Room Redos

Bathroom Renovation: Pipe Dreams and Wallpaper Wishes

September 17, 2015

Hear ye! Hear ye! We have solved our pipe issue! And it only cost $195! Imagine me rolling my eyes, sticking my tongue out, and letting my head fall to the side. Yes, I’m dead. $195? You’re killin me, smalls! After talking with the plumber we hired (whom we love, by the way), he said that they probably forgot to run the pipe before they laid the cement foundation. So this pipe…

thin-set removal in a small area |

…is supposed to be under the cement, not sticking out past the drywall. Mystery solved. We asked if he could either recess the pipe behind the drywall, or at least make it a little more uniform. The part closest to where the sink will go was a whole 2+ inches higher than the rest of the pipe. Because there is a drainage pipe in the way, he couldn’t recess it into the wall. Womp. Womp. So he took out the part that was bent, and put in a straight piece and an elbow at the corner.

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He also secured the other portions of the pipe as close to the wall as he could get it. Not our ideal solution, but at least now we can fit a baseboard over it with only a minimal gap. While we were talking to him about the possible solutions and how to address the baseboard gap, we did learn something new:

In order for  a bathroom to be considered “up to code” there must be 16″ from the center of the toilet to the wall on either side (32″ clearance overall). If there is not, it’s likely the home wouldn’t pass inspection if ever we tried to sell it.

I am so glad that he told us this, because we are planning to add about 1/2″ to the bottom of all the walls with planks. Thankfully, we have about 2″ to work with, so the 1″ added from planks (on each side) won’t be a code violation. Who would have ever thought of such a thing, right? So, heads-up Pinterest lovers, make sure you bust out your tape measures before messing with the walls around your toilets!

As far as the planks go, I know it’s a very trendy thing right now, and for that reason I was initially against the idea, even though I really love the trend. I want the choices we make in our home to stand the test of time — mostly, because I don’t want to have to do them over again. But I also want to enjoy our home and do things that we like, not just what some future buyer may like. So we were considering it, because it would help with our pipe-induced-baseboard-gap situation by beefing up the drywall a bit. But I was still on the fence about it until I saw this photo…

bathroom renovations


…and then I was down with it. It’s subtle and with the trim it also feels really classic / timeless. We plan we to run planks (similarly to those in the photo above) on 4 of the 5 walls. On the 5th wall, which happens to be the wall behind the toilet, we’re going to do something a little unexpected. I’m keeping it a surprise for now, because it may just sound a little crazy, but when it all comes together – fingers crossed – it’s going to be awesome!

Now, because we’re going to have the texture with the planks and that thing we’re doing on the 5th wall, I thought the wall texture that was sprayed on the walls over the wallpaper was going to be a little bit too much. So we decided to remove the wall paper and have smooth walls from the planks up. Well… Of course we hit another road block. You see some of the wall paper came off like this:

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In some areas, however, the wallpaper would come off, but then suddenly I was pulling off actual wall. I could not for the life of me figure out what was going on.

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I removed wallpaper from our other two bathrooms, and while tedious, I did not run into this problem. Then when I started removing the paper under the window it all made sense. I wet the wall with a spray bottle and scraped off some of the texture / paint to make sure that there was wallpaper there. There was, but it was already torn. That’s when I realized that someone else had previously tried to remove the paper. Apparently, it went awry for them as well, so they stopped removing and just added spackle, a skim coat, and texture to cover of their mistakes. Had I known that!

So now we are tasked with what the heck do we do? Parts of the walls still have texture, parts are smooth, some parts are ripped, some parts have gouges… Option #1: We discussed gutting it and putting in new drywall, and I was this close to grabbing a hammer and going to town, but after replacing, taping, and mudding the drywall in our kitchen we’d really like to avoid all those steps if possible. It’s not really our favorite thing to do. Option#2: I tried wetting the texture and scraping it off, but it was taking a long time and still coming off unevenly. Soo? Option #3: I did some research and read about just adding a skim coat right over the texture. I was very skeptical, but I thought I’d try it on a small section before completely ripping out the drywall. It seems to work? I can definitely see how it could work, but I’m still in the middle of putting the first coat on the walls so I’m still not convinced.

I wanted something pre-mixed so I picked this product up when I saw it at Home Depot; mostly, because it promised to dry quickly and not shrink or crack.

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I think it may be a little too thick for such large areas, though. Despite my best efforts, the knife is leaving ridges, and there are still some uneven parts.

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We were sick for the last 4 days so we really haven’t gotten much done, but plan is to finish the first coat, sand it, and then add a second final coat.

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