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Monday, April 9, 2012

Guest Bathroom: More Than We Bargained For

So I alluded last week to the fact that we (a) had already started the bathroom rehaul and (b) might have found ourselves in a little deeper than we meant to be. We spent the afternoon last Monday shopping around for supplies, brainstorming, and getting excited about the new bathroom we'd have soon.  It all started so innocently, with Mr. Great Indoors taking out the baseboard in the guest bathroom.

Day 1 PLAN:
Remove baseboards to prep for flooring installation
Install light fixture

Sounds simple enough, right?

Remove baseboards
Discover water damage on baseboard behind the toilet
Rip out dry wall in guest bathroom
Rip up vinyl in guest bathroom to find moisture underneath
See water damage goes through to the other side of the wall (i.e., the master bathroom)
Rip out dry wall in master bathroom
Take a breather before we burn down the house
Attempt to install light fixture
Discover old light fixture was held onto wall by caulk.  That's right:  caulk.  There's actually a gaping hole in the wall that prevents us from hanging the light fixture we bought over the weekend.
Call it a night before anything rash happens

The process that evening looked something like this:

Removing baseboard to the left of the vanity.  Easy enough.

Ripping up some of the wallpaper to the right of the door.  Crap.  The builders didn't prep the drywall before they slapped up the wallpaper.  This should be interesting.

Mr. GI found a small section of mildew and kept digging...


Peel up the flooring...

Oh, my.

We think a leaky toilet ring let water seep between the flooring and our slab foundation, sending water up the wall behind the toilet and into the master bathroom, which backs up to the guest bathroom.  Looks like it's a two-for-one bathroom reno special!

Some of the wall studs were mildewed as well, so we'll have to replace those.

Keepin' it classy, folks.

Now time for the master bathroom....  This toilet backs up to the toilet in the guest bathroom.

We also think the water spread to the exterior wall in the master bathroom, which is just across from the toilet.  Won't know for sure until we rip out the master bathroom toilet, which won't happen until we finish the guest bathroom since we're trying to keep at least one functional toilet in the house.

View from the guest bathroom to Mr. GI ripping up the master bathroom.

After taking a break to examine the damage (and plot burning down the house), Mr. GI attempted to hang our new light fixture.  It didn't go much better.  Trick for those of you with simpler installations, though-- once you've turned off the power to the room, use a head lamp to illuminate your work, hands free!

I think we both knew this day would come, since we'd been noticing some moisture build up in the master bathroom for a while now.  Two years ago we thought we'd solved the problem by replacing the guest bathroom wax ring and installing a light/fan combo in the master bathroom.  But it looks like the problem persisted (and we really just masked part of the issue by repainting the master bathroom).  So rather than the simple cosmetic changes we had planned in one bathroom, we're now headed face-first into a renovation of both bathrooms in our house.  Oh, joy!  We're prioritizing by finishing the guest bathroom first (aesthetically, too), then we'll do the necessities in the master bathroom until we can save up for the pretty stuff.

Who else is in over their head with a house project these days?  We'd love to have some folks to commiserate with...


  1. That is definitely a sinking feeling when you notice water damage. I wouldn't be afraid to call in a homeowners insurance claim. We had to with was very similar. Slow leak that was much more than we bargained for! Either way, I hope you guys get it solved quickly without too much headache.

    On a good note, the rest of your house is awesome! It was so great to see it in person. Hope to see you again soon. :)

    1. That was actually our first call, but it's not worth it based on our deductible. Our insurance company also said they typically only cover "sudden water damage" like a hot water heater bursting or something similar. So for this on we'll take care of it ourselves. Thanks for commenting! ;-) Good to have you all last week!

  2. I'm waiting to cut a hole in the kitchen ceiling to figure out where a drip is originating (I think the kids' bathtub so I don't let them use it anymore). Better dig in soon, huh?

  3. Oh man that is just terrible! But it is a good thing you caught it now before it got much worse!

  4. Oh no! Sorry to hear about all that! Yeah, glad you caught it now before it got even worse. I can't wait to see your progress though! :)

  5. Oh my goodness! Water damage is the worst! It makes me scared to pull up any floors or tear down walls because you never know what you are going to find. Good Luck! You will get there!

  6. Double =(.
    That SUCKS. Isn't that how it always seems to go though!? One step forward seventeen steps back!?
    Hopefully yall will be able to keep pushing through and finding the positive! I'm excited to see how it turns out!

  7. Thanks for the support, all! We're definitely thankful that it's not any worse-- and it could have been MUCH worse. I'm sure there are folks out there who have had to replace all the drywall in their bathroom due to water damage. So good to keep things in perspective!


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