showing it just yet – it’s a surprise, and it’s awesome).  When we held the shower curtain up to our paint swatches the choice became clear.  The Moonshine looked perfectly fine, but the Paper White really popped.  We decided to go with Paper White, which is a bit lighter and brighter than Moonshine and looked great with our new shower curtain. 

Money Saving Tip:

If you are planning a painting project and have an Ace Hardware nearby check to see if they are having one of their 2 for 1 paint sales before heading out to buy paint.  A couple of times a year, Ace Hardware has a paint sale in which they sell 2 gallons of paint for the cost of one gallon.  The brand and line of paint that is on sale generally changes each time, so if you are particular about the brand you paint with this may not be the sale for you, but if you are like me, and price trumps brand loyalty, it is a great way to get paint cheap – just make sure you buy enough to finish your project or are willing to pay full price if you run out.

We were lucky enough to buy the paint for this project during one of Ace Hardware’s 2 for 1 sales, so we got two gallons of BM Paper White color matched in Valspar Optimus for $40 .  This should be enough to finish this project, and another we have planned (stayed tuned).

The ceiling paint is BM Simply White color matched to BEHR Premium Plus Ceiling Paint.  It was leftover from painting the ceiling in our office and dining room.  I love this color for a ceiling because it is definitely white, without being stark white.  I feel like it makes the room feel a bit more welcoming than a true pure white.  

We hadn't realized just how yellow the ceiling was until we started painting it.  Just look at the before and after.  It is like night and day!  Next to the Simply White the old color looked like the teeth of a 3-pack-a-day smoker. The really troubling part is that we have no reason to suspect that the prior owner of 30+ years ever smoked in the house - we think they actually CHOOSE that color....   

So here is what it looked like after 2 coats of Paper white on the walls and 2 coats of Simply White on the ceiling.  The trim still needs to be painted and we need to do some touching up on both the walls and the ceiling.  So far I am very happy with the paint color we chose, but there is a problem.  The tile in the bathtub surround now looks pink!

Next time, figuring out what to do about the pink tile.

Mini Bathroom Remodel - DeCaulking

After removing the shower doors we were left with a much more open, inviting bathroom, and a crap ton of caulk that needed to be removed.  I think I need to start by emphasizing just how bad the caulk was in this bathroom.  I have only once ever seen caulk applied more poorly than it was in this bathroom (the worst I have seen is our Master Bathroom).  It looked as if a person that REALLY loved caulk, but had no idea how to apply it decided to try their hand at caulking in the bathroom by literally smearing it in the general vicinity of a corner.  But they didn't try just once, oh no.  It looked they they kept coming back to try again without removing the previously applied caulk.  In other words it was really bad.

 Caulk Removal - Surprisingly Interesting

Caulk Removal - Surprisingly Interesting

Since we already had to remove the caulk left behind by the shower doors, we decided that it would be a good time to re caulk the entire bathroom the right way, and got to work removing the old caulk.

 We started with layers and layers of peeling caulk.

We started with layers and layers of peeling caulk.

Removing caulk really isn't hard, you basically just scrape it off, but having the right tools can make the job even easier.  My tools of choice are a caulk removing tool, a scraper, a razor blade (in a holder) and caulk softening spray.

 My caulk removing tools.

My caulk removing tools.

We started by removing most of the caulk on the flat surfaces with the scraper, then moved onto the corners using the caulk removing tool (it's strangely shaped blade is perfect for getting into the corners).  There was still a lot of caulk left after our first pass (see smeared caulk above), so we went back in with a razor.  

 Scraping,

Scraping,

 scraping,

scraping,

 and more scraping.

and more scraping.

Since there were still a few stubborn pieces left we followed the razor blade up with the caulk softening spray.  The spray really didn't spray for me, so we painted it on with a cheap foam paint brush (which was pretty well disintegrated by the end), let it go to work, and then made another pass with a razor blade.  

 Caulk Removed.  Tub Cleaned.  Looking Pretty Good.

Caulk Removed.  Tub Cleaned.  Looking Pretty Good.

The tile is looking pretty good following the caulk removal.  A good scrub down did wonders to remove any remaining residue,  and once it throughly dries we will be ready to re-caulk.

Mini Bathroom Remodel - Removing the Shower Doors

One of the things I was looking most forward to in this mini remodel was removing the shower doors attached to the bathtub.  You may not agree with me, but I think that framed shower doors are gross.  I’m ok with the frameless variety that are popular now, but 1980s framed sliding shower doors are just disgusting.  Here in warm humid Florida mold develops under the seals on the doors, under the handles, inside the tracks pretty much everywhere scrubbing is impossible.  There is no way to get them completely clean without completely disassembling them including the doors themselves, and dipping them in bleach.  I couldn’t wait to get the repulsive things out!

 Before:  Ugly, gross, impossible to clean framed sliding shower doors.

Before:  Ugly, gross, impossible to clean framed sliding shower doors.

Framed sliding shower doors are actually surprisingly easy to remove.  It took us less than 5 minutes to completely remove the doors (although cleaning up the residue left by the doors took significantly longer).  Here is what we did:

 Removing the First Door

Removing the First Door

First Firebeard grabbed the door on the outside of the bathtub and lifted it up out of its upper track.  Our door had a small clip holding the bottom of the door to the bottom track as well.  I was able to pop this out with a screwdriver while Firebeard held the door up.  Then we moved this door well out of the way so we could handle the next door.

Next Firebeard grabbed the second door and lifted it out of the upper track.  The upper track then lifted up on its own accord, and it was at this point that we realized that the upper track was being held on by gravity alone.  While Firebeard was still holding on to the second door I removed the upper track (so it didn’t fall on him and brain him), then quickly removed the clip holding the door onto the bottom rail.  I was a little too busy preventing injury to get a picture of this part.

 Shower Doors and upper Track removed.  Bottom track and sides remain.

Shower Doors and upper Track removed.  Bottom track and sides remain.

We were left with the bottom track, which appeared to be caulked in place, and two side supports which were screwed in and caulked. 

 Unscrewing the side supports.

Unscrewing the side supports.

 Scoring the caulk on the side supports.

Scoring the caulk on the side supports.

We removed the side supports by scoring the copious amounts of caulk holding them in place with a razor and then unscrewing them.  The tops of the supports came away easily, but the bottom where the side supports met the bottom track required some additional scoring and a bit of twisting to pry them loose.

 Scoring the caulk on the bottom track.

Scoring the caulk on the bottom track.

 Removing the Bottom Track.  Gross.

Removing the Bottom Track.  Gross.

The bottom track was held on by caulk and an adhesive strip (under the track).  We scored the caulk on the side of the track to loosen it, then simply pulled it free from the adhesive strip.  Underneath was another confirmation of just how gross framed sliding shower doors really are.

 Removal of shower doors complete.  Clean up from removal to come.

Removal of shower doors complete.  Clean up from removal to come.

Even with all of caulk and dirt and god knows what else left behind after removing the shower doors I was amazed by how much better the bathroom already looked.  

Total Cost of the Mini Bathroom Remodel Thus Far: Still $58.96

  • Faucet Kit:  $44.99
  • Stem Tool: $5
  • Tub Spout Rings:  3 at $2.99

Next time - Removing the Caulk Left Behind