Bathroom Mod Blog Eight - tub blower - jspirate

Weekend Nineteen (10/23) - there are two things I need to focus on:

1.  The tub's blower relocation

2.  Finish tiling the tub and shower


I started with the tile work...

Weekend Nineteen - the shower threshold


I've been avoiding the shower threshold because this is an area that is drastically affected by the tile salesman's ordering mistake.  Without the bullnose tile there are a couple options worth consideration:

1.  Use the pencil tile that is on the wall

2.  Use Schluter's Rondec


In an effort to move forward, I forced myself to make a decision.  I don't like either option, but the pencil required that the threshold be build up higher.  Even though it would probably look better, I didn't want a higher threshold and I didn't want to build one. So, I ended up going with the oil rubbed bronze Rondec

Weekend Nineteen - schluter rondec

Weekend Nineteen - similar look

Maybe the rondec will look OK when the shower, tun and vanity faucets are in.

Weekend Nineteen - slope


Whew, I remembered to add a little slope so the the water that runs off the inside of the shower door will go into the shower pan and not outside the shower on to the floor!


Believe it or not, I was stressed out about the possibility of forgetting to do this.

Weekend Ninteen - shower niche

Next up was the shower niche.  This is another one I have been avoiding.  Its a small spot to work in, you need to incorporate some slope for water drainage and then there is the gap between existing tile and the niche tile.  Sorta-kinda a pain or at least nothing to look forward to doing.


Anyway, this picture shows the painters tape that will keep me from slopping Thinset on the grouted broken Travertine.  There would be no getting the Thinset out of the unsealed grout and that would be ugly.  When I start laying down the Thinset, its like I revert to my childhood.  Its like slinging mud everywhere.

Weekend Nineteen - more niche

Weekend Nineteen - more niche

I got it done, but I am not claiming victory until I grout it.  I have a feeling I am going to wish I had mitered the corners.  Actually, at the moment I finished tiling, I knew I made a mistake.  I will have to wait to see how big a mistake it was.


The tile used for this is bullnose.  In the picture, you can see the rounded front edge.  The guy from the tile store who incorrectly ordered the bullnose was successful in finding 14 pieces.  That is just enough to do the niche and a couple other small spots.  Its not a perfect match and if you look closely in the picture, you can see it.  Its not perfect, but its better than not having any bullnose.

Weekend Nineteen - pencil work


So, this is another spot that was supposed to get bullnose... the pencil actually looks better than I thought it would.


Yeah... this is another spot that I worried about forgetting to slope for drainage.  The shower glass will fall about 3 inches in on this ledge. I remembered the slope though!

Weekend Nineteen - another look at the pencil

Weekend Nineteen - lil slope

Weekend Nineteen - pencil and schluter

In the middle-left of the photo you can see where one of the pieces of bullnose went.

Weekend Nineteen - progress to date

And that completes another weekend of work on the bathroom.  I don't know when I will get to that blower relocation...

Total project time to date = 240 hours



Weekend Twenty (10/30) - more tile work

I am close to getting the tile around the tub finished.  The main hurdle for this is the corner where the tub's faucet handles will be.  I am installing an access panel so that if I ever need to get to the plumbing, I can.  This coupled with the "custom tile cuts" is a huge time sync.

Weekend Twenty - MagnaPanel

So, this is the hole that needs to be covered up, but removable if need be.  My chosen solution was the MagnaPanel kit.  It uses magnets to hold the access panel in place.  The panel will get tiled normally and then I will use matching caulking instead of grout to finish it off.  This will make the panel removable without damaging the tile.  The vanity will be in a the way, but that is movable also.  In theory, I should never need to get in there, but I did want to leave an option just in case.

Weekend Twenty - lag screws and magnets

The installation of the MagnaPanel requires that you use a spade bit and drill four holes about 1/2" deep.  Then you screw the lag screws in to be about 1/4" past flush with the 2X4.  After that you place the magnets on the lag bolts, you dab some epoxy on them and push the panel into place. When you pull the panel away, some epoxy stays on it.  This serves to mark the panel for proper placement of the magnets.  You then pry the magnets away from the lag screws, add some more epoxy and place them on the panel.  The panel is then set to the side to dry.

Weekend Twenty - recessed lag screws

Weekend Twenty - panel

This is the back of the panel.  You can see the magnets that are epoxied in place and ready to be used.  The Red Oak pieces fastened to the back of the panel are there for two reasons:

1.  The bottom pieces rest up against the inside of the 2X4 to make sure that the panel wont sag or move once any weight is added (tile and Thinset).

2.  The Rad Oak also helps to keep the plyboard panel from warping.

Weekend Twenty - MagnaPanel in place

Once you adjust the lag screws to the optimum depth, the panel holds in place amazingly well.  MagnaPanel claims it will hold 20 pounds.  I am guessing is more than that.  In fact, you can not remove it from the exterior.  I had to push from the inside to get it to pop out.


I will be placing a piece of string behind the caulking on final installation.  If I need access, the string will help rip the caulking in the correct spot and it will provide something to pull on.  The string will be tucked way in the corner were it can not be seen unless the vanity is removed.

Weekend Twenty - custom cut(s)

Whew!  The piece of tile that surrounds the window frame was a major PITA.  When I did the right side of the window a few weeks ago, I nailed it on the first cut.  In this picture, you can see three pieces of similarly cut tile.  Those represent a whole lot of failure to execute.  It took me almost 3 hours and 4 attempts to get that one piece cut correctly.


You might ask:

"Why was the right side of the window so easy as compared to the left side?"


I really don't have an answer for you.  I do have one theory though.  The right side, which was correctly cut the first time, involved a number of Heavy Sails Loose Cannons prior to measuring and cutting.  The left side did not.  Interesting...

Weekend Twenty - more pencil work

After the tricky tile cut, I did a little bit of pencil work around the tubs edge. 


Weekend Twenty - valve prep

I then moved from the pencil work to regular tile work, only there wasn't much more I could do. I had a couple small pieces on the front of the tub, but then I couldn't go any further without knowing the exact locations of the tub valves. Otherwise, I wouldn't know where to cut the holes in the tile.  The holes need to be cut before I set the tile. So, I started measuring and guessing.  I have very little wiggle room to make the tub of our choice work. I am attempting to fit a larger than original sized tub into a smaller spot than the original tub used.  Basically, I am making a larger shower and a larger tub fit in the same footprint as originals.


If you are wondering about the feasibility of that... so am I.  The next couple weeks will be very telling.

Weekend Twenty - grout work


To finish out weekend Twenty, I did a little grout work.  Holy cow, I am a slow grouter!


Anyway, the picture above and the one below provide a glimpse into what the tile will look like when fully grouted.

Weekend Twenty - grout

Total project time to date = 252 hours