Welcome to my Bathroom Rehab Diary!
(click for pictures)
When doing plaster demo, many people will choose to saw out sections of
the plaster and tear them out in large chunks. I opted instead to smash
all the plaster first (mostly because I like to smash things) and
collect it in garbage bags (26 bags, to be precise, each weighing about
50-60lbs), and finally removing the lath boards from the walls/ceiling.
I chose to do it this way so I could collect all the lath and burn it,
and the cleanup is far easier to perform when you don't have long pieces
of wood lath sticking out of the piles.
Plan for electrical anomalies. I ended up running an entirely new 20amp
circuit from the basement all the way to the second floor because I
discovered part way through the rehab that more than half of the
upstairs (including a whole-house fan) was sharing a single 15amp
circuit, and the new heater/fan/light spec was for its own 20amp
circuit. I also discovered a piece of conduit running between the
subfloor and the hardwood floor that had to be rerouted into the wall.
Plan for plumbing anomalies. I discovered that both of the supply lines
for the tub were also run under the hardwood, but above the subfloor.
These pipes had to be removed and new copper was installed below the
subfloor by drilling through the floor joists.
I decided to keep my original cast iron tub, and I don't regret the decision one bit. If you can salvage
something as heavy duty as an original tub (and perhaps have it refinished like I did), I highly advise it. I
didn't want a fiberglass drop-in replacement, as I've found them to be rather flimsy.
Don't even bother trying to match up a tub drain basket to a shoe
that's more than 70 years old (like mine). I fought very hard to avoid having to
open the ceiling below the bathroom in order to gain access to the drain
assembly so I could replace it. In the end, I bit the bullet and
replaced the entire assembly (overflow/shoe) and tied it to the existing
drain. Before I decided to go ahead with that job, I tried 3 different
bushings/drains, to no avail.
Take lots of pictures. Especially before pictures. I thought I was
doing a good job documenting the process in pictures, only to discover
later that I wish I'd taken more comprehensive before pictures.
Plan to be shocked by what you find. There were so many things about
the original design of the bathroom as well as the subsequent rehab
attempts throughout the years that I found to be completely ridiculous
and sometimes downright funny.
Don't be afraid to tie in other small projects indirectly related to
the rehab you're doing. I decided to completely rewire the electrical
section opposite the new electrical box in the bathroom which serves the
hallway (3-way light and whole-house fan). It was much easier to do what
I needed to do while the bathroom wall was open. Any small jobs on
opposite walls or in nearby electrical boxes are easier to tackle if
you've already got the tools out and the walls open.
Many thanks to my dad for all his help with electrical, plumbing,
general decision-making, and sometimes the swift kick in the ass I
needed to pull the trigger on something I was unsure about tackling.
Thanks also to my good friend Drizzle for his help with the window
installation (which took place long before the rehab) and on a critical
plumbing day that I was not ready to do alone.