HOUSE: Newburgh

Where we’re at with the bathroom.

The tiles are gone. Two layers of sheetrock are gone. Two layers of rotted subflooring are gone. The shelving is gone. The walls are gone, the floors are gone, the toilet and sink are gone. Gone! What’s left is what you see here. (This is where we started.)

Yeah, I guess the original floor isn’t salvageable after all! I had been hoping to find something workable under all of that plywood, but asbestos-laden tar paper and rotted planks go beyond what I’m willing to repair (with good reason). And so, what you see here will be covered with a new plywood subfloor and the matte black pennyrounds I originally planned to use.

(If you’re desperate for demo photos, there are more here!)

I coated the floor with a heavy-duty primer to help prevent scary stuff from getting kicked up while we worked on the new subfloor. Then I dug out the rotted areas and filled them with epoxy.

We also started putting in the new subfloor! It took me an hour of obsessive measuring to do what you see above! I’m not a numbers person, so I have to draw diagrams and over-label everything. We ran the grain perpendicular to the joists, put screws in every 6 inches (avoided the joists, attached the subfloor only to the original one), shimmed the low spot with cedar shakes, and so forth. Neither Evan or I knew anything about any of this until we started doing it, so it’s very exciting to embark on projects with a sense of confidence.

On Friday, the plumbers are coming to do the roughing-in. I can’t believe this is all moving so quickly!

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  • Reply Karrey November 12, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Are you getting the tub for this bathroom powder coated as well? I’m trying so hard to find a place near my house that will powder coat the tub for the house we’re buying, and having no luck.

  • Reply carrie November 12, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    oh wow! i saw the first couple of pics in my reader and was like what the…?!??!! my dream last night consisted of me gutting my bathroom and only the tub was left. seriously. the reason i had the dream is because every single time i enter my bathroom, i imaging doing just that as well as what i envision for how i’d like it to be 😉

    congrats on the forward progress, doing house project stuff yourself is really gratifying!

  • Reply Anna at D16 November 12, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Karrey: We’re actually holding off on getting the tub refinished at all for now, since it’s kind of nice to have a place where we can wash paintbrushes, clean storm windows, DYE MY HAIR, etc., without having to worry about damaging the surface. When/if the time comes that we want to refinish it, though, we will go with an on-site epoxy recoating process. Powder coating requires the tub to be removed and taken away, and we don’t want to deal with that in this bathroom. Aside from the rust around the drain, the tub is in pretty good shape — I may just touch up that spot myself for the time being, and live with the results as long as possible. 🙂

  • Reply Karrey November 12, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    I’ve considered reglazing it instead of powder coating, but having to be so careful with it all the time makes me shy away from that option. I keep reading horror stories of botched tub jobs, too, which makes me think that maybe I’d rather just spend the money to buy a new tub with no character.

  • Reply erin@designcrisis November 12, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Anna, oh this makes me nervous just looking at the pictures, but I have no doubt that you’ll get the job done right, on budget and ahead of time. Maybe you should be an architect or a contractor?

    As for the tub reglazing business, let me know how it goes since we’re planning to do ours, too. I love our old sunken cast iron tub and don’t care to trade it out for a new and cheaply made version.

  • Reply euni November 12, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Anna, this is awesome. I hope one day my vocabulary will include “joists.” 🙂

  • Reply nathalie November 12, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Hey Anna, have you seen the new Moomin mug ?? check it out over my blog..its so cute, i know you ll love it..

  • Reply Malena November 12, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Hi Anna,
    We helped my mom survive a home renovation and are still recovering from the horrible experiences we had with the contractor. Reading your blog and seeing all your (and your husband’s) hard work helps me get over it. Thanks.

  • Reply Kate F. November 12, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Wow. You guys are brave… I am so impressed by all the work you’re doing yourselves; we were lucky that it was mostly cosmetic stuff in our place, and we got scared of the wiring and had a professional do all the electric. My feel of accomplishment at the careful planning and assembly (of ikea cabinets…) in the kitchen pales in comparison to subflooring and shims and epoxy!

  • Reply Terri November 12, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Hi –

    Wow, what an enormous undertaking. I am envious (in a nice way) and totally awed by your courage to renovate!

    Hey, have you read Mrs. Limestone’s blog about renovating their Brooklyn Limestone. It is an awesome blog – they have just finished gutting a townhouse and the results are gorgeous – go back to her older posts. I think you will be inspired!

    Nice to meet you, Terri xo (via decor8)

  • Reply woodley park-zoo November 12, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    From this pic, I almost like the rusted out spot in the tub, doesn’t it kind of look like a teardrop? Anna-drop!

    You know what’s weird? I keep reading mentions of Beacon, NY in various blogs… then I looked it up in maps google and noticed it was right next to Newburgh! It almost felt like a ‘sign’ when I ran into three Beacon mentions in 15 minutes on three random blogs…

  • Reply Cassie November 12, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    damn, the math alone is more than I could ever imagine undertaking–let alone the labor! I can’t wait to see it finished!

  • Reply Adam November 12, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    OH MY GOD!! Wow what progress you’ve made, I can’t believe you two have done this all yourselves! It’s making me totally start ripping apart my upstairs bathroom this weekend! I was just thinking the other night that it might be more than I could handle but after seeing what you and E. have done I’m totally inspired! I can’t wait to see how your tub comes out because I’m going to have to do some touch-ups to it.

  • Reply Anna at D16 November 12, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Karrey: If you have the option, I would definitely go for powder coating over epoxy refinishing. The finish on our powder coated tub and sink is rock solid, and I honestly can’t imagine anything scratching it — it’s like a brand new tub, really.

    erin: The thought of me working as a contractor or architect is absolutely HORRIFYING. Yikes! Oh, and see my comment above to Karrey regarding tub refinishing. The stuff they do with the acid etch and the epoxy isn’t really “reglazing”. In order to truly reglaze a tub, it needs to be removed and fired in an oven. The epoxy can be kind of fragile, and has a lifespan of 5-10 years. (Powder coating can last forever as long as you don’t do anything stupid like clean it with steel wool.)

    Terri: Yes, I read Mrs Limestone’s blog all through their renovation process! It was very inspiring, yes. 🙂

    WPZ: The rust spot is cute…until it goes all the way through the tub and the basement is filled with water! We’re probably about 50 years away from that happening, but still. I think I should coat it with something. 😉 Oh, and Beacon! Yes, it’s right across the river. That’s where I take the ferry to every morning to catch my train. We actually lived there for a year before we decided that Newburgh was the right place for us!

  • Reply Laura November 12, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Anna – Fantastic progress on the bathroom. Do you know yet what company you’ll be using to reglaze the tub, and more importantly, have you gotten a quote on the cost? I live fairly close to Newburgh and have been looking for someone (reasonable) to do ours for quite awhile. Thanks!

  • Reply ashley November 12, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Looks like things can only get better from here! I’m vicariously scrubbing and rubbing and joisting along with you. And, when you’re not doing all of those verbs or others, I tagged you on my blog. Best!!

  • Reply Anna at D16 November 12, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Laura: We won’t actually be getting the tub reglazed (which involves removing the tub and refiring it), but we will probably have it refinished with epoxy at some point. The company we used for the sandblasting/powder coating on our clawfoot tub in the other bathroom is called Extreme Powder Coating, and they’re based in New Windsor. They did a great job, and I definitely recommend them. I’m not sure of the exact price for the tub since they did a sink and radiator at the same time, but I think it would about $600-700 for a tub alone depending on how much sandblasting is needed. We went with a standard paint color, but they can match colors for an extra price. If you use them, tell them Anna and Evan in Newburgh sent you. 🙂

  • Reply heather November 13, 2008 at 10:30 am

    This looks all too familiar to me right now!
    Your obsessive measuring sounds just like my Father, who has been measuring, measuring and remeasuring so much in my bathroom that it still isn’t finished yet! But I’m beginning to think he has ocd…
    Anna, do you have to do any major leveling of the floor? If so, any tips? I think this is freaking my Dad out the most, since he hasn’t touched the floor yet. We have about a 1/2″ gradual slope to one side.

  • Reply Anna at D16 November 13, 2008 at 10:47 am

    heather: Pick up a package of cedar shakes (super cheap) from HD/Lowes and see if they’ll work for you to shim the subfloor. They’re about 1/4″ on the thicker end, and they taper out to paper-thinness. We have a 3/4″ slope that runs to one corner (there is an obvious low spot in the house that settled many many years ago, and we did reinforce it from underneath back when we did our kitchen floor, so it’s not getting any lower). We were able to shim that corner using several shakes end to end — the nice thing about them is that they’re really wide, so you can do the whole length of the room if you need to. Now I’m wishing I took pictures as we were doing it, but I didn’t think to stop and get the camera!

    I should mention that the sequence of our flooring is original subfloor (1″ diagonal) -> original planks (5/8″) -> cedar shakes -> new plywood (1/2″) -> EasyMat underlayment -> ceramic tile (1/4″). I don’t know if you went all the way down to the joists in your bathroom, but if you did, the shakes are not recommended! If you’re down to joists, you can sister them to make the floor perfectly level (or plane/sand down the high points, but that scares me). Definitely check out the forums at John Bridge for good advice from people who know what they’re talking about! 🙂

    Anyway, we didn’t want to deal with leveling compound, so this was a good solution. There’s still a subtle slope, but the floor isn’t “wavy” anymore and everything is very tight and snug with no gaps or give under the subfloor, so I don’t think we’ll have any issues with cracking tile, etc. I don’t mind a little sloping at this point!

  • Reply Mary Beth November 13, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    I rent an apartment with such ugly flooring. Sometimes I wish I owned the place and could make the kinds of renovations you are making. It’s nice to see a place get some love. C’est la vie. I’ll know better what to look for when I move to the next place.

  • Reply heather November 13, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Thank you! We didn’t take the floor down to the joists (that is scary!) – in fact, our floor looks just like yours up there. I think my Dad was going to go with hardibacker and leveling compound. I think it’s the leveling compound that he’s really scared of. I’m going to let him read that info and check out the John Bridge site – thanks!

  • Reply Catherine November 14, 2008 at 4:49 am

    I’ve loved reading your blog for a while now “just because”, but it looks like I’ll be buying a doer-upper early next year, so I’m now paying extra special attention to all the detail. I’m totally in awe of your DIY skills! Have you picked stuff up on the go, or from books, or are you just super handy by nature? 🙂

  • Reply Anna at D16 November 14, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Catherine: A bit of all of the above! 🙂

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