Sunday, January 09, 2011

Bathroom Renovation Parte Three: Putting up Walls

It's been a while since I gave an update on our bathroom renovation. With the winter holidays over and the hubs and I back at work full-time, we've slowed down a bit. I'm thinking we should be completely done by the end of this week. Let's hope so because we have family coming into town on Saturday. Nothing like an impending visit from the in-laws to light the fire under our bums! For the record, my MIL is wonderful, but of course we want the house to look great for our guests (and we want to show off our handy work).

The last time I checked in with you all, our bathroom looked a little like this:

How's that for the rustic look?

I'm thrilled to tell you that we now have four painted walls, as well as most of tile floor laid. Since the whole process of rebuilding a room is not terribly exciting, this is mostly an informational post. I'm jam-packing it with how to's since I was clueless on how to hang dry wall. Though I'm still no expert, I am much more adept at the process and hope that our adventures (and mis-adventures) can help at least one other person.

If you notice in our photos, we didn't take down the entire wall. We removed what was behind the tile and salvaged the rest. This was for a few reasons:

1. We were exhausted after the demo process.
2. We're cheap and didn't want spend the money on more drywall.
3. We were a bit nervous to deal with ceiling and wall seams.

That said, hanging the dry wall below the existing plaster walls was no easy feat. Because the plaster walls were thicker than the dry wall, we had to figure out how to get our walls to meet seamlessly. The answer? Beef up the beams.


We used 1/4" furring strips to thicken our beams. Once we cut, hammered, and nailed the strips to each beam, we were ready to hang our dry wall. Since we're renovating a bathroom, we used green board which is water and mold resistant. Though it's bit more expensive than standard dry wall, it's definitely worth using in high humidity rooms. No one likes a moldy wall!

I won't share the details of hanging drywall because it truly is boring (if you need some tips, please ask away!), but we did learn a few tips in the process that are worth sharing:

1. After the drywall was hung, we used self adhesive waterproof mesh tape for the seams. So easy to use and cut.
2. We used pre-mixed joint compound (more expensive but wanted the right consistency) to mud the walls. It took three coats to get the look we wanted and we sanded inbetween coats. Remember to use drywall sand paper. It makes all of the difference!
3. Be sure each coat of mud is completely dry before sanding and applying the next coat.
4. When applying the mud, use puddy knives that gradually get bigger. We used 4", 6", then 8" knives, I believe.

When we were done, our walls looked a little something like this:

As a fun little intermission, I had the idea to leave a little love for future homeowners of our sweet, little home.

Is it wrong that this makes me a little sad?

For the shower walls, we used Durarock (or cement board). Though it's heavier and more expensive then green board, it is the right product to use as it's water proof. You definitely don't want water getting to those beams!

A big debate that we came across in the renovation world is whether or not to use a vapor barrier in between the durarock and the beams. This barrier is to ensure that no water can get in and rot the wood in the walls. Some say it's effective, others say it can actually hold moisture and, in turn, cause more damage. After speaking to a few experts, we decided to use the vapor barrier on our exterior wall since that is where the cold air enters our home. After re insulating with the free insulation we found in storage from the previous owners (cha-ching!) we put up the vapor barrier with a staple gun. Easy as pie. Note: always wear a mask, gloves, and cover your skin when insulating. Fiberglass in your skin or lungs is not fun.

As for the paint, before we could get the color on the wall, it was important to prime the green board, otherwise it will soak up paint. After a quick application of primer, we used a Glidden brand paint called Silver Drop. I had the solution cut down 25% to make the shade a little lighter. The color is a very soft gray that would look white if not compared to the ceiling. I love, love, love it. The hubs thinks it looks white, but he's just happy I'm happy. Gotta love that sweet husband of mine.

And that, my friends, is how we're looking these days. I have to tell you, we are so proud of how our walls turned out. For first timers seaming two walls made of different materials, we feel we did a heckuva job! There are slight imperfections, but they can easily be attributed to the fact that our house is 50+ years old. Just more character adding to the charm of our home, right?

Before I go, I will leave you with two images. The first one is a sneak peak of how our bathroom is looking at this very moment. Digging the tile? The second, my two favorite boys. Mattingly is a constant fixture at the bathroom door while we work. I think he's over the renovation. He's one good looking dog...and the hubs isn't so bad himself!

Stay tuned for our tile reveal and how to...coming soon!


  1. Sooo impressive!!! And I LOVE Boston Terriers, he is adorable. Trying to convince my husband we need one in addition to our lab :)

  2. holy crap, looks like a huge project! i love your note to the future... that's awesome.



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