When we bought 114 Warren we knew that there was one mandatory renovation project, the second floor bathroom. After living with this ramshackle affair for a year we finally got to it in the Spring of 2010. Karen and I now think that this new bathroom, though very small, only 3 ft 4inches wide by just over 7 ft long, is now our favorite bathroom amongst the five that we have renovated over the years.
Getting from the old to the new took much more time and money than we budgeted.
Once having removed the old fixtures and dug into the sub floor, it turned out that the plumbing infrastructure was decrepit and need to be completely replaced. There were old lead pipes leading from the shower to the main drain line. And the whole floor, down to the joists, needed to be rebuilt.
After ripping out the floor to reveal the joists, it became apparent that nothing was holding up this section of the second floor that I thought was cantilevered from the house but turned out to have just been toe nailed onto the house.
This discovery brought the project to a halt. We needed a structural engineer to design a beam and a general contractor to install it. Though I could easily calculate the size of the beam beam using standard engineering formulas, I am not a licensed engineer. It would be hard to explain to a potential buyer of this house in the future that the engineering had been done by Mr. Wonderful himself. The might say “Who is Mr. Wonderful?”.
We did find a general contractor who had an engineer in tow. $3,500 and two months later we had our beam in place.
The final phase of the project gave me a chance to use materials for the shower that were new to me. Several years ago I had seen a This Old House Show that featured a German tiling system called Schluter. I found a local supplier across the river in Catskill who sold me the materials and provided good practical advice about doing the actual work. This gave me a chance to do something different than the standard tile on cement backer board that I had used over the years.
With the addition of the fixtures and paint the job was completed in June, 2010. Now that we have used the bathroom for eight months we are still pleased with its appearance and funcitonality.