Last Updated on December 24, 2015 by Kristi Linauer
I think I’m still two or three days away from getting to any of the pretty stuff on my bathroom remodel, but things are moving along nicely! I did decide to make one change to the bathroom that put me a bit behind my anticipated schedule, but I think it’ll be very worth it in the end.
One thing that has always bothered me about this hallway bathroom is how close the door is to the vanity wall. When you walked through the bathroom door, you had to kind of veer over to the right to clear the vanity. And that vanity was only 19 inches deep.
The space between the wall and the door opening was about 17 inches, which meant that the very small vanity stuck out into the door pathway by two inches.
That’s not a huge deal, especially since the vanity didn’t extend all the way to the door wall. But it also left very few options for vanity replacement since most vanities are deeper than 17 to 19 inches. So with this arrangement, a vanity that extends all the way to the door wall was out of the question.
But then after the new tub was installed, I noticed that there’s a good twelve inches of space on the other side of the door.
So moving the door over, towards the tub/linen closet area, would allow space on the vanity wall for a standard depth vanity, and would also allow me to use a wider vanity that extends all the way to the door wall.
The decision was made. I would move the door over. There was just one little thing standing in my way — the hall closet…
When we bought this house, there were actually two closets in this hallway, making this rather large and spacious hallway feel very cramped.
The larger closet on the right was added long after the house was built. I removed it before I refinished the floors, before we even moved in.
That closet, since it wasn’t original to the house, was quite easy to remove, and the floor underneath the closet framing was in good condition and looked great after I refinished the floors.
But this other closet was original to the house, and there was nothing easy about removing it. Whoever built this closet never intended for it to be removed, I can assure you! I’ve never seen so many 3-inch nails in my life, and that old wood didn’t want to let any of them go. The closet walls were also lined with shiplap underneath the drywall on both sides of the 2 x 4 framing. All of my walls are lined with shiplap, but the shiplap is generally on one side and not both sides of the 2 x 4 framing on each wall.
All of that to say that removing this closet, which was about half the size of the other closet that I removed, took me about three times longer because of the way it was built, and because of its age. And unfortunately, this closet was framed before the hardwood floors were installed, so removing the closet means that there will be flooring repair needed.
I finally did get the closet out, but then that left me with this huge air duct that I had to contend with.
The duct was part of the old furnace, and hasn’t been functional in over a year. So I knew it was okay to remove it. I just had no idea how in the world I was going to remove it by myself. You can see in the picture above that my first idea…and first attempt…was to try to cut it out in pieces, but I couldn’t get my reciprocating saw to cut through the back side of the metal with it being so close to the wall.
I also couldn’t just lift it out as one piece and carry it out because it was extending into the attic about four feet, plus there was a small metal lip holding it just above the joists. And speaking of joists, whoever installed this system simply cut right through a ceiling joist in order to install this duct. Do you see how that joist just dead ends into the side of the duct? Lovely.
So after about two hours of struggling with this, trying this and that, I finally got the thing out by climbing up on the ladder and cutting the duct as close as I could to the ceiling, all the way around the duct. I was able to angle the duct out just enough to get my saw through the metal without damaging the shiplap on the wall. (I wasn’t concerned about the drywall since it obviously needs to be replaced.) And then I climbed into the attic and lifted the rest of the duct — the four-foot section that extended into the attic — off of the ceiling joists.
Our hallway looks huge now! Matt loves it. Our hallway in the condo was so narrow and cramped that he had trouble maneuvering through it. He loves all of the space in this hallway!
And now, of course, I’ll be able to move the door to the bathroom over. It seems like a lot of work for 10 to 12 additional inches of space, but considering that the space gained will be on the vanity wall, allowing much more flexibility and infinitely more options for the vanity, I think it’s very well worth the effort. Plus, that closet was serving no purpose. I’m glad to be rid of it.
Oh, and now that the closet is gone, I’ll also be able to move the opening from the music room into the hallway over a bit, so it’s no longer crowding the pony walls and columns like it is now, and I’ll be able to widen it considerably. Matt’s pretty happy about that as well. But that’s a project for another day. 🙂
After getting the closet situation squared away, I turned my attention back to the bathroom. I finished installing the subfloor and the concrete board on the floor. It’s amazing how just finishing that up made this room feel so much more…well…like a room. No more walking and balancing on floor joists, and no more standing in my bathroom and seeing the exposed earth below. It’s not pretty yet, but I have an actual floor!
Next, I insulated my bathtub. One thing I loved about the cast iron tub was how substantial it felt. And because it was so thick and heavy, it wasn’t noisy at all when water hit the sides during a shower, and bath water stayed warm. These newer, lighter, much thinner tubs are quite different. When anything hits the tub, be it your shoe hitting the side or shower water hitting the inside, it’s very noisy and gives off a hollow, ringing “ting” sound. I wanted to remedy that, so after doing a bit of research, I learned that you can insulate the cavities underneath the tub to not only reduce the noise, but also to keep bath water warmer for longer.
I used almost an entire package of Roxul Safe & Sound soundproofing insulation and shoved it as tightly as I could into the spaces beneath the tub. I was amazed at the difference it made in the noise! I’ll add a bit more after I seal up the area where the drain comes through the floor, and right before I drywall this wall.
You can also use spray foam insulation to insulate a tub. It would have been cheaper, but the reason I went this route is because it’s just a bit safer. When using the spray foam insulation, you have to be very certain that you don’t overfill the cavities because if you do, the spray foam can actually lift the tub off of the floor as it expands. It’s recommended that you fill the tub up completely with water before using spray foam just to give it more weight and reduce the chances of that happening. And since I currently have no faucet, and no way of filling my tub with water, I decided to take the cautious, albeit more expensive, route.
And finally, I drywalled my ceiling…by myself!! I was so ridiculously proud of myself. 😀
This is the one project I was dreading the most, and even more so since I was now going to have to tackle it with the tub already installed. I bought this drywall lift* about four months ago, but had never even taken it out of the box, so I decided now was the time.
I won’t say that it was easy, but what made it so challenging was just having to work in such a small, cramped room, around a bathtub, while maneuvering the drywall around the 2 x 4 framing between the tub and the linen closet area. If the room had been wide open, with no tub and no roughed in wall, it would have been so much easier. But this drywall lift was a lifesaver. There’s obviously no way I could have drywalled the ceiling by myself with out it, and it was very easy to assemble and operate.
This room is just under 8 feet in each direction, so technically I could have just used two pieces of drywall and had only one seam to deal with. But unfortunately, I’m not strong enough to lift a whole piece of 5/8-inch drywall onto the drywall lift by myself, even without the obstacles of the tub and the roughed in wall. But add in those additional obstacles, and I think even with two people, it would have been a highly frustrating job — probably not impossible, but also not worth the enormous frustration. So I had to cut it into pieces that I could actually handle, which left me with two additional seams. I did make certain to piece them together in the tub and linen closet areas, rather than the main area of the bathroom, so hopefully if my taping and mudding skills haven’t improved since I did the kitchen ceiling, at least the additional seams won’t be front-and-center.
And that’s my progress this weekend!
Next on the agenda is to reframe/move the door. Then I need to do some rewiring and add some new wiring. Since the door will be moved, I’ll need to move the switch and plug that I already added, but I also want to add a plug to the linen storage area, and add another switch for the exhaust fan. I’ll also need to decide the exact placement for my sconces, and get that wiring situated. And then I’ll finally be ready for concrete board and drywall on the walls. Once I get the drywall and concrete board up, I’ll feel like I’ve finally turned the corner, and I’m on the home stretch towards a new, finished bathroom!
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
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