The Big Flush

30 11 2012

The exhilaration I felt after finally carpeting the basement and finishing some of the last odds and ends are finally coming to an end.  It’s been over 2 years since I started the basement, and I’m finally wrapping up the final projects that will make the basement officially “done”.  The last project on this list was finishing the bathroom.  Back in July we set a goal to have the bathroom finished by October so that I didn’t have to spend my time working on it while also adjusting to the adventure of fatherhood.

Long story short…

We are finished with the bathroom! (the birth of my son, Connor, on October 19 is the reason I have not gotten to writing anything until now.  Who would have thought that such a little guy would require so much time?)

Short story long…

The bathroom has a long, complicated history.  In July of 2011, I had to dig out the shower drain in order to align the drain with the shower tray.  Starting in about May of 2012, I started drywalling the interior walls and ceiling.  Preceding from there, I tiled the floors in July.  Then in August I finally got around to installing a shower stall that I had bought over a year earlier.  With the help of a carpenter friend, I was able to do the plumbing myself, which saved me well over $300 that it would have cost for a plumber.  Speeding forward, I finished mudding the walls (mudding is still no fun, but at least I had a lot less to do this time).  By the end of August we had paint on the wall and functional toilet.

Installing a toilet is yet another project that is a lot easier than I would have imagined.  The drain pipe was already in place, and the water pipes were installed.  I put the stop valves in place and the last thing that I needed to do was actually install the toilet.  After much deliberation and a lot of research, I one night decided just to go down and tackle the project head on.  There really was almost nothing to it.  The hardest part (which really isn’t that hard) is making sure you get the bowl lined up in such a way that it is square to the wall.  Other than that, I just had to put the wax ring in place, fix the bowl to the flange, and secure the tank in place.  After hooking up the water, I had a brief ceremonial moment before performing the inaugural flush, to much jubilation.  (As a side note, the toilet brand is called “the Diplomat”, which I’m not sure if that label refers to the toilet or the user, but that’s for a different discussion)  Happy flushing!

After that I installed a vanity, 2 mirrors (one was too small, so I had to remove it and install a bigger one, hence 2 mirrors), and a linen cabinet.  The vanity was white and so was the linen cabinet.  However, the linen cabinet was a slightly different shade of white.  Luckily the white paint I used for the trim and the doors was virtually an exact match to the vanity, so I painted the white linen cabinet white (or white-er, I guess) to match.

White vanity, white linen cabinet, white toilet, white trim

White vanity, white linen cabinet, white toilet, white trim

Adding a bit of color to our bathroom.

Adding a bit of color to our bathroom.

I finished everything up in the bathroom with just a couple weeks to spare until the due date our first child.  The bathroom project was in a way a triumph of everything I had done in the basement as a whole.  Not only did I put to use a lot of the skills I learned doing the whole basement (like drywall, mudding, tile, and trim), I acquired a few new skills as well (like plumbing).  On top of this, for the bathroom we actually sat down and mapped out everything that we needed to complete it before hand (including all the parts, labor needs, and resources), and I came up with an estimated budget to go along with it.  Unlike the rest of the basement where I never planned more than one step in advance, the bathroom had a very specific road map that I laid out for myself.  Thanks to this, I was able to keep impeccable records, and actually spent significantly less than what I even had planned on spending along with finishing almost to the day of the deadline I had set for myself several months earlier!  I now have a model with which all future projects can be managed.  Of course, I have no more major projects to undertake so it probably will never be used, but alas, I have a model!





The Shower Continues

2 08 2011

That sneak peak from yesterday is going to get a little bit clearer.  Here’s a little history of this project:

The basement was stubbed in for a bathroom when we moved in.  However, a few nuances were left in our hands.  The layout was essentially identical to the upstairs guest bathroom which has a bathtub in it.  We did not want to put a bathtub in the basement, but the drain for the shower was way out of alignment for any type of shower unit we felt like going with.  So, when we had a plumber come out and do some rough-ins for the bathroom and a couple of other sinks, we had them move the drain for the shower (and the toilet, which was also slightly off).  They left the shower drain boxed in so that when we got a shower unit we could dig the drain out again and move it accordingly.  That turned out to be more of a project than I thought.  I had to dig about 10 gallons worth of rocks, cement, and dirt (luckily it was already jackhammered out, so I just had to dig).  After getting it all dug out, I had to cut the pipe and replace the trap assembly so that it would align with the shower pan that I bought.

The next step was to fill in the hole with cement and build a wall to create the shower alcove.  That’s what I did today.  I dusted off my masonry hat and troweled in some cement, using a trusty 2×4 to make sure the newly poured concrete was level (I did the same thing with the toilet stub, which was already in the proper place).  So I filled in the hole (which will take 5 days to cure, according to the package), and I built the wall.  Now I just have to wait for the cement to cure and I can continue on actually getting the shower unit in place.

Cement poured and smoothed, wall built and in place





Pre-shower

1 08 2011

Here’s just a sneak peak at my latest endeavor involving installing a shower unit in our basement.

The pipe had to be moved

In order to align with the drain on the shower unit, I had to move the pipe slightly.  I had to cut this pipe off and go buy a new trap assembly.  It is still in the process of being all pieced together, but oh the adventure I am having, digging a huge hole under my basement and all.








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