So, we had a bit of an event here at the LND residence a little while ago…
It turns out the shower in the second story bathroom was not standing up to our daily use. For some time water had been seeping though the grout lines to the drywall behind. I had noticed there were a few places that the grout was thinning, and needed to be re-grouted, I just didn’t know that water was already seeping in. Showers can be constructed in such a way that this, although still a problem that needs repairing, would not cause the wall behind the tile to completely disintegrate, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case here…
Turns out we had zero waterproofing under the tile in our shower. Usually cement board (most resistant to water) or the green or blue waterproof drywall (next best thing) is used behind shower tiles. This is because when drywall gets wet it essentially melts into a mess of mush. And it was this mush that was hiding behind our shower tiles. That is until I knocked my butt right through it.
Oh, is that a little too much information? Well, I’m over-sharing anyway to save all you lovely folks from the same self-confidence smashing shock I experienced. Believe me, you don’t want the complex that comes with crushing a shower wall with your ‘baby got back’, just by bending over to clean your toes.
As you can see the tiles simply fell into the space between the studs, because there was no drywall supporting it at all. I could see right into the wall. We pulled the two tiles away so we could get a better look, and all that was left was the vapour barrier and the insulation behind. Great. Now what. We covered the hole with plastic and waterproof tape so we could still have a quick shower while we figured out what our plan was. At this point we were still (and are still) working on the kitchen. This was the LAST thing we needed to deal with.
We’d always planned to tackle the main bathroom. Some of the finishes were really getting worn, and aesthetically it needed an update, but it functioned fairly well for us, so it wasn’t a priority renovation. We were good with only one sink, there was plenty of counter space, and the room itself was just the right size.
SO. What are we going to do….? Obviously we can’t leave it in this bandaid state, but bathroom renovation? NOT on the docket. When renovating any space only doing a partial upgrade is near impossible as everything is connected. This is one of the issues I find in my own home and when working with my design clients. So we starting discussing our options. This thought process is a perfect example of why it usually doesn’t pay to only update part of a bathroom.
- JUST REPAIR IT: POSITIVE – The most affordable, and least labour intensive option. All of the tiles still need to come out, as the wall behind needs to be replaced, but its feasible, with the least amount of down time, cost, and materials. NEGATIVE – if we want to switch out the tub (which we eventually did want to do) it could mean taking these new tiles out to replace the tub at a later time. Also, things might get finicky as we try to meet the new wall to the top of the tub. We can’t replace the wall behind the tub without taking it out…is that drywall wet too? One thing is for sure, it is hard to plan for every possibility before demo. You never really know what you might run into.
- REPLACE THE TUB/SHOWER: POSITIVE – the existing tub is only a 9.5 in. depth so we really never use it, and had always intended to replace it with a tub better suited for soaking. Replacing it now means we get the tub we had hoped for now, and we repair the tiles without having to remove them if we waited to replace the tub later. It would also be easier to replace the entire wall (drywall) with the tub out of the way. NEGATIVE – the new tub install will not meet up with the existing floor, which was installed up to the existing tub. Depending on the size of the new tub, we will have a gap OR have to cut out part of the floor in a straight line…while its still installed.
- REPLACE THE TUB/SHOWER AND FLOORING: POSITIVE – yessssssss, new floor! I have been dying to get that purple stuff outta there. NEGATIVE – installing a new floor up to the existing vanity makes replacing the vanity at a later date more difficult…the same issue as replacing the tub later…
- BITE THE BULLET, DO THE ENTIRE BATHROOM: POSITIVE – woot woot!! I love updating our home! I’ve had plansssss for this space! NEGATIVE – free time? what’s that? Showering is going to be a reeeeeeeal pain for a few weeks, we have two major spaces under construction, and there goes all the money…
So what are we going to do?
Well. The tile and drywall is out, so something big is happening! Check in next week to see where we landed on the options scale.