October 2, 2017
The new grout worked a lot better. The shower is almost finished as of tonight. I expect to finish the sink base this week and be ready for the plumber to come back. Coincidentally, the kitchen, which I have not been talking about thus far, should also be ready for the plumbers next week. The countertops are supposed to be in on Wednesday.
The kitchen, prior to the installation of all cabinets and a floor. Note the sink upside down on the counter. The installers decided to remove the disposal, and thus destroyed it and had to buy us a new one. This is a cleaned-up version of what the kitchen looked like for 50 years.
But I’m growing weary of talking about the bathroom, as I grow weary of working sometimes. My days, of late, feel endless, and, contrarily, fly by so fast that I hardly notice them. There’s just so much to do. I guess I’ve become a lot like you—always working, coming home from my job with a long list of things I need to get done and diving into them. Those things I need to get done include writing these letters, which I’m doing now even as I sit watching Marvel’s Inhumans with Renee, Ethan and Jessica. I also just invoiced a client and paid bills.
September 28, 2017
I hate GROUT!!!!!!!
Well, I hate the grout I bought last week. I was going to use the grout you left me. It’s been sitting, under a table in Susan’s general purpose room, for almost 50 years now. But when I looked at all those bags, with the pretty pictures of Medusa on them, labeled “GROUT” in big letters, it turned out they weren’t actually grout. Not sure what that’s about, but, when you read the fine print, it says they’re thinset mortar for laying tile. So, while it’s clever and all that you would name a product that turns to stone “Medusa,” it’s not very useful.
The stuff I bought said it was ideal for tile up to 8″ x 8″, and for any applications where the spacing is between 1/8″ and 1/2″. And it said it was ideal for wet areas like shower walls, although not for saunas. Okay, my tiles are 4″ x 4″, my spacing is 1/8″ and they’re shower walls, not saunas.
But this stuff is awful!
September 26, 2017
The shower stall is now almost completely tiled. Shopping for waterproofing compound, I found this amazing product called SimpleMat. It’s basically a giant roll of double-sided tape. You stick it on the surface to be tiled, peel off the backing paper, and press the tile into it. No mixing adhesive, no glue all over your fingers, shoes, floor and tile, no cleanup, and no waiting for the mortar to cure before you grout.
Of course, with my work-time largely cut up into chunks of a few hours here and there, the odds of me laying tile and grouting it the same day are very, very slim. Still, the savings in cleanup alone were worth the cost of the product.
September 26, 2017
Now that I had found all the tile I needed, it was time to lay it out. I didn’t want to screw up, so I wanted to sketch it all out. I started by marking and measuring the pieces that were going to go up the wall on the edge of the shower.
What were you planning for the corner at the base, since the baseboard tiles don’t have corner pieces and don’t corner together well? In the one bathroom you finished, corners are formed with special corner pieces, but I don’t have any in blue. And no, I don’t think there are any stragglers left hiding. Big as this house is, I think I have the inventory under control now.
September 22, 2017
Dear Daddy –
The bathroom is a big project. Its floor is down. Its outlets are partially wired. I furred out (is that the right spelling?) the opening above the now-installed shower walls, so that backing board for the tile would both fasten to the studs and slip down over the lip at the top of the fiberglass walls. How does one make furring strips—pieces of wood that are used to fill what would otherwise be a gap between a finished surface and the rough wall? You had obviously made a bunch of them. I wound up making more out of scraps of paneling you’d saved for years, left over from finishing your library and our family room. Continue reading
September 15, 2017 (Continued)
Dear Daddy –
Let’s talk about the shower…
I hired Mike the plumber (and his son Gary, and his grandson Cody) on the recommendation of a friend. I knew that finishing the plumbing for three bathrooms and the kitchen was going to be too much for me. It turned out to be the biggest expense associated with the house so far, but it was worth it.
So the first thing Mike the plumber told me about the shower cubicle was that it had to go. It was designed for the plumbing codes of decades ago, and he really recommended I use a pre-fab, fiberglass cubicle. That would be fastened right to the studs, not to the plywood. Now I didn’t see any reason the plywood couldn’t be there in between. But once I had measured the available cubicle base and walls, I realized that I needed the combined inch of width that removing the plywood would provide. So out it was going to come, and it needed to go before Mike and his crew could even do the rough-in plumbing. Continue reading