This weekend I got one more pretty big project marked off of my “to do” list on my bathroom remodel. I spent the last two days giving my very basic soaking tub a big makeover by adding a DIY tub skirt to the side of it to continue the wainscoting design onto the bathtub side of the room. It really dressed up that boring, basic bathtub!
Too bad I still didn’t have time to caulk around my tile. The picture kind of makes it look like I have a serious mold problem. 😀 I don’t. The tile just hasn’t been caulked yet.
This project was actually quite easy — much more so than I had expected. I started by building a frame that would go right up against the bathtub. I made it out of 1 x 2 pre-primed finger joint boards. I cut two to the length of my tub, and then cut six more shorter pieces to make the frame the exact height of the side of the tub. I assembled the frame using wood glue and 2-inch 16-gauge nails in my nail gun.
The I used silicone adhesive on the backs of the vertical pieces where they would touch the tub (the tub is curved, so it only touches near the bottom), and then used nails through the vertical piece on each end and into the wood trim on the side walls.
As you can see, because the tub is curved inward towards the top, the frame stood away from the side of the tub at the top about 3/4 inch. But because of the adhesive and nails, it stood securely in place.
Next I added a piece of 1/2-inch MDF, attached to the frame with wood glue and 1-inch 18-gauge finishing nails.
I used MDF because I wanted a really smooth surface for painting, and plywood, even smooth sanded cabinet plywood, shows wood grain. Plus, I know that once MDF is primed with two coats of oil-based primer, and painted with two coats of paint, it’ll hold up just fine. If I had to do it over again, the only thing I’d do differently is to prime the back and edges of the MDF with oil-based primer before attaching it. I had intended to do that, but got ahead of myself and completely forgot.
Then I was ready to start adding my trim to match the rest of the wainscoting. I started by adding the two horizontal pieces of 1 x 4.
And then added the vertical pieces of 1 x 4, and then the panel moulding along the top and the bottom.
I finished off the panels with the same base cap moulding that I used on the rest of the wainscoting.
And finally, I added the ledge on the top to cover all of the layers and the gap between the skirt and the bathtub. Since this is the one part of this skirt that could potentially see quite a bit of water dripped and splashed on it, I used a pre-primed finger joint board for this (not MDF!!). I attached it onto the tub with a very thick, continuous bead of silicone adhesive all the way from one end to the other. This not only adhered it to the tub, but will also prevent any water from getting underneath it. I’ll also caulk where it meets the tub when I caulk the rest of the tub/tile. Then I attached it to the skirt with the same adhesive and 2-inch nails shot right through the top of the ledge and into the top edge of the skirt.
Once the silicone adhesive was dry, it was VERY secure and strong. I even stood on it to put up my shower curtain rod. I did have to notch out a small area on each end to wrap around the wood trim that was on the end walls.
I still haven’t caulked that area yet because I didn’t have the right kind of caulk.
And finally, just like on the rest of the wainscoting, I filled all of the joints and nail holes with wood filler, sanded them smooth, and caulked all of the cracks and crevices (anywhere where water or moisture could seep in). Once that was dry, I followed up with two coats of OIL-based primer. I personally think it’s key to use an oil-based primer in a bathroom (except on drywall), but quite honestly, I use it just about everywhere.
And then I finished off with two coats of paint. I used a latex paint (Behr Polar Bear) in a semi-gloss finish.
My tub area is so close to being finished! I just need to install the exhaust fan above the tub, tile the ceiling above the tub, and then caulk, and it’ll be done!
My project list for this bathroom is really starting to dwindle. The last remaining big projects are (1) vanity mirror, (2) linen storage, (3) finish the doors, and (4) shower curtain. It’s getting there!